When hand-carrying tools of the trade to countries outside the US, travelers should review customs regulations of both U.S. and the foreign destination in advance of travel.
Tools of the Trade are classified as personal and household effects and tools of the trade, including instruments, tools and other effects (such as laptops and “BlackBerry” devices).
A laptop letter or commercial invoice is recommended to accompany hand-carried portable electronic computing devices. The letter or invoice will list all US export control authorizations for the items the traveler is carrying. Logistics Operations can prepare customs documentation for you.
Hand-carried U.S.-origin computers and software cannot be taken to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.
Laptop computers not specially designed for military use are classified on the Commerce Control List under ECCN 4A994. Laptops classified 4A994 may be hand-carried as temporary exports under License Exception TMP as long as the use is consistent with the rules in EAR Part 740.9 for “tools of trade.”
If a laptop is personally owned, it may be hand-carried as baggage under License Exception BAG as long as the use is consistent with the rules in EAR Part 740.14
Hand-Held Digital Devices: U.S.-origin cell phones and other hand-held communications devices having an encryption capability (but not capable of end-to-end encryption) are classified 5A992.
Hand-held devices classified 5A992 may be hand-carried as temporary exports to any country except Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, or Syria under the “tools of trade” provisions of License Exception TMP as long as the use is consistent with the rules in EAR Part 740.9
If the hand-held devices are personally owned, they may be hand-carried as baggage under License Exception BAG as long as the use is consistent with the rules in EAR Part 740.14
Software: For export control purposes, software (including pre-loaded operating systems) is generally considered separate from the computer on which it is used. For example, Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional is classified under ECCN 5D992.b.1, whereas Windows CE 3.0 is classified 5D002. Controls on software relate to the software’s level of encryption and/or the equipment or special purpose for which it is designed, and the ECCN should be determined through a review of the Commerce Control List.
Software classified EAR99 or 5D992.b.1 (or 5D002, if it is preloaded on a laptop) may be hand-carried as a temporary export under License Exception TMP as long as the use is consistent with the rules in EAR Part 740.9 for “tools of trade.”
Technology/Data Files: Information stored on your laptop or in accompanying media (e.g., CDs or diskettes) is technology that might, depending upon the nature of the data and the destination, trigger export control requirements.
General business information (as opposed to information about product design, manufacturing, etc.) is not subject to export controls.
Publicly available information (e.g., published materials), with the exception of publicly available encryption software classified 5D002, is not subject to export controls.
Export Documentation: Hand-carried products and software are subject to AES (Automated Export System) requirements if the value of items classified under a single Schedule B number exceeds $2,500. In addition, all items exported pursuant to a validated export license require an AES report.
However: Certain exemptions to AES filing requirements are available, including for baggage (personal effects) and, for business travelers, for “tools of trade” exported under license exception TMP Laptops and software exported as “tools of trade” under TMP do not require AES reports, but are recommended.
Even if hand-carried items qualify for an AES exception, the exporter MUST be prepared to make an oral declaration if requested to do so by a customs official.
For this reason, it is recommended that you have documentation available during your travels. For documentation or information, contact Kerry Slaven or Joseph Lujan.