14.10 Travel Authorization

Last Revised Date
Tuesday, October 5, 2021 - 8:00 am

Policy Information

Policy Number: 14.10 Effective Date: 07/20/2012
Responsible Unit: Accounts Payable Last Revised Date: 10/05/2021
Email: accts_pay@fso.arizona.edu Phone: 520-621-9097

Purpose and Summary

To provide guidelines for faculty, staff, students, and Designated Campus Colleagues (DCCs) traveling on University business to ensure travel is appropriately authorized.

The University continues to encourage the use of alternatives for virtual meetings, such as Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, and Go to Meeting.

Note: This policy does not apply to independent contractors traveling on University business. Refer to policy 9.12 Independent Contractor Services.

Payments to or on behalf of a nonresident alien are governed by policy 9.16 Payments to Nonresident Aliens which contains detailed information about payments allowed and documentation required. Refer to this policy prior to making travel arrangements or initiating payment. For additional details on specific situations, please contact Tax Services.

Source

Arizona Board of Regents 3-603 Guidelines for Out-of-State Travel
Arizona Department of Health
CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
State of Arizona Revised Statutes
State of Arizona Travel Policy

Scope

This policy applies to all University locations and units, including all University extensions, satellite locations, and off-site campus units, both domestic and international.

On-campus travel is not within the scope of this policy unless travel exceeds 35 miles from the traveler’s duty post.

Definitions

  1. Traveler: Individual traveling on University of Arizona business to include employees, students, and Designated Campus Colleagues.
  2. Designated Campus Colleagues (DCCs): Individuals classified as Affiliates, Associates or volunteers traveling on behalf of the University as defined by Human Resources.
  3. Travel Authorization Form: Electronic form utilized for the collection of detailed travel information and serves as the official University record of the business trip regardless of funding source.
  4. Department Approver: Traveler’s supervisor, manager, Principal Investigator, or other authorizing employee permitting the traveler to be away from their primary duty post.
  5. Funding Approver: The Fiscal Officer on the University account where travel will be funded. This individual will ensure there is sufficient budget and expenses are in accordance with the account purpose.
  6. Duty Post: The primary site where the traveler reports daily, such as work-place or campus location for conducting University business.
  7. International Travel Registry: A University centralized system for collecting international travel details to facilitate traveler safety. Individuals traveling to an international destination must register their itinerary and receive approval within the Travel Registry.
  8. Group Travel: Individuals traveling together on University business to the same location on the same dates, with no deviations from the group’s itinerary.
  9. Travel Advance: Funds issued to a traveler seven days in advance of the trip to ease the burden of out-of-pocket expenses while conducting University business. The amount is determined based on a budget assessment of the trip. See 14.11 Travel Funding for additional details.

Policy

  1. The Travel Authorization Form is required for University business exceeding 35 miles from the traveler’s primary duty post. The authorization for travel status is required prior to departure for official University travel activities regardless of funding source.
  2. Representation at a conference, workshop or meeting out-of-state should be held to minimum attendance within an academic or administrative unit. Attendance of two or more individuals should be considered on a case-by-case basis and justified in writing within the department or college.
  3. University travel must be approved in accordance with the following principles:
    1. Traveler’s supervisor, manager, or the Principal investigator (PI) for sponsored project accounts approves the traveler to be away from their primary duty post.
    2. A Traveler may not approve their own travel. If the department head, director, or the PI will be traveling, their supervisor or delegate must approve.
    3. Funds are available and travel expenses are allowable on the account.
    4. Traveler can document official travel if required by Risk Management for state accident insurance coverage and state reporting requirements.
    5. Travel has a business purpose and supports the mission of the University.
    6. Travel is necessary and the most economical method of conducting official University business.
    7. Traveler must sign the Travel Authorization Form when a Travel Advance is requested.
    8. If a privately owned vehicle is utilized for travel, the employee must have sufficient insurance coverage, a valid driver’s license and a completed Vehicle Authorization Form on file with Risk Management as a valid University driver.
    9. Personal travel included within a business trip must be documented and personal time must be approved when the trip is authorized.
    10. Travel is in accordance with CDC guidelines based on current health guidelines.
  4. Insurance:
    1. Non-employees are responsible for obtaining their own health and accident insurance.
    2. Benefits eligible employees are covered with insurance under the Workers’ Compensation program through the State of Arizona.
    3. If the travel is out of the United States, the traveler needs to review Risk Management’s International Travel Insurance Program.
  5. Travel involving the following circumstances, regardless of funding source, must be documented on the Travel Authorization Form:
    1. Long term travel status (exceeds 30 days). See additional requirements for funding and meal reimbursement on long term travel status.
    2. Personal time taken in combination with business 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 expenses in excess of established lodging meal reimbursements limits, which is not designated lodging as illustrated on a conference brochure.

