FI0705 – Travel 


General PolicyNon-Employee Travel
Air TravelOther Expenses
Automobile/GroundReimbursement Procedures
Cash AdvancesReward Points
Conference RegistrationsTeam, Group, and Retreat Travel
Direct Bill of Airfare and Car RentalTrain Travel
International TravelTravel Request
Meal AllowancesContact


To provide policies for traveling on business for the University of Tennessee to i) ensure compliance with state and federal laws and regulations; ii) safeguard efficient use of university money; and iii) create mechanisms for record-keeping and to provide guidance for employees.


  1. General Policy
    1. Business Purpose – The travel must be necessary to execute university business or educational objectives. Professional meetings, conferences, or workshops must be directly connected to the individual’s duties and role within the university.
    2. Full Access – The Tennessee Civil Rights Act of 1990 (Tenn Code Ann. § 4-21-801 et seq.) prohibits official university paid activities in locations, establishments, or commercial facilities that do not grant full access or membership rights and privileges to individuals based on sex, race, creed, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, or disability. No university funds may be paid to such facilities, and employees may not be reimbursed for using these facilities.
    3. Compliance – When traveling, employees should be as conservative as circumstances permit. Reimbursement for travel will be based upon the most direct or expeditious route possible. Employees traveling by an indirect route will be personally responsible for any extra expense incurred. It is the responsibility of the employee to be familiar with and adhere to established travel policies. Deliberate disregard of these regulations while traveling on university business or filing of an intentionally misleading or fraudulent travel claim is grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
    4. Grant and Contract Travel – Travel expenses incurred in connection with a grant or contract (restricted funds) will be paid in accordance with the provisions and reimbursement limitations of university travel policies unless otherwise stipulated by the grant or contract with the exception of airfare. Only economy airfare will be reimbursed regardless of the funding source.
    5. Travel Exceptions – The campus/institute business officer (or designee) and the university treasurer (or designee) must approve any exceptions to this policy with the exception of lodging exceptions. Lodging exceptions require the approval of only the campus/institute business officer.
    6. Travel Supplements – The following travel supplements apply additional policies and procedures for employees eligible for such travel supplements.
    7. Student Travel – All student travel must be reimbursed in accordance with FI0535 – Student Payments (Non-Employment Related) FI0535 – Student Payments (Non-Employment Related)and, if applicable, reported to the campus financial aid office.
    8. In-route expenses – Reimbursement of travel expenses for traveling to and from a business meeting or event is limited to expenses for: one day of travel each way prior to and after the event for domestic travel; and two days of travel each way prior to and after the event for international travel. Additional expenses related to flight delays and cancellations are reimbursable and do not need to be processed as an exception.
    9. Travel Agency – World Travel Services Inc. (“World Travel”) is the university’s travel agency and employees are encouraged to use World Travel to ensure that they receive negotiated discounts, required supporting documentation and assistance in complying with university policy. Concur Solutions is the online self-service booking tool provided by World Travel and is available to all employees. Expenses associated with other travel agencies, including on-line booking tools will not be reimbursed.
    10. Travel Packages – The university will reimburse employees when a travel package (airfare, lodging and rental car) is purchased to obtain the best overall cost for a trip. The package, however, must not contain any expenses not allowed by university  fiscal policy, including, without limitation, first-class airfare, or lodging that exceeds the per diem for the location of travel. The receipt for the travel package must provide an itemization of each expense included and the class of airfare must be documented.
      Booking and/or travel agency fees associated with travel packages are not reimbursable, unless the travel package is booked through the university’s travel agency.
    11. Honorariums – Employees who engage in professional activities (such as speaking engagements or serving on accreditation committees) as representatives of the university occasionally receive honorariums from outside organizations for such professional activities. In such cases, if the university reimburses an employee for the travel expenses for the professional activities for which the employee receives the honorarium, the employee must remit the honorarium in full to the university. The honorarium will then be credited to the account charged for the travel expenses. If the university does not reimburse the travel expenses, the employee may retain the honorarium. Employees cannot be reimbursed for the same travel expenses from an outside organization and the university.
  2. Air Travel
    1. Economy Fare Reimbursement
      1. In accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-7-130, airfare reimbursement is limited to economy fare. Economy refers to any class that is not business or first class. Employees may purchase business or first class fare, but will be reimbursed the cost of economy fare. In such cases, the employee must provide supporting documentation for the cost of the standard economy fare by obtaining a Comparison Quote of the price difference from the same source, using the same carrier, and on the same day the employee purchased the original ticket.
      2. If an economy fare is not available, the employee should purchase the ticket through World Travel Services Inc., who will document the lowest cost fare available, and the employee will be reimbursed the amount of such fare. 
      3. When purchasing a “premium economy ticket” “business select” or “premium select,” employees should consult with World Travel Services Inc. because some of the airlines classify these as business or first class fares.
    2. Comparison Quotes
      1. A comparison quote must be obtained for airfare when any of the following circumstances prevails:
        1. Personal travel is combined with business travel and includes additional destinations. If there is not an additional destination, the airfare is reimbursable and a quote is not needed.
        2. Leaving from a destination other than their primary work location or flying into a city other than the business destination.
        3. A first or business class ticket has been purchased.
        4. Mileage of 1,000 miles or more is being claimed for out-of-state travel for one person, without multiple destinations or the need to transport cargo.
      2. A comparison quote of the economy fare (for the business portion only) must be obtained from the same source using the same carrier and on the same day the original ticket was purchased. A quote obtained after the date the ticket was purchased is not considered sufficient support of savings. If a quote is not obtained at the time the airline ticket is purchased, a quote for the standard economy fare (from the same carrier and day of the week) for the business portion only with at least a 21 day advance purchase will be used to determine the amount of reimbursement. Additional charges such as car rentals, lodging, mileage and meals should be included in determining the least expensive route. Instances where a qualifying quote is provided should not be treated as an exception.
        1. For example: an employee travels to a conference in Orlando, Florida on Monday July 1 and instead of returning on Thursday to their primary work location, the employee travels to Tampa, Florida and returns on Saturday from Tampa. The employee should get a quote on the day that he or she purchases their ticket showing the cost of just traveling to the conference and back to their primary work location. If the employee fails to obtain this quote, they need to attempt to recreate the cost of just attending the conference by obtaining a quote at least 21 days out, departing on a Monday and returning on Thursday to their primary work location and using the same airlines. The employee will be reimbursed the lesser of the cost of their ticket or the quote for the business only flight.
    3. Receipts
      1. The cost of the ticket must be supported by the original receipt.
      2. The receipt must contain
        1. the name of the passenger, 
        2. dates of travel, 
        3. complete trip itinerary (including departure and arrival times), 
        4. amount, 
        5. the name of the airline, and
        6. the class of service that will be identified by either the word “coach” or “economy,” or an economy/coach airfare letter (e.g., W, S, Q, L, etc.).
      3. Employees will only be reimbursed for non-refundable and international airline tickets before the departure date if the ticket is purchased through the university’s travel agency or their online booking tool Concur. Employees, who do not purchase tickets in this manner, will be reimbursed their airfare expenses when the employee returns from their trip. 
      4. The employee must attach the itinerary regardless of who is paying for the expense.
    4. Unused Tickets
      1. Any unused ticket or any portion of an unused ticket must be processed for a refund, if possible. If the airline will not provide a refund, the value of the ticket must be applied as a credit to the fare for a future business trip by the employee or the employee’s department.
        1. The employee is responsible for managing and controlling this process, but the department must also attempt to apply the value of the unused ticket to another employee’s airfare, if possible.
      2. Using unused tickets for personal travel is prohibited and may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.
      3. If the employee has been reimbursed for the ticket and it has not been reused within six months, the university will attempt to apply the credit to another employee’s business trip. 
      4. Cost associated with using the unused ticket, such as change and name fees will be reimbursed.
    5. Airline Fees
      1. Fees imposed by airlines such as seat assignment fees, boarding  pass fees, checked baggage fees and similar fees will be reimbursed, provided a receipt is furnished. A credit card statement is adequate for baggage fees.
    6. Airport Parking
      1. Parking receipts must list the vendor, date and amount. The employee can be reimbursed for one of the following for traveling from their primary work location or residence to and from the airport:
        1. mileage for one round trip and airport parking;
        2. the cost of one round trip taxi fare; or
        3. mileage for two round trips and short-term parking when driven by a friend or relative.
    7. Fly America Act1
      1. Federal grant sponsors require awardees to make use of U.S. flag air carriers even if foreign air carriers are cheaper or more convenient unless one of the following circumstances apply:
        1. For travel originating in the United States, if a U.S. flag air carrier offers nonstop or direct service (no aircraft change) from the origin to the destination, the employee must use the U.S. flag air carrier service unless such use would extend travel time, including delay at origin, by 24 hours or more.
        2. For travel originating both within and outside of the United States, if a U.S. flag air carrier does not offer nonstop or direct service (no aircraft change) between the origin and the destination, the employee must use a U.S. flag air carrier unless, when compared to using a foreign air carrier, such use would:
          1. Increase the number of aircraft changes that must be made outside of the U.S. by two or more;
          2. Extend travel time by at least 6 hours or more; or
          3. Require a connecting time of 4 hours or more at an overseas interchange point.
    8. University Owned Aircraft
      1. University aircraft may be used only to conduct university business and in accordance with Board Policy BT0030 and this policy. 
      2. University aircraft donated by a private donor for the use of an athletics department may be used to conduct athletics business, including the fulfillment of contractual obligations of such athletics’ department to its coaches.
      3. University aircraft may be used only when business cannot be conducted more economically through the use of regularly scheduled commercial aircraft. Specifically, it is appropriate to use university aircraft when the destination is not served by commercial carriers; the time required to use such a carrier interferes with other university obligations; to avoid overnight stays; or the number of officials and employees traveling makes the use of university aircraft cost effective. Time is an important consideration for the president, vice presidents, chancellors, and other senior staff.
      4. When a flight has been scheduled and unassigned seats remain on the aircraft, persons other than those for whom the flight was scheduled may be accommodated on a space-available basis when travel is deemed in the university’s best interest. These include, but are not limited to, employees, persons conducting business on behalf of the university, and guests accompanying staff on university business. The Chief Financial Officer and/or the General Counsel shall approve and review all guest use. The university shall issue an I.R.S. Form 1099 for the total cost of using the university aircraft (calculated according to normal university business practices) if required by applicable I.R.S. regulations.
      5. The Chief Financial Officer shall submit the flight logs each quarter to the Chief Audit and Compliance Officer to review for compliance with policy.
      6. The Chief Financial officer shall submit an annual summary report on use of university aircraft to the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees for review by the Finance and Administration Committee. The summary report should contain, at a minimum, information on users, destinations, maintenance performed and operating costs.
      7. Scheduling Flights on University Aircraft
        1. All flights on university aircraft are scheduled through the president’s office (865- 974-2241). The responsible staff will make every effort to schedule such flights in the most efficient and economical manner possible. Every effort will be made to accommodate all requests consistent with the most efficient use of the aircraft and flight crews.
        2. The president’s office is responsible for ensuring that an AIRPLANE REQUEST FORM is completed for all passengers and for documenting the purpose of each passenger’s trip on the form. The following information should be included:
          1. Departure/return time, date, time, and place
          2. Name of each passenger, title, department charged, institution
          3. Destination(s), including intermediate stops
          4. Purpose of trip for each passenger
          5. Authorization of chief financial officer for guest travel.
        3. Charges for Using University Aircraft
          1. The hourly rate for using university aircraft is set at a level sufficient to recover the cost of maintaining and operating the aircraft. That rate is periodically reviewed and revised as needed. Information on the current rate may be obtained through the president’s office. 
