Traveling with Electronic Devices

Safeguard Your Devices and Data

In 2017, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) implemented enhanced screening measures for electronics larger than a smartphone device (e.g. Kindle, iPad, etc.) at most US airports. Such electronic equipment follow screening procedures similar to those in place for laptops, meaning that devices larger than a mobile phone must be placed in a stand-alone security screening bin (note – these security measures do not apply to individuals who are enrolled in the TSA Pre-Check program).

It is recommended that travelers place mid-size and large electronic devices in an area of their carry-on luggage that allows for easy access. It is also recommended that travelers budget extra time into their itineraries, as enhanced security screening may cause delays. For more information regarding airport screening procedures, please visit Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Office of Information Technology (OIT) Resources

Traveling internationally can pose significant risks to information stored on or accessible through computers, tablets, and smartphones due to increased opportunities for the loss or theft and because devices will connect networks that may be managed by entities that monitor and capture network traffic for competitive or malicious purposes. 

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) provides loaner devices, travel email account services, and other resources and guidance on travel technology, data protection,  and information security.   Visit the OIT Information Security Office's International Travel Guidelines for tips on how to prepare for travel abroad, suggestions for on the ground activities, and what to do upon return to protect your devices and data.

Security Regulations Upon Re-Entry

Travelers should also be aware that upon re-entry to the US, the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel are allowed to stop you and conduct a secondary inspection, regardless of your status as an American citizen, green card holder or visa holder.

The Fourth Amendment, which protects people from searches and seizures without probable cause of a crime being committed, does not apply at border crossings.  CBP does not need “probable cause and reasonable suspicion” to search your luggage or your person.  According to CBP, electronic devices are also searchable.  For more information on US re-entry regulations, please visit US Customs and Border Protection.