International Projects

A PDF version of this page is also available.

ISAW supports research in various areas with a focus in the ancient world. Many of our faculty, staff, students, and scholars are engaged in various research projects requiring the operation of excavations and fieldwork internationally. Please use the information found in this section to navigate through the procedures of operating an excavation or international fieldwork project, what to know during the planning stages, and where/how/when you can find support within NYU & ISAW.


The following is the general procedure for conducting ISAW operated excavations and international fieldwork.

Note that these guidelines cover general procedure and required documentation. Due to the unique nature of many fieldwork projects, additional documentation or procedures may be required depending on circumstance.

All excavations and international fieldwork projects are subject to NYU's Business Expense Policy and NYU's Expense Reimbursement Policy as well as ISAW's internal Financial Policies and Guidelines.


The following is the timeline for planning & coordination ISAW operated excavations and international fieldwork.

Phase 1: Planning
Meet with  10-12 weeks before departure. Items reviewed are generally as follows:

Phase 2: Implementation
Meet with  4-6 weeks before departure. Items reviewed are generally as follows:

Phase 3: Pre-Departure
Meet with  2-3 weeks before departure. Items reviewed are generally as follows:

Phase 4: Return
Meet with  2-3 weeks after return. Items reviewed are generally as follows:

Please see the ISAW Fieldwork/Excavation Checklist for guidance through the 4 phases of planning & coordinating ISAW operated excavations and international fieldwork.

Planning Excavations and International Fieldwork

Office of Global Support
Planning for international fieldwork or excavations can bring up unique issues associated with operating outside of the US. Any questions or concerns regarding the project can be directed to NYU’s Office of Global Support.

Global Support assists the NYU Community organize and undertake activities outside of New York by providing a centralized location for administrative resources and a single point of contact for addressing related questions. Many of the issues covered interact and are dependent on each other so Project Directors are encouraged to explore the entire site to understand the full range of potential issues. Topics covered are:

NYU’s Office of Global Support can be contacted by email or phone at: 212-992-5650. Communication can be facilitated through the .

To know when to contact the Office of Global Support, see below FAQ, “When Should I Contact Global Support?”.

Export Controls
The U.S. Export Control Laws regulate the shipment, transfer or transmission of U.S. items and technology out of the United States and the transfer of technical data to non-U.S. foreign nationals within the United States. For persons who travel internationally or who are involved in international academic or research collaborations if you have questions regarding whether any of your planned activities are subject to export control laws, you may contact the Office of Compliance and Risk Management for assistance.  

Before traveling with equipment, chemical or biological material overseas or if you wish to ship such items internationally, please contact the Office of Compliance and Risk Management for assistance to determine whether licenses are necessary and to assist you ensuring that you have all necessary documentation for your shipment. Please note, if an export or import license is required, the government processes may take four (4) months or longer.

NYU’s Chief Global Compliance Officer is available to assist with questions or concerns. The  can coordinate a meeting, if desired.

Security Assessment
If you are proposing a new project that is not already an established ISAW activity, you have not previously met with NYU Public Safety regarding your project, or you have an existing project that you’d like reviewed for risks and/or safety concerns, the Project Directors should work directly with the  to schedule a meeting with the NYU Public Safety Director of Global Security Operations Center and the Senior Director of Insurance & Enterprise Risk Management .The role of public safety is to serve the university and keep NYU community members safe. The public safety team can do extensive security assessments or address quick ad hoc questions as needed from the faculty. A full assessment of the situation could include potential hotels on location, as well as the overall situation at the any site, and provide recommendations on alternative forms of communications.

Timeline for a security assessment:

  • For established sites (wanting more of an overview/situational awareness): contact 1-2 weeks before travel.
  • For un-established/high-risk sites: contact as early as possible.

For both, more detail is better, but at the least provide:

  • Cities where people are staying
  • What type of transportation they may take in country

Public Safety offers pre-departure briefings as desired by the traveler(s) of the projects as well.

Public Safety Security Roster
Before the departure of the Project Director and his/her team, the Project Director must complete an NYU Public Safety Security Roster of all team members participating on their project.

