Legal Practice Areas


As Indiana University expands its international footprint and faculty and staff undertake overseas activities and engage foreign parties, University units need to be aware of U.S. and foreign laws that might impact such overseas activities and engagements.

First, University units need to be aware of certain U.S. laws that apply when operating outside the U.S. or engaging foreign parties. 

For example, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (commonly referred to as the “FCPA”) is an extremely broad U.S. anti-bribery law that makes it unlawful for U.S. persons to make a payment to a foreign official for the purpose of improperly influencing any act or decision by that official in order to obtain or retain business.  The following slides provide additional information about the FCPA. (FCPA presentation)

University units may also need to be aware of other U.S. laws and requirements, including:  (a) U.S. withholding tax obligations when making payments to foreign parties, and (b) export control laws that prohibit, without an appropriate license, the "export" of certain items, services, technology, and technical data.  Importantly, export control laws even prohibit the transfer of controlled technology or software to certain foreign nationals present in the U.S.  This is known as a "deemed” export. For more information about export control compliance, visit Indiana University's Export Control Office website

Second, University units need to be aware of foreign country laws that might apply to their overseas activities or cross-border engagements.

As an example, the University faces significant legal hurdles when trying to employ individuals overseas. Many countries prohibit foreign entities, such as Indiana University, from employing individuals in-country without either establishing a local subsidiary or registering to do business as a branch or representative office in that country. Employing someone overseas also presents other significant compliance challenges. By employing someone in a foreign country, the University typically has to comply with that country’s labor laws, employment laws, social welfare benefit laws, and tax laws, among other laws. Complying with these laws almost always requires establishing a separate payroll system to withhold taxes and/or social benefit scheme contributions.

University units also need to be aware of other foreign laws, such as data protection laws, laws regarding the use of independent contractors, and foreign tax laws, which might impose, among other requirements, withholding tax obligations.

The University has a number of policies that may be implicated by units planning to engage in international activities. Please consider the following policies and information:

Collaborative International Activities

A University unit interested in a partnership or collaborative international activity with an institution or organization must submit an application to the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs here. Standard templates for agreements with foreign partner institutions can be found here.

Professional Services Agreements for Work Conducted Abroad

A University unit interested in engaging an independent contractor to provide services overseas, should contact the Office of Procurement Services. Below is a template for creating a professional services agreement for services to be performed abroad: 

Grant Proposals or Projects Requiring People to Work Overseas

The first document below sets forth some issues that should be considered when engaging an individual, either as an employee or as an independent contractor, to perform work overseas.  The second document summarizes legal issues concerning hiring individuals in certain foreign countries.

Cases, Publications, and Other Useful Links