Orders may be placed with foreign suppliers by using your ProCard or through ARIBA using Purchase Orders and Blanket Purchase Orders (required for Subawards) and may be paid using Non-PO Invoice within the Direct Buy Limit.

Plan Before You Buy:

  • Payment in advance is prohibited by RCW 43.88.160
  • Payment can be made to business entities by ProCard within ProCard limits (i.e. memberships, registrations or goods)
  • Foreign suppliers, like U.S. suppliers, must registered with UW - see Foreign Supplier Registration below.
  • Foreign suppliers are paid by check or wire, specified in ARIBA on the Requisition, Contract Request (CR) or Non-PO Invoice - Ask your supplier about the expected payment method prior to creating your ARIBA transaction
  • If ordering goods, find out if U.S. Customs clearance will be required

IMPORTANT: Foreign Financial Sanctions

  • When placing any order with a foreign supplier, regardless of payment method, you must verify the company does not have sanctions placed on it by the U.S. Government. Check the U.S. Treasury website for a list of sanctions programs and country information and pay special attention to the following sections:
    • OFAC Sanctions List
    • Search OFAC's Sanctions List
    • Sanctions Programs and Country Information - see the Complete List of Sanctions Programs and Country Information

Foreign Supplier Registration

Foreign suppliers must be registered with UW. Check if your supplier is registered using the Supplier Search report in the B.I. Portal (ASTRA authorization required).

  1. Department initiates a Foreign Supplier Registration Form by providing the supplier/subrecipient name and email address to request the supplier to register
  2. The campus-initiated request sends an email to the supplier which includes a single-use registration link to access and complete the Foreign Supplier Registration Form
  3. The email registration link is only accessible a single time, therefore suppliers should first review the links to the website guidance which are included in the registration email to understand what information will be needed, and also download, fill out and be ready to attach any required IRS forms.
    • Once the supplier clicks the registration link, the supplier will need to complete the registration process in full, including attaching electronic copies of completed IRS forms; the form cannot be saved and completed later
  4. The supplier will enter their information on the Foreign Supplier Registration Form, including business or individual name, address(es), entity type and any required IRS forms and submit the form to central office for processing
  5. When the Foreign Supplier Registration Form is submitted by the supplier, both the initiating department and central office will receive confirmation that the process has been completed
  6. Central office will issue a UW supplier number in 2-3 business days

Note: To create an ARIBA Blanket Purchase Order (BPO) to a foreign supplier, the department must also request the supplier register in ARIBA by completing the ARIBA Supplier Network Registration Request form once the UW Supplier number has been issued.

Common Entity & Business Types

  • Foreign Entity | Purchase of Goods: Currently no IRS tax form required for payment of goods to a foreign Corporation, Partnership, Disregarded Entity or Government. Ask your supplier if a U.S. Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), Foreign TIN or Global Intermediary Identification Number (GIIN) is applicable.
  • Foreign Entity | Purchase of Services | Performed outside the U.S.: Currently no IRS tax form required for payment of services to a foreign Corporation, Partnership, Disregarded Entity or Government. Ask your supplier if a U.S. Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), Foreign TIN or Global Intermediary Identification Number (GIIN) is applicable.
  • Foreign Entity | Purchase of Services | Performed within the U.S.: An IRS W-8 form is required (commonly W-8BEN-E, also W-8EXP, W-8ECI or W-8IMY)
  • Foreign Individual | Purchase of Services | Performed outside the U.S.: Currently no IRS tax form required. Ask your supplier if a U.S. Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), Foreign TIN or Global Intermediary Identification Number (GIIN) is applicable.
  • Foreign Individual | Purchase of Services | Performed within the U.S.
    • If the individual is claiming the Tax Treaty Benefit (i.e. exemption from 30% tax withholding), IRS Form 8233 required
    • If the individual is not claiming the Tax Treaty Benefit, IRS Form W-8BEN required
    • Note: At the time of payment, additional documents or forms may be required for foreign individuals
  • Tax Exempt Organization: Payments to an organization with a Chapter 3 status of "Tax Exempt Organization" will require the IRS Determination Letter or Opinion of Counsel.

Visit the Tax Office’s Tax Forms for Foreign Payees webpage for additional information about current IRS 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

Check in U.S. Funds - Unless otherwise specified, payment will be made by check in U.S. funds. 

Wire Transfer - Payment by wire transfer should be negotiated at the time the order or contract is established. Requests for payment by wire transfer are not honored unless prior arrangements were made at the time the order or contract 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 International of Washington 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 webpage.

  • Ask the shipper to include your name and phone number on the shipping label. 
  • Give information to your foreign supplier about our customs broker for the UW to assist with the importation of goods. Be aware that import charges may accrue for foreign purchases. Shippers such as UPS and FedEx are also customs brokers and will usually clear their shipments through U.S. Customs. If a broker is required for the shipper, UW has a contract with Expeditors International of Washington for 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.