Leasing, Purchasing, and Insuring Facilities Abroad

Introduction Legal
Cash Management Reporting and Compliance
Finance (Including Payroll) Research Compliance (Federal)
Human Resources Risk Management (Safety and Security)


Institutions administering a program abroad will typically lease rather than purchase necessary program office space depending on the program's staff requirements, duration, goals, budget, and other factors. This section deals primarily with leasing facilities, though much of the information (e.g., working with legal counsel to review contracts) will be applicable to those purchasing office space outside the United States. 

When leasing or purchasing a facility abroad, home- and host-country legal counsel should be consulted in all cases well in advance of signing any contract. Your institution generally must obtain legal status by registering with the proper legal authorities in order to operate legally in a host country-including but not limited to leasing a facility and hiring staff.  (See discussion of Permanent Establishment risk in Legal Entities and General Legal Support).

A program director or designee will typically research available facilities in the host country after beginning the registration process. The program director or designee should note, however, that only individuals authorized by institutional policies should sign a lease agreement, purchase and sale agreement, or similar document.

Research performed by the program director or designee will typically include requesting landlord references from other similar institutions in the area and using any relevant information provided online by U.S. government agencies (such as the State Department) or other reputable sources. Note that in some cases translations of lease agreements and similar documents will have to be obtained for home- and host-country records and for the benefit of authorized signers and other reviewers.

This section also covers other topics related to leasing or purchasing facilities such as obtaining insurance and protecting data. As with other pages on this Web site, this section is intended to give administrators a broad understanding of the topic. It is not intended to be comprehensive or a substitute for qualified legal advice. Data-security laws, for example, can be extremely complex, and they vary by country. Obtaining qualified home- and host-country legal advice in that area, as in so many others, is essential to running a compliant program abroad.