Travel Regulations

General Policy Summary

For the full policy, please see (  It is the policy of the University that all official travel shall be properly authorized and in accordance with University travel regulations. Expenses of employees authorized to travel on University business shall be reimbursed in accordance with established travel regulations and allowances. University employees traveling on official business shall observe normally accepted standards of propriety in the type and manner of expenses incurred. Travel expenses for any travel not ultimately chargeable to the University shall not be charged to, or temporarily funded by, the University. This includes travel for professional societies and governmental advisory groups which will be funded by non-University agencies, and personal travel.

University business travelers are strongly encouraged to purchase travel services, when available, from Preferred Suppliers with whom the University has strategic and collaborative sourcing primary agreements (see links below). Preferred Suppliers deliver competitive value in the range of services required by University travelers. Such Suppliers include airlines, car rental agencies, hotels, travel agencies, and online booking providers. Although it might be possible to obtain a lower cost from nonparticipating suppliers, use of Preferred Suppliers should, on average and over time, reduce the University's overall travel costs and provide the best value to the traveler. For more information about Preferred Suppliers, including airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, and travel agencies, see the University’s online travel portal.

For trips to higher-risk areas, please visit travel-insurance prior to booking the trip and again before departure.

For Field Researchers, campus has created a pre-planning tool to assess the risks prior to taking a trip:  

A planning tool is available on the EH&S website: - although this may not address guidance or training relevant to every field setting, it does provide a list of items to consider.

State law AB 1887 restricts state-funded travel to states that have authorized discrimination or repealed protections based upon sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression (currently Alabama, IowaKansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas), or requiring that UC employees travel to these locations.  Please see

If you will be taking any materials with you to a foreign country (including a laptop or software), please be sure to work with ERI staff to address any  export control issues.  Please see

Reporting Period

The travel expense claim must be submitted to the disbursements/travel accounting office (or equivalent office on campus) within a reasonable amount of time not to exceed 45 days after the end of a trip unless there is recurrent local travel, in which case claims may be aggregated and submitted monthly. [If a Travel Card is used, campuses have the discretion to require a shorter time frame for submission of the travel expense claim.] When a trip lasts more than 90 days, the traveler must submit a quarterly report of expenditures to the disbursements/travel accounting office. Travel reimbursement requests submitted after 45 days are left to the discretion of the campus, considering the facts and circumstances, whether the reimbursement will be made and if any reporting as taxable income will be required.

**Note:  Travel Accounting prefers to have all expenses for each trip accounted for on one travel voucher.  If you are also being reimbursed from two (or more) projects from two (or more) different departments, please only submit one travel voucher for the entire trip.  On the worksheet be sure to include the department name, project code, and amount that should be charged to each project.  We will work with the other department(s) to get account information.


Travel Accounting asks that we submit cash advance request to Accounts Payable between 10 and 30 days before the beginning of the trip.  Please allow an additional week for ERI to process on our end (before sending the request to Accounting). This will ensure sufficient time to process paperwork and assure that checks will be prepared in time. A travel voucher must clear advances within 10 days after completion of the trip. Subsequent advances will be denied pending completion of a travel voucher for uncleared advances. After 120 days of completion of travel, advances will be reported to the IRS as personal income, which is subject to normal payroll taxes. Travel Accounting will send a memo notifying the traveler of the intent to tax. Should you receive this memo, please submit receipts immediately or contact ERI if the memo is in error as reversal of the adjustment to gross income, along with any related taxes, cannot be reversed per UC policy. Please keep in mind that a travel advance is not only money issued to you for estimated travel expenses, but also money issued in your name to pay airfare, registration fees, housing deposits, etc. Even when the money does not come to you directly, you are still required to submit receipts to clear the advance.

  Campus would prefer that we not utilize the advances, but utilize the Corporate Card instead.  Please see additional information below (application at Corporate Card).

Travel Insurance - registration for travel outside of California required prior to departure

The University provides travel accident insurance for employees traveling on official University business and students participating in off-campus activities sponsored and supervised by the University.  This coverage applies to employee’s spouses, domestic partners, and children  traveling with them.  The coverage is worldwide, 24 hours a day when traveling out-of-state or overseas. In addition to the typical coverages, this policy includes coverage for emergency medical evacuation, out-of-country medical expenses, loss of personal effects, and security extraction. The coverage is provided at no cost to University employees.  The University requires all employees and students traveling out-of-state or overseas on University business to register their travel plans prior to departure by completing a short form, "Business Traveler Insurance," found on Once the form is complete, the traveler will obtain a Confirmation of Coverage card.  The Card will facilitate the traveler's ability to obtain services and should be carried by the traveler until s/he returns from the trip. Upon registration, the traveler will also receive a list of telephone numbers for medical emergency care or travel assistance.