          2. University aircraft users are billed monthly by internal transfer. Charges are determined by multiplying the actual recorded flight time by the hourly rate for use of the aircraft. If persons from more than one department are on the same flight, the charges will be prorated among the departments involved. No additional wait-time charge is assessed when the trip involves inordinately long layovers, nor is there an additional charge for time and expenses of the crew on overnight trips.
        4. Operation of University Aircraft
          1. University aircraft must be operated at all times in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Aviation Agency approved flight manual and the university’s flight operations procedures manual, which is in compliance with the Federal Aviation Act (as amended) and Civil Air Regulations.
          2. A pilot and co-pilot are required on all flights.
          3. Under federal regulations, the pilot of any university aircraft is responsible for and is the final authority as to the flight operation of that aircraft. All decisions concerning the flight itself will rest solely with the pilot. The pilot, however, should keep the chief financial officer informed.
          4. For each flight, the pilot will complete a flight log showing the following:
            1. Flight number and duration
            2. Date
            3. Aircraft number
            4. Destination and intermediate stops of flight
            5. Names of pilot and co-pilot
            6. Name of each passenger
    9. Chartered Aircraft
      1. The University of Tennessee Flight Operations (“Flight Operations”) has contracts for charter flights and will coordinate all charter flights for the university. Generally, university employees whose duties require travel will use commercial carriers or a university-owned aircraft. A chartered aircraft, however, may be used if time and/or distance preclude ground travel, if commercial air service is either unavailable or does not meet the needs of the employee(s), or if a university-owned aircraft is unavailable.
        1. 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.
        2. The charter company must provide Flight Operations 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.
        3. The charter company must provide the System Office of Risk Management with a certificate of liability with the aircraft liability limits or at least $50,000,000 and name The University of Tennessee as an additional insured and include a waiver of subrogation in favor of The University of Tennessee.
        4. Charges for charter services will be billed to Flight Operations who will distribute them to the appropriate departmental accounts by internal transfer. Individuals will not be reimbursed for charter air services. 
      2. The chief executive officer of each campus or institute should assign the following duties to a responsible official:
        1. reviewing and approving requests for charter air services, 
        2. scheduling charter flights with Flight Operations, and 
        3. informing those who request charter flights of the charter company’s policy on canceling scheduled flights.
    10. Employee/Donor Owned Aircraft
      1. To be reimbursed for the use of employee/donor owned aircraft, the owner must request and receive advance approval from the System Office of Risk Management and have the following documents on file with them:
        1. Current copy of FAA Certificate of Airworthiness;
        2. Current copy of pilot’s license and supporting documents indicating the employee has a certification appropriate to the aircraft being flown;
        3. A current Certificate of Insurance evidencing aircraft liability insurance in the amount of at least $5,000,000 and naming The University of Tennessee as an additional insured while the aircraft is being used on approved university business. A waiver of subrogation in favor of the university should be included in the certificate of insurance; and
        4. Signed acknowledgment by the employee that the university will not be responsible for any loss or damage to the employee’s aircraft.
      2. The required documents must be filed with System Office of Risk Management prior to any travel using a private, employee owned aircraft for approved university business even if the owner is not seeking reimbursement. The owner must provide a memo or e-mail with their travel reimbursement request from the System Office of Risk Management stating that all of the required documentation is on file or their request will be denied. Reimbursement will be at the U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA) published rate for private airplanes..
      3. The purchase of insurance required by this section is not intended to waive sovereign immunity or any employee’s immunity. Employees are not authorized to waive any rights under Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 9-8-307(b) and (h) absent the express consent of the State of Tennessee. In the event of a lawsuit arising out of an employee’s use of a private, employee-owned aircraft for approved university business, only the Attorney General’s Office, or its delegate, will assert the Section 9-8-307 defenses on behalf of the individual state/university employee(s), if applicable, and the sovereign immunity defense on behalf of the State. The purchase of the insurance required by this section is made pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 9-8-307(e) and is intended to conform the monetary amount recoverable against the State in the Tennessee Claims Commission to the insurance policy limits; it is not intended to expand the subject matter jurisdiction of the Tennessee Claims Commission.
  3. Automobile / Ground Travel
    1. University Owned Automobile
      1. Employees should use a university-owned automobile when available. 
      2. Whenever possible, employees should purchase gasoline and oil from university motor pool facilities. A gasoline credit card is provided to use with the automobile when such resources are not available. If the provided credit card is not used, gas receipts must be processed on the expense report. 
      3. The use of university vehicles is restricted to the continental United States. See FI0725 – Use of University Vehicles.
    2. Personally Owned Automobiles
      1. An employee may use a personally owned automobile for business travel. The Travel Expense Report must indicate the employee’s itinerary and show the business mileage. 
      2. In lieu of mileage, gasoline purchases can be claimed, as long as the total is not more than the mileage charge. 
      3. The actual receipt for the gas purchase must be submitted with the reimbursement request.
    3. Vehicle Allowance/ Courtesy Car
      1. Employees receiving a vehicle allowance or a courtesy car will be reimbursed the Government Furnished Automobile regardless of which car they used.
      2. Individuals assigned a university car for personal use are not eligible for a mileage reimbursement.
    4. Flying vs. Driving
      1. The choice of flying versus driving is influenced by distance, time, cost and one’s preference. When the destination is out-of-state and flying is the economical choice but one chooses to drive and the round trip is 1,000 miles or more (1,500 miles for UT Martin employees), the reimbursement may not exceed the cost of the lowest available airfare from the same points of origin and destination plus associated estimated costs for parking, and ground transportation. 
