3301 PR.02 Obtaining Cash for Yale Activities Abroad

Revision Date: 
December 10, 2014


1.  Overview

2.  Considerations Re: Transporting or Obtaining Cash Outside the U.S.

3.  Evaluating Cash Needs in Advance of International Travel

4.  Options for Obtaining Cash for Yale Activities Abroad

1. Overview

Yale faculty and staff are engaged in various activities around the world including research activities, collaborative educational and research programs, conferences, and participation in student excursions.  Yale faculty and staff frequently travel outside the U.S. in support of Yale’s activities and programs, generally, and in connection with specific academic and research projects. While many expenses incurred by Yale travelers can be paid in advance through regular Yale channels or charged to a credit card, it is likely that all travelers will require some amount of cash while traveling. 

2. Considerations Re: Transporting or Obtaining Cash Outside the U.S.

Cash Restrictions

The methods by which Yale travelers obtain cash for University activities conducted abroad may raise legal and other compliance issues for both the individuals themselves and for Yale. 

An individual who carries more than $10,000 in cash or cash equivalents (including traveler’s checks and prepaid cards) outside of the U.S. must declare such amounts to U.S. Customs; failure to comply may result in confiscation of the funds. 

Many countries also impose restrictions on the amount of cash an individual may carry in or out of the country.  It is important that Yale travelers understand the specific cash restrictions, which in some cases may be lower than $10,000, prior to traveling to another country.  Please visit the appropriate country page of the State Department International Travel website for general guidelines for U.S. persons regarding cash restrictions for a particular country[1].

A non U.S. traveler should consult with his/her country’s embassy or state department for cash restrictions related to traveling to another country.  Contact the Office of the General Counsel or the Tax Department with any specifc questions.

Individuals should, of course, be very concerned with personal safety and safeguarding assets while traveling abroad and are strongly advised not to carry excessive amounts of cash while traveling or engaging in University activities in another country.

Foreign Bank Accounts

Yale is not registered to conduct business in other countries and as a general matter cannot open a bank account in countries where it has not registered. In the rare instance the University is permitted to open a bank account without registration in a country, University Policy 2805 provides the requirements, including authorization, with respect to opening a University bank account.

The ability to maintain a bank account in a particular country is likely to be limited to entities that are organized in that country or have otherwise registered to do business there. 

In any country where Yale does not maintain a bank account, the opening of a bank account by a Yale employee or affiliate to conduct Yale activities creates legal, tax and other compliance issues for both Yale and the individual and should be avoided.

If your personal situation requires that you have a financial interest or have signature authority over a financial account outside of the U.S., you may be subject to additional tax and other compliance reporting requirements. You should consult your personal tax advisor regarding these additional requirements.

3. Evaluating Cash Needs in Advance of International Travel

It is critical that Yale travelers review their cash needs well in advance of any international travel and plan accordingly. In evaluating cash needs travelers should understand the recommended University options for obtaining cash for Yale activities abroad as well as the relevant University policies and procedures.   

Advance planning will avoid unnecessary delays in processing payment requests.   For example,  

  • In the case of a new vendor, a Create Supplier Request in Workday must be completed prior to the transfer of funds and should be initiated well in advance of request.
  • Payments, other than payments for goods, to individuals who are not U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents (i.e., green card holders), require the completion by the individual of an IRS Form W-8BEN, as well as documentation of the location of the activity.  Payments to non U.S. companies will require the completion by the company of an IRS Form W-8BEN-E.  These requirements also apply to faculty or staff who make cash payments to vendors.
  • Prior to a faculty or staff making a cash or out-of-pocket payment (e.g., with a personal credit card which will be reimbursed later) to a vendor, the payer must ensure that the vendor has been screened against U.S. prohibited parties lists prior to the transaction. If the vendor is included on one of the U.S. government prohibited parties’ lists, payment cannot be made.  Please consult the International Toolkit: Prohibited Parties or eCommerceCheck@yale.edu for additional information and guidance regarding compliance and due diligence.

4. Options for Obtaining Cash for Yale Activities Abroad

Set forth below are a number of approved options for obtaining cash or cash equivalents in support of Yale-related travel and Yale activities conducted outside the U.S.   If, after reviewing the options below, you have concerns regarding the options for obtaining cash for Yale activities conducted abroad, please contact the Office of the Controller.