Maximum Daily Subsistence Allowance (previously called "Per Diem")

A traveler may claim up to $62 (effective 10/15/17) for every 24-hour period of domestic travel. The $62 rate is used for travel within the 48 contiguous states for travel lasting less than 30 days. The reimbursement of daily subsistence expenses is based on the actual amounts incurred for lodging and meals and incidental expenses, it is not to be treated as a per diem. The reimbursement is limited to the actual reasonable costs incurred, subject to the daily maximum reimbursement cap. Departments have been asked to collect meal receipts if it appears that travelers  are treating the cap as a per diem by routinely claiming the full M&IE amount. Expenses above the $62/day allowance will not be reimbursed, and partial days will be reimbursed for the amount claimed by the traveler up to the maximum allowance. Reimbursement for lodging expense is not allowed when the total trip is less than 21 hours, except in unusual circumstances. Travel that is less than 24 hours will not include per diem unless there is an overnight stay.

A.        Domestic travel (48 contiguous U.S. states)

1.        Meals/Incidentals: Although Travel Accounting does not require receipts, they may be required by the P.I. (please discuss with P.I. prior to departure). It is the responsibility of the traveler to report what meals were purchased while in travel status. If a traveler incurred less than the maximum, the lesser amount is to be claimed on the Travel Expense Voucher.  Receipts are required if meals are purchased for group members.

2.         Lodging: receipts required (Please see CONUS - rates above those in CONUS require proof of reasonableness and may require justification)

            **As of 10/15/17 there is a new lodging cap of $275.00/night (excluding taxes and fees).

Lodging costs are reimbursed per receipts. When a traveler lodges with friend(s) or relative(s) while on official UC business, the cost of a gift to the host/hostess may be reimbursed up to $75 in lieu of lodging. Only one gift per stay may be provided to a host, and the gift may not be alcohol. A receipt is required.

One reasonably brief, non-emergency personal telephone call to home per day may be reimbursed to travelers.

Some California cities grant exemption from California Transit Occupancy Tax to UC travelers. Information on tax-exempt status of the University in California cities, as well as forms and guidelines for claiming an exemption, are available from ERI.

B.        Foreign travel (including Alaska, Hawaii, and all US possessions)

Reimbursement is based on Department of State per diem rates. Rates vary by city and are obtained via ( or by calling Accounting (x2271), ERI (x7615). Actual expenses may be reimbursed per receipts up to a maximum of 150% of the per diem rate.

For foreign currency exchange rates, browse:

C.        Long-Term and/or Non-Commercial

Long-Term: 30 days or more in one location or when weekly or monthly rates may be obtained

Non-Commercial: When facilities other than commercial are used, such as a house trailer or camping.

1.         Domestic: maximum $71/day for meals & lodgings--lodging receipts required, except for non-commercial

2.         Foreign: maximum 55% of Department of State per diem rates.

University Vehicles

Various types of vehicles, including sedans, carryalls, suburbans, pickup trucks, and vans, are available on campus through Transportation Services. Reservations are made by calling x2924. ERI (x4885) must be notified in advance, so that a form authorizing the charge to your contract or grant may be prepared and sent to Transportation Services. Vehicles will not be released unless this paperwork has been received. Charges include a basic daily or monthly rate, plus a mileage cost; these rates vary according to the vehicle used. Information regarding rates may be obtained from ERI or Transportation Services.


A reimbursement of $.56 (effective 1/1/2021) per mile is allowed when a personal vehicle is used in preference to a UC vehicle (note that motorcycles cannot be used for UC travel). Personal vehicles must have liability insurance in order for mileage to be charged to UC accounts. If the cost of air coach fare to a given destination is less than mileage (e.g., for travel to the East Coast), travelers who drive may be reimbursed up to the amount of airfare cost only, and may not claim mileage. However, the cost of airfare may not be claimed when the cost of flying is more than mileage (e.g., for travel to other UC campuses), when transportation is by private vehicle. (Travelers who do fly will be reimbursed for airfare, per receipts.)

