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Frequently Asked Questions About International Sponsored Projects


When do I reach out to Global Operations? 

Contact Global Operations during both pre and post-award when you have questions regarding an international project. As a starting point, refer to the Checklist of International Risk Considerations. If your project can answer Yes to any of the questions, please reach out to Global Ops. 

What type of support does Global Ops provide?

Global Ops provides support throughout the project life-cycle, from proposal to close-out. We can help to identify possible challenges during proposal phase that will impact implementation and provide options to address them. We can help with project start-up, answering everyday questions during post-award, and assist with closeout requirements. We work with all units in ORSPA, PIs across the university, project managers, Business Ops staff, and other ASU support staff to help international projects run smoothly. 

Can Global Operations assist with estimating costs for my proposal budget?

Yes! We can help identify and estimate costs related to foreign travel, staff, taxes, procurement, and other expenses related to implementing international work. International projects often require expenses that differ from domestic projects and so it's best to consult Global Ops.


Outgoing agreements

For questions related to agreements or subawards, see Research Administration’s Agreements with ASU or Subaward Basics. Subaward Basics also reviews Cost Reimbursable vs. Fixed-Price Subawards when considering what type of award may be best for a foreign entity. Reviewing your sponsor’s rules and regulations is also recommended.

For basic questions related to partnerships, see International 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 proposalandnegotiation@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 variety of documents and templates related to global sponsored projects. For questions, please email global.ops@asu.edu.

Non-U.S. partners

My non-U.S. project partner is having trouble completing required steps (e.g., SAM.gov registration, ASU supplier registration). What should they do?

Non-U.S. partners may encounter issues when trying to complete required steps for a sponsored award for various reasons. The unit’s Business Operations team may need to walk the partner through the necessary registration via Zoom or collect the pertinent details and complete the registration on their behalf. For international suppliers, Financial Services may be able to set up a supplier manually if a W-8 is provided. Contact supplieradmin@asu.edu for help.


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% to 3% of the payment made by 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.

For proposals with international subrecipients, the proposal Research Advancement Staff should work with the international partner to ensure their budget is submitted in US Dollars. Proposal teams may need to include in the budget narrative the method by which the exchange rate was determined for projected project costs. 

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 International Purchases & Payments, or email global.ops@asu.edu. We also recommend reviewing your sponsor’s rules and regulations, especially the section regarding source and nationality requirements for purchases. 

For questions related to export controls, visit ORIA's Export Controls website. Export controls can arise due to the sharing, transferring, or exporting of certain commodities or information for reasons such as: the end use or end user of the export; the country, organization, or individual receiving the export; and/or if the export has a military application or economic protection issues. 

For questions related to a Material Transfer Agreement, contact proposalandnegotiation@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 International 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 non-U.S.-based worker?
A non-U.S.-based worker is defined as a person who works in a country other than the U.S. Non-U.S.-based workers who have U.S. nationality are referred to as expatriates.
The project requires non-U.S.-based workers. What’s the best way to proceed?
There are many options concerning non-U.S.-based workers on a sponsored project. For more information about those options and ASU guidelines, see Non-U.S.-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 U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens 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, such as 13th month salary, living allowances, private healthcare, and pension. Global Operations can help determine what allowances and benefits would apply.


What are VAT and GST and is ASU subject to these taxes?

Value-Added Tax (VAT) and Goods and Services Tax (GST) are sales taxes that may be assessed on goods and services in other countries. 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, ASU’s principal investigator will be contacted by ASU Research Operations to discuss options for payment.

During proposal development, we recommend reviewing the project location’s applicable consumption taxes as well as the sponsor’s rules regarding the payment of foreign taxes. The Worldwide VAT, GST and Sales Tax Guide contains country-specific information.

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

Are non-U.S. visitors to ASU subject to U.S. taxes?

Visiting students and scholars that receive a payment from ASU may be subject to U.S. taxes. This includes exchange programs where ASU hosts students and scholars from another country. For more information on paying internationals and related taxes, see the Foreign Visitor Tax Guide


Where can I find resources about international travel?

For questions related to international travel, or the Fly America Act, see International 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), visit Know Your Destination or contact global.ops@asu.edu.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 & Insurance or email global.ops@asu.edu.