Required roster information includes:
Program information:

  • Program Dates
  • Program Location(s) (coordinates included, if available)
  • Faculty Leader
  • Local on-call/Emergency contact and number
  • Program Accommodation Information (Including hotel accommodation during travel)

Participant Information:

  • Name - Last
  • Name - First
  • NYU ID (if applicable)
  • NetID (if applicable)
  • Affiliation / Institution
  • Role
  • Email
  • DOB
  • Passport Number
  • Country of Citizenship
  • Arrival Information
  • Departure Information
  • Emergency Contact
  • Traveler local phone number (if applicable)
  • Local Travel Details (if applicable)

The  can work with the Project Director to reach out to participants and gather all necessary data to complete the roster. Once completed, the  will submit the roster to ISAW’s folder on NYU Box and input the program data and the list of NYU participants (Net ID required) into the NYU Traveler’s academic program administration.

Grant Funded Excavations and International Projects
If your excavation or international fieldwork is funded by a grant, or sponsored program, please see NYU's Domestic and Foreign Travel Policy for Sponsored Programs for rules and regulations regarding travel.

If your international research is a sponsored activity NYU’s Advisors on Foreign Activities and Research (AFAR) has a process for reviewing, assessing, and conducting implementation planning for extramurally funded research and other sponsored projects involving international research or other sponsored activities. This process is automatically initiated when the project’s proposal is submitted to Cayuse SP and reviewed by the Office of Sponsored Programs. For more information on grant funded projects, see Sponsored Research & Grants.


Arranging Travel for Project Director
Travel for the Project Director can be arranged in several different methods:

  • If there is group travel being arranged, the  can purchase the Project Director’s flight on a CTA travel card and charge the expense directly from the funds used for the fieldwork.
  • Project Directors can purchase their flight on their corporate American Express card and include in either an advance request for the funds, or a reimbursement request within 30 days of the trip’s conclusion.
  • Project Directors can purchase their flight using their own funds and include in either an advance request for the funds, or a reimbursement request within 30 days of the trip’s conclusion.

In all scenarios make sure to save all documentation of receipt/cost of ticket, travel itinerary, and boarding passes for either reimbursement or as Proof of Travel.

Arranging Travel for Other Participants or Collaborators
Travel for other participants or outside collaborators covered by the project budget may be purchased directly using a CTA travel card.

To request travel booking for participants, complete the Excavation Travel Booking Request Form and return to the .

An independent contractor who is being compensated for their services must make their own travel arrangements and invoice the university for their travel costs. Their anticipated travel costs are included in their consultant agreement.

NYU Traveler Registration
Per ISAW policy, it is required that NYU travelers register their individual travel for international fieldwork and excavations through NYU Traveler. One can do so from the NYU Traveler website. Only Travelers with a Net ID are able to register in NYU Traveler.

Obtaining Travel Releases
All team members, regardless of affiliation, traveling abroad on ISAW organized fieldwork are required to sign ISAW’s Fieldwork Travel Release.

International Health Insurance
All individuals participating in an international project or excavation must have health insurance coverage in case of an emergency.

Employees (includes Faculty):
All NYU employees traveling abroad on an ISAW-sponsored Excavation or Fieldwork project are required to activate their Short Term Global Health Insurance (For NYU Employees Only). Visit to register and download a membership card. This will allow you to validate your coverage globally.

NYU Group Access Code: QHG99999NYU2
There is no additional cost for this coverage.

Guide to Benefits Coverage for NYU Employees Traveling Outside the U.S.

There is a GeoBlue student health care plan for travel abroad. The plan has an additional cost associated with it and is unrelated to the health insurance ISAW provides students.

Contact the Student Health Center for enrollment and additional information or see NYU GeoBlue.

More information on what coverage students are required to have when participating on ISAW excavation and international projects will be forthcoming. Contact the  with any questions.

Recommended Travel Guidelines From the Office of Global Services (OGS)
The NYU Office of Global Services makes several recommendations for international travelers, stated below. We advise all travelers to observe these recommendations.

  • Travel with a valid passport, with at least 6 months validity beyond the expected return date and two blank visa pages.
  • Travel with a hard color copy of your passport/visa (carry-on luggage only)
  • Have copies of your passport/visa available electronically (use encryption and secure cloud-based storage - NYU Box available to faculty)
  • Consider leaving copies of your passport/visa with an individual you would think to contact in an emergency
  • Check for any health related needs or immunization requirements to enter destination country on the websites for the CDC and WHO.
  • Learn more about where you are going. These tools are found in NYU Home. Users must be logged into NYU and use their net ID and password for access:
  • Register your international travel with the appropriate consulate/embassy abroad:

Business Expenses

Business expenses for Excavations and international fieldwork must adhere to all of NYU’s policies, including the Business Expense Policy and Expense Reimbursement Policy.

