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Policy: VI.B.1x2 (inactive)

Issued: April 21, 2000

Owner: Procurement Services

Latest Revision: October 6, 2000



For Current Policies:
Policy Table of Contents


1.0 Purpose

This policy concerns travel costs while on official University business. It complies with the State Comptroller Manual, Section 20335, State Travel Regulations.

2.0 Policy [Top]


Business trips should be well planned and the need for a trip established before travel begins. All travel must be approved by your supervisor or department head. The traveler should compare prices and use the least expensive transportation and lodging.

The traveler must report and support his/her expense claims. Expenses must be reasonable for the area traveled. The University will check travel vouchers for reasonableness. Fully explain all exceptions and, if possible, cite policies that apply.

The University of Virginia is a public institution governed by the Commonwealth of Virginia. As such, all expense records, regardless of fund source, are open to the public under the Federal and State Freedom of Information Acts.

The University reimburses the expenses of its employees and non-employees, including students, on University business. It does not reimburse the travel expenses of individuals traveling with employees but not on official business. Entertainment is a personal expense and will not be reimbursed. Falsifying expense claims constitutes fraud and will be so treated.


To request reimbursement for expenses incurred while traveling on University business, use the Payment Voucher and the revised Travel Workbook, found in the University’s forms directory. The Voucher must include: the purpose or reason for travel, departure and arrival times, and receipts for all expenses not covered by the Meals & Incidental Expenditures (M&IE) per diem. The M&IE includes tips, taxes, personal telephone calls, laundry, and transportation to where meals are taken.

Refer to Procedure 6-4, "Preparing the Payment Voucher E-Form."

In the case of lost receipts, contact the hotel or rental agency and request a copy. Lost receipts for smaller expenditures may not require replacement.

Original receipts sent with the Payment Voucher must be retained by Accounts Payable for 3 years plus the current year.


2.3.1 Introduction

Individuals traveling overnight on University business may be reimbursed for meals and lodging. The dollar limits may change, based on location and on source of funds. Travelers will be reimbursed actual costs up to maximum applicable guidelines. Although more expensive lodging and restaurants may be used, reimbursement must be limited to the guideline amounts. Consult the following charts to determine an allowable travel budget.

Reimbursement up to $75 for meals and meal tips for a trip involving an overnight stay is considered by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to be non-reportable income.

2.3.2 Source of Funds

Travel costs may be paid from State or Local funds. However, expense limits change with the source of funds.

Local Funds: Lodging costs up to a limit of $250 daily, regardless of purpose or location, may be paid from local funds (ledgers 4, 6, 8, and 9). The $250 limit includes all taxes and fees. Actual meal costs, up to a limit of $110 daily (with no single meal exceeding $65) may be paid from local funds. This limit is not a per diem, so the cost for each meal must be provided and receipts are required for any meal over $25. Any exceptions require the approval of a Dean or Vice President to be processed.

State Funds: Expense limits for State funds (ledgers 1, 2, 3, and 7) vary depending on travel location. Consult the guideline tables below (under 3.3, 3.4, and 3.5) for exact travel expense limits. With the approving signature of the appropriate Dean, Vice President or designee, one can go up to 50% over the guidelines established for in-state, out-of-state, and out-of-country travel. Approving signatures must appear on the completed Travel Workbook. Anything more 50% over the limit must be paid on local funds.

Important: Funds coming from Grants (ledger 5) are subject to State limits, plus any additional limits imposed by the grant itself.

2.3.3 In-State Guidelines for Lodging and Meals

If location is not listed below, refer to Standard rate.


Lodging Rate

M & IE










Manassas (Prince William County)



Richmond (1)






Tidewater (2) (5/1 – 9/30)



Tidewater (2) (10/1 – 4/30)



Wallops Island (Accomack Co.) (6/1 – 10/14)



Wallops Island (10/15 – 5/31)



Williamsburg (3) (4/1 – 10/31)



Williamsburg (3) (11/1 – 3/31)



Wintergreen, Homestead, The Tides Inn, Tides Lodge, and Greenbrier Resorts



    1. Richmond includes: City of Richmond, plus Chesterfield and Henrico Counties
    2. Tidewater Region includes: Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach
    3. Williamsburg includes: Gloucester, Hampton, Newport News, Yorktown, and York County.

    Lodging Rate excludes taxes and surcharges.

