Money and Finances Abroad
In most cases, the easiest, least expensive and most convenient way for you to access funds while abroad is to use an ATM card. You will want to make sure that it has been approved for international use and has an international pin number. Money can be deposited from the US into the account and you can take it out in the local currency abroad. Be aware that withdrawing small denominations of currency and frequent uses of ATMs can result in high banking and currency exchange fees. Check with your bank for details about foreign ATM fees. You may also want to consult with your bank regarding access to your account via the internet to check balances, etc.
Some US banks have international or global alliances with international banks around the world. These alliances will allow you to withdraw money from numerous ATMs with little to no extra fees. Be sure to take note of all banks included, because many times they will have branches around the world. Check with your bank or other global banks for further information. You can also open a local account which can be cheaper in terms of high banking fees. Your Resident Director/Program Coordinator can provide you with more information upon arrival at the program site.
ATM/debit cards are the best bet for withdrawing money while abroad. Be sure that your card has an international pin number. Ask your bank about possible withdrawal fees and inform them that you will be using your card while abroad. Usually there are also currency conversion fees charges for each withdrawal. For emergencies, money can be wired from the US Western Union offices located worldwide.
We strongly discourage the use of traveler’s checks. Unlike in the U.S., traveler’s checks are not always used as cash. They may require you to exchange traveler’s checks to local currency at a bank. Also, you must have the receipt with you as some banks may require the original receipt in order to exchange the traveler’s checks.
Taxes While Abroad
If you have earnings that require you to file federal and/or state income tax returns and you will be out of the country between January 1 and April 15 when taxes are due, you can file your taxes from abroad. You may need to arrange to have tax forms sent to you or have taxes paid for you while you are out of the country. It is also possible to ask for an extension. Be sure to know what your tax responsibilities are and how to comply while you are away. An official tax guide for U.S. citizens and resident aliens abroad can be found on the IRS website.
Credit Cards Abroad
Visa and MasterCard are well accepted at most places abroad. However, be prepared to have another form of payment in the event you cannot use your credit card. Also, be aware that you may be charged a fee or percentage for the currency exchange rate.