Unofficial Foreign Travel
(From the NSA Handbook)
In order to further protect sensitive information from possible compromise resulting from terrorism, coercion, interrogation or capture of Agency personnel by hostile nations and/or terrorist groups, the Agency has established certain policies and procedures concerning unofficial foreign travel.
All Agency personnel (civilian employees, military assignees, and contractors) who are planning unofficial foreign travel must have that travel approved by submitting a proposed itinerary to the Security Awareness Division (M56) at least 30 working days prior to their planned departure from the United States. Your itinerary should be submitted on Form K2579 (Unofficial Foreign Travel Request). This form provides space for noting the countries to be visited, mode of travel, and dates of departure and return. Your immediate supervisor must sign this form to indicate whether or not your proposed travel poses a risk to the sensitive information, activities, or projects of which you may have knowledge due to your current assignment.
After your supervisor's assessment is made, this form should be forwarded to the Security Awareness Director (M56). Your itinerary will then be reviewed in light of the existing situation in the country or countries to be visited, and a decision for approval or disapproval will be based on this assessment. The purpose of this policy is to limit the risk of travel to areas of the world where a threat may exist to you and to your knowledge of classified Agency activities.
In this context, travel to communist-controlled and other hazardous activity areas is prohibited. A listing of these hazardous activity areas is prohibited. A listing of these hazardous activity areas can be found in Annex A of NSA/CSS Regulation No. 30-31, "Security Requirements for Foreign Travel" (12 June 1987). From time to time, travel may also be prohibited to certain areas where the threat from hostile intelligence services, terrorism, criminal activity or insurgency poses an unacceptable risk to Agency employees and to the sensitive information they possess. Advance travel deposits made without prior agency approval of the proposed travel may result in financial losses by the employee should the travel be disapproved, so it is important to obtain approval prior to committing yourself financially. Questions regarding which areas of the world currently pose a threat should be directed to the Security Awareness Division (M56).
Unofficial foreign travel to Canada, the Bahamas, Bermuda, and Mexico does not require prior approval, however, this travel must still be reported using Form K2579. Travel to these areas may be reported after the fact.
While you do not have to report your foreign travel once you have ended your affiliation with the Agency, you should be aware that the risk incurred in travelling to certain areas, from a personal safety and/or counterintelligence standpoint, remains high. The requirement to protect the classified information to which you have had access is a lifetime obligation.