    Meals and Incidental Expenses Rate includes tips, taxes, personal telephone calls, laundry, and transportation to where meals are taken.


2.3.4 Out-of-State Guidelines for Travel Lodging and Meals


Lodging Rate

M & IE




Atlanta (Fulton Gwinnett)






Boston (Suffolk, Cambridge)



Chicago (Cook, Lake, O'Hare)



Cincinnati (Hamilton, Warren)



Cleveland (Cuyahoga)






Denver (Adams, Arapahoe)



Detroit (Wayne)



Fort Worth



Houston (Harris)



Las Vegas (Clark)



Los Angeles (Orange, Ventura)



Miami (Dade)



Minneapolis / St. Paul (Hennepin, Rosemount)



New Orleans (Iberville, St. Bernard)



New York (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island)



Orlando (Orange)






Phoenix (Maricopa, Scottsdale) (1/1 - 4/15)



Phoenix (Maricopa, Scottsdale) (4/16 - 12/31)



Pittsburgh (Allegheny)



San Antonio (Bexar)



San Diego



San Francisco



Seattle (King)



St. Louis (St. Charles)



Washington, D.C. (1)



    1. Washington, D.C., includes: Cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax; Virginia counties of Arlington, Loudoun, Fairfax; and Maryland counties of Montgomery and Prince George.

2.3.5 Meal & Incidental Expense Per Diem

In addition to daily expenditure limits, the State has also placed limits on individual meals. This table provides a breakdown of the individual Meal and Incidental Expense guideline amounts for each respective daily meal amount presented in the In-State and Out-of-State Guideline Tables.































75% Travel Days (1)






(1) Prorated per diems for departure and return days are now 75% of the appropriate per diem, regardless of the start or completion time of travel.

Guidelines for Foreign Travel: Per diem rates for allowable expenditures during out-of-country travel can be found on the State Department’s official web site at: http://www.state.gov/www/perdiems/. A copy of the corresponding rates for country or countries visited should be attached to the Payment Voucher as reference for reimbursement.

2.3.6 Important Lodging Information

If possible, the traveler should contact several hotels in the area traveled to obtain cost comparisons. Departments are strongly encouraged to make lodging arrangements through the University's contracted travel agencies.

First Night Lodging: Travelers are sometimes asked to pay for first night’s lodging when they make their reservations. University employees may use their University Travel Card to pay this expense. However, these charges cannot be reimbursed until after the trip. If you need these charges to be prepaid from University funds, ask that the hotel invoice you for any first-night charges, then use the Payment Voucher’s prepayment procedure to have a check issued. Advance payment for lodging is limited to one night.

When two or more people are staying in the same room the reimbursable amount allowed is the corresponding M&IE rate plus the cost charged by the hotel for an additional person.

Travelers should cancel lodging reservations in a timely manner to avoid being charged, or they could be held responsible for charges incurred. Travelers cannot be reimbursed if negligent in canceling reservations.

Note: Hotel bills presented as documentation for reimbursement must show a balance of zero.

Alternate Lodging: When the traveler uses lodging other than hotels/motels, e.g., apartments, private homes, etc. he/she must include a cost comparison and authorization by the Agency head or designee. The cost comparison must show the amount saved by using the alternate lodging.


Non-Overnight Travel or Local Meals: Employees should pay for the meals, then receive reimbursement after submitting appropriate documentation. A credit card charge slip is often used as such documentation. It is against University policy to pay for meals through charge accounts with local vendors. Students helping to recruit prospective students may use their own credit cards, cash, or a petty cash advance to pay for the meal. Non-overnight and local meal expenses can only be paid on local funds.

Package Plans/No-Cost Meals: Such no-cost meals for overnight travel will reduce the M&IE rate by the amount of the meal as shown on the meal chart. The number and type (breakfast, lunch, dinner) of these no-cost meals must be recorded on the travel voucher.

Gratuities: Tips are reimbursed as part of the M&IE per diem, and are not reimbursed separately.

Professional Meetings: The University allows reimbursement of meal expenses from local funds only (ledgers 4, 6, 8, and 9) for employees attending non-overnight professional development meetings when attendance is approved by the department head.