The following round trip mileage is authorized to the UC campuses:

Berkeley 710 Irvine 300
Riverside 365 San Francisco 670
Davis 730 Los Angeles 200
San Diego 440 Santa Cruz 600


Travelers are responsible for making their own airline reservations. It is the responsibility of the Faculty Member or Principal Investigator to make sure that funds are available and travel is allowable prior to making travel arrangements. It is preferable to use a local travel agent rather than to deal directly with the airlines. Eligible travelers are encouraged to use the UC Corporate Charge Card (to apply for card, see Corporate Card) to purchase airfares or to book through UCLA Travel (see Airfares for official travelers may be billed directly to the grant via ERI. Travelers may choose to purchase tickets with personal funds and receive reimbursement after the travel is completed. In any case, the airline passenger receipt ticket must be retained and submitted as a receipt for the airfare expense.

In cases of group travel, where 10 or more persons are flying round-trip to the same destination, the University has negotiated reduced rate contracts with United Airlines/United Express, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, U. S. Air, America West, and Southwest Airlines. Deadlines for making reservations vary, according to the airline, from 5 days to 30 days in advance of the date of travel. Please call ERI to get specifics and information regarding booking procedures.

Note: Excess baggage charges require justification.  Please include details regarding excess baggage expenses on your Travel Voucher worksheet, if applicable.

Rental Vehicles (see

Rental cars may be used if more advantageous than other means of transportation. When renting cars, travelers should present the identification number representing UC's agreement with the rental car company being used. This number will assure that discount rates are obtained and free Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) coverage is provided. UC has agreements with most of the major vendors, but the contracts change at different times. To obtain the current contract number:

  1. Go to Connexxus:  (discount rates:
  2. Select the appropriate vendor
  3. Note the agreement number
  4. Select UC ID number or Identification numbers, as appropriate
  5. Note the number referenced for UCSB

If a UC employee does not give the rental company the UC I.D. number and also declines the LDW, CDW, and SLI coverage, then there is a possibility no physical damage insurance coverage is in effect as the University insurance program does not provide coverage for physical damage on rental cars. If you use the UCSB corporate card to rent a vehicle, primary liability and physical damage coverage are automatically provided. Please keep in mind that if a non-UC rental agency is used, the traveler or his personal insurance may be responsible for any damage suffered involving a rental car. At the time of rental, make sure you identify yourself as a UC Employee, traveling on UC business, and provide the ID number to guarantee that insurance coverage applies. Please verify that the ID number is on the car rental contract before it is signed. If the ID number is not on the contract and an accident occurs, it may be difficult to prove that the insurance coverage was included within the rental contract. This would put the insurance responsibility on the renter, not the University. If special or non-agreement rates are used, make sure that the free Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) still applies. In most cases when "specials" are chosen, the rental is no longer covered by the agreement. Unfortunately, this is seldom discovered until an accident occurs; by then, it's too late. Free LDW applies only to business travel in the Continental United States, when correct ID number is used and when renting a vehicle that is covered under the agreement.

The University will not reimburse travelers for the purchase of CDW, LDW, SLI or Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) on rental cars. However, CDW will be covered for travel outside of the United States and for vehicles rented by non-UC employees. 

Receipts and a copy of the rental agreement are required for rental car expenses. Credit card receipts are not sufficient.

Hotels/Motels (see 

University employees are eligible for reduced rates with Marriott, Starwood and Wyndham hotels. ID numbers and phone numbers for reservations may be obtained by following the  link above.

Travel Packages Purchased from Internet Vendors

Breakdown of travel expenses is essential to the University in order to appropriately meet policy and IRS regulations.  Any travel purchases made on-line must include adequate documentation (breakdown of all expenses) in order to be reimbursed.  UC Policy (Business and Finance Bulletin G-28 Policy on Regulations Governing Travel), states that these vendors should not be used unless each the receipt can be itemized (e.g., itemized hotel charges, airfare, car rental, etc.).


Original Receipts required: Transportation ticket stubs, lodging receipts for domestic trips except non-commercial, registration fees, rental cars, miscellaneous expenses of $25 or more, local transportation of $25 or more, food purchased for group members. Receipts are also required for extraordinary items such as repair of accidental car damage. Receipts must be for items purchased during travel. All receipts must be originals; copies of receipts and credit card receipts/statements will not be accepted.

