Foreign Procurement and Payments

An MIT procurement specialist can provide travelers, program administrators, and departmental personnel with information on the most efficient and cost effective ways to acquire goods and services in a foreign country.

Items to consider when preparing to incur expenses internationally include:

  • Terms and conditions of the agreement, such as whether foreign procurement is allowed
  • Transport and/or shipment of goods from the vendors to the location where the goods will be used
  • Import and/or export controls in the U.S. and foreign countries
  • Payment method to vendors
  • Currency conversion when the vendors require payment in foreign currency
  • Language and translation cost when the invoice is in a foreign language

In some situations, the ICC has special relationships with overseas firms that my provide in-country assistance.

Capital or fabricated equipment

When a sponsored program requires expenditures for capital equipment or fabricated equipment, property equipment terms of the agreement will determine how equipment is administered.

MIT is directly responsible for all property in accordance with the agreement, including equipment in the possession of, or controlled by, a subcontractor. MIT must maintain and make available records as stipulated in the applicable regulations and must account for all sponsor property until relieved of accountability. Liability for loss, damage, or excessive use of property must be considered in accordance with the provisions of the agreement.

Please review MIT equipment procedures and policies as you plan or manage your project.

Additional restrictions may apply to technical data, encryption software, and other controlled information, as well as physical items, regardless of the value. See the export control website for more information.

International airfare

Before purchasing airfare with a sponsored account, the department must verify that the airline they plan to use can be charged to the sponsor. Some sponsors require that travel take place on country-specific carriers and have specific rules regarding class of service. Please check for restrictions prior to purchasing tickets.

International wire payments

VPF Accounts Payable processes international wire payments in multiple currencies. Please submit approved paper invoices for purchase order invoices or complete a Request for Payment Form for non-purchase order invoices. To request a wire transfer, you will need:

  • Bank name receiving the funds, with complete address
  • Payee name (who is receiving the funds)
  • Account number (account at bank to which the funds will be deposited)
  • A SWIFT code for international transfers
  • Currency and amount to be wired

Payments to foreign nationals

Taxable payments to non-U.S. citizens, such as honoraria and awards, can be processed via the online RFP system in Atlas  If a wire is needed for the payment, please use a paper Request for Payment Form. Please remember that taxable payments to non-U.S. citizens are subject to 30% withholding by the U.S. Government.

Under certain circumstances, honoraria may be paid to an individual with B-1 or WB visa status for 'usual academic activities'. This academic activity must not last longer than nine days and the individual must not have accepted similar payments from more than five institutions during the previous six months. MIT interprets this section of the Act [INA Section 212(8 U.S.C. 1182)(q)] to mean that honoraria payments are limited to a maximum of six visits in a six-month period at MIT and/or other institutions, each lasting no longer than nine days.

Human subject payments to non-U.S. citizens are taxable regardless of amount. The payee’s name, permanent address, and country of citizenship must be included on the human subject payment form.

Sub-recipient monitoring

MIT is required to ensure that sponsored research funding is used for authorized purposes in compliance with applicable grant and contract terms, federal and state regulations, and MIT policies and procedures. As a pass-through entity, MIT is ultimately responsible and accountable to the prime sponsor for financial management and compliance when contracting with sub-recipients.

Foreign sub-recipients, who are exempt from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget’s A-133 audit requirements, may still be required to make financial records available for review or audit under the terms and conditions of the prime agreement. The nature, timing, and scope of monitoring foreign sub-recipients may vary by the assessment of risks, the funds provided, the nature of work, the laws of the country where the activity will occur, the duration of involvement, and other factors.

The Office of Sponsored Programs can provide more information on sub-recipient monitoring.