Travel Policies

Travel Reimbursement

The Business Office offers guidance on reimbursement of travel-related expenses.  Please feel free to contact our office with any questions about these policies or procedures.  All reimbursement requests should be submitted within 10 days of incurring the expense or the scheduled travel.  This will allow enough time for the Business Office to review and meet central campus deadlines.  Original, itemized receipts reflecting form of payment are required for all expenses.  If the receipt does not indicate the amount paid and method of payment (cash, check or credit card), a second document, such as a copy of the redacted credit card statement (account number blacked out) or a copy of the canceled check is required.  Please refer to the appropriate policy below for more detailed information, or you can contact our office.    

Submitting a Reimbursement Request

  1. Complete a Reimbursement Request Form.
  2. Send the form and all supporting documents (receipts) to your fund manager.  
  3. Fund manager will verify funding and send to the reimbursement coordinator for processing.
  4. Reimbursement coordinator will process within 5 days of receipt.
  5. Reimbursement will be delivered via direct deposit for employees within 30 days of processing.

Policies & Procedures

Receipts
Receipts should be taped (not stapled) to an 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper.  If the receipt does not indicate the amount paid and the method of payment (cash, check or credit card), a second document, such as a copy of the redacted credit card statement (account number blacked out) or copy of the canceled check is required. 

Payment of Expenses on Behalf of Others
University travelers normally shall not be reimbursed for expenses paid on behalf of other persons.  Exceptions to this rule must be approved in advance of the trip.  See Section V.E.4. of Policy G-28, Payment of Group Subsistence Expenses, for more information.  

Cancellation of Reservations
Travelers who are unable to honor a reservation shall be responsible for canceling the reservation in compliance with the cancellation terms established by the hotel, airline, etc.  The traveler must return any refundable deposits to the University.  Charges or lost refunds resulting from failure to cancel reservations shall not be reimbursed unless the traveler can show that such failure was the result of circumstances beyond the traveler's control.     

Travel of Less than 24 Hours
When the entire length of a trip is less than 24 hours, "Meals & Incidental Expenses" shall not be reimbursed unless the travel includes an "overnight stay" as supported by a lodging receipt.  If the traveler is unable to provide a receipt, he or she must include a statement with the Reimbursement Request explaining why a receipt is not available (e.g., the traveler lodged with a friend or relative, stayed overnight at the airport, or took alternative transportation that required the traveler to be away overnight).  An exception to the overnight-stay requirement may be allowed when a traveler incurs a meal expense in connection with a business meeting (e.g., a working lunch scheduled as an integral part of a meeting or conference).  The business purpose of the meal must be explained on the Reimbursement Request Form or substantiated by other documentation.  

Registration Fees
Registration receipt is required that includes form of payment, name of registrant, conference name or description, amount, and date.  Training, development, membership, abstract submission, poster printing, etc. are not considered travel expenses and should be included in the "Non-Travel Expenses" section of the reimbursement form. 

Lodging
Itemized receipts are required that include room rate, room taxes, and any meal and incidental expenses (M&IE).  Reimbursement is based on the amount actually incurred.  Please note that lodging is not generally reimbursable if the lodging site is within a 40-mile radius of the traveler's residence or office. 

Airfare
The original ticket, e-ticket, or website receipt/confirmation is required for all airfare reimbursement.  This should include the travel itinerary and proof of payment.  University travelers should use coach or economy fare when available.  The traveler is required to provide written justification if business or first-class fare is needed.  When a traveler prefers to use a higher class than the one authorized for reimbursement, the traveler must pay the incremental costs of the airfare.  Please include PTA # if airfare is prepaid by the University.  

Allowable Mileage Expense
Mileage shall ordinarily be computed between the traveler's headquarters and the common carrier or destination.  Expenses for travel between the traveler's residence and headquarters (commuting expense) shall not be allowed.  However, mileage expenses may be allowed between the traveler's residence and the common carrier or destination if University business travel originates or terminates before or after the traveler's working hours, or if travel originates or terminates during a regularly scheduled day off.        

Surface Transportation Used in Lieu of Air Travel
If advance approval has been obtained, a traveler may use surface transportation for personal reasons even though air travel is the appropriate mode of transportation.  The cost of meals and lodging, parking, mileage, tolls, taxis, and ferries incurred while in transit by surface transportation may be reimbursed.  However, such costs shall not exceed the cost of airfare, based on the lower of the regular coach fare available for the location of travel from a standard commercial air carrier or the campus travel program fare, plus transportation costs to and from the terminals. 

Air Travel
Travelers should use "coach" class or equivalent fare when available.  However, use of business or first-class may be authorized under the circumstances listed below.  Documentation of such circumstances must be listed on the Travel Reimbursement Request Form.  (A) Business or first-class is the only service offered between two points; (B) coach class would be more expensive or time consuming; (C) an itinerary involves overnight travel without an opportunity for normal rest before the start of working hours; or (D) business or first-class is necessary to reasonably accommodate a disability or medical need of a traveler.  When a traveler prefers to use a higher class than the one authorized for reimbursement, the traveler must pay the incremental cost of the airfare. 

Ground Transportation
Itemized receipts are required for all ground transportation (personal auto, rental car, bus, train, taxi, etc.).  For personal auto, travelers should include the beginning and end "street" address with total miles traveled.  A minimum of 300 miles a day must be driven by the most direct route in order for the traveler to claim M&IE and lodging reimbursement.  When two or more persons on University business share a private vehicle, only the driver may claim reimbursement for mileage.  The current standard mileage reimbursement rate will be used, and takes into account all actual automobile expenses such as fuel and lubrication, towing charges, repairs, replacements, tires, depreciation, insurance, etc.  These expenses are not allowed to be reimbursed when a private vehicle is used.  For auto rental, travelers are expected to use the University's preferred rental car vendors and request the UCLA contract rate (Car Rental Contract Rates).  Do not accept additional collision, accidental death or medical insurance when renting a car; this coverage is included free of charge in the UCLA contract rate and will not be reimbursed if purchased from the car rental company.

Meals & Incidental Expenses (M&IE)
Receipts are required for all expenses.  Reimbursement is based on the actual amount incurred, up to a daily maximum of $74.  This daily cap is not to be treated as a per diem, and there is no exception to the cap.  M&IE expenses will not be reimbursed unless the entire length of the trip is at least 24 hours or the travel includes an overnight stay verified by a lodging receipt.  Foreign meals will be reimbursed at per diem rates. 

Foreign Travel
Foreign travel will be reimbursed in accordance with the Federal Maximum Travel Per Diem Allowances for Foreign Areas published by the Department of the State.  Official travel begins when the traveler leaves his/her residence or headquarters, whichever occurs last, and ends when the traveler returns to his or her residence or headquarters, whichever occurs first.  Also, the reimbursement of subsistence expenses shall be calculated in multiples of the applicable federal per diem rate based on the total number of hours between the time of arrival at the foreign location and the time of departure for the return trip to the traveler's headquarters or residence.  For partial days, hours should be rounded to the nearest quarter hour as follows: 3 hours up to 9 hours equals 1/4 day; 9 hours up to 15 hours equal 1/2 day; 15 hours up to 21 hours equals 3/4 day; and 21 hours up to 24 hours equals 1 day.