Overtime and Business Meals: Meal expenses not involving an overnight stay are not reimbursable unless documentation supporting the reimbursement clearly establishes that the meal is taken during overtime work periods or for official business reasons. To be eligible for reimbursement, day-trip business meals must be essential to the University's mission or a business necessity, involving substantive and bona fide business discussions, and must be approved by the appropriate Dean or Vice President. You must attach a Business Meal Certification form to all requests for reimbursement of this nature. (See Procedure 6-26.) The restaurant’s original itemized receipt is also required. These expenditures are also subject to the meal guidelines set forth in "Meals and Lodging Guidelines" tables in Section 2.3.

Business meal expenses may go up to 50% above the M&IE rate if approved by the Dean, Vice President, or designee. The approving signature must appear on a completed copy of the Travel Workbook and refer directly to the meal exception.



2.5.1 Introduction

Transportation during travel, whether by public transportation, privately owned auto, state owned vehicle, or for hire conveyance, shall be over the most direct and economical route. Any deviations from a direct route must be explained on the travel voucher and reimbursement may be limited to costs using the most direct route.

2.5.2 Air and Rail Travel

Air and Rail Travel may not exceed the rate for tourist, coach or international business class. Use the most direct and economical route possible. The traveler must return any unused tickets or coupons to the travel agency or department. The department head/employee supervisor must certify that all travel expenditures are appropriate. Travelers should purchase nonrefundable tickets ONLY if the possibility of being rescheduled is minimal.

To purchase air or rail tickets, you may use:

Only purchases made with the UPC can be prepaid. Purchases made with the Travel Card or with a personal credit card cannot be reimbursed until after traveling. Note: For purchases on the UPC greater than its $2,000 limit, including group pricing, contact the Credit Card Coordinator in Procurement Services to lift the transaction limit.

See also Policy VI.B.10, "American Express Travel Card."

See also Policy VII.A.15, "Use of University Purchasing Card."

The University has several contracts with travel agencies in place. Use of travel agency contracts is not mandatory, but it is strongly encouraged.

Travel Priveleges or Unused Tickets: Any special privileges received from University travel, i.e., frequent flyer coupons, reduced rates, free services, free trips, free gifts, etc., or any unused portions of air or rail tickets, belong to the University and must be returned. These special privileges/unused tickets should be reported to the traveler's department and be used to reduce other appropriate travel expenses. Failure to report such privileges could result in disciplinary action.

Private or Chartered Air Travel (except University air charter service) is permitted when authorized by Agency head or designee and has a documented cost benefit analysis. Without prior approval, the University reimbursement will be limited to the current cost of tourist or coach air fare for all passengers, but not exceeding actual cost.

2.5.3 Travel By Auto

When travel is by vehicle, the total travel expense reimbursement, including meals and lodging, shall not exceed the cost of tourist or coach class air fares.

Use of Personally Owned Vehicles is allowed when it is cost justified or a motor pool vehicle is not available. Reimbursement for the use of personally owned vehicles will be allowed at the rate established in the current Appropriations Act, which is $.325 per mile. Reimbursement rates are reduced to $.13 per mile for travel in excess of 15,000 miles in one fiscal year. Prospective employees or consultants who originate their trip outside the Charlottesville area may be reimbursed at the approved state rate of $.325 per mile.

Use of University Motor Pool: Vehicles for in-state business travel may be obtained through the University motor pool. The motor pool is operated through a contract with a commercial car rental agency. For details on this agreement, consult the contract summary sheet on the Procurement Services web site.

For permanently assigned vehicles, see Policy VII.Q.1, "Parking and Transportation Services."

Out-of-Country Travel: In using personal vehicles for out-of-country travel, the University will reimburse the actual cost of operation of such a vehicle. (Out-of-country travel is outside the United States, its territories and possessions, Puerto Rico, and Canada). Travelers should make sure their insurance is in force outside of the U.S.

Transportation to Meals: Transportation between places of lodging (or business) and restaurants during overnight travel are considered reimbursable as part of the meals and incidental expense (M&IE) per diem, and are not reimbursable separately.

Vehicle Rental: University employees are strongly encouraged to rent any vehicles through agencies under contract with the University. The traveler should decline any additional insurance offered for any vehicle leased or rented within the continental United States, its territories or possessions, or Canada. Such insurance will not be reimbursed. Consultants and non-State employees are not covered under the State's automobile self-insurance plan. For these individuals, the University may reimburse car rental insurance. However, the University will only reimburse liability damage waiver (LDW) and collision damage waiver (CDW) insurance.

For vehicles rented outside the United States, its territories, or possessions, or Canada, the traveler is required to purchase the LDW and CDW insurance on the rental contract.

