Guidelines – Foreign Expenses

The tracking of foreign expense activity has become critical to Stanford University, as the global reach of the University's activities continues to grow. Data about expenses related to foreign travel, foreign purchases, and activities outside the United States are important for a variety of reasons:

The Expense Requests system has been designed to collect the much-needed data around foreign travel and expenses.

Definition of Foreign Transaction

Use this table and description below to determine if expenses or non-PO payment requests are a foreign transaction category, or domestic transaction category.

  Foreign Expense Domestic Expense Category
icon - an airplane in cardinal red color  Travel Origin or destination (any leg) outside the U.S. Origin and destination inside the U.S. Expense Requests System > Expense Report
icon - a box opened  Goods (Paid for out of pocket) Used outside the U.S. Used inside the U.S. Expense Requests System > Expense Report
icon - a man on the left, lifting the cogwheel (symbol of tools)  Services Provided or consumed outside the U.S. Provided or consumed inside U.S. Expense Requests System > Non-PO Payment

– or –

iProcurement > Purchase Requsition/PO

Domestic Expense:

Foreign Expense:

  1. First, determine if the expense is during foreign travel – that is, the origination location or the destination location, during any leg of a trip, is outside the U.S.
    • If yes, the travel expenses and any other expenses (e.g., honoraria, conference registration, goods and services purchased, regardless of where they are used, provided or consumed) incurred or paid as a result of the trip are considered Foreign Transactions.
    • If no (not foreign travel-related), then go on to step 2.
  2. Second, determine if goods are used, or services provided or consumed outside the U.S.
    • If yes, it is a Foreign Transaction.
    • If no, it is a Domestic Transaction.

Exceptions to the Rule:

Expense Reports Foreign Expense Categories

Category Description
Expenses (Foreign) Used for expense reports that meet these criteria:
  • Travel expenses for which either or both the origination or destination location (during any leg of a trip) is outside the U.S.
  • Goods used outside the U.S.
  • Services provided or consumed outside the U.S.
Expenses (Foreign)
Non-SU Payee
Used to reimburse visitors for travel expenses in which either or both the origination or destination location (during any leg of a trip) is outside the U.S.

Advance (Foreign) Used to request advance for foreign travel. Travel is foreign when either or both the origination or destination location (any leg) is outside the U.S.

Foreign Events

All foreign transactions must be associated with a foreign event in the Expense Requests system. It is recommended that a Foreign Event be set up in My Events Preferences prior to entering a transaction related to that event. See How To: Set My Events Preferences.

A Foreign Event consists of an Event Name (created by the user), and Start and End Dates that define the duration of the event. A Foreign Event also consists of one or more activities. You must identify the country, types of activities in the country, and number of faculty, employees, graduate students, and undergrad students involved with each activity. There may be multiple countries in an event, and multiple activities in a country.

Once a foreign event is set up, you can apply it to multiple transactions related to that event (if needed).


Q:  If a visitor travels from outside the U.S. to Stanford, and is given honoraria for speaking at an event, should the honorarium be requested as a foreign or domestic expense?

A:  Foreign expense, because the honorarium was for an activity related to foreign travel (the travel originated outside the U.S.), even though the speaking event was in the U.S.

Q:  Is it possible to have a Foreign Event with an activity in the U.S.?

A:  Yes. The U.S. should be entered as the Country of Activity when the activity occurs in the U.S., and travel from outside the U.S. was required.


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