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Frequently Asked Questions About International Sponsored Projects


Outgoing agreements

For questions related to agreements or subawards, see Research Administration’s Agreements with ASU or Subaward Basics. Reviewing your sponsor’s rules and regulations is also recommended.

For basic questions related to partnerships, see Foreign Partnerships, or email global.ops@asu.edu.

Legal and contractual review

For questions related to the legal review and negotiation of incoming and outgoing sponsored agreements, email proposalsandnegotiations@asu.edu.

For questions related to creating and submitting a Trafficking in Persons Compliance Plan, see ORIA’s website.

Have additional questions or looking for additional information?

Global Operations maintains a library of documents and templates related to global sponsored projects. For other questions, please email global.ops@asu.edu.


Can a proposal be submitted in a foreign currency? Can ASU accept proposal budgets in a foreign currency?

Arizona State University prefers proposal submissions and payments be made in U.S. dollars. Reasons for avoiding non-U.S. currency either in proposal submissions or awards include the following.

  • Currency values rise and fall. When ASU engages in international business transactions, a swing in currency value can affect a project's final cost. What is initially budgeted for a project may become inadequate and may then result in a principal investigator’s department having to fund a project to ensure its completion.
  • ASU may also be subject to foreign-transactional fees, also known as currency-conversion fees. These fees range from 2% and 3% of the payment made to ASU and may not be reimbursed as a miscellaneous expense. If categorized as non-reimbursable, the ASU principal investigator’s unit will be required to cover the cost.

Materials, supplies and equipment

Where can I find more information about purchasing equipment and supplies for my project?

For questions related to the purchase of materials, supplies, equipment and payments, see Foreign Purchases & Payments, or email global.ops@asu.edu. We also recommend reviewing your sponsor’s rules and regulations.

For questions related to export controls, contact research.integrity@asu.edu.

For questions related to a Material Transfer Agreement, contact proposalsandnegotiations@asu.edu.

For question related to the Buy American Act, see your sponsor’s rules and regulations or contact your Grant and Contract Officer.

For questions related to cash management, see Foreign Cash Management, or email global.ops@asu.edu.

Payment and Fees

Are payments or gifts to officials in foreign countries allowed?
They are unallowable and this policy is enforced by The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The FCPA prohibits payment or gifts to any foreign government official for the purpose of obtaining an advantage in securing business or influencing the individual to conduct business. Examples of payment or gifts are payment to entertainment, expensive meals, upgrades on hotel, airfare, etc. Questions about the FCPA should be referred to ASU Office of General Counsel.
Can payments also known as cash advances be provided to a foreign entity or individual prior to a legal agreement being signed?
ASU’s preference is to not transfer funds prior to a legal agreement being signed. When working in developing countries, cash-advances, up-front payments, and other similar or unusual financial approaches may be requested. When requested, ASU must balance its risks with the needs of the foreign entity or individual. It will be necessary to establish reasonable caps for cash advances. Ensure the payment structure is explicit in the proposal and establish mechanisms for reconciling cash advances with expenditures. Please note, there are also limitations on the amount of cash that can be brought into a foreign country. For additional information about currency limitations, contact the country’s embassy or consulate.


What is a foreign-based worker?
A foreign-based worker is defined as a person who works in a country other than the U.S. Foreign-based workers who have U.S. nationality are referred to as expatriates.
The project requires foreign-based workers. What’s the best way to proceed?
There are many options concerning foreign-based workers on a sponsored project. For more information about those options and ASU guidelines, see Foreign-Based Workers, or email global.ops@asu.edu.
Where can I find more information on what different rates for personnel need to be included in the budget?
The U.S. Department of State sets the rates and allowances for project personnel working outside the U.S. on projects funded by federal dollars. You can view a list of allowances by location. If you have specific questions about allowances, please email global.ops@asu.edu
Do expatriates and non-U.S. foreign-based workers receive the same allowances and benefits?
This varies by country, position and person. Typically, only U.S. personnel are provided allowances set by the U.S. Department of State. Project personnel who are citizens of the project location would receive benefits customary for the culture. Global Operations can help determine what allowances and benefits would apply.


What is Value-Added Tax (VAT), and is ASU subject to this tax?

Value-Added Tax (VAT) is a sales tax that may be assessed on goods and services. ASU may be responsible for payment of this tax. ASU prefers that this tax not flow-down to ASU as a prime or pass-through recipient of federal funds.

VAT can be a significant and unexpected cost. ASU may not be able to reclaim a full or partial refund from a foreign country. If a full refund is not available, the ASU’s principal investigator will be contacted by ASU Research Operations to discuss options for payment.

During proposal development, we recommend checking to see if the sponsor resides in a country where VAT could be applied to ASU. The Worldwide VAT, GST and Sales Tax Guide contains country-specific information.

For questions related to foreign taxes, such as VAT and GST, see Foreign Tax Liabilities, or email global.ops@asu.edu.


Where can I find resources about foreign travel?

For questions related to foreign travel, or the Fly America Act, see Foreign Travel on the Global Operations website or email global.ops@asu.edu. You may also visit International Collaborations and Travel hosted by the Office of Research Integrity and Assurance.

For travel to high risk areas (Levels 3-4 with the U.S. Department of State), please contact global.ops@asu.edu for information regarding recommended and required security protocols and additional costs. We recommend that you submit a travel request to a high-risk area at least one month in advance.

For additional questions related to insurance, see Prep for Travel and Summary of International Insurance or email global.ops@asu.edu.