Blanket Travel

  1. Fiscal-Year Blanket Travel Authorizations are allowable and may be obtained for frequent in-state travel activities that meet the following requirements:
    1. Travel activities are consistent with the employee’s job duties.
    2. Travel business purpose is consistently the same for each travel event.
    3. Travel activities are to the same location(s) based on employment activities.
    4. Travel activity is for the same individual identified on the Travel Authorization form.
    5. Blanket Travel Authorizations are renewed on a fiscal year basis completed by June 30th

International Travel

  1. International travel must be in compliance with the University International Travel Safety and Compliance Policy.
  2. International Traveler or assigned delegate is required to complete the University International Travel Registry.

Group Travel

  1. Team, group, or field trip travel must be documented with an itinerary, list of attendees and a Travel Authorization Form including a primary delegate who is a responsible benefits eligible employee, such as a coach, faculty, staff, or advisor. The primary delegate for the travel may obtain a Travel Advance for the group activities or an Operational Advance if field work is required. If individual reimbursements will be issued, all parties must be documented on the group Travel Authorization Form.
  2. An individual Travel Authorization Form is required for each individual in the group if any deviations from the group travel itinerary such as dates, location(s) or personal time.
  3. If the group travel involves non-University employees and an advance is required, refer to Policy 9.15 Operational Advances.

Supplemental COVID-19 Travel

  1. Travelers should understand the associated symptoms of a Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection and agree to cancel or postpone their travel if they begin to experience symptoms or are exposed to someone prior to departure.
  2. It is the responsibility of every individual conducting travel on behalf of the University to ensure they do not begin or continue with their travel if they are experiencing symptoms associated with Coronavirus. For a list of updated Coronavirus symptoms please refer to the CDC website. Should a traveler develop symptoms while on travel status and be required to quarantine, the costs associated with self-quarantine may be the responsibility of the traveler.
  3. The presence of University of Arizona in a community should not put that community or our employees at a greater risk. The traveler should evaluate health conditions, hospital capacity, number of reported cases, as well as curfews and potential violence in the area, prior to traveling to any destination.

Note: University employees who engage in business travel are recommended to obtain a negative COVID-19 test in advance of travel and carry evidence of the negative test result with you on the trip. All travelers should seriously consider being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to departure and recognize that facilities at the travel destination may have vaccine mandate requirements.

Procedures

  1. Navigate to the Travel Authorization Form to obtain the next available Travel Authorization number.
  2. Save the Travel Authorization Form in a departmental file location where multiple business office staff share access.
    1. As a best practice, the following file naming convention is recommended: end date of travel, Travel Authorization number, and last name of traveler. For Example: 12152018_T123456_wilburwildcat
  3. Navigate to the Travel Authorization on-line tutorial for guidance on completing and electronically submitting the Travel Authorization Form.
  4. Review the information on the Travel Authorization Form for accuracy and save the final document. When ready for submission, open the saved final document, scroll to the bottom of the form, and click on the Adobe Sign icon. This will activate Adobe Sign Travel Authorization workflow for electronic routing.
  5. Adobe Sign Travel Authorization Workflow must be utilized for compliance purposes. Log in with your UA NetID and password and enter the approvers email addresses for the workflow.
  6. In the fields displayed in the workflow, enter a valid email address for each of the approvers.
  7. Click on the Travel Authorization browse button and attach the completed Travel Authorization for approvals.
    1. Travel Itinerary is optional, although recommended when there are multiple destinations.
    2. Additional documents are optional, although a group travel attendee list or flyer for a conference is recommended.
  8. Review email addresses for accuracy and Click Send.

