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Electronic Devices

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Protecting electronic devices, such as tablets, laptops, phones and other computing devices, before you travel is critical. In addition to the inconvenience of a lost, stolen, confiscated or hacked electronic device, it could also lead to breaches of Stanford’s information technology infrastructure, network outages, loss of confidential data, and damage to Stanford's reputation. When traveling internationally, there are a number of precautions you should take with respect to your electronic devices. This section discusses some strongly recommended guidance to help safeguard electronic devices and data while travelling internationally particularly when you are visiting high-risk countries.


International travel can introduce more risks to your data and devices. To protect your information and devices, it is important that you develop a data security plan that both serves the needs of your project and adheres to the import and export controls and local laws of the host country. Stanford Information Security Office (ISO) is available to assist you in mitigating cost and risk associated with carrying electronic devices outside of the U.S.

Laptop Export License

A laptop export license may be required when carrying a laptop out of the country. This is true if carrying the following:

  • Research equipment or materials
  • A Stanford-owned smartphone, tablet, laptop, or digital storage device
  • Technical information subject to a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)

The need for an export license is determined by what is being carried and to what country. Utilize the Export Controls Decision Tree on the Dean of Research (DoR) website to determine which of the following is required:

  • An export license, or
  • A license exception Certification.

After answering the questions on the Export Controls Decision Tree the user will be directed toward the appropriate next step. To obtain an export license or if you have questions, please contact Stanford's Export Control Officer.

What's Next?

The safe approach when travelling internationally with an electronic device is to only travel with what you need to take with you -- especially when you are visiting high-risk destinations. Refer to Stanford ISO for more details.