Local Laws

It is always important to keep in mind the legal requirements of the countries you visit. When you are in a foreign country, you are subject to its local laws. There are no exceptions, so use common sense and do your research. The U.S. Department of State notes local laws for all countries on its website.

Be aware that many countries have laws under which you can be held “guilty by association.” It is wise to avoid others who are in possession of illegal goods of any sort. Below are some useful pointers to avoid legal trouble:

  • Deal only with authorized outlets when you exchange money.
  • Avoid areas of unrest and disturbance, such as protests or riots.
  • Do not deliver packages for anyone unless you are certain they do not contain drugs or other prohibited items.
  • Become familiar with local regulations before you sell personal items such as clothing, cameras, and jewelry.
  • Do not assume that what is legal in your home country is also legal in other countries. Adhere to local laws strictly. The penalties you risk can be severe.

Drug Use

Students found to be using drugs that are illegal in their host country may be removed from their program and sent home. If you are arrested for using illegal drugs while abroad, the University of Oregon and the US Consulate will not be able to help you.

Do not possess any cannabis, products containing cannabis (including CBD products), or other illegal drugs while traveling on a commercial air carrier leaving the U.S. due to federal laws and laws of your destination country. Cannabis and cannabis products are illegal in most countries GEO sends students to. You may be removed from your program if found to be using cannabis while abroad on a GEO program.

Some important points to keep in mind about drug use abroad includes the following tips:

  • Drug laws vary by country and may be more severe abroad than in the U.S. For example, many countries consider cannabis to be illegal, and students with cannabis (even with a prescription) or other illegal drugs can be arrested, prosecuted, and/or deported.
  • GEO cannot help students who are arrested while abroad.
  • Do not travel internationally with any amount of medical cannabis or you will risk being detained, arrested, or deported, missing your flight, or face significant fines. If you are currently using a form of medical cannabis, consult your care provider for possible alternatives.
  • You are subject to all local laws and you will face any consequence resulting from breaking the law of your host country.
  • Avoid places where drugs may be in use such as illegal raves. You may be susceptible to arrest in many countries just for being present in such a context.
  • Avoid all illegal drugs at all times.

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