Foreign Wire Transfers

What is a wire transfer?

A wire transfer is a payment made to a foreign vendor by electronically transferring payment from UCLA's bank account directly to the vendor's bank account. A wire transfer cannot be processed to a sanctioned country and in some instances an Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) license is required to process the payment.


When do I request a wire transfer?

Wire transfers should be used for foreign vendors only. An Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) should be requested for domestic vendors.


What is the cost?

Outgoing foreign wire transfers are costly to the University and are therefore processed only upon request. The internal costs associated with wire transfers are absorbed entirely by the University and are not passed on to the requesting department.

Note: A minimum threshold of $200 is required to process a wire transfer.


What is the timeframe for a wire transfer to be processed?

Wire transfers are processed daily by 10 a.m. upon approval by the relevant Accounts Payable (AP) or Travel authorizers.

Due to the need for various levels of review and approval, a wire transfer may not be processed on the same business day the paperwork is received.

What is the Process? 

1. Collect required paperwork
  • Complete a Foreign Wire Transfer Request Form.
    • In the "Purpose of Wire" section, reference the invoice number or account number (or unique identifier) as requested by the vendor for their reconciliation purposes. 
    • The form should be signed at the department level by the appropriate person or persons authorized to approve these types of transactions. For example: the principal investigator, chief administrative officer, chief financial officer, manager, etc.
  • Provide an original invoice and any appropriate backup information relevant to the payment (such as itemized entertainment requirements).
  • If the vendor bank account information is not preprinted on the invoice, request it from the vendor and forward the documentation to AP. For auditing purposes, it must show that the information is coming directly from the vendor.
2. Create a purchase order (P.O.)
  • Create a purchase order in BruinBuy. Be sure the P.O. has enough funds to cover the expense, taking into consideration the fluctuating conversion rates.
  • Add to the P.O. description that a wire transfer should be made.
  • Reference the P.O. on the Foreign Wire Transfer Request Form and on all backup documentation.
3. Submit the request

Forward all relevant original documents to the attention of Foreign Wire Transfers Representative at the address provided below.


  • Travel-related foreign wire transfers must be routed to Travel Services (T class of order), not AP. 
    Example: Prepayment of registration fees directly to conference organizers.
  • Purchase Order (P.O.) should be made out to the vendor, not the bank.
  • Wire transfers are processed for the full amount requested on the P.O. However, the recipient's bank may assess processing fees which results in less money deposited in their account. 
4. View the statusOnce processed for payment, the status of a wire transfer can be viewed on the BruinBuy inquiry screen (see Related Information). Please keep in mind that international transfers do not settle immediately. Settlement takes approximately five (5) business days due to the varying time zones and banking standards abroad.


International Bank Account Number (IBAN) Information
The IBAN is an international standard for identifying bank accounts across national borders. The IBAN was developed to facilitate payments within the European Union. For European Union countries, please provide the IBAN in lieu of the bank account. Information regarding the IBAN structure can be located at:

Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT)
The SWIFT is a standard format of Bank Identifier Codes. It is the unique identification code of a particular bank. Only SWIFTs connected to the SWIFT network can be used to execute wire transfers. They can be validated at: 

Currency Conversions
Foreign currency conversions can be calculated on the Bank of America website: