FP-7 Travel


The following policy applies to the travel of all employees of the university in the performance of their official duties. Provisions of this policy also may apply to individuals other than employees who are authorized to travel at university expense. Departments may adopt more restrictive policies than those included in this document. Authorization for travel will not be granted and expenses will not be reimbursed unless the travel is made and reimbursement claimed in accordance with this policy and any approved exceptions hereto.

Procurement cards may be used for the payment of registration fees and required advance payments for airline. Procurement cards may not be used for expenses incurred during actual travel time except in instances of team/group travel.

This policy and specific reimbursement rates for travel expenses allowed under this policy shall be consistent with those of the Comprehensive Travel Regulations of the State of Tennessee and the travel policy of the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR). Current reimbursement rates can be found in the Travel Rate Schedule.

All travel must be consistent with the educational, research, and professional needs of the University. Employees must conduct all travel with integrity, in compliance with applicable laws, policies, and procedures, and in a manner that excludes considerations of personal advantage. Employees must exercise good judgment and conduct all aspects of travel in a cost-efficient manner.


General Provisions

Authorization of Travel



Meals and Incidental Expenses

Miscellaneous Expenses


Travel Advances

Corporate Card


Related Forms and Links

Helpful Links and Websites


General Provisions                           

 A. No authorization for travel by an employee shall be granted, and   no reimbursement for travel expenses shall be made, except in accordance with   the provisions of these policies and procedures. Reimbursement for travel   expenses shall be limited to expenses incurred upon travel authorized in   advance by the appropriate approving authorities. 

B. Travel which may be authorized, and pursuant to which expenses may   be reimbursed, shall be limited to the following:

  1. Travel which is necessary for the proper execution of official University business, or in justifiable pursuit of the University's educational and research objectives; or
  2. Travel to meetings and conferences of a   professional nature which will increase the attending employee's usefulness to the University.


C. Travel shall not include, and no reimbursement for expenses shall   be made for, transportation in connection with an employee's official station  of employment. The employee's "official station" is his or her   regular area of employment activity, e.g., campus, or designated location of  an employee established in the field.

       1.     The official station of an employee   shall be designated by the appointing authority.

        2.     It is normally expected that the   official station is that location at which the employee spends greater than   50% of his or her working time.

        3.     For an employee required to be on call   (as determined by his or her job description), either overnight or on   weekends, the official station of the employee while on call becomes his or   her residence, or the location at which the employee receives the call.

        4.     Reimbursable mileage begins at the   location at which the employee receives the call.


D. The employee is considered to be on official travel status, and as such, eligible for reimbursement of travel expenses, at the time of departure   from the employee's official station or residence, whichever is applicable,  for the purpose of traveling on University business.

  1. Expenses for meals and lodging will be allowed   when overnight travel or occasional excessive hours of work are required   outside the county of the employee's official station of residence.
  2. En route lodging will be allowed for only one   day each way on trips of long duration.
  3. Expenses for lodging will only be allowed in   cases where the approved and most direct or expeditious mode of travel will   require more than ten (10) hours of continuous travel for trips of long   duration.
  4. The lodging expense will not be considered en   route lodging if it does not add an additional day of lodging expense.
  5. For example: An employee has a 9:00 a.m.   meeting in Atlanta. Assume the employee needs to work a full day prior to the   trip. It would be less expensive and more convenient to drive rather than   fly. The employee leaves the night before and drives to within two hours of   Atlanta. Then the employee spends the night, continues the drive the next   morning and arrives for the 9:00 a.m. meeting. This will be reimbursed but is   not considered en route lodging as it did not add an additional day of   lodging expense to the normal travel expenses. 

E. The limitations on travel expenses contained herein are maximum   amounts above which reimbursement will not be made. Employees are expected to   be as conservative as possible in incurring travel expenses. 

F. Reimbursement for travel expenses shall only be allowed for actual   expenses incurred, subject to the maximum limitations cited in the Travel Rate   Schedule.   

  1. Receipts   must accompany claims for reimbursement for all expenses exceeding the amount   cited on Travel   Rate Schedule
  2. Receipts   are not required for meals, taxi fares, tolls, and ferry fees.
  3. Lodging   receipts are required and must itemize room charges and taxes. No expenses shall   be reimbursed until after travel has been completed. 