Refer to Policy VII.H.1, "Risk Management Program (Insurance Coverage)."

Travelers should verify that the proper government/corporate rate is used, both at the time of reservation and at pick-up. When the vehicle is rented, the traveler may be required to


Methods of payment include cash, personal credit cards, or the American Express Travel Card. University-issued traveler checks are discouraged.

See also Policy VI.B.10, "American Express Travel Card."

For rental vehicles, the University reimburses actual expenses rather than mileage rates. The traveler must include receipts for both the rental car and gas with the travel expense reimbursement voucher.

Refuel the rental vehicle before returning it. The rental agency's refueling charges are excessive and may not be reimbursable, unless properly justified for safety or time constraint reasons.

For trips originating in the Charlottesville area, University travelers may use a rental vehicle to either their destinations or to a regional airport when the travel is to a regional airport, and includes an overnight stay. Note: In this case, reimbursing the use of a personal vehicle is preferred to using a rental vehicle. A cost comparison or justification is suggested and should be attached.

Public Transportation: Use wherever possible. Public transportation rates must not exceed tourist, coach class, or international business class. Retain all receipts for the Payment Voucher. First Class accommodations must not be used except in an emergency or when there are no other accommodations available. When first class accommodations are used, full justification must be stated on the travel voucher.

Parking and Tolls: Bridge, tunnel, or turnpike tolls and parking fees may be claimed on the travel voucher. The location of the facility as well as the names and reasons for including a charge for passengers, where applicable, must be stated on the voucher. Receipts are required if the reimbursement claim is greater than $10 per item /location.

Commuting: Commuting to and from work for any reason is not considered travel status mileage and is not reimbursable.


Reimbursable travel expenses include:

Laundry expenses are reimbursable as part of the meals and incidental expense (M&IE) per diem. These expenses are not reimbursed separately.

Cash advance fees (Automatic Teller Machine access fees, traveler's check fees) incurred in using the University travel charge card are reimbursable.

Traveler’s checks, passport, and visa expenses are reimbursable. Traveler's checks can be obtained only by using one's University Travel Card and only at the Bursar's Office, the Newcomb Hall Branch of Jefferson National Bank, and the Hospital Branch of the University Credit Union. The travel card does not operate traveler's check machines at other American Express locations. For additional information, see also Policy VI.B.10, "American Express Travel Card."

Funeral attendance expenses for one University representative are reimbursable, if travel is required outside the local area.

Prepaid conference registration fees may be paid by using a Payment Voucher form with proper attachment.

Registration fees for functions related to University business may be reimbursed when employees are expected to attend as part of their job duties. Receipts are required for reimbursement. Fees associated with social or non-mandatory activities at conferences such as tours, sports activities, etc., are considered personal and are not reimbursable.

Telephone calls, telegrams, and facsimiles for official University business paid by the traveler can be claimed. For business related calls, state on the voucher the points and parties between which the calls/wires were made and the reasons.

Personal calls are reimbursed as part of the meals and incidental expense (M&IE) per diem, and are not reimbursed separately.

Business travel and vacation leave: The University reimburses only those expenses related to official business. The University is not responsible for any expenses for accidents or injuries when the employee is not on official business.

Non-reimbursable travel expenses include:

-Lost or stolen articles,

-Alcoholic beverages (never allowable from state funds),

-Excessive meals and lodging,

-Damage to personal vehicles, clothing, or other items,

-Charges to gain entry to a locked vehicle,

-Movies charged to hotel/motel bills,

-All expenses related to the personal negligence of the traveler, such as fines (including parking fines, speeding tickets, etc.),

-Entertainment expenses,

-Towing charges,

-Travel expenses related to family members or companions (including babysitting), unless approved by the President (or designee) prior to the expenses being incurred. In rare circumstances, it may be appropriate to seek reimbursement for the travel expenses of one's spouse. Reimbursements for a spouse’s travel expenses must be approved by the President prior to the expenses being incurred and can only be paid from local accounts (Ledger 4, 6, 8, and 9).

3.0 Definitions [Top]

4.0 References [Top]

State Comptroller Manual, Section 20335, State Travel Regulations (Adobe Acrobat pdf file)

5.0 Approvals and Revisions [Top]

06/26/00 Updated Lodging and M&IE Limits and deleted section on "Travel Authorization".
Previous version in effect from 7/1/95 to 4/21/00 available in policy archive.

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