Questions regarding Travel policy should be directed to Accounts Payable at 520-621-9097 or accts_pay@fso.arizona.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. If a Traveler neglects to obtain approval prior to travel, can they still be reimbursed?
    It is within the department’s discretion at the college/division level to deny reimbursement if the traveler is non-compliant with institutional policy.
     
  2. Can I view the Travel Authorization form online after it is routed?
    Yes. If you are the initiator of the Travel Authorization, the completed form can be viewed in Adobe Sign via the manage tab.
     
  3. Do I need to complete a new Travel Authorization Form if dates or minor changes have occurred after it was approved?
    It depends. Please consult with your department’s business office for the preferred business practice. Minor travel changes may be sent to the accts_pay@fso.arizona.edu listserv and the original Travel Authorization Form will be updated by Accounts Payable as the official University record.
     
  4. Can I send a reminder to the approver if they have not approved within 3 - 5 business days?
    Yes. Login to Adobe Sign, navigate to the manage tab and locate the pending Travel Authorization Form in your action list. On the screen panel on the right, a tab indicating remind appears and can be completed to send an official reminder to the approver.
     
  5. Can I cancel a Travel Authorization Form that was sent to an approver who is without internet access to approve?
    Yes. Login to Adobe Sign, navigate to the manage tab and locate the pending Travel Authorization Form. On the screen panel to the right, click cancel to discontinue the routing to the individual. Locate the original unapproved Travel Authorization in your departmental shared file resource location and initiate new workflow to route to a new approver or delegate.
     
  6. Is VPN access required for users to approve a Travel Authorization?
    No. Approvers can sign/approve via a computer, tablet, or cell phone device without VPN access.
     
  7. Can an approver disapprove a Travel Authorization request?
    Yes. The approver is encouraged to have a conversation with the Traveler to discuss the travel and notify the business office to log into Adobe Sign to cancel the Travel Authorization routing.
     
  8. Is a copy of the Travel Authorization Form required to be included with the reimbursement?
    No. When the Adobe Sign Travel Authorization workflow is utilized the Travel office maintains the official record. Please do not send a copy of the paper form. Users may attach the signed electronic form to the Disbursement Voucher notes/attachments if desired.
     
  9. If a Travel advance is requested, do I need to print the Travel Authorization Form and send to the Travel Office to process the Disbursement Voucher?
    No. When the Disbursement Voucher is created using the Travel Advance payment reason code, the Travel office is notified via a UAccess Analytics report to process the Disbursement Voucher and disburse the funds to the traveler 7 days prior to departure.
     
  10. Can an employee be reimbursed travel mileage to travel to/from campus to pick up remote work essentials such as mail, office supplies, etc.?
    No. Travel to and from an employee's duty post are considered commuting to the workplace and remain an unallowable expense. Employee should consider in-person workday(s) to navigate work that cannot be performed remotely and maintain workplace protective measures.
     
  11. Is a Travel Authorization required to attend a virtual conference when expenses will be incurred for the conference fees?
    No, a Travel Authorization is not required since the employee is not traveling 35 miles from their duty post. A Travel Authorization number is not required to pay for or reimburse conference registration fees or other valid expenses. Departments are welcome to utilize the Travel Authorization form if it is beneficial for internal processes. If doing so, please indicate "virtual/expense tracking" in the exception box since there is no actual travel occurring.

Related Information

6.10 Account Management
14.11 Travel Funding
9.12 Independent Contractor Services
9.15 Operational Advances
9.16 Payments to Nonresident Aliens
Additional FAQs available on the Travel Website
Travel Authorization online Tutorial

* Please note that sections titled Frequently Asked Questions and Related Information are provided solely for the convenience of users and are not part of the official University policy.