Business expenses are defined as charges for goods and services that foster or support the missions of the University. Business expenses claimed must be ordinary and necessary. An expense is ordinary if it is common and accepted in your trade, business, or profession. An expense is necessary if it is appropriate and helpful to your business. An expense doesn't have to be required to be considered necessary.

Expenses that are typically considered non-permissible or do not have a clear business purpose will be rejected for payment and reimbursement unless they are justified in a memo as necessary in carrying out a University task or function. The memo should provide a clear explanation of why such an expense should be deemed a business expense, and should be submitted as a cover page on either the budget and/or the expense reconciliation.

A standard memo template can be found here.

Please consult the  regarding what qualifies as a business expense or with any other questions.

Allowable Expenses
Expenses that support the missions of the University are deemed valid and therefore permissible. The following section details those expenses that are generally deemed permissible in the context of excavations and international fieldwork.

  • Expenses related to business travel
  • Goods and Services
    • Excavation supplies and equipment
    • Gifts to non-employees*
    • Supplies / house operational costs provided to excavation team including groceries
    • Work clothes and apparel **
    • Lab analysis services
  • Professional and Other Services
    • Local excavation workers – non consultants
    • Independent contractors and consultants

*Gift expenses are allowable when it is a necessary expense to perform the project, such as a gift for collaborators in countries where it is customary to give such a gift to maintain business relationships. All requests to expend funds on gifts must be noted and explained in a memo cover letter on all budget or reconciliation documents.

**Work clothes and apparel are permitted if the clothes aren't suitable for everyday wear or if they are protective clothing. Project Directors can consider the cost of protective clothing required in the work a business expense, such as safety shoes or boots, safety glasses, hard hats, and work gloves.

Unallowable Expenses
Unallowable expenses are defined as any expense that does not support the missions of the University and does not reflect proper stewardship. These expenses are considered non-permissible regardless of the source of funds.

The following section details those expenses that are generally deemed non-permissible in the context of excavations and international fieldwork.

  • Meals and Incidental Expense (M&IE) Per Diem Allowances
  • Personal expenses*
  • Over the counter medicines such as ibuprofen or Tylenol
  • Expenses that will be reimbursed from another source
  • Any fraudulent expense
  • Expenses that should be charged directly to the University (e.g., independent contractor fees, stipends, cash gifts, etc.)
  • Any expense prohibited by law (e.g., University funds cannot be used for payments or donations to political organizations or candidates)

* Personal expenses refer to expenses that are not related to any activity of the University, are not required in carrying out an individual’s task or responsibility at work, or do not benefit the University, Examples include but are not limited to child care, gym and recreational fees, in-room movies, and traffic violation penalties. For a more extensive list of examples of personal expenses, please see the NYU Business Expense Policy.

Supplies/Equipment Purchases
Supplies and/or equipment can be purchased in several methods:

  • The  can purchase any supplies needed from approved NYU suppliers through i-Buy NYU, and expenses will be charged directly to the chartfield provided.
  • The  can purchase any supplies that are not available from NYU preferred vendors using a P-Card, and expenses will be charged directly to the chartfield provided.
  • Supplies/equipment purchases made by the Project Director directly before entering the field must be submitted for reimbursement within 30 days of purchase and supplies purchased in the field must be included in the fieldwork reconciliation within 30 days of last day of travel.

Equipment exceeding $3,000 is considered Capital Equipment and the property of NYU. All capital equipment purchased must be tagged and registered with NYU Asset Management.

Professional Services
Any worker or independent contractor who is not U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien worker and is  being paid for a service performed outside of the U.S. needs to complete the NYU form “Statement for Services Performed Outside the United States” when invoicing the University.

Individuals who are local workers on the excavation are permitted to be paid wages in cash. These workers will need to sign a statement verifying they have been paid in full to serve as the receipt of the expense for reimbursement purposes. The Fieldwork Payment Form can be used for this purpose, or, if desired, the form “Statement for Services Performed Outside the United States – Paid in Full” which has been edited to include a “paid in full signature line,” so workers do not have to complete both forms. 

Independent contractors are not considered local workers and must complete an Excavation Consultant Agreement, signed by the Project Director, and their payment is processed like any other contractor, see Paying Independent Contractors and Businesses.

