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As a leading research university, Rutgers participates in global activities to advance the creation of new knowledge, to disseminate that knowledge around the world through education and publication, and to foster creative and meaningful collaborations with other institutions and organizations both to bring important developments and benefits to other nations and to learn about new innovations from our colleagues overseas. Those opportunities also increase the risk that foreign transactions and relationships might create the perception of undue influence over Rutgers’ activities.
Faculty, students, and staff travelling internationally, including such activities as attending conferences or participating in international research collaborations, must comply with U.S. Export Control regulations. All Rutgers faculty, staff, or student groups traveling internationally on University-associated matters must register on the MyTrips International Travel Registration Site hosted by the Department of Risk Management & Insurance. This information is collected so that, in the event of an international emergency, Rutgers will be able to locate, notify, evacuate, and/or deliver resources to those who may be affected. Travel registration is not required for personal travel. University Policy 40.4.1 Travel and Business Expense Policyand Policy 40.4.2 Rutgers University Faculty and Staff International Travel Policy requires faculty, staff, and students who travel internationally on behalf of Rutgers to report travel plans several weeks before you leave through the Travel Registration Site to allow enough time to work with the Rutgers University Export Controls Office to determine what, if any, protections may be required based on the location of the travel and/or the technology/data you are taking with you.
Additionally, Rutgers travelers are also advised to review all University travel polices with University Procurement Services. However, there are several things to be aware of and resources available to make your international travel safe and compliant with University guidelines and federal laws:
Health Concerns while Traveling
It is recommended that travelers check with their healthcare provider well in advance of any international travel to ensure all necessary vaccines are up to date. Be aware that if specific vaccines are required and/or recommended for your destinations, these often should be given a month or more to begin providing protection before travel commences. All travelers should become familiar with health risks unique to their destinations and practice appropriate precautionary measures to minimize the potential for infection and to limit further transmission of viruses and diseases to other parts of the world.
Traveling with Technology
Using laptops, email, and other technology outside the U.S. can entail elevated risks of data compromise or loss. For best practices to mitigate these risks, see the University’s page on IT Security Guidelines for Domestic and International Travel and Export Control policy and procedures.
Student travel raises some special considerations because of Rutgers role in sponsoring and overseeing these student activities. Although much of the guidance developed for faculty and staff travelers is also applicable to our students, Rutgers University Student Affairs International Travel Planning provides special resources and support related to University-sponsored student travel. It is important that student travelers – undergraduate, graduate or professional, in any program of study – read and understand Rutgers University International Travel Guidelines before planning travel. Prior to finalizing the arrangement of an overseas course of study, research activities, or other university-related travel, it is important to plan for and to be aware of health, safety, and security concerns in the region you will visit.
Finally, we suggest that all travelers visit the Rutgers Global Travel Resource website for more information and useful guidance.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
Rutgers University engages in activity around the world. As part of its commitment to ethical conduct, it is the goal of Rutgers to ensure our faculty and staff understand and are able to comply with the laws around foreign interactions, one of the areas of increasing concern is the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is a federal law, enforced by the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission, which prohibits covered individuals from offering “anything of value” to a “foreign official” for the purpose of “securing an improper advantage” in obtaining, retaining, or directing business. The FCPA sets expectations for the conduct of our faculty and staff while traveling abroad, as well as certain actions that might occur within the US, that could be perceived as corrupting a foreign official.
The FCPA applies to all Rutgers transactions with foreign individuals or entities and defines three key elements that must be considered to determine whether a violation has occurred:
- A payment or something of value must be offered, promised, or given. “Something of value” is a broad consideration and can include cash, non-cash gifts, travel, meals, entertainment, employment, donations, or commitments to use particular vendors or resources. In addition, offers of training and education, scholarships, or internships are also considered items of value under the FCPA.
- The offer must be made to a foreign official. In some foreign countries, it may be difficult to determine whether an individual is a foreign official. Under the FCPA, foreign officials include all employees or agents of the government at any level, not just senior ministers or administrators. Other examples of foreign officials with whom we may interact include faculty and staff at foreign public universities; advisors to government ministers, employees or agencies; members of government committees or panels; healthcare professionals at government-controlled healthcare facilities; members of ruling families; and employees and candidates of foreign political parties. In general, many of the individuals with whom Rutgers personnel will interact while on official business overseas will be considered foreign officials under the FCPA.
