Tips for Adhering to Sponsor’s Requirements
What to do before you (or the SU employee) depart?
- Determine what will be unallowable and allowable travel expenses before you depart
- Review the award’s terms and conditions for allowable expenses; some sponsors defer to the University’s travel policy http://supolicies.syr.edu/admin/travel.htm.
- Common,ordinarily allowable expenses for international activities include travel, ground transportation, itemized receipts for meals, transcription or translation services.
- The award document is the ultimate guide for determinations of allowability; if silent – SU policies ordinarily apply.
- Consider requesting a travel advance if you don’t have an SU credit card
- Enroll in direct deposit for travel advances as well as reimbursements
- GO TO: myslice.syr.edu | Employee Services | Employee Reimbursement
- SU matriculated students can sign up for direct deposit at (Yes – you might not be an employee but this should still work)
- Request the advance at least two weeks before departure to ensure funds are available when needed
- For travel expenses only, use the travel voucher.
- For travel and research expenses, use the Employee Expense Reimbursement Request form located here.
- Distinguish costs for travel advance and research activities (estimated amounts for each)
- Determine if your grant allows “pre-award expenditures” to facilitate essential travel expenditures.
- Contact OSP for guidance (process similar to forward funding request).
- Pre-award expenditures will not allowable for agencies/programs that require prior approval of international travel, e.g., Dept of Defense and associated services or US Dept of Education.
- Confirm you have sponsor prior approval for international travel prior to purchasing tickets.
- Check the award’s terms and conditions, budget and budget narrative
- NOTE: Some federal agencies have waived the need for prior approval, but for others i.e. defense agencies, prior approval is required even if written into the approved budget (see https://www.nsf.gov/awards/managing/rtc.jsp).
- Work with OSP well in advance; some agencies are notoriously slow in approving foreign travel, e.g. NSA
- The cost of int’l travel will be disallowed if necessary approvals are not obtained.
- If travel will be supported by a federal agency, be sure to fly on a US air carrier or code share arrangement (US carrier is on the ticket stub) unless an exception or Open Skies Agreement applies.
- Consider working with BTI – request expert in international travel
- Use Travelocity, Expedia etc to use/identify US carriers. Or book directly through a US carrier.
- NOTE: There are some exceptions to “Fly America Act.”
- Work with OSP before booking ticket to identify if applicable or for any questions.
- Save all search results in your files to document; sort travel results by duration and print copy for your files.
- Check the state department for travel warnings and alerts
Warnings (long term) and Alerts (short term): https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings.html
Country specific information https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings.html
- If the destination is listed under warnings or alerts, (i.e. “considered not suited for travel”) approval from the Vice Chancellor is needed.
- Secure this approval before tickets are purchased; be sure OSP and OSA are copied on decision.
- If circumstances change, please contact OSP for guidance.
- Have your department’s budget manager (or whomever is applicable) book travel-related expenditures on their University credit card.
- Reminder, only the card owner may make these charges.
- Trip insurance etc only benefits the card holder
What to do when abroad to streamline reimbursement on return
Document expenses daily while you’re away
- Record them in a little black note-book, a loose-leaf binder or similar aide
- Bring along a 30 day expandable folder for receipts
- Don’t tape over ‘thermal tape’ receipts, because the information will be lost
- Note the purpose of the expenditure on receipts or in your log as memories fade
- Bring a receipt book with you, for occasions where receipts not the norm. At a minimum, keep your daily expenditure log current as that will be suitable means of documentation.
- You must have an itemized folio for hotel lodging
- There are no exceptions to this requirement
Facilitating reimbursement on your return
Submit the travel voucher, your corresponding and organized receipts and expenditure log in a timely manner (i.e. ideally within two weeks of your return).
- Currency conversion: Convert international currency to US dollars
- Plug in currency, date rate, and select CSV for format
- Copy data to word, replace spaces with tab, convert text to table, copy to excel, copy again, past special, transposed
When you have a range of dates: http://www.oanda.com/convert/fxhistory
- For a single or few dates: http://www.oanda.com/converter/classic
For extended travel aboard:
- Document details on a single spread sheet; roll-up amounts in travel voucher categories and present on “University” travel voucher
- Clarify in ‘notes’ that exchange rate applied is the rate in effect on date currency was exchanged.
- For un-receipted currency exchange: the rate in effect on the date of purchase will be applied.