UCSB/American Express Corporate Credit Card Program (see Corporate Card)

Faculty, professional researchers, and career staff members who travel regularly on official University business are encouraged to obtain the UCSB corporate credit card, for which there is no annual fee. This card allows travelers to charge airfare, hotel, rental car and other expenses associated with official travel. Prompt submission of a travel voucher will ensure that the traveler and/or the UC Corporate Card receive reimbursement within the billing cycle. Because use of the credit card eliminates the necessity for travel advances and payment of invoices from travel agencies, the University is able to process travel claims more quickly. Applications may be obtained at Travel Accounting or via the web address listed above. 

Student Travel

Travel for graduate students to attend scholarly meetings is allowed when graduate students present research findings at meetings. Field travel for graduate or undergraduate students is allowable provided the P.I. approves the travel and it is within the scope of the project. If the student is not on UC payroll, forms should be completed prior to travel taking place. Please refer to "Non-UC Employees" below.

Non-UC Employees, Non-citizens, and Out-of-State Employees

Whenever payment is to be made to a non-employee for travel allowance, travel expense reimbursement, and other actual expenses, the Social Security number or tax identification number and home address of the non-employee must be provided to enable the University to report income information to the IRS as required by law.

Non-citizens must complete a "Statement of Citizenship Status" ( form. It will be necessary to photocopy the I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) from the visitor's passport in order to demonstrate the visa status. Prior to finalizing the arrangements for a foreign guest, P.I.s must make sure that the visitor has a visa that will allow him/her to receive a payment from the University. Certain visas, such as B-2/WB, only allow limited reimbursement. Information regarding payments to aliens may be obtained from ERI or International Students and Scholars.

Non-employees traveling on UC business (e.g. Volunteers or graduate students being paid through a stipend) must notify ERI prior to completing travel for UC business other than attendance at academic meetings. In order to assure Workers' Compensation coverage for these individuals as they participate in cruises or other work, it will be necessary to notify the Business Services Office of their planned activities and agenda.

Foreign Travel

Most extramural funding agencies require use of a U.S. flag carrier for air transportation to foreign countries. Prior agency approval may be required for foreign travel. Definition of foreign travel varies for certain destinations. Travel to Canada, Alaska, Hawaii, and the US territories are considered foreign by some agencies.

Boat Rentals and Charters

BOAT CHARTERS: Employees, who wish to charter boats on behalf of the University must contact  the administrative office prior the entering into a charter agreement.  A Report of Vessel Charter form ( will need to be submitted by the department to Risk Management. Once approved and the correct insurance authorizations received, we then must work with the Purchasing Department.  Each person participating in a UC boat charter (regardless of if the vendor is paid or provides the vessel free of charge), except for UC employees participating in the course and scope of their employment, must sign the UC Waiver of Liability. For additional information see UCSB Risk Management: Boat Charters. 

BOAT TRAVEL (Non-Charter): The need to complete the charter paperwork is removed if the boat is utilized for standard transportation (e.g. Staten Island Ferry) that is open to the public. Participants should purchase their own tickets and request reimbursement as part of a standard Travel Voucher. In these cases, the standard insurance required by the University is not necessary. For additional information see UCSB Risk Management: Boat Charters.

BOAT RENTAL:  When renting a boat to be operated by a UC employee, several steps need to be taking prior to rental (see Boat Charters above).  Please contact the administrative staff at x4885 before renting a boat as the insurance issues must be addressed in advance in order to avoid both liability and reimbursement issues.  Boat rental without prior approval may result in loss of rental fees and may complicate Workers’ Compensation issues, should and injury arise.


Advances: Travelers are required to refund any advance immediately when a trip is canceled or indefinitely postponed.

Tickets: The traveler is responsible for canceling reservations or getting refunds for unused tickets. If paid by UCSB, any unused tickets or portions thereof should be returned to the Accounting Office via ERI so that a credit may be claimed. If the trip itinerary is changed en route, and a refund application is completed, the refund should be to UCSB or the travel agent. A copy of the refund application should be sent to Accounting via ERI so that credit can be obtained.

When a passenger voluntarily requests a refund of a totally unused domestic special fare ticket the airlines will assess a $10.00 service charge. The charge might not be assessed for full fare coach and first class tickets.