G. Internet travel sites such as Expedia, Travelocity or Kayak can be utilized to purchase single travel services such as an airline ticket.  Internet travel sites cannot be used to   purchase a package or one or more travel services.  Purchases of travel packages that combine   services such as lodging, airline, or vehicle rentals are not allowed.  These package deals do not usually provide   sufficient itemized pricing for each service purchased and therefore do not allow for proper comparison to CONUS or conference rates as required by policy. 

H. Procurement cards may be used for travel expenses for team/group   travel as approved by the procurement card administrator.

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  Authorization of Travel

Approving Authorities - The president or Presdient's designees shall have authority to approve travel by employees of the University.  Authorization for travel by a student, regardless of the destination, shall be approved by the Presdient or their designee.

In-State Travel - All employees must obtain prior authorization for in‑state travel by the   employee's appropriate approving authority. Written authorization may not be   necessary for in‑state travel where the expected expenses will not be substantial, or when there is no advance notice of the circumstances   necessitating the travel, and such travel is approved orally by the appropriate approving authority. Employees whose employment requires frequent in‑state  travel may obtain blanket authorization in writing for such travel. 

Out-of-State Travel - All employees must obtain prior written authorization for out‑of‑state  travel, which must be approved by the employee's appropriate approving authority. The authorization must show the name of the person traveling,  purpose of the trip, destinations, date of departure and return, mode of   transportation, estimated expenses, and availability of funds. If, in the   normal course of official business, the employee must routinely travel into   another state and back in the same day, such travel will be considered   in-state travel and shall be subject to the in-state travel provisions. This   exception applies for trips which do not exceed 50 miles into another state.   Employees whose employment requires frequent out-of-state travel may obtain   blanket authorization in writing for such travel. 

Canada Travel - Authorization for travel by an employee to Canada shall be approved by the President for employees of institutions. 

Alaska, Hawaii and Out-of-Country/International   Travel - Authorization for travel by an employee to Alaska, Hawaii, and   all out-of-country/international travel shall be subject to approval by the President.   Authorization for travel to Alaska, Hawaii, and all out-of-country/international   travel by the President shall be subject to approval by the Chancellor.  Requests for authorizations should reach   the President’s Office fourteen (14) days before the date approval is needed.

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General - All travel must   be by the most direct or expeditious route possible and any employee who   travels by indirect route must bear any extra expense occasioned thereby.   When work is performed by an employee en route to or from the official   station, reimbursable mileage is computed by deducting the employee's normal   commuting mileage from the actual mileage driven in performing the work in   route to or from the official station. For example, if an employee normally   commutes 10 miles (20 miles round trip), and performs work on the way home   from the official station which results in 12 miles driven, the mileage   reimbursement will be for 2 miles only, as that is the amount of mileage in   excess of the employee's normal commute. In no instance shall mileage claimed   for reimbursement exceed actual miles traveled. 

Mode of Transportation - Transportation for employees traveling singly should be by common carrier (air, train, or   bus) whenever practical. The use of air travel is recommended when time is an   important factor or when the trip is so long that other methods of travel   would increase the subsistence expense. Automobile transportation may be used   to save time when common carrier transportation cannot be satisfactorily   scheduled or to reduce expenses when two or more employees are making the   trip. Employees who have approval to drive rather than fly on long trips will   be reimbursed for two day's meals and one day's lodging in route to the   destination and similarly on return to campus. Reimbursement for personal vehicle use may be claimed at the lesser of the standard mileage rate or comparable   cost of commercial transportation including taxi fares and/or limousine   charges. 

Common Carrier Travel - When travel is by common carrier, the fare must not exceed the standard coach fare   charged the general public, and advantage must be taken of round trip rates when available. The employee's copy of the ticket, or an acceptable itemized   receipt, must be submitted for reimbursement of common carrier expenses. Baggage   Fees will be allowed when necessary.  A receipt is required for reimbursement.    Charges for trip insurance are not reimbursable.  The State of Tennessee is self-insured and does not purchase separate insurance, and therefore will not reimburse for   insurance purchases made for trips.   

