An Office of the Vice President for Finance (VPF) procurement specialist can provide international program administrators and participants with information on the most efficient and cost-effective ways to acquire goods and services in a foreign country.
Items to consider regarding incurring expenses internationally include:
- Terms and conditions of the collaboration agreement, such as whether foreign procurement is allowed.
- Transport and/or shipment of goods from 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.
- Translation needs and costs when the invoice is in a foreign language.
In some situations, MIT has special relationships with overseas firms that may provide in-country assistance. For more information in this area, visit the “Buying and Paying” section of the VPF Global Operations website.
Managing an international program often involves making payments to international vendors or foreign nationals, sometimes by different modes than those commonly used in the U.S.
Staff from VPF Global Operations and Accounts Payable can work with you to understand and comply with local regulations on vendor payments, advise on foreign currency control and local banking regulations when wiring money, and devise a plan for accessing cash in a foreign country.
Payment to international vendors
The MIT Travel Card is preferred for all purchases while traveling abroad, including airfare and train tickets, hotel, conference registration fees, meals, and other business expenses. Check with your program administrator or cardholder agreement prior to departure for limits on amounts and types of transactions.
- If you are traveling in a country or region where infrastructure will make the use of a corporate credit card difficult, please contact the VPF Travel and Card Services Office at least two weeks prior to departure to make alternate payment arrangements.
For MIT programs that need to procure materials and services from an international vendor that are unrelated to foreign travel, the MIT Procurement Card (ProCard) is the preferred method of payment for small dollar amounts. ProCard functions as a personal credit card for MIT purchases wherever Visa is accepted by an international vendor.
MIT frequently pays foreign vendors by wire transfer as well. VPF Accounts Payable processes international wire payments in multiple currencies. For the process of payments to vendors by international wire transfer, visit the “Buying and Paying” section of the VPF Global Operations website.
Payment to foreign nationals