International Activities & Research

Conducting sponsored research or activities in a foreign country or paying foreign nationals can be complex processes and may need additional assistance or oversight.  Each country is different, so it is important that activities are conducted in a legal and allowable manner.  UMass has a history of working with many Principal Investigators (PIs) who have conducted activities in various countries. 

Prior to working directly in or with a foreign country, please consult with Research Accounting to receive guidance and ensure you are following any precedents that have been set in the past. 

We value the ability to work outside the borders of the United States and we are here to help you succeed!

Items to consider when working with or in a foreign country:

  • Paying foreign nationals:
    • Any paid work can appear as an employment relationship. Since UMass cannot generally hire/ pay foreign nationals in this manner, consider working with an in-country employment agency, a university, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), or a local attorney. 
    • Relationships necessary to pay foreign nationals may affect your budget, so please reach out as soon as possible so you can plan accordingly
    • There may be country-specific local employment laws that have to be followed (such as withholding taxes and fringe benefit requirements)
    • There are OFAC laws that prohibit paying cash to individuals that are on a restricted parties list
  • Purchasing non-US services and materials:
    • Be aware of financial and legal obligations when you intend to purchase services and materials outside of the US
  • Understand the foreign country's registrations, laws, taxes:
    • Identify and understand the foreign country's laws, registrations, and taxes that may affect your work (see links below for additional information) 
  • Import and export of items
    • Import and export of items (including information & technology) may have additional costs and restrictions. Please work with UMass Export Control to ensure compliance.
    • NOTE: this includes the transport and use of personal or University equipment (including laptops)
  • Identify country-specific currency and exchange rates
  • Spending in a foreign country:
    • If expecting to spend currency in a foreign country, the preferable means of payment is a UMass Bank Card
      • If the foreign country is a “Cash only” economy consider the following:
        • Utilizing Cash advances in the foreign country, via your UMass Bank Card at a local bank
        • Request a program advance to be able to have cash to spend in the foreign country
        • NOTE: Be mindful of security, regulation, documentation of spending, and currency conversion requirements associated with handling cash

If you have any other unusual foreign transactions or questions, please contact with Research Accounting ASAP.  Addressing things sooner than later can make the whole process much more simple.

Additonal resources for those looking to work in/ with foreign countries: