Administration Policies


UMB Policy on International Activity

Administration   |   Approved April 13, 2023

Responsible VP/AVP

Dawn M. Rhodes, DBA, MBA

Applies to Faculty, Staff, Students


UMB is deeply committed to and engaged in global education, research, and service. UMB Operational Units and UMB Personnel undertake a wide variety of International Activities, which are activities that use UMB resources and/or are conducted by UMB Personnel outside the U.S. or may trigger statutory requirements in a foreign country. Many of these activities are implemented with or through individual collaborators, partner or collaborating institutions and communities, and Non-U.S. Subrecipients. In anticipation of continuing growth in both the volume and variety of International Activities, this policy provides high-level guidance for international operations of all sizes and scopes.
The specific purpose of this policy is to state, from an operational perspective, what is offered to and required of UMB Operational Units and UMB Personnel who intend to engage in International Activities. It seeks to:

  • Ensure careful and consistent consideration of International Activities in their formation stage;
  • Provide clarity on UMB authorizations required prior to initiation of an International Activity;
  • Facilitate, encourage, and effectively support international engagement and associated operations;
  • Ensure robust risk management and personal safety and security; and
  • Provide clarity about how UMB policies and procedures are applicable to International Activities.

Policy Statement

A. Consultation and Authorization: Consultation with and authorization from appropriate UMB offices is required prior to engagement in an International Activity, and when an existing activity substantially changes.

B. Applicability of UMB Institutional Policies: Unless provided otherwise, all UMB institutional policies apply to International Activities. This includes applicable UMB institutional reviews and approvals that are required to be obtained prior to engaging in research or other academic or clinical work. Where deviations to UMB policies are needed, those exceptions must be sought and approved from the appropriate UMB officer as defined by the applicable policy.

C. Legal Compliance: Legal requirements vary from country to country and can be complex. International Operations provides guidance and support on aspects of legal compliance relevant to proposed International Activities but does not provide legal advice to UMB or its personnel.

  1. Compliance with University policies or procedure cannot be considered to be a complete list of compliance obligations that attach to an International Activities because there may be unique legal considerations that additionally apply based on the country where an activity to be performed.
  2. Under most circumstances and as determined by International Operations or UMB University Counsel or the Office of the Attorney General, local legal counsel must be engaged to review significant legal instruments such as leases, employment agreements, and consulting contracts; facilitate obtaining work visas; and provide other legal guidance as needed. In many cases, such activities will be under the purview of the Maryland Global Initiatives Corporation (MGIC), relying upon advice from counsel it has engaged. In other cases, the Office of the Attorney General may engage counsel to provide advice to UMB itself concerning international legal questions.
  3. The UMB Operational Unit or UMB Personnel leading an International Activity must immediately notify International Operations, the Office of University Counsel, and the Office of the Provost of any potential or actual litigation or legal claims against UMB arising from the International Activity. Litigation or legal claims against MGIC or its affiliates asserted in other countries should be reported to International Operations.

D. Using the MGIC Mechanism: Consistent with MGIC’s mission and purpose, International Operations administers MGIC and its affiliates on behalf of UMB, and activates the use of MGIC when appropriate for UMB Operational Units to safely and effectively implement International Activities on behalf of UMB. Requests for operational support for an International Activity that will take place in a country where UMB is operating through MGIC shall be submitted to International Operations, which will facilitate decision making on whether and how MGIC will support that Activity.

E. Establishing, Operating Through, and Closing International Affiliates: The MGIC Board is solely authorized to open and close MGIC country offices, which are international branches or affiliates as defined in the MGIC Corporate Governance Policy.

  1. Each branch or affiliate operates at the discretion of UMB and MGIC, subject to availability of sufficient funding support from Sponsored Projects or other resources available to the UMB Operational Units relying upon the branch or affiliate for program support and execution.
  2. If more than one UMB Operational Unit is using an international branch or affiliate, the UMB Chief Business and Finance Officer shall designate one UMB Operational Unit to have primary responsibility for that entity.
  3. Any decision to close out an International Activity requires thoughtful planning and extensive consultation with the relevant UMB Operational Units. MGIC and UMB require the formulation of an exit strategy and preparation of a close-out plan, generally three to six months prior to the contemplated date of closure.

F. Legal Registration in a Foreign Country: UMB will not register as a business entity, an international non-governmental organization, or any other type of entity in a foreign country. Where consistent with the University System of Maryland Board of Regents’ Approval of MGIC, MGIC and its affiliates, upon UMB’s request, may register in a foreign country (see Provision E). Any proposal to initiate or terminate an MGIC legal presence (registration) in a country requires approval by both the MGIC Board of Directors and the UMB President. As appropriate, MGIC will go through the registration process in a foreign country when registration is necessary to comply with local labor, tax, or other laws and regulations and UMB has determined that no alternative satisfactory means to meet UMB’s needs in the foreign country is available.

G. Monitoring and Compliance: Where International Activities involve sponsored programs or research, the Office of Research and Development (ORD), Office of Sponsored Projects Accounting and Compliance (SPAC), Office of Accountability and Compliance (OAC), and International Operations shall carry out their distinct and complementary functions associated with monitoring and compliance as relates to UMB’s engagement in International Activities. The Center for Global Engagement shall maintain a centralized database of all International Activities and provide the Provost with quarterly reports summarized from that data. Audits by the Office of Legislative Audits, auditors of sponsoring agencies, and auditors engaged by UMB should be expected, and international offices should be prepared for audit upon reasonable notice.

H. Supporting Establishment of Unaffiliated Organizations in a Foreign Country: Restrictions apply where a UMB Operating Unit or UMB Personnel propose to support in-country capacity building through the establishment of a new, Unaffiliated Organization. For purposes of this policy, an Unaffiliated Organization is a separate, independent legal entity, not affiliated with UMB or MGIC, and with whom UMB may have a solely contractual relationship. UMB may agree to support the establishment of an Unaffiliated Organization in rare cases where it is clearly demonstrated to be critical for achieving UMB research and program goals or fulfilling Sponsor expectations or requirements and where it can be demonstrated that the arrangement is consistent with UMB’s business interests. Only the MGIC Board and UMB President may approve the use of UMB funds, brand, trademark or other assets to support the establishment of Unaffiliated Organizations.


  • International Activity – A UMB-sponsored activity that uses UMB resources and/or is conducted by UMB Personnel outside the U.S. International Activity is not intended to include personal travel or academic travel (e.g., attending an academic conference abroad) which are subject to other policies and approvals.
  • International Operations – A UMB department/function responsible for (1) the facilitation of, support to, and capacity building of UMB Operational Units in implementing International Activities, and (2) promoting compliance and setting and monitoring achievement of standards for international operations.
  • Non-U.S. Subrecipient - A legal entity that is registered outside the United States and to which UMB makes a subaward to carry out part of a project, and which is accountable to UMB for the use of the funds provided (also referred to as a non-U.S. subawardee).
  • Sponsored Project - An externally funded activity that is separately budgeted and accounted for according to the terms of the Sponsor. Sponsored Projects include but are not limited to grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements for research, training, and other public service activities.
  • UMB Funds - All funds administered by UMB, regardless of fund source. UMB funds include State appropriated general funds, tuition, fees, and other income, as well as auxiliary funds, revolving/discretionary funds, Designated Research Initiative Funds, gifts, contract or grant revenues, and other restricted funds.
  • UMB Operational Unit – An administrative unit, school, department, division, institute, or center of the university.
  • UMB Personnel - All UMB employees, full‐time and part‐time, including faculty, staff, post-doctoral fellows, volunteers, visiting employees, student employees, students, and others working under the direction and support of UMB.
  • Unaffiliated Organization – A separate, independent legal entity unaffiliated with UMB or MGIC, and with whom UMB may have a solely contractual relationship.

Scope and Exceptions

Applicability and Exceptions

This policy refers to UMB’s relationships and transactions with persons, entities, and governments outside the United States and to UMB Personnel who travel outside the US for UMB business. It applies to all existing and new International Activities.

This policy is designed to complement, but not supersede, applicable State of Maryland and federal laws and regulations and other UMB and USM policies.


Violations and Penalties

Failure by UMB Personnel to comply with University Policies in the conduct of International Activities may result in remedial or disciplinary action, up to and including termination or dismissal.

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