Foreign Suppliers

Orders may be placed with foreign suppliers by using your ProCard and through Ariba using Purchase Orders and Blanket Purchase Orders (required for Subawards). Additionally, payments can be issued through Non-PO Invoice.

Before You Buy:

  • Payment can be made by ProCard where appropriate (such as memberships and registrations within ProCard limits).
  • Know that payment in advance is prohibited by RCW 43.88.160.
  • To use foreign suppliers in Ariba the supplier must be registered. See Foreign Supplier Registration Section below.

Foreign Financial Sanctions

  • Prior to placing any order with a foreign vendor, you must first verify the company you are dealing with does not have sanctions placed on it by the U.S. Government (which makes it a federal offense to do business with them). Check the U.S. Treasury website for a list of sanctions programs and country information. 
  • Pay special attention to the following sections on the Treasure page:
    • OFAC Sanctions List
    • Search OFAC's Sanctions List
    • Sanctions Programs and Country Information

Foreign Supplier Registration

  • The foreign supplier/entity must be registered with the UW (i.e. have a supplier number). To register with the UW, submit a Request for New Foreign Supplier form to create the UW supplier number.
  • To use BPO, the department must request the supplier register in ARIBA by completing the ARIBA Supplier Network Registration Request form.
  • It is recommended that departments request a current, valid copy of the appropriate IRS form (W-8BEN-E, etc.) and include it with the request forms mentioned above. 
    • The supplier should visit the IRS website for current IRS forms and instructions. Visit the Tax Office’s Tax Forms for Foreign Payees webpage for additional information about these forms.

For more information on doing business with foreign individuals, please review the UW Global Operations Support page regarding Foreign National Payments and Tax.


Payment Types to Foreign Suppliers

Payments by Check in U.S. Funds

Unless otherwise negotiated in the contract, payment will be made by check in U.S. funds. 

Payments by Wire Transfer

Payment by wire transfer should be negotiated at the time the contract is established. Requests for payment by wire transfer are not honored unless prior arrangements were made at the time the contract or order was placed. 

For more information on wire payments, please review our Wire Payments page.

Customs Clearance for Purchases from Foreign Suppliers

The University of Washington has contracted with Expeditors for customs brokerage service. They can be used for customs clearance needs for purchases made with or without a UW purchase order. Detailed information is available on the Customs Clearance page.

Foreign Orders
  • Ask the shipper to include your name and phone number on the shipping label. 
  • Include information about our customs broker for the UW who may need to assist with the importation of any goods. Be aware that import charges may accrue for foreign purchases. However, many shippers such as UPS and FedEx, are also customs brokers and will usually clear their shipments through Customs. If a broker is required, the UW has a contract with Expeditors International of Washington for this and other import/export services. U.S. Customs and the Port of Seattle are aware of this and will generally notify Expeditors if something comes in for the UW and requires Customs Clearance.