      2. If the employee is claiming 1,000 miles or more (1,500 miles for UT Martin employees) and the destination is out-of-state, he or she must obtain an airfare quote in accordance with the Comparison Quotes guidelines outlined above. The quote should be obtained on the date that the trip request is approved or at least 21 days prior to the trip.
        1. This requirement does not apply if two or more employees are traveling in the same vehicle, if there are multiple business destinations, or if the employee is required to transport large amounts of cargo for university business.
    5. Local Mileage
      Reimbursement may not be requested for commuting from the employee’s home to their primary work location regardless of the frequency of such trips per day or if it occurs after business hours or on weekends. Requests for local mileage reimbursement must be submitted in the Concur Expense System using the expense type “car mileage,” and should be submitted only once a month.
    6. Automobile Rentals
      1. Rental cars are permissible when flying to a business destination and it is less expensive than alternative means of transportation (taxi, Uber, train) or when convenience or safety issues justify the additional cost. Employees should include parking and gas in the total cost of the rental. 
      2. Employees are expected to use the Concur online booking tool or the university’s travel agency to book rental cars. 
      3. Restrictions related to rental cars include:
        1. Rentals at primary work location – When it is necessary to rent a vehicle at your primary work location, actual expenses will be reimbursed provided a rejection slip is obtained from the motor pool and submitted with the Travel Expense Report. If there is no motor pool operation serving the employees’ primary work location, such statement will satisfy this condition. If a rejection slip is not obtained, reimbursement will be the lesser of the total rental expense (including gas receipts) or the amount determined by using the standard mileage rate and the number of miles driven for business. Employees may not claim the standard mileage rate, when the rental expenses were lower.
        2. Refueling Rental Vehicles – The Pre-Paid or Fuel Service Option is not permissible, since the employee is charged for a full tank, regardless of the miles driven or $5.99 a gallon under the State’s National/Enterprise agreement. Whenever possible, employees should refuel the automobile prior to returning the automobile. Gas receipts should be obtained and submitted with their reimbursement request.
        3. Rental of Luxury Vehicles. When renting a vehicle, the employee should select the most economical vehicle that serves their needs. The rental of luxury class vehicles, private sedans or car services, and stretch limousines are prohibited for employees.
        4. Insurance – All insurance associated with car rentals should be declined and will not be reimbursed, with the exception of the collision damage waiver coverage for international car rentals. Employees are encouraged to purchase this coverage for all international rentals. For domestic rentals through National/Enterprise, collision damage waivers are included in the agreement, if the vehicle is rented for business use. Reservations must be made through the university’s travel agency or the Concur booking tool to obtain this coverage. In the event of any damage to a vehicle being used for business, the employee must report the damage immediately to the System Office of Risk Management. When physical damage occurs, the employee’s departmental account or other responsible account will be responsible for the first $1,000 of the loss.
        5. 15 Passenger Vans – Rental of 15 passenger vans is prohibited due to safety reasons.
    7. State of Tennessee Car Program
      Employees stationed in Nashville, Tennessee are permitted to use the state of Tennessee’s motor pool operation. They must work with the appropriate State and university officials to ensure that the charges are properly billed to their department.
    1. Tolls
      Toll fees will be reimbursed when necessary and toll charges added to rental car charges for toll pass devices are also reimbursable.
    2. Ground Transportation
      1. If an employee travels by air, reasonable taxi, bus, ride-share (Uber, Lyft), or shuttle, charges to and from airports can be reimbursed. Reasonable taxi fares will also be allowed for travel between lodging and meeting sites and to and from restaurants. 
      2. Receipts are required for expenses over $10 for ground transportation. Employees may submit credit card statements showing ground transportation charges as reimbursable receipts.
      3. Private sedans or car services, and stretch limousines are not reimbursable.
      4. The destination and reason for each fare reimbursement claimed must be listed on the Travel Expense Report, regardless of the amount of the fare.
      5. Claiming expenses that were not incurred is considered theft and employees will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination. 
    3. Parking
      Charges for routine parking while on travel status will be reimbursed. Receipts must be furnished for parking fees over $10.
  4. Cash/Travel Advances
    1. Generally
      Cash/Travel advances may be obtained when university travel would impose a financial burden for the employee or student traveling on university business. Advances from university funds constitute a loan to an individual.
    2. Process
      1. Travelers may request cash advances using the Concur Request module. Travelers should allow enough time for the department head to approve the advance. NOTE: Advances in excess of $3,000 require additional approval by the campus/institute business office with the exception of athletic travel.
      2. Normally, a cash advance is not processed more than ten days before the travel departure date and will be direct deposited into the traveler’s bank account. NOTE: Direct deposit is only available for university employees and university students who have been created in IRIS.
      3. Upon completion of the trip, the employee must submit a Travel Expense Report within 30 days from the end of the trip. The amount of the advance will automatically be deducted from the total expenses incurred. If the advance exceeds the total expenses, the excess funds will be deducted from the employee’s next payroll check.
      4. If a travel expense report is not submitted within 30 days from the end of the trip, the entire amount of the outstanding advance will be withheld from the traveler’s next payroll check or future business reimbursements to the employee. By requesting a travel advance, the employee is authorizing this deduction. Employees who fail to settle their advances within 30 days forfeit future cash advance privileges.
    3. Limits
      Advances are limited to a maximum of 80% of estimated reimbursable travel expenses.
  5. Conference Registrations
    1. Options for Processing Registration
      1. Conference registrations can be processed using one of the three processes described below. They should not be processed more than six months prior to the event unless an “early bird” rate applies and it is documented. Expenses such as golf outings, cruises or attendances by spouses are not permissible unless approval has been obtained from the campus/institute chief business officer.
        1. Invoice.
          1. When an invoice is used, the invoice must be billed to the university and must contain:
            • the name of the employee attending the conference, 
            • date and location of the conference, and 
            • an itemization of all items included in the fee. 
          2. The invoice can be processed either before or after the conference.
          3. The Form T-30 must be accompanied by documentation (i.e., brochure) to support the cost of a registration fee and must specify the amenities included (for example, lodging, meals, membership fee). The documentation should also include conference dates, location and hotel name.
      2. Paid by and Reimbursed to the Employee.
        1. Employees may pay registration fees with personal funds either in advance or at the conference site. 
        2. For reimbursement, the employee must submit a Travel Expense Report upon completion of the trip. 
        3. The employee must attach an itemized receipt for the registration to the Travel Expense Report. 
        4. The employee will not be reimbursed prior to the trip.
      3. Paid by Departmental Procurement or Travel Card.
        1. Departments may pay for conference registration fees with a procurement or travel card either issued to the traveler or the department. 
        2. A receipt detailing all of the charges must be submitted with each transaction. 
        3. Other expenses related to the conference will not be reimbursed unless the conference receipt and itinerary or similar document showing if meals were provided has been properly submitted. 
        4. Departments may either reference the trip number on their procurement card reconciliation or they may file another copy of the conference registration with their procurement card statement.
    2. Meals and Lodging Included
      1. In some instances, meals and lodging will be included in the registration fee. In these instances the following criteria must be met before they can be purchased:
        1. The lodging and meals must be part of a package and listed in the registration materials.
        2. The payment must be to the vendor who is collecting the registration fee.
        3. The items must be directly related to the business purpose of the conference. Extra fees for golf outings, historical tours, sporting events and similar items are not reimbursable unless approved by the chief business office or designee.
        4. For meals and other items purchased at the event, an itemized receipt must be obtained.
  6. Direct Bill of Airfare and Car Rental
    1. Airfare and Automobile Rental
      1. Departments may use travel cards to purchase airline tickets and car rentals and other travel expenses for employees, students, prospective athletes, members of a university sponsored group or team and non-employees authorized to travel at university expense. See FI0531 Travel Cards  for limitations on its use.  
      2. These expenses must not be paid more than 6 months in advance of the travel.
    2. Cardholder
      1. The cardholder, however, is responsible for all charges placed on the card, obtaining acceptable receipts, ensuring that the purchases comply with policy, and processing the transactions in the travel expense systems.
      2. Cardholders should never give their travel card to others.
    3. Expense Report
      If these travelers will incur additional out of pocket expenses on a trip, a travel expense report should be completed by them or on their behalf so that these funds will be paid directly to them. The expense report should note any expenses paid by someone else on their behalf.
  7. International Travel
    1. Rates
      Reimbursement rates for lodging, meals, mileage, and incidentals will be  in accordance with the Federal rates (OCONUS) for the city and country for all international travel. Note: OCONUS rates for lodging include all taxes; therefore reimbursements are limited to the OCONUS rates for that city and country.
    2. Receipts
      Pertinent information on international receipts must be translated to English and signed by the person who translated the documents.
    3. Conversion to U.S. Dollars
      1. The CONCUR travel expense system will convert amounts toU.S. dollars based on the transaction date. Conversions shown on credit card statements are also acceptable, if they contain the amount claimed and are attached to each receipt. Credit card purchases do not need to be converted to dollars, since the credit card does this automatically.
      2. International credit card transaction fees are reimbursable and expense type “International Transaction Fees” must be selected to process these.  A credit card charge that combines all hotel charges (lodging, taxes, food, internet, etc.) should be prorated based on the hotel receipt and the applicable policy for that expense type.
    4. Passports and Visas
      Fees and expenses incurred for the purchase of passports  and visas for university business travel will be reimbursed prior to the trip. Expenses, including a receipt for the passport or visas, must be fully documented. Expenses related to passports, birth certificates, and visas as a condition of employment are considered a personal expense.
    5. Immunizations
      Immunizations and vaccines associated with international travel for university business are reimbursable. COVID tests that are required to travel for university business are also reimbursable.
    6. Insurance
      Any type of international travel insurance that is required by a campus/institute is reimbursable.
  8. Lodging
    1. Non-Conference Lodging
      1. Lodging expenses will be reimbursed subject to the maximum amounts shown in The U.S. General Services Administration’s Per Diem Rates or the negotiated rate with a University Preferred Hotel
      2. Receipts are required and must include the
        1. address of the hotel, 
        2. name of the individual occupying the room, 
        3. daily room charge, 
        4. applicable tax, and 
        5. total charges. 
      3. World Travel Services (the university’s designated travel agency) can assist employees in locating CONUS rates. In the event World Travel cannot secure a CONUS rate for a trip, a World Travel consultant will document that a CONUS rate is not available and the rate booked is the lowest reasonable rate available at the time of the booking. The documentation will be in the form of an e-mail and must be attached to the reimbursement request along with the hotel receipt. Employees who use this process will not be required to process the lodging as an exception. 
        1. NOTE: The reimbursement rate for lodging and meals is based upon the city where the employee spends the night. Therefore, the lodging location on the travel expense report must match the address of the hotel.
      4. Short-term rentals from services such as Airbnb, Vacation Rental by Owner and others are allowable if the cleaning fees, service fees and other charges do not exceed the applicable CONUS rate. The employee is responsible for any charges related to damages incurred during their stay. Receipts for these rentals must be from a company that rents the property.
    2. Conference Lodging
      1. Employees attending a conference, seminar, or group meeting where a block of rooms has been negotiated will be reimbursed for room and tax at the conference or group rate. A conference brochure/agenda or other documentation must be attached to the reimbursement request and contain the name of the designated conference and/or overflow hotel(s) and the applicable room rates. The absence of the room rate in the conference brochure/agenda will limit the reimbursement to the CONUS/OCONUS rate.