Chartered Aircraft - Generally,   faculty and staff (including group travel and athletics) whose duties require   travel will use commercial ground and air carriers or a university   vehicle.  However, a chartered aircraft   may be used if time and/or distance preclude ground travel or if a commercial   air service is either unavailable or does not meet the needs of the   traveler(s).  The following guidelines   apply: 

1. The Vice President for Finance and Administration will be responsible for: 

  1.   reviewing and approving requests for charter air services,
  2.   scheduling charter flights, and
  3.   informing those who request charter flights of the charter company’s policy on canceling scheduled flights. 

2. Charter services will be obtained only when it can be shown that   the charter does not exceed the sum of all traveling costs by commercial   carrier (e.g. transportation, meals, and lodging) or that circumstances   necessitate travel when no other means is available. 

3. The charter company must provide the institution with an original,   itemized invoice showing the beginning and ending dates of the charter, the   origin and destination of each flight, and the names of passengers on each  flight. 

Automobile Travel - When   travel by personal vehicle is appropriate, employees may use state-owned   vehicles whenever available and feasible. However, state-owned vehicles   should be used only on official business.


  1. State-Owned Automobiles - When  transportation is by a state-owned vehicle, all necessary repair bills,   tolls, parking, gasoline and storage expenses are allowable. When using motor   pool vehicles, employees will be furnished with courtesy cards for purchase   of gasoline, oil, and other vehicle services, and such expenses should not be   claimed by employees as travel expenses. Emergency out-of-pocket expenses,   such as towing or emergency repairs, will be reimbursed but must be   accompanied by proper receipt identifying the vehicle and itemizing the   services. Such expenditures must be of an emergency nature where immediate   service is required and access to a state facility is not possible. Major   repairs should be approved by campus officials prior to work being performed.   Such expenditures are allowed but should be filed or reimbursement  separately.


  1. Personally-Owned   Automobiles - Use of a personally-owned vehicle must be authorized. Mileage   reimbursement rates are provided on Travel Rate   Schedule. The authorized mileage allowance includes all operating   expenses such as gas, oil, and repairs precluding any separate claim for such   items. Employees may use reputable websites to determine point-to-point   and/or vicinity mileage.  Commuter   Mileage procedures for calculating mileage are   based on the fact that the State is prohibited from reimbursing employees for   normal commuting mileage. If an employee begins or ends a trip at his/her   official station, reimbursable mileage will be the mileage from the official   station to the destination.  If work is   performed by an employee in route to or from his/her official station,   reimbursable mileage is computed by deducting the employee’s normal commuting   mileage from the actual mileage driven.    If an employee begins or ends his/her trip at his/her residence   without stopping at his/her official station, reimbursable mileage will be   the lesser of the mileage from the employee’s residence to his/her   destination or his/her official station to the destination. On weekends and   holidays, the employee may typically be reimbursed for actual mileage from   his/her residence to the destination.  If   an employee travels between destinations without returning to his/her   official station or his/her residence, reimbursable mileage is the actual   mileage between those destinations.


  1. The travel claim must indicate the employee's   itinerary and must show the official business mileage. Business mileage as   indicated in the Rand-McNally or reputable websites for out-of-state routes   will be as official. Vicinity mileage must be reported on a separate line and   not included with point-to-point mileage. Only mileage while on official   business may be claimed. 

Airport and Hotel Parking – Necessary charges for hotel and airport parking will be allowed.   A receipt is required if the fee exceeds the maximum indicated in the Travel Rate   Schedule

Limousine and Taxi Services -   When travel is by common carrier, reasonable limousine and taxi fares will be   allowed for necessary transportation. Bus or limousine service to and from  airports will be used when available and practical. After arrival at   destination, necessary taxi fares for traveling between hotel or lodging and meeting or conference will be allowed. No receipt is required for   reimbursement of reasonable taxi fares. 

Car Rentals at Destination - Charges for vehicle rental shall be allowed whenever it is more economical than   alternative methods of transportation or it is the only practical means of transportation. Charges for insurance, upgrades and navigations systems for   rented vehicles are not reimbursable. The State of Tennessee is self-insured and does not purchase separate insurance, and therefor will not reimburse for   insurance purchases made for rental vehicles.   An itemized receipt must be   submitted for reimbursement.  Whenever   possible, employees should refuel before returning vehicles to the rental   agency. 

Tolls and Ferry Fees - Reasonable tolls and ferry fees will be allowed when necessary. No receipt is required   for reimbursement of tolls and ferry fees. 

Daily Parking Fees - Daily parking fees for those employees working in downtown offices will not be   allowed. However, if an employee is required to leave his or her office on state business and later returns, the actual additional charge required to   park will be reimbursed up to the maximum indicated on the Travel Rate   Schedule. Also, those employees required to utilize commercial parking   facilities in the daily performance of duties, or while on travel status will   be allowed reimbursement for actual costs up to the maximum indicated per   day. A receipt is required if the fee exceeds the maximum indicated in the Travel Rate   Schedule

Unnecessary meals and lodging expenses which are occasioned by the   use of an automobile for reasons of the employee’s personal convenience, or   which are due to travel by an indirect route, will not be allowed. 

If travel is by common carrier, the employee will be reimbursed for   expenses in traveling to and from the common carrier including related   parking expenses.

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In-State Lodging - Lodging  expenses incurred within the state while on authorized travel will be  reimbursable to the maximum stated in Travel Rate   Schedule

Out-of-State Lodging - Lodging   expenses incurred out of the state while on authorized travel will be   reimbursable to a maximum stated in Travel Rate   Schedule.   The maximum reimbursement rates for   out-of-state travel are the same as those maintained by the U. S. General   Services Administration for federal employees within the continental United   States (CONUS). The CONUS   list, available on the General Services Administration web site, contains a   standard reimbursement rate for lodging and meals and incidentals, and   several pages of exceptions. Most destinations for out-of-state travel fall   within the list of exceptions. En route lodging will be allowed for only one   day each way on trips of long duration. En route lodging will only be allowed   in cases where the approved and most direct or expeditious mode of travel   will require more than ten (10) hours of continuous travel. 

Lodging-Related Taxes – Sales   taxes on lodging costs will be reimbursable.                            

Additional Lodging Expenses –                            

  1. Convention or Conference Lodging - Higher rates for lodging at the location of a convention or conference will be   allowed, without special approval, up to the amount indicated in the   convention or conference brochure or conference website. A printed copy of   the online information is to be submitted with the claim for reimbursement.


  1. President Lodging  -  Additional lodging for the President will be approved on the same basis as approval is   granted for other employees. Any exceptions must be approved by the   Chancellor. 

The convention or conference brochure which indicates the lodging   rates must be included with the travel claim. Otherwise, reimbursement will   be limited to the applicable lodging rate as provided in these regulations. 

Shared Lodging - In the event of double occupancy for university employees on official travel, both   employees should attach an explanation to his or her travel claim detailing   dates and other employees with whom the room was shared. The lodging cost may   be claimed by the employee who incurred the cost, or one half the double   occupancy charges may be allowable for each employee. If a room is shared with   other than a university employee, actual cost subject to the maximum in Travel Rate   Schedule will be allowed. The receipt for the entire amount should be   submitted with each travel expense claim.


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Meals and  Incidental Expenses                           

In-State and Out-of-State  Meals - While on authorized travel, actual expenses not to exceed maximum   stated in the Travel Rate   Schedule per day will be allowed for meals. The maximum per diem rates   include a fixed allowance for meals and for incidental expenses (M&I).   The M&I rate, or fraction thereof, is payable to the traveler without   itemization of expenses or receipts. Incidentals are intended to include   miscellaneous costs associated with travel such as tips for baggage handling,   phone calls home, etc. 

The M&I rates for out-of-state travel are available on the CONUS web site. As with   lodging, there is a standard rate for the continental United States, and a   list of exceptions. Reimbursement for meals and incidentals for the day of departure   shall be three-fourths of the appropriate M&I rate prescribed for the   lodging location. Reimbursement for M&I for the day of return shall be   three-fourths of the M&I rate applicable to the preceding calendar day. 

The breakdown of meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and incidental expenses is available on the CONUS web site. 

Reimbursement for meals will not be permitted when overnight travel is not involved.  

Out-of Country/International Meals   - Out of Country/International meals are reimbursed at actual expense   with itemized receipts. If no receipts are provided, the maximum rate will be   the maximum CONUS rate   for Out-of-State travel.  The CONUS   rates currently range from $46 to $71 so the out-of-country/international   rate is $71.

Official Banquets - When the expenses for an official banquet of a meeting or conference are in excess   of the above limits, the excess will be allowed provided a receipt or other   documentation of the charge is submitted.

Business Meals - See Financial Procedure FP-21   for criteria on reimbursing business meals.

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Miscellaneous   Expenses                           

Personal Expenses - Expenses   for entertainment (employees or others), laundry, tips, and gratuities, etc.,   are personal expenses and will not be reimbursed in excess of the incidental   portion of the M&I rate.

Telephone, Internet and Fax   Expenses - Charges for long distance telephone calls, Internet and/or fax   on official business will be allowed provided a statement is furnished   showing the date, the name and location called, and the nature of the   business.  Charges for necessary local  calls on official business will be allowed.

Registration Fees - Registration   fees for approved conferences, conventions, seminars, meetings, etc., will be   allowed including cost of official banquets and/or luncheons if authorized in   advance by the appropriate approving authority and provided receipts are   submitted with the travel claim.

The Procard may be used for payment of conference registrations,   workshop registrations and booth/exhibitor fees. The Procard may not be used for CME credits, entertainment, tours, charges for spouse or other family   members, banquets and luncheons.

If Procards are not accepted as a form of payment, the registration   can be paid by check by completing the Registration   Fee Prepayment Request Form and forwarding this on to the Travel Office.

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Claim Form – The Travel   Claim Form shall be used for reimbursement of expenses.  The form must show movement and detail of   expenses on a daily basis and be signed by the employee and be approved by   the appropriate approving authority prior to reimbursement.  All signatures on travel claims must be   original or electronic in accordance with TBR policy.  Where adequate controls have been   implemented to minimize risks associated with travel claim (such as the risk   that duplicate claims will be submitted or alterations made to the original   claim subsequent to approval by approving authority), travel claims may be   submitted for payment electronically via email.  Receipts for appropriate expenses must be submitted   with the claim for reimbursement. Expenses for books, supplies, postage, and   other items that do not constitute actual traveling expenses should not be   included in the claim form. Claims for reimbursement for travel expenses   should be submitted no later than (30) days after completion of the travel.  Any expenses charged to the Procard must be  subtracted from the total amount of the claim. 

Mileage Only – Claims for reimbursement (mileage only) of multiple local trips may be claimed on the Travel Claim   Mileage Only form.  This form must   list each trip separately.

eBucs Claim Submission – Once the Travel   Claim Form or Travel   Claim Mileage Only has been completed, the employee can request   reimbursement through eBucs.  The Travel   Claim Form or the Travel Claim   Mileage Only form and all the required receipts will be required as an   attachment in eBucs.  The only signature required on the Travel   Claim Form or on the Travel Claim   Mileage Only is the traveler’s signature.   All other appropriate approvals will be received electronically through eBucs.

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  Travel   Advances                           

Permanent Travel Advances - When  an employee has blanket travel authorization, and is expected to travel the   major portion of each month, the employee may be placed upon permanent travel   status. Upon determination of the employee's estimated monthly expenses, if   such expenses exceed $100, the employee may be provided with a single advance   in an amount sufficient to cover such expenses for one month, provided such   amount may not exceed the semi-monthly salary of the employee. Subsequent to   the initial advance, the employee shall submit appropriate claims and be   reimbursed as heretofore provided, with any unused portion of the advance to   be returned upon termination of the employee's permanent travel status.

Temporary Travel Advances - When temporary travel is authorized   for an employee the employee is expected to request reimbursement for their   expenses after travel is completed. As an exception to policy, the employee   may receive an advance, provided a request for the advance is submitted to   the appropriate approving authority with the Travel Authorization Request. The   employee must prepare a Request   for Exception for Travel Advance.  Exceptions   may be granted by the Associate Vice President Administrative Services based   upon written request for exception for an advance approved by the Dean or   Director. An amount equal to 80% of the estimated expenditures, excluding   airfare and registrations if purchased through the Procard or ETSU check,   will be allowed as an advance.  No   advance less than $100 will be made.

Student Travel Advances - Students   traveling under individual authorizations or an employee traveling with a   student or students who is responsible for disbursing all funds for the trip may be advanced 100% of the amount of the authorization, excluding airfare   and registrations if purchased through the Procard or ETSU check.

Payroll Deduction Authorization   - Each employee receiving a permanent or temporary travel advance must   sign a payroll deduction authorization which will allow the University to   recover the advance from any salary owed the employee in the event of   termination of employment or failure to submit a travel claim. This deduction   from payroll will be used as a last resort only in the event all other   efforts to collect the advance have failed.

Expense Claim - Upon   return, the employee should submit a Travel   Claim Form or a Travel Claim   Mileage Only detailing their actual expenditures within 30 days of the completion of travel.  This claim   should show the total expenses incurred. The advanced amount should be   subtracted from this total.  No advance   should exceed actual expenses. If the travel advance should exceed actual   expenses, the expense claim should be forwarded to the Travel Office showing   that the difference has been repaid.    Repayment of any or part of an advance must be made to a cashier at   the Bursar’s Office and the receipt provided to the Travel Office.

An employee is eligible for reimbursement of travel expenses if the trip   was entirely business related. If the trip was primarily for business and,   while at the business destination, the employee extends the stay, makes a   personal side trip, or had other personal activities, the employee can obtain   reimbursement for only the business related travel expenses. These expenses   include the travel costs of getting to and from the business destination but   do not include additional lodging, parking, and per diem for the days not   required for the business travel. Additional days are not considered business   related unless they are necessary to provide rest or sleep required for the   employee to properly perform their duties.

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Corporate  Card                           

General - The TBR has  established a Corporate Card Account for institutions governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents and the Board Office to assist with travel expenses.  This is not the same as the   University Procard. 

Membership - Corporate Cards are made available to faculty and Professional/Administrative staff,  with the employee's personally responsible for all amounts charged to the   Corporate Card.  The Corporate   Card Application is available in the Financial Services website. 


1.  Normally, travel expenses   should be paid when incurred by an employee, with reimbursement made to the   employee for actual expenses up on proper submission of a claim for travel   expenses.  Advances to employees for   anticipated travel expenses in excess of the amount cited on Travel Rate   Schedule may be made under the circumstances hereinafter described. All   travel advances must be approved by the employee’s appropriate approving   authority.

2. Travel advances, permanent or temporary, shall not be issued to:

  1.   any employee who is issued a Corporate Card,   or
  2.   any employee who is designated but chooses not   to apply for a Corporate Card, or
  3.   any employee who has had his or her Corporate   Card cancelled or was refused a card based on the vendor’s credit   requirements. 

The University may make individual exceptions to the above provisions   when the circumstances are determined to warrant such exception. 

Reimbursement - Reimbursement for travel expenses shall only be allowed for actual business expenses   incurred, subject to the provisions of Section I.F., and the maximum limitations shown on the Travel Rate   Schedule.    

Cancellations - The Tennessee Board of Regents, the University and/or Corporate Card supplier may cancel an employee's Corporate Card at any time. In the event of cancellation   of a Corporate Card, the Tennessee Board of Regents or the University shall   promptly notify the employee of the cancellation and use its best efforts to   obtain the cancelled Corporate Card and return it to the Corporate Card  office. 

Termination - The University shall notify the Corporate Card office if a Corporate Card   member's employment is terminated, and the effective date of such action.

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General ‑ The Chancellor shall have the authority to grant exceptions to any part or all of the provisions of this policy when deemed appropriate and necessary.  The Chancellor delegates to the President  the authority to grant exceptions to any part or all of the provisions of   this policy in individual instances when deemed appropriate and necessary;  however, any exception directly affecting the President must be approved by   the Chancellor.


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Related Forms                           



 Travel Authorization Request                           



Claim for Travel Expenses                           



Claim for Mileage Only Travel   Expenses                           



Registration Fee Prepayment   Request Form                           



Request for Exception for   Travel Advance                           






Helpful Links and Websites                           


TBR General Travel Policy                           



Travel Reimbursement Rates                           



CONUS Rates