Domestic & Foreign Travel for Sponsored Programs

Background

Domestic and foreign travel is a common activity that Principal Investigators (PI's) and research staff may engage in during the course of an award. Travel expenses include airfare, ground transportation, lodging, meals and other travel-related expenses.

NYU Approach

New York University's (NYU's) travel policy applies to all sponsored programs unless the sponsor’s requirements are more restrictive; if they are, then the sponsor rules must be followed.  Travelers should familiarize themselves with the Business Expenses Policy, available online in the NYU Policy Library.

Travel costs must be:

  • Allowable: The cost must be allowable under both the provisions of the OMB Uniform Guidance and under the terms of a specific award.
  • Allocable: The cost must be allocable; that is, the expense can be associated to a project with a high degree of accuracy.
  • Reasonable: The cost must be reasonable, that is, the cost reflects what a “prudent person” would pay in a like circumstance.

Domestic & Foreign Travel for Sponsored Programs Includes:

Proposal/Budget

Include in the proposal estimated foreign and domestic travel costs. Identify all costs for the proposed travel such as airfare, ground transportation, lodging, meals and per diems. The proposal must explicitly state the reason why the travel is required.

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Travel Advances

The traveler who seeks a travel advance must complete a travel advance form and submit it to Accounts Payable through the University's Accounts Payable payment system at least 10 days before travel dates.

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Foreign Travel

Foreign travel is travel outside of the United States, its territories and possessions. For a foreign organization foreign travel means travel outside that country. This generally means if a traveler is traveling on funds provided by the Federal government, the traveler must use a US flag carrier (an airline owned by an American company) in order to comply with the requirements of the Fly America Act regardless of cost or convenience.

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Meals

Original itemized receipts must be submitted for all meals when claiming actual expenses, as opposed to per diem. Original receipts are not required in cases where the traveler claims per diem for meal expenses. A traveler cannot claim both actual expense and per diem for meals on a single trip. In all cases, alcohol is NOT a reimbursable expense on an award.

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Entertainment

Entertainment is NOT reimbursable.

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Lodging

Travelers will be reimbursed for the actual cost of lodging, up to $300 plus tax per day. The Exceptions will be granted if the expense is necessary, documented and approved by the appropriate school/department representative. Conference-site hotels will be reimbursed at the actual cost. For foreign travel, NYU uses the U.S. Department of State per diem rates, listed by country.

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Documentation

Travel expenses for conferences or meetings should include original receipts for documentation, including the conference agenda, purpose of travel, hotel receipts, airline boarding pass or itinerary, and other receipts for ground transportation.

Ground Transportation details (rental car bill, receipts from taxis or limousines, ticket coupon from rail or bus)are required if greater than $25. Failure to produce a receipt may result in non payment to the employee. Missing or inadequate documentation should follow University policy and the researcher must complete the Accounts Payable Missing/Inadequate Documentation Report.

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Preferred Vendor

When planning travel for sponsored research awards, travelers are encouraged to consult NYU Traveler for potential discounts with particular vendors to optimize financial resources and ensure proper stewardship over federal funds.  

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Use of Personal Credit Card or Department Travel Card

Employees and students who are traveling on sponsored research awards are encouraged to use a department’s travel credit card, when possible, for their purchases and minimize carrying large sums of money for paying expenses. Use of personal credit cards, while discouraged, is allowed.

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Cancelled trips

In accordance with NYU’s travel policy, employees and students who have purchased tickets or incurred expenses for travel on sponsored research awards and that are subsequently cancelled should inquire about using the same ticket for future travel. If the travel is not postponed to a future date, then the expenses should not be charged to the grant, but rather a discretionary chartfield; unless the travel has been cancelled for reasons beyond the employee’s control. Fees associated with changing reservations and late fees for credit cards should not be charged to sponsored projects. See the Business Expenses policy for additional guidance.

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