Legal Entities and General Legal Support

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


This section addresses how a university might assess whether it needs to register to obtain legal status in a non-U.S. country where it operates or plans to operate. It also lists some registration options. Readers should keep in mind that this is a particularly complex area that has important ramifications for any institution with activities abroad (or considering the same). This section is not intended to be comprehensive, but it is illustrative, and it identifies factors to consider when assessing whether there is the need for "legal status" in connection with foreign activity and how to go about securing legal status if needed.

In order to make sound decisions about "legal status", there are significant legal, financial, operational, and reputational risks,  that your university should properly and thoroughly assess before operating in another country. This can be challenging, particularly in decentralized environments. But offices such as legal counsel, the provost's office, and other subject-matter experts must have the opportunity to make decisions about institutional risk, promote a widespread understanding of related best practices, and highlight when and where to seek assistance.

This section also addresses some areas your institution may want to consider if it chooses to hire host-country legal counsel. Host-country legal counsel can help your institution make informed decisions when assessing the need to obtain legal status, deciding which type of legal status to pursue, and actually obtaining and maintaining legal status. As other sections on this Web site make clear, host-country legal counsel can also be instrumental in giving advice in many areas besides legal-status registration, such as drafting local employment contracts and reviewing facilities agreements.