Combining administrative data on German workers with commercial data on German firms, we find evidence for a distance effect on the multinational wage premium: Foreign multinationals pay lower wages than German multinationals if the ultimate owner is located in close proximity to Germany, whereas the opposite is true if the ultimate owner is located further away. In addition to this so far unexplored effect, our results confirm previous evidence that on average foreign multinationals and domestic multinationals pay wages of similar size, with both types of firms paying a premium relative to other local firms. To provide a rationale for this pattern, we develop a theoretical model in which wages are firm-specific and firms can serve the foreign market via exporting or via FDI. In case of FDI, they face uncertainty about the wages to be paid abroad, and due to this uncertainty, firms that pay high wages at home are more likely to seek foreign investment. In the model, the observed distance effect on the multinational wage premium occurs since the alternative of exporting is less attractive for distant locations, and firms are therefore more willing to accept higher wages for foreign production in locations that are further away from their headquarters.