NUFinancials Expense Report Foreign Travel FAQ

This document contain frequently asked questions and answers to completing expense reports with foreign travel-related expenses.


What is the change for expense reports? 

  • Expense reports with at least one “foreign” type expense will not be complete without this additional information: Each foreign (non-U.S.) city covered in the expense report; start and end dates of travel for Northwestern business purposes in each listed foreign city; and aggregate dollar amount of expenses allocated to each listed foreign city. 

What is not changing for expense reports? 

  • This change does not affect any expense report that does not contain at least one “foreign” type expense. 
  • The approvals process for expense reports will not change. 
  • The payment process for expense reimbursements will not change. 
  • Users will continue to enter business expenses following Northwestern’s Policy on Travel, Entertainment, and Courtesy Expenditures. 

Why are we adding this change to expense reports? 

  • Increasingly, Northwestern is asked to complete certifications about Northwestern’s tax residency status in foreign (non-U.S.) countries in order for Northwestern departments to receive payments from foreign (non-U.S.) companies. These certifications cover all Northwestern University activities in a country. 
  • Each country sets its own definitions of residency; one common residency factor is the number of days of Northwestern’s official business presence in that country, including, but not limited to, travel by employees and students for education, conferences, and research. 
  • Reviewing travel and expense reports for the entire University is currently the most complete approach available to determine the number of days of Northwestern business presence in a country. 
  • If Northwestern is determined or assumed (due to lack of response) to be a resident of another country, then a percentage of revenue due to Northwestern will be withheld by the foreign company and remitted to that country’s taxing authority; this reported tax withholding may create additional tax or legal obligations for Northwestern in a foreign country. 
  • This expense report change will provide Northwestern University with a new searchable query for dates of travel in non-U.S. countries. 

Whom does this change affect? 

  • This change affects anyone submitting an expense report with a “Foreign” expense type (foreign airfare; foreign per diem; foreign travel, etc.). 

What additional information do I need to have before starting my expense report with foreign expenses? 

  • Foreign city/cities of travel, 
  • Dates of travel to each foreign city on Northwestern business (not personal travel), and 
  • Total dollar amount of expenses allocable to each foreign city. 

What policies govern foreign travel tracking in expense reports? 

  • Submitters of expense reports with foreign expense types will be prompted in a dialog box to complete the three new fields: foreign city/cities, dates of travel, and total expenses per foreign city. 
  • The intention of this change is to help reduce the turnaround time for departments to receive answers about Northwestern’s residency status in a foreign country so that timely revenue can be provided to Northwestern. 


For additional assistance please contact the IT Support Center at 847-491-4357 (1-HELP) or email

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Article ID: 1843
Thu 5/12/22 12:39 PM
Wed 1/11/23 9:13 AM