      2. In the event the employee lodged in a hotel of their choice, the amount of the reimbursement will be limited to the rate of the conference hotel, documented by conference literature, and attached to the expense report. As long as the lodging rate is equal to or less than the conference hotel rate, the reimbursement request does not need to be treated as an exception. In the event the conference materials do not contain a conference-lodging rate, CONUS/OCONUS rates will be applicable.
    3. Long-Term Lodging
      Employees on a travel status for more than two weeks may elect to rent an apartment rather than stay in a hotel. Department head approval is required prior to renting an apartment. The cost of the apartment including the rental of furniture and payment of utilities must not exceed the standard university lodging per diems. The rental agreement must be in the name of the employee and the employee is liable for all resulting fees, damages and penalties.
    4. Sharing a Room
      1. When two employees authorized to travel on university business share a room, each employee should pay for their own lodging and request their own receipt. They are entitled to a combined applicable CONUS or OCONUS lodging rate and this doesn’t need to be treated as an exception. 
      2. If it is not possible to get separate receipts, one employee may pay the entire amount and claim the expenses. In these instances, the Travel Expense Reports for both employees must identify the others name, personnel number and trip number and the person incurring the expense will be reimbursed.
    5. Hotel Fees
      Early departure, late check-out and other hotel fees will be reimbursed, provided an explanation and a receipt are obtained.
    6. Deposits
      1. Hotel deposits will be reimbursed prior to a trip, if required by the terms in a contract or if deposits are standard practice for the event. The university will also pay invoices from the hotel if the rates comply with policy or an accompanying agreement.
      2. Non-refundable advance purchase rooms are discouraged. 
  9. Meal Allowances
    1. Rate
      Daily meal and incidental allowances are based on the CONUS rates for locations of travel and will be based upon the city where the employee spent the night.
    2. In-route days
      Reimbursement for meals for the day of departure and the day of return will be 75% of the normal reimbursement rate regardless of the time of departure or return. If one trip ends and another begins on the same day, meal deductions should be made on one of the trips and noted on both trips so that the employee is not reimbursed more than 100% of the meal allowance for that day.
    3. Meals Provided During a Trip
      1. When a meal is provided by a conference, donor, or others, the employee must deduct the corresponding meal from their travel allowance in the concur expense module. Their allowance will be reduced based on the CONUS rules and number of meals provided.
        1. If the employee elects not to eat a conference provided meal, the deduction should still be taken. Otherwise, the university is purchasing the same meal twice.
      2. Conference registration material showing the meals being served must be submitted with the travel reimbursement request before the reimbursement request will be processed. If the employee was in route to or from the destination city of the event and missed the provided meal, they may claim the meal allowance for the meals they missed. 
      3. Continental breakfasts that may be included in a registration fee are not considered a meal. A continental breakfast is a light breakfast typically consisting of coffee, cereal and pastries. 
    4. Meal Allowance for One-Day Trips
      Employees are entitled to 75% of the meal per diem for one-day travel from their primary work location, if it is 12 hours or longer.
  10. Non-Employee Travel
    1. Guests
      1. Guest travelers are individuals not employed by the university, who are incurring travel expenses at the invitation of the university. These could be researchers, job candidates, students, and speakers. 
      2. Any guest with expenses must be entered into the IRIS HR system as a Guest and assigned an employee number. The person responsible for submitting travel expense reports on behalf of the guest (delegate) must be identified in this transaction.  
      3. Guest travel must comply with this policy.
    2. Non-resident Alien Guests
      1. Travel payments to nonresident aliens may be subject to withholding tax. To be nontaxable, the trip must have a business purpose and benefit the university. These trips can include expenses for an employee, a candidate for employment invited by UT to interview, an independent contractor or honorarium recipient, or a bona fide volunteer with a documented business purpose.  
      2. Except for employees, the nonresident alien recipient of the travel must complete the UT Foreign National Independent Contractor/Guest Traveler Payment form and document the purpose of the trip and attach the required documents for their immigration status as listed on  
      3. If a trip is determined to be taxable, the payment will be grossed up and the department will be charged for any taxes due.
    3. Transportation
      Guests are covered under the university’s automobile liability insurance for business use and the university’s rental car coverage through Enterprise/National. Additional insurance to cover personal exposure is at the discretion of the guest, but not reimbursable by the university.
    4. Individuals Accompanying a Guest
      1. Travel expenses for spouses accompanying a job candidate for a university position are reimbursable and do not have to be entered as an exception. Expenses associated with all other individuals who are accompanying guests must be entered as exceptions with an explanation given in the Comments section. These expenses require approval from the campus business officer and the chief financial officer and it is prudent to obtain advance approval before these expenses are incurred. 
      2. Expenses associated with individuals other than their spouse may also be considered taxable and the university might be required to report these reimbursements to the IRS.
    5. Signatures
      Guests are not required to sign or certify their travel reimbursement request but departments are encouraged to share the request with them to verify that the information is correct. The person named as the “delegate” on the IRIS transaction is authorized to submit travel expenses on behalf of the guest. The guest, however, will be reimbursed for any expenses incurred by them.
    6. Former Employees
      Anyone who has a personnel number in IRIS but is in a withdrawn status at the time of the travel should be rehired as a guest employee through IRIS. Their expenses can then be processed in the same manner as other guests. 
    7. Contractors
      Contractors who are being reimbursed travel expenses in accordance with a contract or other agreement must be paid using the IRIS transaction ZAP Entry and select “Contract Invoice/T-27”. All receipts and supporting documentation should be attached with this transaction.
  11. Other Expenses
    1. Personal
      1. Personal expenses will not be reimbursed. These include, but are not limited to, laundry, honor bars, TSA pre-check expenses, and other types of personal expenses. If personal charges are made with a UT Travel Card, they must be processed using expense type “Non-reimbursable or Personal.” The cost of these charges will be deducted from other out of pocket expenses. 
      2. If the personal charges exceed the out of pocket expenses, the amount will be deducted from the cardholders next payroll check. 
      3. Excessive personal charges will result in the card being cancelled.
    2. Business Expenses
      Items such as printing, duplication, and promotional materials required for business are allowable expenses and will be reimbursed. A detailed receipt is required.
    3. ATM
      Expenses to obtain funds at automated teller machines (ATM) are not reimbursable except for international locations where this is a desirable method to obtain cash. Receipts supporting the fee must be submitted.
    4. Internet
      Computer connect charges to access or connect to the university will be reimbursed. An explanation and receipt for the charge must be provided on the Travel Expense Report.
    5. Telecommunications
      1. Business-related phone charges while in travel status, including international travel, will be reimbursed for airtime, roaming, and applicable taxes for individuals who do not have a cell phone allowance or a university phone. Support for these charges must be provided with the Travel Expense Report. 
      2. The Knoxville Telephone Service Department can provide departmental long distance phone cards for all campuses and all university personnel, if needed. The departmental cards permit domestic long distance calls to be made while traveling and to be billed directly to the employee’s departmental account. 
      3. Accessories or repairs to personal phones are not reimbursable.
    6. Tips
      1. Tips associated with hotel stays are not permissible, since they are included in the employee’s per diem. Tips with other expenses, including groups travel, are considered a reimbursable expense and should be based upon the level of service, but should not exceed 20% of the total. Tips exceeding 20% must be processed as an exception. 
      2. The addition of a tip on a receipt does not constitute an alteration of the receipt.
  12. Reimbursement Procedures
    1. Reimbursement
      1. Employees may obtain a travel card in accordance with applicable policies or they may pay their own expenses and seek reimbursement.
      2. Students and guests are not eligible for travel cards and must pay their own expenses and seek reimbursement or the university may directly pay travel expenses on their behalf.
      3. Expenses will not be reimbursed more than 6 months in advance of the trip.
    2. Process
      All employee travel expenses should be processed in the Concur TravelExpense System. All required receipts must be attached and routed electronically through Concur for the required approvals and to the appropriate business office for audit.
    3. Timely
      1. Employees must submit claims for reimbursement for travel expenses no later than 120 days after completion of travel, with the exception of cash advances and travel card transactions which must be settled within 30 days after the trip. Failure to do so could significantly delay the reimbursement. 
      2. In accordance with Internal Revenue Service Guidelines, claims not submitted in a timely manner may be considered taxable income.
    4. Rates
      1. Reimbursement per diem amounts (meals, lodging, and mileage) are located in the Travel Reimbursement Rate Schedule. 
      2. Reimbursement of expenses incurred while on university business is subject to the limitations in this policy. The limits do not indicate the amounts that should be spent but provide maximum amounts that can be reimbursed.
    5. Receipts
      1. Receipts are required for all expenses exceeding $10 and they must
        1. be issued by the vendor,
        2. be legible, 
        3. include the amount,
        4. include the date of purchase, and 
        5. include details of the charges. 
      2. Credit card statements or slips do not qualify as a receipt except in the cases of ground transportation, tolls, baggage fees and parking.
    6. Eligibility
      An employee is considered to be on travel status and eligible for reimbursement at the time of departure from his or her  primary work location  or residence, whichever is applicable.
    7. Primary Work Location 
      1. The  primary work location of an employee is his or her office headquarters or designated work location. The primary work location is typically the location from which the employee performs the major portion of his or her assigned duties and should be identified as the employee’s “Primary Office” address in their IRIS record. 
      2. The workstation closest to an employee’s residence should be designated as the  primary work location for an employee with multiple workstations.
      3. All reimbursement should be based upon the employee’s primary work location. An explanation must be given if the reimbursement is based upon a location other than the primary work location. 
    8. Temporary Assignments
      1. In the event that an employee is temporarily reassigned to a work location other than his or her usual location, that location shall become the employee’s primary work location. 
      2. The employee will not be eligible for reimbursement to the temporary location unless he or she can demonstrate that by commuting to the temporary location he or she has incurred additional expense over the cost of the commute to his or her usual primary work location.
      3. Expenses incurred at an employee’s primary work location  will not be reimbursed by the university and are considered personal.
    9. Expenses for Others
      If an employee pays expenses associated with another employee, guest or student, the expenses must be submitted at the same time as their other expenses and each expense report should reference the other.
    10. Scanned Documents
      1. To reduce costs, improve efficiencies, improve record retention and reduce the amount of time that it takes to process travel reimbursements, receipts must be scanned and attached to the reimbursement request. The documents to be attached include, but are not limited to,
        1. worksheets,
        2. conference brochures,
        3. receipts,
        4. instructional notes, and
        5. all other pertinent documents supplied by the employee. 
      2. Once the reimbursement request has been processed, the scanned, electronic documents in Concur will serve as the official record for legal and accounting purposes. The department should keep any paper records until their ledgers have been reconciled for each trip and then they may be destroyed unless federal funds were used to purchase the travel and the granting agency requires the paper receipts to be retained for longer.
    11. Personal Travel Combined with Business Travel
      1. When a stay at a business location is extended either prior to or after the business mission for personal reasons, the entire airfare may be reimbursed. Other expenses incurred during the personal portion of the stay such as meals, lodging and other transportation are not reimbursable and the employee should exercise care not to seek reimbursement for these expenses. 
  13. Reward Points
    1. University employees are allowed to earn points and miles associated with airline, hotel and rental car frequent travel programs for business travel expenses for accounts in their name. They may not set-up corporate reward programs in the name of the University. The university will not purchase or reimburse employees any costs associated with redeeming and/or earning these points, even if the redemption is for university business.
  14. Team and Group Travel
    1. Definition
      The policy for team and group travel applies when two or more individuals are traveling together on university business.
