Legal and Regulatory Compliance

This brief overview of U.S. laws and regulations that typically apply to our international projects and activities is intended to help identify possible issues that should be referred to Columbia's Office of the General Counsel (OGC) for analysis and assistance. Our international programs and activities are also subject to the laws and regulations of each host country – these must be reviewed on a country-by-country basis with guidance from the OGC.

Columbia University’s international activities must comply with applicable laws and regulations of both the United States and the host country. Many of these laws apply not only to the University, but also to any entity established by Columbia overseas and also to individual faculty, employees, and students.

The OGC should be consulted during the initial planning stage of an overseas project and as issues or questions arise. Only the OGC is authorized to engage counsel in the United States and other countries to provide guidance on the impact of local laws on the University’s international activities. 

Since laws can differ significantly from country-to-country, it is important that guidance be provided on an individualized basis. Under certain circumstances, the laws of a host country may allow or even require actions that would violate U.S. or New York laws, such as honoring boycotts not sanctioned by the U.S. Where the laws of a host country conflict with the policies of the University or with the laws of the United States or New York, the OGC will work with you and others in the University to develop an appropriate way forward.   

These pages provide brief overviews of certain key U.S. laws and regulations that are relevant to international activities.

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