HMS faculty, trainees and research staff must protect their persons, staff and collaborators, equipment, data and materials when they travel abroad or domestically.  What an individual needs to take with them, what risks they may encounter and what preventative steps that should take depends on the nature of their work and their travel destination.

Travelers are reminded that they must acquire and carry appropriate documentation to travel including passports, letters of invitation and visas. Travelers should also be aware that there are disclosure and reporting requirements if carrying more than $10,000 cash internationally.

Any equipment, research specimen, research materials or data being carried internationally should be reviewed and approved by the institution (PI of lab, HMS Export Control Administrator and EH&S). All agreements, licenses, and documentation should be obtained BEFORE data or items are shipped or hand carried out of Harvard. 

All members of the Harvard Community are encouraged to follow these best practices to secure data and research materials when traveling:

  1. Bring only the devices (laptops, phone, tablets) you absolutely need on the trip
  2. Consult with your department to see if a “clean” laptop or loaner laptop is available
  3. Keep all laptops, tablets, devices and technology with you at all times
  4. Encrypt all laptops and devices Note: Some countries/destinations prohibit encrypted devices – be mindful of the requirements for your destination
  5. Do not take confidential, classified, proprietary, unpublished or high-risk data
  6. Carry only the minimum amount of data you need
  7. Be mindful of free internet, unsecured networks, and wi-fi connections (could someone steal your data?)
  8. Avoid using portable media (thumb-drives/USB)
  9. Check with EH&S if transporting or shipping any research materials (e.g. specimen, chemicals, biologics, equipment)

For International Travel, travelers are encouraged to take these additional steps to secure their personal safety and the safety of research data and materials:

  1. Register International Travel with Global Support Services and review travel and safety resources on their website
  2. Review Global Support Services International Data Security Guidance website
  3. Submit for review and determination from an HMS Export Control Administrator before you ship or bring equipment or materials with you. This applies even to items you intend to bring back with you upon return.
  4. Check with US Department of State for country or regional travel warnings prior to international travel
  5. Consult with EH&S if transporting or shipping any research materials (e.g. specimen, chemicals, biologics, equipment) abroad
  6. If travelling to a high risk area, discuss trip with Global Support Services or the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs to review risks and precautions
  7. Carry all documentation (passports, visas, invitation letters, etc.)
  8. Know your emergency contacts while abroad (see Global Support Services emergency resources)

Harvard Travel Services

Global Support Services

Harvard Travel Policies

Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs

EH&S Shipping and Transport

HMS Information Technology

HMS Export Control Review