1. Wire Transfer:
  • Yale can wire funds to most countries[2]
  • Funds may be wired directly from Yale to the bank accounts of vendors in the local country in U.S. dollars or local currency for transportation, accommodations, conference fees, translation fees, services, labor, guides, tours, equipment, etc.
  • Please refer to University Procedure 3401 PR.06 Requesting a Wire Transfer for additional information regarding wire transfers.

By wiring funds directly to vendors, the Yale traveler will minimize the need for cash as well as the need to obtain additional documentation while traveling outside of the country.

2. Yale PCard: 
  • Faculty or staff may use a Yale PCard when traveling subject to the approval of their Department. 
  • Prior to travel, a faculty or staff member should determine whether the Yale PCard is generally accepted at the destination of travel and understand his or her specific PCard limits.
  • The traveler should review the Pcard limits per month, per transaction and per category of expense (i.e., travel, supplies).
  •  Cardholders should contact the EMS PCard Office to request current PCard limits and, if necessary, an increase in limits.

In extremely limited instances, with the approval of the Controller, the Yale PCard may be opened to permit cash withdrawals. The approval for cash withdrawal will only be granted if the traveler can demonstrate a business need for cash withdrawals via the Yale PCard.

If the Yale traveler does not have a Yale PCard, an application for the card, including a request for specific card limits should be submitted at least 1 month in advance of travel.  Please refer to University Procedure 3215 PR.01 Yale Purchasing Card Procedure for guidance related to the use of the PCard or contact purchasing.card@yale.edu.

3. University Advance:
  • Faculty or staff may request an advance by check, prepaid Visa card, cash (subject to University policy limit) or direct deposit in the employee’s U.S. bank account by submitting a Create Spend Authorization request in Workday. 
  • Advances are generally issued only to cover out-of-pocket expenses that cannot be directly paid by the University (see options1 and 2, above).
  • With respect to funds that are deposited into the individual’s bank account in the U.S., cash can be accessed via ATM machines (subject to ATM availability and daily cash limitations). 
  • Travelers should identify ATM bank locations in the region in advance as ATMs may not be widely available and take appropriate steps when using ATMs to assure their personal safety. 
  • Most providers’ websites list ATM locations by city on a worldwide basis.  For example, MasterCard Global ATM Locator provides the location of ATM locations worldwide.  Note: In rare instances, a department may be able to send cash to the traveler via Western Union or other similar service providers. This is not a preferred method as use of such a service is administratively burdensome.

Please contact the Treasurer’s Office (agnes.siniscalchi@yale.edu) or Prepaid Card FAQs for information regarding prepaid Visa cards.

Advanced funds must be appropriately safeguarded and managed, and expenses must be properly recorded and reported pursuant to University policies. Please refer to University Policy 3301 Travel on University Business and Policy 3305 Expense Advances for additional information regarding advances.   

4. Out-of-Pocket Reimbursement: 

Although the above methods are preferred, if faculty or staff use personal funds and seek reimbursement from Yale, please refer to University Policy 3401 General Payment for guidance related to University business expense reimbursements.

5. Non-U.S. Institution Collaboration: 
  • If Yale has a collaboration agreement with a non-U.S. institution in support of work in the relevant country, it may be possible to structure the work under the agreement so that payments to vendors in the country are made by the local institution. 
  • Yale could wire funds to that institution in satisfaction of Yale’s obligations under the agreement. 
  • For guidance regarding such agreements contact the Office of the General Counsel (contact information below).

Important Note:  Any option listed above that involves Yale providing cash or cash equivalents to an employee in support of Yale activities abroad will require the employee to account for the funds through completion of an EMS expense report pursuant to University policy.

[1] Please note that the State Department International Travel site provides information on currency restrictions for travel to and from a country by a U.S. person.   In addition to these restrictions, in some cases, a traveler may be required to declare to the customs office a cash amount over a specific threshold amount.  Finally, it should be noted that many countries further limit the amount of cash that a traveler can carry out of a country to the amount he or she declared upon entry to the country.   

[2] Certain restrictions apply to transfers to countries against which the United States maintains an economic or trade sanction. For additional information on these restrictions, please contact the Treasury Manager (agnes.siniscalchi@yale.edu ) or visit the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) site.