International travel increases the likelihood that personal and university-owned devices and data will be compromised and while visiting foreign countries, you are subject to their local laws. As you prepare to travel internationally (or domestically), the guidelines on this page will help to ensure that your devices and data are protected. In addition to this webpage, we recommend you review the State Department's website for travel safety information specific to every country in the world because laws and policies regarding online security and privacy differ in other countries. 

Guidelines listed on this page are subject to sudden change based upon the nature of International Relationships. Please contact ITS if you have any questions. 

It is highly recommended that travelers to high risk countries contact Information Technology Services at 419-372-0999 several weeks in advance of their trip to obtain a clean laptop for travel, and that they leave behind all other devices.

International Travel Guidelines

Research the country you are traveling to and see if they have sanctions or local laws that affect your BGSU access. When traveling outside the US, you may be unable to access your BGSU accounts due to restrictions placed on the Duo mobile app or tokens by the United States Government Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC). Such restrictions are outlined in the Sanctions Program and Country Information list. Please review this list prior to your travel.

ITS has Two Factor Authentication tokens available for loan to use as your primary authentication device when traveling internationally. Two Factor tokens eliminate the need to rely on a mobile device while outside of the United States. To obtain a loaner token, please contact the ITS Service Desk.   

Does Duo Mobile work in China? Read the article.

In addition to Duo restrictions, some software is export controlled and therefore subject to review prior to being installed on devices being used for international travel.

Contact ITS to verify that you have a secure backup of your data on your university device so that it can be recovered in the event that your device becomes lost, stolen or compromised while traveling.

When traveling abroad it is important to take the minimum needed in order to get your work done. Use the information below to determine what to bring (and how to prepare it) and what NOT to bring on your trip.


If traveling with a computer, please be sure to:

Mobile Devices

If need a mobile device while traveling, consider a loaner phone borrowed in the country, an unlocked phone with a local SIM card, or a phone you buy/rent at the airport or hotel when you arrive. If you must use your own phone, please:

  • Back it up before you leave
  • Enroll in an international rate plan to avoid hefty roaming charges.
  • Save your data, reset to factory defaults and restore your backup when you return.

Items/Data NOT to Bring When Traveling Abroad

Verify your anti-virus software is up to date and then run a full scan of your devices to validate that they are free of malicious software (malware) prior to traveling. For assistance, contact ITS.

Make sure to authenticate using the passcode generated in the Duo Mobile App because you can utilize this when your device is offline. For more information, see this article

Only use secure internet connections. Cellular carriers' networks are the best choice in terms of security.

  • Don't use free wireless connections.
  • Don't use public computers to access or enter sensitive data.
  • Expect that any computer network you use while traveling may be insecure. This includes networks you may use while staying with friends and family, attending a conference/other business trip or visiting cyber-cafes, libraries or hotels. 
  • Turn off wireless and bluetooth on your devices while you are not using them.
  • Don't download/install software updates on hotel internet connections or public Wi-Fi. For more information on this topic, review this FBI advisory.
  • Understand that any government can log your activity or copy data from your computer without your knowledge or consent.

If your device is lost or stolen, contact ITS immediately to report the incident and promptly change your password(s). It is also important to report the incident to the local authorities and to request a copy of the report.

  • Keep your devices with you at all times or secured in hotel safe.
  • Don't travel with obvious laptop bags.

When you open your browser, switch to a new private browsing tab/window.

These can be used to transfer malware to your device or retrieve data from it. The safest option is to find an outlet and use your own charger.

Do not use USB storage devices or any other kind of removable media that you receive or find while on your trip. These devices can be used to gain access to your system.

If you will not be using your device for an extended period of time, power it off.

Change your BGSU password ASAP. This will prevent anyone who might have hacked into your computer from gaining access to the BGSU network.

BGSU Passwords Information

Before connecting to the BGSU network, run the same malware and anti-virus program you used before your trip. If infections are detected, take the recommended steps to clean up the device.

Travel to High Risk Countries

International travel involves inherent risks and travelers should take extreme caution when planning their trip. Travel to high risk countries requires special consideration and preparation.

We recommend traveling with the minimum needed to get your work done while you are away. Use this information as guidelines for traveling with devices to high risk countries.  

  • We strongly recommend that you leave your current devices  behind when traveling to high risk countries. If you must bring a device with you, we ask that employees please request a BGSU-provided travel laptop. Use this laptop instead of your current University-owned device; it will allow you to manage email, view your calendar, run presentations, edit documents, and connect to BGSU websites. The devices are set up specifically for your use and wiped back to factory settings when you return.
  • If you must travel with your own laptop and not an international travel laptop, it is recommended that you do the following before you go:
    • Verify that your computer browser is current via Qualys' BrowserCheck service (university & personal devices).
    • Make sure your computer is fully backed up and encrypted (university devices).
    • Remove any documents containing Limited Access or Restricted data from your computer (university & personal devices).
    • Upon your return, ITS requires that your device be wiped and re-provisioned prior to being permitted access to the University network. For your convenience, please contact ITS to schedule your reimaging appointment before you travel (university devices).
  • We highly recommend that you leave your mobile devices at home when traveling to a high risk country. Please consider the following:
    •  Are you going to make calls? 
    • Can you get by with a Wi-Fi-only device like an iPad, your laptop, or the hotel-provided phone? 
    • If yes, leave your mobile device behind.
  • If you have determined that a mobile phone is a necessity, rather than bringing your personal mobile device, get one there. This could be a loaner phone borrowed in the country, an unlocked phone with a local SIM card, or a phone you buy/rent at the airport or hotel when you arrive.   
  • If you must use your own phone:
    • Back it up before you leave.
    • Enroll in an international rate plan to avoid hefty roaming charges.
    • Save your data, reset to factory defaults, and restore your backup when you return.  

Below is a list of high risk countries. Please take extra caution when traveling to any of the countries on this list.

  • Afghanistan
  • Algeria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus 
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • China, The People's Republic of
  • Colombia
  • Congo, Democratic Republic of the
  • Crimea (Region of Ukraine)
  • Cuba*
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Eritrea
  • Eswatini
  • Ethiopia
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Hong Kong
  • Indonesia
  • Iran*
  • Iraq
  • Israel, the West Bank and Gaza
  • Kenya
  • Korea, Democratic People's Republic of*
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Mexico
  • Moldova
  • Myanmar 
  • Nicaragua
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines
  • Russia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Somalia
  • South Sudan, Republic of
  • Sudan*
  • Syria*
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • Venezuela
  • Yemen

*Users attempting to authenticate to a Duo-protected application from an access device with an IP address originating from one of these countries will be blocked from completing their login and will receive an error message. For more information see this Duo documentation.

This list is maintained by the BGSU Information Security Office and is compiled from various government sources.

Last updated 1/1/24

Travelers to the People's Republic of China may experience the following issues:

  • Access to services like Gmail and other Google apps, Wikipedia, and Yahoo Web Mail are often blocked or filtered.
  • Skype connections may be monitored by the government.
  • Those using VPN may be cut off for hours at a time.
  • Hotel staff and government officials can access hotel room safes; this may not be the most secure place to leave your devices and personal items.  

Additional Resources

Updated: 05/14/2024 01:38PM