When traveling outside of the U.S., everything you take with you is subject to the U.S. Export Controls regulations. This includes tangible items (laptops, cell phones, equipment, samples, paper documents etc.) and intangible products (trainings, know-how, files, data, etc.). The Pitt community should be familiar with the applicable Export Controls regulations and strive to comply with them as violations can result in severe criminal and civil sanctions against individuals and/or the University.
In order to determine whether an export authorization is required prior to traveling, an inventory of all items should first be done followed by the classification of each item.
The best way to obtain the Export classification
of a commercially available product
is to contact its manufacturer, producer or developer (preferably by email). The Office of Export Controls Services (OEC)
has created an Export Classification Certification form
, which you can provide when contacting the manufacturer, producer or developer of the items, in order to help you obtain the export classification from them.
For items/technical data/ software created or developed on campus
, please contact the OEC
There are two license exemptions to the licensing requirements for traveling outside of the U.S with export-controlled items. These exceptions can be used only under certain conditions.
The license exception BAG (EAR 740.14) authorizes temporary export/reexport of personal items or technology. For instance, under this license exception, you can take your personal laptop for travel to any country except Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. Note, however, that if your laptop contains controlled software/data, a license will be required. This exception applies only to personal items and, thus, does not apply to items owned by the University of Pittsburgh (e.g. laptop bought with University funding).
The license exception TMP
(EAR 740.9) authorizes temporary export/reexport of institution-owned items
that will return to the United States within one year of when they leave
. The items must remain under the effective control
("Effective control" means retaining the item(s) in my physical possession or maintaining the item(s) in a secure environment such as a hotel safe or a locked or guarded facility) of the exporter/reexporter. The TMP "Tool of Trade" exception allows you to travel with usual and reasonable quantities of tools of trade to any country, except Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. If you are eligible to travel under this exemption, you may want to complete the TMP form
and email it to
Completion of the TMP form is not mandatory. The TMP license exception is available to U.S. persons
(e.g., University of Pittsburgh) or their employees (e.g., all University of Pittsburgh legal employees regardless of citizenship status) without documents being required. The TMP form was created to help you demonstrate to a Custom Officer that you are aware of and have thought through the regulations. Therefore, we recommend this form be completed for "unusual" items only (research items) that are more likely to draw attention from Customs Officials than basic electronic devices (such as laptops, cell phones, and tablets).
The BAG and TMP license exceptions do not apply to technology associated with high-grade encryption products and ITAR-controlled items (i.e., defense articles and services).
Prior to leaving the U.S., the University of Pittsburgh also recommends registering with the U.S. Custom and Border Protection (CBP)
: "To make things easier, you can register certain items with CBP before you depart- including watches, cameras, laptop computers, firearms, and CD players-as long as they have serial numbers or other unique, permanent markings. Take the items to the nearest CBP office and request a Certificate of Registration for Personal Effects Taken Abroad (CBP Form 4457). It shows that you had the items with you before leaving the United States and all items listed on it will be allowed duty-free entry. CBP officers must see the item you are registering in order to certify the certificate of registration. You can also register items with CBP at the international airport from which you're departing. Keep the certificate for future trips
". For more information, please consult the CBP INFO center
Finally you must comply with tax systems requirements, for avoiding paying the Value-Added Taxes (VAT) practiced by most of the countries on your items' value. For eliminating VAT, the University of Pittsburgh uses the ATA Carnet, also known as Merchandise Passport. This carnet is an international customs document that expedites temporary exports into foreign countries. It has the advantage to eliminate VAT and to simplify reentry into the U.S. by serving as a U.S. Customs Registration.