Requesting a Cash Advance
Fill out the ISAW Excavation Advance Request form, making sure to indicate the chartfield to be charged and exact travel dates, and submit to .
Please note the following:

  • If the project/excavation will have expenses as part of the advance reconciliation incurred outside of your travel dates, you need to make this clear to the  at the time of requesting an advance. In this scenario, the dates of the advance need to include all dates when expenses will occur, not just the dates of travel.
  • Request must include documentation of flight as Proof of Travel.
  • Any flights or prepaid hotel reservations purchased on a corporate American Express may be advanced directly to AMEX to cover bill.
  • Advance must be submitted to AP Workflow system a minimum of 10 business days before first day of travel to be processed before departure. Request must be provided to complete and within a reasonable amount of time to meet this deadline.
  • Only one advance can be submitted per trip. If an advance has already been submitted and approved through AP workflow it cannot be amended and any further expenses must be made out of pocket and reimbursed after the trip has concluded.
  • Request must include a budget documenting full amount of cash requested, if
    one has not been already provided.

Common Missuses of a Cash Advance

  • Expenses that should not be paid using advanced funds (e.g., independent contractor fees, business invoices; these types of expenses should be charged directly to the University)
  • Reimbursements made to individuals paying for excavation business expenses. Individuals should be reimbursed directly by the University.

Expense Tracking
While in the field, all receipts must be collected and organized under a master log of expenses.

Use the Fieldwork Expense Spreadsheet to track all expenses of trip, those of the advanced funds and/or any additional expenses that need to be reimbursed, including any amounts in a foreign currency and exchange rates. All of ISAW/NYU’s guidelines for documenting business expenses apply in this situation, see general Advance and Reimbursement Policies and Guidelines.

If requested with enough time before departure,  can provide a travel binder to use to organize and track expenses/receipts.

If operating in an area where it is a challenge to receive receipts in return for cash purchases, Project Directors may use the Fieldwork Payment Form to create a receipt for payments made.

Submitting Documentation
Please see the Excavation Return Checklist for a general list of materials to submit upon your return from the field.

Submit completed Fieldwork Expense Spreadsheet and all receipts numbered and taped to a standard 8”x11” piece of scrap paper, single sided. The receipts must be listed and organized chronologically in order of date of purchase. The number of the receipt should correspond to the receipt number on the Fieldwork Expense Spreadsheet. An electronic copy of the expense spreadsheet and a scan of all documents and receipts must also be emailed to the  along with all hard copy, original documents. All expenses must be submitted within 30 days of last day of travel.

All advance requests must be submitted for reconciliation within 30 days of last day of travel, even if no additional funds were spent.

Forms for Excavations and International Fieldwork

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Excavations and International Projects

Do I need to use NYU Traveler to book my flight for my excavation/international fieldwork?
Who is Global Support and How Can They Help?
When Should I Contact Global Support?

Do I need to use NYU Traveler to book my flight for my excavation/international fieldwork?
NYU Traveler was created to provide the NYU community with tools and services for their travel needs and to help keep them safer. By booking through Egencia, an NYU preferred agency, your travel plans will be automatically registered with the NYU Traveler trip registration tool, which NYU has created to provide you with up-to-the-minute information of potential threats to your safety during your travels, and to enable NYU to get in touch with you to render aid in the event of an emergency.

Per ISAW policy, although it is not required to book with NYU's preferred agency, it is required that travelers register their travel for international fieldwork and excavations through NYU Traveler. One can do so from the NYU Traveler website.

Who is Global Support and How Can They Help?
Global Support assists the NYU Community organize and undertake activities outside of New York by providing a centralized location for administrative resources and a single point of contact for addressing related questions.

NYU Global Support will help you identify important issues relating to your activity, obtain information about these issues, engage the appropriate University administrative departments and functional experts, and address these issues to insure your activity can be carried out in line with your expectations and academic mission.

The University maintains functional experts in a range of administrative areas to provide you with technical advice and guidance. Because there are often changes to local country rules and regulations, these University experts, have relationships with third party local country experts, who they at times seek for advice and guidance. Allowing the University functional experts to remain current on the best local country experts ensures you and the University get the best advice at the best price.

When Should I Contact Global Support?
Conducting a University activity outside of New York, whether it is research, short trips (J-term or spring break), exchange programs or study-away programs, may present obstacles as a result of U.S. or local business practices and/or legal requirements. Countries and local jurisdictions each have their own set of rules and regulations, and it can be challenging, if not impossible, to be knowledgeable and current on the rules and regulations of the many countries and jurisdictions where the University operates.

NYU’s Office of Global Support can be contacted by email or phone at 212-992-5650.