Travel Regulations

University of California Policy G-28, Travel Regulations, applies to all official University travel, including travel funded by contracts and grants. Campuses and funding agencies may adopt more restrictive procedures. The policy is detailed, covering many travel situations and circumstances. To ensure that your travel complies with policy and can be paid or reimbursed, check the policy prior to booking; do not rely solely on the highlights described below.

Policy Highlights

Who is covered Applies to all official University travel. Includes special rules for non-employees, such as students, visiting scholars, independent contractors, etc.
General standard University employees travelling on official business shall observe normally accepted standards of propriety in the type and manner of expenses they incur.
Expense reporting

It is the traveler’s responsibility to report his or her actual travel expenses in a responsible and ethical manner in accordance with the regulations of G-28.

All travelers must certify their travel reimbursement requests.

A properly completed and approved travel expense claim is used to account for all travel advances and expenses on official University travel. The claim must be processed even if no reimbursement is due to the traveler.

Specific rules apply to reporting periods, documentation requirements, certification, and return of excess advance payments.

Preferred suppliers University business travelers are strongly encouraged to purchase travel services from Preferred Suppliers. Use of Preferred Suppliers should, on average and over time, reduce the University’s overall travel costs and provide the best value to the traveler.

Connexxus provides access to Preferred Suppliers and special University rates, as well as other benefits.
State-funded travel California State Law AB 1887 prohibits state-funded travel to specifically listed states.
Federal-funded travel

“Open Skies Agreements” are bilateral or multilateral air transportation agreements to which the U.S. and the government of a foreign country are parties. Under the Open Skies Agreements, the U.S. government entered into several air transport agreements that allow federally funded transportation services for travel and cargo movements to use foreign air carriers under certain circumstances.

Under the Fly America Act published in Federal Travel Regulation §301-10.13 by the General Services Administration (GSA), only U.S. air carriers shall be used for all travel reimbursed from federal grants and contracts, including NIH Grants.

Please see G-28 policy for more information.

Approval authority Approval authority is limited and must be documented.

Travel expense claims should not be approved by a person who reports directly or indirectly to the traveler. Persons delegated travel approval authority may not approve their own travel.
Directly charging the University The ability and procedures to directly charge the University for travel related expenses varies by expense type.
Cash advances Follow procedures for obtaining, reporting, and clearing cash advances.
Travel insurance All University travelers, including employees, medical residents, students, and fellows, are covered for a wide variety of accidents and incidents while on official travel status.

Travelers must register all out-of-state and foreign country business trips to ensure coverage. Booking through Connexxus preferred travel agencies and supported online booking tools (except for SWABIZ for Southwest Airlines) automatically enrolls the traveler in the in the insurance program. If booking using SWABIZ or non-Connexxus travel agencies or tools, the traveler must register for travel insurance.

Refer to Risk Services website for information on automobile and liability insurance coverage for individuals traveling on University business.
Transportation Transportation expenses are reimbursed based on the most economical mode of transportation and the most commonly traveled route consistent with the authorized purpose of the trip.

Exceptions, such as use of higher classes of air travel, have specific rules and require specific approvals.

Rules apply to use of U.S. Flag Air Carriers, “Open Skies Agreements”, private aircraft, chartered aircraft, private vehicles, rental cars, official vehicles, rail, bus, ship, local public transportation, shuttle services, taxis, and motorcycles.

See Appendix A for standard reimbursement rates for use of private automobile or aircraft on University business.
Subsistence (lodging, meals and incidental expenses) Lodging, meals and incidental expenses (M&IE) must be ordinary and necessary to accomplish the official business purpose of the trip. Such expenses incurred in the vicinity of an employee’s headquarters (work location) or residence are not reimbursed. A traveler must be at least 40 miles from their headquarter location or home, whichever is closer, to be reimbursed for an overnight stay.

See Appendix B for lodging and M&IE reimbursement caps.

Allowable expenses for lodging, meals and incidental expenses depend on duration and location of travel
Location Greater than 24 Hours and less than 30 Days 30 Days to One Year Exceeding One Year
CONUS (within the continental United States) Actual reasonable costs subject to maximum per day cap; cap not treated as per diem.
Documentation for lodging exceeding cap is required when traveler is unable to secure lodging below cap.
No exceptional approval required if prearranged conference lodging rate exceeds lodging cap.
Actual expenses limited to 100% of GSA federal per diem rates Taxable income
Per diem (up to 150% of 30-day per diem)
See policy details
OCONUS (within Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. possessions) Actual costs up to DOD non-foreign locality per diem rates Actual expenses limited to 100% of non-foreign locality per diem rates
Foreign Actual costs up to Dept of State Federal Maximum Travel Per Diem Allowances for Foreign Areas Actual costs up to 100% of federal per diem rate Same as domestic with exceptions for additional taxes and foreign earned income exclusion
Specific rules apply to entertainment meals, multiple locations, partial days, subsistence or lodging provided without charge, non-commercial facilities, lodging with friend or relative, travel less than 24 hours, group expenses, and California city and county transient occupancy tax exemptions.
Miscellaneous and Intercampus Specific rules also apply to miscellaneous travel expenses and intercampus travel expenses.
Special situations Policy covers special travel situations including visiting academic appointees, sabbatical leave, students, postdocs and other non-degree candidates, and non-university travelers such as prospective employees, independent contractors and consultants, foreign visiting scholars, and spouse or domestic partner.