Independent Contractor Payments

Foreign National Independent Contractors Performing Services in the US

Payments to foreign national independent contractors working in the US are infrequent since these service providers typically work for companies. A contract is usually executed with, and payment is made to, the company rather than the individual. US tax and other laws and international treaties can complicate payments to foreign nationals. Additional guidance is available on the Paying Foreign Nationals website.

Foreign National Independent Contractors for Services Performed Outside of the US

When abroad, University representatives may encounter various levels of contracting sophistication depending on the contractor, the type of services/goods, and the location where the services/goods are being provided. The following information covers approved methods of contracting and paying for services while University representatives are conducting activities outside of the US.

Detailed information related to the procurement of services abroad, including a contracting and payment options chart, is available on the International Services Agreements website. If you have questions about procuring international services, please contact the Purchasing Services Procurement Specialist assigned to your Responsibility Center.

Additional information related to engaging in research activity abroad is available at the following websites: Considerations for Conducting International Research, Budget Planning for On-Site International Research, and Research Agreements. If you have questions about international research, please contact the Office of Sponsored Programs.

Payments to foreign national independent contractors for work performed outside of the US are generally not subject to US tax reporting and withholding. However, they may be subject to local labor and tax laws, particularly if payments are recurring and/or last more than 90 days. Contact Global Operations Support to discuss and plan your global activities.

US Independent Contractors Working Outside of the US

When a US national or US permanent resident is working outside of the US, they are still paid and required taxes are withheld by US customers (i.e. the University) as if they were working in the US. The Standard International Services Agreement can generally be used, however, you should contact the Global Operations Support Manager to determine if there are any special insurance or other requirements. Payment Processing does not require any different information from a US individual to receive payment for services performed outside of the US.

Visitor & Honorarium Payments

Foreign National Visitors in the US

Please consult the following resources before extending an invitation to your visitor:

  • Please see the University’s policy for visitors to determine if a contract is required, and whether the University permits honorariums or expense reimbursements for your visitor.The Guide to Paying Foreign National Visitors and Independent Contractors for Activities Performed In the United Stateshas been created to help determine whether the University is permitted by law to pay your foreign national visitor. US law may preclude any type of payment due to a visitor’s country of origin, type of VISA, or other factors. If the University is permitted by law to pay the visitor, you will also find easy-to-understand US tax withholding options and processing instructions in the above guide.

If payments are permitted by University policy and by US law, payment requests should be completed in the Concur expense management system, and comply with University Policy FN 28, Travel and Business Expenses and Honoraria. The Concur system allows for the honorarium and expense portions to be paid in a single “one-stop” request.

Foreign Nationals for Academic Activities Performed Outside of the US

Please see the University’s policy for visitors to determine if a contract is required, and whether the University permits honorariums or expense reimbursements for your visitor.

Honorariums paid to foreign nationals for academic activities performed outside of the US are not subject to any US tax reporting or withholding.  However, since there may be local tax reporting and withholding requirements, please contact Global Operations Support, prior to offering honoraria payments to these individuals. The University’s Global Operations Support will consult with the appropriate tax and legal experts for guidance.

Research Participants

The University, with the approval of the University’s Human Research Protection Office (HRPO and formerly known as the IRB), often compensates study participants for their involvement in research projects. Of course, all research involving human participants must be approved by the HRPO, but research participant compensation methods may also need to be planned early and specifically approved by the HRPO. If the University’s standard research participant payment method, V, cannot be used to compensate research participants due to the nature of the research or because research is being conducted outside the United States, then HRPO exemption or waiver will be required. Visit the Purchase, Pay & Travel website for more information about planning for research participant compensation—inside or outside the US—and what to do when Vincent Payment Solutions™ cannot be used. Relevant information about research-related budget preparation is also available on the Budget Planning for On-Site International Research page.

Payment Related Items

University OneCard

The University OneCard is designed to be used for expenses related to travel. It works in conjunction with Concur and Anthony Travel to provide convenient and hassle-free travel and expense management and can be used for most travel-related expenses. . Visit the Purchase, Pay & Travel website for more information about the OneCard, including a full list of all expense-able categories, when exemption requests must be acquired, and foreign transactions. Resources and Questions

For more information about the Travel & Expense Management program or for information about how to apply for a OneCard, please visit the Purchase, Pay & Travel  website. Resources include a full user guide, quick start guides, and training videos on the training tab of the website. For further help or other questions, contact Purchase, Pay & Travel Customer Service.

Cash Management Tips

  • When traveling outside the US, the University OneCard should be used to pay for expenses where accepted, and use an alternative or personal credit card to pay for expenses where the University OneCard is not accepted. Use of a credit card reduces the amount of cash that you must carry and generally provides the best exchange rate. The preferred payment method for all travel expenses is the University OneCard.
  • To reduce the amount of cash you must carry, you should pay for airfare, conference registrations, hotel and car rental with the OneCard or through the Concur booking and expense management tools. Review University Policy FN 26 , OneCard for more information. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the University’s COVID-19 Standards & Guidelines: Travel Management, require that all flights to be reimbursed by the University must be booked via Anthony Travel or directly in Concur and the University OneCard must be used for all domestic and international travel expenses paid by the University, wherever the card is accepted.
  • To reduce the amount of personal funds used on extended University business trips, you should use your OneCard when possible. You may obtain a travel advance for the number of anticipated travel days times the per diem for your destination if your destination will not likely take credit cards for transactions. Please note there will be foreign transaction fees associated with your transactions abroad.
  • For extended trips, you may seek reimbursement remotely through the Concur expense management tools. The funds will be direct deposited to your personal bank account.
  • If you need a cash option (i.e. access to cash during your trip), you have two options:
    • Request your OneCard be opened for ATM withdrawals by completing a OneCard Change Request form.
    • Consider requesting a travel advance to transfer departmental funds into your personal bank account so that you can withdraw cash as needed during your trip. Allow three to four days to process the transfer; withdrawal fees apply – .


For more information on independent contractor payments or to answer any questions, please contact the following: