When you cross an international border, your possessions—including your smartphone, computer, and other tech devices—may be subject to search or seizure. To protect your personal information and sensitive university data:
- Take only the devices and data you need during international travel.
- Consider taking a loaner device with only the apps and data you need.
- Strive to avoid taking sensitive university data on devices unless absolutely necessary.
When Entering the U.S.
Your tech devices may be searched or seized when you enter or re-enter the U.S. United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers have the authority to search or seize the devices of both U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries entering the U.S. When you re-enter the country after a trip abroad, you may be asked to provide access to your electronic devices.
You can refuse access, but you may then be denied entry. If you refuse to provide access to your devices when asked to do so by U.S. CBP agents, you risk having your devices seized or being denied entry.
When Entering and Traveling in Other Countries
Your tech devices may be searched or seized when you enter or travel in other countries. Many nations have border laws similar to, or more invasive than, those of the U.S., which means that border agents may have authority to search or seize your tech devices when you enter a country.
In addition, police and other authorities in some countries may have legal authority to search or seize your devices while you are in the country. You are subject to the laws of the country you are in, which may or may not provide privacy protections for your electronic devices and data.
General Guidance for Traveling with Tech
- IT Security Guidelines for Domestic and International Travelers (Safe Computing). Step-by-step guidance for traveling with technology both inside and outside the U.S.
- Global Michigan: Safety & Security. Click the Technology & Data Security button for links to U-M resources for travelers.
- Answers to your questions about traveling with technology: