Traveling Abroad with Electronic Devices and UIC-Owned Research Data

Some US research institutions have reported that US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has stopped research scientists leaving the US with questions about research data carried on electronic devices (laptop computers, thumb drives, etc.) in carry-on or checked luggage. The University is not aware of any UIC faculty, staff or student having been stopped by US CBP officials, but we want to share the following reminders and guidance when traveling internationally.

If your faculty are approached by CBP or other federal agents about their research, whether at the border, at the office or at home, they should notify both their Unit Executive Officer and OVCR.

Research data generated within UIC or on behalf of UIC is owned by UIC (  Therefore, all original data should be housed at UIC or on a UIC-supported service. UIC researchers should travel with a password-protected device swept clean of everything but typical software and minimal data.  If necessary, access your data using secure remote access through the UIC network.  Alternatively, UIC researchers may travel internationally with UIC-owned electronic equipment or original unpublished data if specifically authorized by the UIC Export Controls Compliance Officer prior to international travel. Additional data security rules may also apply and are included in our UIC Research Data Security policy.

At present, university-sponsored international travel is limited and discouraged, as is non-essential domestic travel ( Personal international travel is also strongly discouraged. When domestic and international travel resumes, or if international travel is essential, your faculty are encouraged to follow the UIC International Travel Safety Policy.


Joanna Groden
Vice Chancellor for Research