Hand-Carry Tools

Traveling with University Equipment and Software

Remember: If you don't need it - don't take it with you!!

Under the “Tool of Trade” license exception travelers can hand-carry usual and reasonable kinds and quantities of university owned equipment and software for use by employees in a lawful enterprise.

The “Tool of Trade” license exception has several requirements.

"Tool of Trade" Requirements

”Tool of Trade” Certificate

Travelers should use the following checklist to determine if equipment will qualify as a "Tool of Trade."

Traveler's Checklist

Traveling with university equipment to an international destination may qua0ify for a “Tool of Trade” exception.

The exception certificate demonstrates the traveler understands the export requirements associated with equipment or data being exported and that exports to sanctioned/embargoed countries are prohibited.   For additional information contact the Export Control Officer.

What Equipment Qualifies for an Exception as a "Tool of Trade"?

Qualifies Does Not Qualify
  • Standard laptop with pre-loaded commercial software,
  • Some laboratory equipment depending upon the travel destination, 
  • Most commercially available items.   
Qualifies Does Not Qualify
  • Standard off-the shelf mass-market software (i.e. MS Office products) if carried to 35 favorable countries,
  • Non-encryption beta test software to be marketed after testing.   
  • Non-standard cryptography technology and software, (non-mass market software), “open cryptographic interface” technology or “cryptanalytic (code-breaking) technology for export to any country other than the 35 favorable countries.

Removed the following types of data from a laptop before departure as they do not qualify for the “Tool of Trade” exception:

Travelers prepare laptops prior to international travel. “If you don't need it - don't take it with you!”

“Reasonable suspicion of any crime or wrongdoing is not needed for customs officials to search a laptop or other personal electronic storage devices.” Additional information is available in the ”Policy Regarding Border Search of Information” by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Traveling with Non-University Equipment

License Exception BAG (Baggage) allows US citizens to carry family-owned retail-level items including laptops, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and cell phones as personal baggage. The items and software must be for their personal use.