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Travel Basics

Please note: Always be  sure you are using the latest Travel Workbook from the Travel Forms page when completing the Travel Reimbursement form.

The University of Virginia is a public institution governed by the Commonwealth of Virginia. As such, all expense records, regardless of fund source, are open to the public under the Federal and State Freedom of Information Act.

All claims for reimbursement and payments made using the Purchasing Card (Pcard) for travel expenses must be in accordance with State law, IRS regulations, and the University's general Financial and Administrative Payment or Reimbursement of Travel Expenses policy.

Export Control Note:  International travel and related exports, whether permanent or temporary, of University equipment, software or proprietary information are subject to University policy (FIN-043) and US laws on export control in addition to University travel policies and procurement rules.  See http://www.virginia.edu/sponsoredprograms/exportcontrols/travel.html for more information or contact the Office of Export Controls (export-controls@virginia.edu or x2-5725) for assistance.

All trips must support the mission of the University of Virginia, receive the appropriate approvals, and be carefully planned to ensure that expenditures are necessary, prudent, and as economical as possible.

Procurement & Supplier Diversity Services(PSDS) policies and procedures regarding travel apply to anyone traveling for properly approved University business purposes, with the two exceptions noted below. It is not necessary that the traveler be an employee of the University.

Medical Center Note: Travel on behalf of the Medical Center is not addressed on this page. Those traveling on Medical Center funds should contact Medical Center Invoice Processing at 924-5495.

Sponsored Program Funds Note: The rules and guidelines on this page apply to travel on sponsored program funds, except where specifically noted. In the unusual case where travel is purchased solely from sponsored program funds and the individual grant or contract specifies other rules for travel purchases, the grant rules prevail. Please read your grant's "Sponsor's Notice of Grant Award" for exceptions to these rules. If your grant includes federal funds, it will also be subject to federal regulations on travel purchases, including the "Fly America Act". Visit the Office of Sponsored Programs website often to be sure that you are aware of all such issues relating to travel on these funds.

The travel policy is intended to:

  • Ensure compliance with state and federal regulations.
  • Establish guidelines for approval, control and accounting for employees and others who travel on University business.
  • Ensure fairness for both the traveler and the University.

Fund Source

  • State Funds: These funds include tuition and fee revenues, F&A recoveries, funding from state tax dollars, sales and services activities, and auxiliaries. State limits apply to payments and reimbursements from these sources.
  • Local Funds: These funds are primarily composed of gifts and endowments. Some exceptions to State and Sponsored Program limits can be processed using these funds.
  • Sponsored Programs: These programs are funded by revenue derived from grants and contracts. Most of the state limits apply to payments and reimbursements made from these sources. Exceptions are noted in the text of this policy or may be included in the terms of the grant or contract in question.

Responsibility of the Traveler

  • A traveler on University business has the responsibility to act prudently and to only incur travel expenses, which are necessary, reasonable, appropriate, and in compliance with University policy. All travel should be authorized by someone who has knowledge of the traveler's plans and the authority to question it prior to any cost being incurred. Unless documented by policy, no Self Authorization or self-approval of travel should occur. The traveler is responsible for prompt submission of travel-related expenses, accounting for any advances received, and for maintaining any University issued corporate Travel Card accounts in good standing.
  • Travelers MUST ensure their reimbursement does not include any cost paid directly for them using the Pcard or another method. 
  • Travelers have 30 days from the completion of travel to submit all appropriate reimbursement forms to PSDS for review. These include required approvals and original supporting documentation (i.e., ticket stubs, boarding passes (if not available, supply itinerary), receipts, etc.).
  • An explanation as to why paperwork was not submitted in a timely manner will be required if reimbursement requests are received after 30 days.
  • Written approval from the appropriate Dean or Vice President is required in cases where the reimbursement request submission exceeds 60 days. If a traveler submits three or more reimbursements more than 30 days old, the Dean or Vice President will be notified and the reimbursement may be denied.
  • Travelers must comply with University policy (FIN-043) and US laws on export control.  See http://www.virginia.edu/sponsoredprograms/exportcontrols/index.html for more information or contact the Office of Export Controls (export-controls@virginia.edu or x2-5725) for assistance.

Responsibility of the Traveler's Supervisor

  • Should have authorization over the account being charged,
  • Cannot be the individual seeking reimbursement, unless documented in the Self Authorization policy,
  • Should be the traveler’s direct supervisor as defined in the Human Resource System,
  • Should approve travel reimbursement requests and certify all travel expenditures are appropriate and within published allowable limits,
  • Should approve limits over the allowable amount as noted in policy when justified and circumstances warrant,
  • In general, should not be asked to approve the travel expenses for an individual to whom they report, and
  • Should not approve the travel of a near relative (e.g., spouse or equivalent, child, parent, etc.).

Responsibility of the Traveler's Supervisor's Supervisor

  • Approve actual meal reimbursement requests exceeding the established limits,
  • Approve lodging rates exceeding the 100% overage when justified and circumstances warrant, and
  • Approve conference rates over the established limits.

Responsibility of the Alternate Approver

The traveler’s Supervisor and Supervisor’s  Supervisor  can designate and alternate approver .  The alternate approver:

  • Must follow the same requirements stated above for the traveler’s supervisor and the supervisor’s supervisor,
  • Should have the appropriate knowledge and authority to do so, and
  • Should have the authority to question the transaction.
  • This authorization should be in writing and kept in department files.

Responsibility of the Deans and Vice Presidents

Note:  Only Alternate Approvers as listed in Policy FIN-016 can approve the following:

  • Providing prior approval for a traveler to use a private or chartered air service;
  • Approving in advance any expenses incurred by the traveler’s spouse (local funds only);
  • Approval of a traveler’s reimbursement request that was submitted more than 60 days after the completion of travel; and
  • Determining whether to reimburse a traveler for expenses when the traveler has submitted a reimbursement request after 30 days upon completion of travel more than three times.