The Catholic University of America

Travel - Foreign and Domestic

The complete travel policy can be found at http://policies.cua.edu/finance/finance/Travel/travel.cfm. Only a summary is found here. The travel policy applies to all travelers (faculty, staff, students, and guests) regardless of the source of funds. If travel expenses are charged to a grant/contract, the terms of the grant or contract will take precedence if they are more restrictive than the university policy.

The definitions and procedures in this policy and related practice guides distinguish between transportation and travel:

  • Transportation: leaving campus for a period of less than 24 hours, generally within a 50-mile radius, and not requiring overnight lodging.
  • Travel: leaving campus or home for a period exceeding 24 hours, beyond the general area, and necessitating an overnight stay.
    • Domestic Travel: travel among any of the fifty United States, its possessions and territories. In the case of sponsored projects, domestic travel may be defined in the contractual documents.
    • Foreign Travel: travel outside of the United States, its possessions and territories. In the case of sponsored projects, foreign travel may be defined in the contractual documents.

Federal grants or contracts must comply with the Fly American Act and all applicable federal requirements. Any questions should be directed to the Office of Grants and Contracts.

Official Travel is travel on approved University business between home (or normal workplace) and another destination. Commuting between one's home and regular place of employment is not official travel. A supervisor is someone to whom the traveler reports in an official capacity. A supervisor does not include administrative assistants or employees that report to the traveler. A supervisor is not a member of the Grants and Contracts Office.

Procedures and Regulations

It is the traveler’s responsibility to submit their expense report on a timely basis. Travel expense reports with significant lapses between travel and submission may be subject to additional justification and verification. Under no circumstances will travel expenses for travel completed during a fiscal year be reimbursed after the close of that fiscal year. The Controller shall publish reasonable deadlines at the fiscal year end for reimbursement requests to be processed. The traveler must translate all foreign expenses into US dollars, using the exchange rate effective during the period traveled.

Travel Authorization

Travel on university business should be authorized in advance by the Vice President, Dean, Department Chairperson, Director or Principal Investigator responsible for the travel budget to be used. That person should be familiar with the purpose of the travel, and will be responsible for assuring that budgeted funds are available to meet any travel commitment. When travel is completed, all Travel expense reports must be signed and approved by a supervisor. The purpose of the travel must be specific. Official travel should utilize the mode of transportation that will be the most practical and economical, and should generally follow the most direct route.

Travelers must provide, within fifteen business days, a statement substantiating the amount, time, use, and business purpose of the expenses. Travelers must return any advanced amounts in excess of the substantiated expenses within fifteen business days of completion of the travel assignment.

Documentation Requirements

Each traveler should keep a log of daily travel expenses and receipts should be obtained and carefully retained for all expenditures for which they are normally available. Original dated receipts must be submitted with the Travel Expense Report for all claimed reimbursements of $25.00 or more, except for domestic meals where receipts are required for all meals in excess of $10.00. (See Section X.B on Meals.) Smaller expenditures do not need to be receipted but must be individually dated and included in detail.

A travel advance will only be issued for trips that cost more than $300. A traveler should obtain a travel advance only when necessary, and only when it is to be used for anticipated, reasonable, and allowable out-of–pocket expenditures to cover actual subsistence, mileage for private auto and other items. Major costs, such as airline tickets and conference fees, should be obtained through University Purchasing, thus minimizing the need for advances.

A few recommendations to speed up the process:

  • Make sure there s enough only in the travel budget of the grant you intend to use. If this is not the case, you must contact the Grants and Contracts office and ask them to transfer funds.
  • Make sure that the travel took place before the grant expiration date and that the expense report was submitted within 15 business days of the trip.
  • Make sure that the travel was authorized and that the expense report is signed by your supervisor.
  • Travel policies are located at http://policies.cua.edu/finance/finance/Travel/travel.cfm
  • All travel expenditures must be submitted on Travel Expense Form
  • Business purpose must be included
  • Original receipts must be attached
  • For grants - meal receipts must be itemized - no alcohol allowed
  • Per Diem for foreign meals

Travel Authorization form and Travel Expence report tempelate can be found on the forms page.