- The offer must be made to a foreign official “for a corrupt purpose.” Under the act, a corrupt purpose is one which is intended to improperly influence the foreign official in order to obtain, retain, or secure an improper advantage.
While making a payment to a foreign official for officially sanctioned services is acceptable under the FCPA (e.g., fees to expedite bureaucratic processing under a process offered to all applicants is an appropriate business expense in some countries), it is important always to consider whether the payment is made through a transparent and visible process, whether the payment is made primarily to obtain a favorable outcome (e.g., to obtain approval rather than simply to expedite processing), and/or whether the process and personnel being suggested are available to all partners or are being offered under an “exclusive” arrangement to Rutgers. To avoid violations of the FCPA, Rutgers personnel should only engage in transactions that are transparent, open to all, and follow a defined business process rather than to obtain an outcome. For questions or more information, please contact University Ethics and Compliance or by phone at 973.972.8000.
International Travel and Export Controls
All members of Rutgers University are required to adhere to Export Control regulations and Rutgers University Policies when traveling internationally on university business.
International travel allows faculty, staff and students to explore international collaborations to enhance research and learning. While this creates a way for growth, breakthroughs, and discovery, it could also compromise research integrity, data, and subject those individuals to undue foreign influence. Anything you travel with, out of the U.S., is an export whether you share it or not, including data on laptops and cell phones. In addition, traveling to meet a foreign national anywhere, including inside the USA, has the potential to be an export and subject to US export controls.
When considering international travel, keep the following questions in mind: Who? What? Where? When? Why? Examples of these are: travel sponsored by foreign entities, the destination country(s), any other countries will you will be passing through by land, people you will meet, organizations you will visit, etc.; activities you will be conducting during your trip(conferences, emailing); what you will be bringing with you on your trip including electronics devices (laptop, mobile phone, tablet), prototypes, samples, equipment, technical data, biologicals etc. The answers to these questions will help Rutgers Export Control with: (1)Restricted Party Screening, (2)determining whether your items, technology and software can be taken or sent internationally without a license; (3) obtaining an export license; and (4) reducing the likelihood of a violation of export control and sanction program regulations.
As soon as international travel plans are made, register for Rutgers MyTrips as required by Rutgers Policy; Rutgers Export Control will review all international travel to ensure travelers are compliant with Export Control regulations. If any issues arise during the review process, Rutgers Export Control will contact the traveler immediately. Be advised, that if a license is required, it could take up to two or three months. For best practices to mitigate these risks, see Export Control policy and procedures and the University’s page on IT Security Guidelines for Domestic and International Travel.
Exporting Tangible Research and Biological Materials
The FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies have increased surveillance efforts to identify transport of research materials and verify that those exports comply with federal laws. These efforts are part of a nation-wide enforcement action to control the transport of biological materials that may present a threat to our national security, or reduce the theft of intellectual property developed in the US, much of it enabled through federal funding.
Researchers working with biological materials must alert Rutgers Environmental Health and Safety (REHS) detailing their project plans. Permits from federal agencies in the US are often required for import or export of such materials. Specific language is often required on shipping documentation for incoming items that don’t require an import permit. If laboratories are exporting biological materials, the recipient should verify that they are in compliance with the destination country’s applicable import regulations. In addition, individuals who are shipping biological materials may be required to have a current biological Hazardous Material Shipping certification. Rutgers Export Control are part of the screening process and partners with REHS to ensure that these activities are completed in a compliant manner. Export Control will contact researchers and/or their departments to identify any potential Export Control issues regarding sharing these materials and both departments will provide shipping approval if applicable (Learn More: shipping approval). Keep in mind that when sending tangible research materials outside the US, researchers must ensure that the materials are sent out under a material transfer agreement (MTA). Contact the Export Control Office to initiate an MTA.
Shipment and Release of Sensitive Items
Federal export regulations govern shipments and release of certain sensitive commodities, technologies, and software to non-U.S. locations and persons. In addition, economic sanction rules can significantly affect educational and research activities involving specific export controlled countries (see the US Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security). The University is committed to compliance with these requirements, and personnel are encouraged to review the Export Control Office website and/or contact the Export Control Officer with any export questions or concerns.