14.10 Travel Authorization

Last Revised Date
Tuesday, June 5, 2018 - 11:15 am
Purpose: To provide guidelines and procedures for travel for The University of Arizona employees, students and affiliates.
Policy Owner: FSO Operations - Travel University travel is governed through State of Arizona statutesArizona Board of Regents policy, and the State of Arizona Accounting Manual.  

 Non-Reimbursable Expenses | Non-Travel Business Expenses | ExceptionsGroup Travel

Who and What Qualifies for Travel

  1. University business related travel reimbursements for food and lodging is applicable for travel exceeding 35 miles from the employee's duty post. Lodging costs incurred within a 35 mile radius of the employees designated duty post or residence will not be reimbursed unless extenuating circumstances such as excessive work hours or travel may jeopardize the employee’s safety. Extenuating circumstances must be included in the supporting documentation submitted for reimbursement.
  2. Individuals who are eligible to be paid through the FSO-Operations travel process are employees, students, volunteers and other affiliates traveling for University business purposes. Payments to nonresident aliens are governed by policy 9.16 Payments to Nonresident Aliens, which contains detailed information about payments allowed and documentation required. Refer to policy 9.16 before payment is made to or on behalf of a nonresident alien as some visa types do not allow payments. For additional details on specific situations please contact FSO Tax Services.  Any individual who is eligible to be reimbursed for travel expenses and is an independent contractor needs to be paid on a Disbursement Voucher according to policy 9.12 Independent Contractor Services.
    Only current employees are covered with insurance under the Worker's Compensation program through the State of Arizona. Non-Employees are responsible for obtaining their own health and accident insurance.
    If occasional employee travel expenses are included on an Operational Advance (see 9.15 Operational Advances policy) they must be documented and approved according to the Travel Policy. Also, the Travel Authorization Number must be referenced on the Operational Advance documents. An operational advance may not be used in place of a Travel Advance. Travel Advances may only be issued to active University employees or current graduate student whose travel is funded with gift, designated or sponsored projects accounts.
  3. Long-Term Travel:  See 14.13 Per diem reimbursement
  4. Travel must be authorized and documented prior to all official University travel activities. A Travel Authorization Form must be filled out, and the original signed form mailed to FSO Operations Travel Office, PO Box 210158, Room 402, Campus, even if travel expenses will not be charged to the University. The Travel Authorization form should be mailed to FSO Operations before the travel event commences. This ensures that:
    1. Travel plans have been authorized by the appropriate departmental approving authority;
    2. Funds are available;
    3. The traveler can document their official travel status if needed for Risk Management purposes;
    4. The travel has a legitimate business purpose; in the best interest of the university.
    5. The travel meets the IRS Accountable Plan.
    6. Travel Authorization Form can be completed on an fiscal year basis as a ‘Blanket’ for frequent in-state travel events that meet the following guidelines:
      1. Travel business purpose is consistently the same for each travel event (Example: Attend monthly ABOR business meetings in Phoenix)
      2. Travel activity is to the same location or duty post.
      3. Travel activity is for the same individual indicated on the Travel Authorization form.
      4. Blanket Travel Authorizations are renewed on a fiscal year basis.
  5. The following approvals must be obtained:
    1. Traveler must sign the Travel Authorization Form if he/she is requesting an advance.
    2. Traveler's Supervisor or the Principal Investigator (sponsored projects accounts) must review and approve the travel authorization ensuring that the travel is for a valid public purpose, funds are available, when applicable, travel is authorized under the terms of the grant or contract and if the traveler is driving his or her own vehicle, they must have current vehicle insurance and a valid driver license.
    3. If the department head, director, or the PI will be traveling, their supervisor or the individual authorized to approve on behalf of the supervisor must approve. 
  6. University travel is authorized in accordance with the following principles.
    1. When personal contact is the most economical method of conducting official University business.
    2. Representation at a convention or meeting outside of the State should be limited to essential employees.
    3. Attendance by University employees at an out of state educational or training seminars if funds for that purpose are available and such education or training is not available in Arizona and is directly job related.
    4. Selection of the most economical method of transportation in terms of expense to the State and the employee's time away from the office.
    5. If a privately owned vehicle is used for travel, the employee has sufficient insurance coverage.

Non-Reimbursable Expenses

  1. Personal Travel - When extending a business trip using personal time, the traveler will be eligible for reimbursement of lodging and meals only for the time he or she is conducting business for the university.  Personal time needs to be approved when the trip is authorized.
  2. Travel expenses for family members unless there is a compelling business reason.
  3. Personal Phone calls or movies.
  4. Insurance:
    1. Costs for personal accident, medical insurance, and collision damage insurance waiver (CDW) included in the car rental agreement or flight insurance are personal expenses and will not be reimbursed to current employees since they are covered by Workers's Compensation. The only exceptions are when a vehicle is rented overseas and the traveler is required to get insurance for that country, or the traveler is under 25 and the rental company requires their own insurance.
    2. Personal Medical Insurance since current employees are covered by Workers's Compensation and other travelers need to secure their own health insurance. If the travel is out of the United States the traveler needs to review Risk Management’s International Travel Insurance Program especially if they will be going to a sanctioned country, in which case the traveler needs to contact Risk Management in advance.

Non-Travel Business Expenses

  1. Business related expenses incurred while on travel status may be claimed on the Travel Expense Report. All expenses must be supported by original itemized receipts.  For receipt information see the Receipt Requirement section.  

    Payment for services (such as Independent Contractors) should be paid with a Purchase Order or Disbursement Voucher via UAccess Financials.


  1. Travel involving the following, regardless of the source of funding, must be explained  and approved on the travel authorization form:
    1. The traveler will be on long term travel status (more than 30 days).  See additional requirements for funding and per diem on long term travel.
    2. Personal time will be taken in combination with travel.
    3. Use of airfare other than coach/economy.
    4. Use of private, chartered or rented aircraft or rented motor vehicle.
    5. Vehicle taken out of state (whether private, rented or state-owned).
    6. Lodging charges in excess of established policy limits, which is not designated lodging as shown on a conference brochure.
    7. Foreign travel, excluding Canada and Mexico, on State accounts.

Group/Team Travel

  1. When team travel, field trips or group travel are taken, the coach or advisor (must be employees) and any other University employees, students or affiliates traveling with the group/team must:
    1. Submit an approved Travel Authorization Form with his or her name and the business purpose of the trip.
    2. One individual can get an advance for the group but each employee, student or affiliate is still responsible for filing their own Travel Authorization and all Travel Authorization Number(s) must be referenced by the individual requesting reimbursement.
    3. If the group, other than the coach or advisor, has members that are not  University Employees and  an advance is needed, obtain an Operational Advance in the name of the employee and attach a copy of the Operational Advance Disbursement Voucher to the Travel Authorization Form.