    2. Authorization for Official Travel
      A single travel request may be executed for out-of-state and international travel. If known, all individuals traveling in the group must be listed on the travel request or as an attachment to the request. If a request isn’t required (in-state travel) or the individuals traveling were unknown when the request was approved, the employees must be listed on the Travel Expense Report or as an attachment to the Travel Expense Report.
    3. Transportation
      1. Transportation can be provided by contracted service, university motor pool vehicle, or personal vehicle.
        1. Transportation exceeding bid limits must be procured through Procurement Services, except for commercial airfare.
        2. When necessary to rent a vehicle at an primary work location , actual expenses will be reimbursed, provided a rejection slip is obtained from the motor pool and submitted with the Travel Expense Report. If a rejection slip is not obtained, reimbursement will be the lesser of the actual rental expense or the amount determined by using the standard mileage rate and the number of official miles driven.
    4. Lodging
      Lodging expenses may be billed directly to the university. When these expenses cannot be billed directly, the person responsible for the trip may obtain a travel card or cash advance to pay for the lodging. If a hotel or motel requires a purchase order, a requisition must be submitted directly to the campus purchasing department. The travel card may be used for payment even if a contract exists.
    5. Meals
      1. Meals may be procured in one of the methods described below. The amount distributed may not exceed the amounts shown for meal allowances in the Travel Reimbursement Rate Schedule. Groups are entitled to a 75% meal per diem for same day trips.
        1. Group meals may be billed directly to the university. The invoice or receipt for such expenses must identify the group for which the charges are made, number of meals served, cost per meal, and total amount.
        2. The person responsible for the trip may pay the group meal expenses personally and request reimbursement by filing a travel expense report. An invoice or receipt must be attached which identifies the group for which the charges are made, number of meals served, cost per meal, and total amount.
        3. The person responsible for the trip may obtain a cash advance or a group travel card to pay for such expenses. See the FI0531Travel Cards FI0530 – Procurement Cards for more information regarding group travel cards.
        4. The person responsible for the trip may obtain a cash advance and distribute cash to members of the group, including the accompanying staff. The distribution of cash must be documented by completing a roster. The roster must contain participants’ names, student IDs or employee numbers, and the amount distributed for each meal. (See example below.) Each individual receiving cash must sign the roster. The person responsible for the trip must submit the signed roster with their travel expense report in order to be reimbursed by the university.
        5. For team travel, funds may be distributed using the university’s pre-paid card solution. Rosters are not required if the university’s pre-paid debit card program is used to distribute meal per diems to the group, since the distribution of the funds is recorded in the pre-paid card system. Pre-paid debit cards are only available to athletic departments of groups that have the same students making recurring trips and requiring meal per diems.
    6. Sample Roster
Meal Expenses
NameStudent ID
or Per No
  1. Train Travel
    1. Class of Service
      Travel by train is permissible but first class tickets must be processed as an exception and the business purpose provided.
  2. Travel Request
    1. Authorization
      1. The Travel Request processed in Concur is the official authorization for travel. 
      2. Traveling to and from a business meeting or event is limited to one day each way before and after the event for domestic travel and two days for international trips. The Travel Request should reflect these dates. 
      3. The request should be completed as far in advance of the trip as possible to allow for proper routing and approval.
    2. In-State Travel
      1. For most employees, a Travel Request is not required for in-state travel. Some campuses and units  require a travel request for all travel. 
      2. If an employee travels into another state and back in the same day, such travel will be considered in-state for approval and reimbursement purposes, including such travel on the UT or chartered plane.
    3. Out-of-State Travel
      A Travel Request is required for out-of-state travel and must be approved by the the department head of the employee’s responsible cost center or designee.
    4. International Travel
      1. A Travel Request is required at least 10 business days in advance for all international travel and must be approved by, the department head, the chief business officer and the campuses/institutes center for international travel office. 
      2. Reimbursement will not be provided without these preauthorizations for international travel:
        1. If the travel is to a county on the Federal Export Control list, the campus/institute’s export control office must also approve the request.  
        2. Campuses may also require additional registration in their international risk management systems. 
    5. Officers of the University
      Members of the Board of Trustees and Officers of the University as defined by the Bylaws of the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees do not require authorization to travel.

1 Most federal agencies accept code-sharing agreements between the U.S. and foreign air carriers when the U.S. carrier’s designator and flight number are identified on the ticket or documentation. When the code share is between a U.S. air carrier and a non-U.S. air carrier, the ticket stock or documentation for electronic tickets must identify the U.S. airline’s designator code and flight number as the marketing carrier to comply with the Fly America Act. An example of this is: UA 1002 (Operated by LH 1224) where UA = United Airlines (U.S. Carrier) and LH = Lufthansa (non-U.S. Carrier) Transportation also may be provided by a foreign flag air carrier if the transportation is provided under an air transport agreement between the United States Government and a foreign government, which the U.S. Department of Transportation has determined meets the requirements of the Fly America Act.

The U.S. Government has entered into several air transport agreements, called “Open Skies” agreements, which allow federally funded transportation services for travel and cargo movements using foreign air carriers under certain circumstances. For information on “Open Skies” agreements to which the United States is a party, please refer to the General Services Administration’s website at

Some funding sources may have policies that are more restrictive. Employees using federal funding sources must comply with the most restrictive of the applicable policies.


  • T-30 Conference and Seminar Registration Prepayment Form


  • Per Diems for Travel in Continental U.S. (CONUS)
  • Per Diems for Travel Outside Continental U.S. (OCONUS)
  • Travel Supplements:
  • Travel Supplement One (Athletic Departments)
  • Travel Supplement Two (UT Pilots Co-Pilots Crew Members)

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Tisha Marshall (865) 974-2302

Related Policies: FI0725 – Use of University Vehicles, BT0030 -Policy Statement on Travel.