3301 PR.01 Travel Arrangements for University Business

Revision Date: 
April 20, 2021


1.      Overview

2.      General Principles of Making Travel Arrangements

3.      Ground Transportation Arrangements

4.      Lodging Arrangements

5.      Group Travel Arrangements

6.      Business Meals, Entertainment, and Other Travel Expenses

7.      Arrangements for Travelers Who Are Neither Citizens nor Permanent Residents of the United States

8.      Arrangements for Non-Employees

9.      Payment Methods and Documentation

1. Overview

This procedure supports Policy 3301 Travel on University Business  It details the processes and the related expectations and guidelines generally applicable to travel on University business.

Note: While portions of this procedure relate generally to air travel on University business, refer to Procedure 3301 PR.03 Air Travel on University Business for specific air travel-related processes, expectations, and guidelines.

2. General Principles of Making Travel Arrangements

Travelers (or their designees) conducting Yale business are expected to be prudent when selecting transportation and accommodations.  Prior to making travel arrangements, travelers and their designees should familiarize themselves with the general travel principles in Policy 3301, Section 3301.1, and the additional expectations specific to the type of reservations planned.

Travelers (or their designees) conducting Yale business are encouraged to plan their travel as far in advance as possible, as the availability of lower fares and rates is generally greater when reservations are booked well in advance.  While the optimal booking time may vary, the effective practice is to book travel as far in advance as possible when plans become firm.  Note: travel on sponsored awards may be governed by different effective practices.  In such instances, travelers and their designees are expected to comply with the relevant guidance. 

A. University-Preferred Travel Service

The University strongly encourages travelers (or their designees) to make travel arrangements using Egencia or WorldTek.  Although no one source (e.g., travel agency or online booking tool) can claim to have the lowest fares 100% of the time, the University’s preferred travel suppliers generally provide the best overall value.  These services allow travelers to take advantage of University-negotiated discounts.

For information on the benefits of using a preferred supplier, see Benefits of Using Egencia.

For information on joining and using Egencia, see Getting Started on Egencia.

Note: Egencia is set up expressly for travel on University business, and it may not be used for making personal air or rail arrangements.  It may, however, be used for making personal hotel and car rental arrangements.

3. Ground Transportation Arrangements

Prior to making ground transportation arrangements, travelers and their designees should familiarize themselves with the ground transportation principles in Policy 3301, Section 3301.3.

In general, travelers (or their designees) are expected to select ground transportation that is reasonably priced, consistent with business requirements.  For example, when complementary shuttle services (e.g., from a hotel) are available and practical, travelers are strongly encouraged to use such services.

A. Use of Personal Automobiles

Employees may use their personal vehicles for business purposes.  The use of a personal vehicle for University business will only be reimbursed at the federal mileage allowance rate for business travel, published in the Controller’s Office Fact Sheet.  This rate covers the cost of vehicle usage, including gasoline; the traveler will not be reimbursed separately for gas expenses.  Travelers will, however, be reimbursed for tolls and reasonable parking fees.  For additional information, see Policy 3301, Section 3301.3.

B. Rental Cars

When renting a vehicle for University travel, travelers (or their designees) are expected to rent a reasonably priced vehicle (e.g., compact or midsize passenger car), consistent with business requirements.  For a list of preferred vendors, see Ground Transportation.  Yale contracted discount rates are available through Egencia.

In general, rental companies require the following to rent a vehicle:

  • traveler must have a valid driver’s license;
  • traveler must have a Yale PCard or major credit card in their own name;
  • traveler must be at least 25 years old (some car rental companies have lower or higher age restrictions and may charge an additional fee; refer to the individual car rental company for specific requirement).

Note: Yale does not permit the rental of 12- and 15-passenger vans for University business because of the possibility of serious accidents and injury to passengers.  The Office of Risk Management does not extend Yale’s insurance coverage to these vehicles.

If a rental car accident occurs, travelers must submit a written accident report to the rental car company, local authorities (as required), and Yale’s Risk Management Office.

For additional information, including insurance coverage for rental vehicles, see Policy 3301, Section 3301.3.

C. Taxis and Rideshare Services

Yale does not reimburse, or otherwise pay, for the use of Zip cars, taxi service, or rideshare service (e.g., Uber, Lyft, etc.) for travel between University locations.  When traveling away from University locations, however, travelers may utilize, and Yale will reimburse for, reasonably priced Zip cars, taxi services, or rideshare services.

D. Private Car Service

The University allows the use of a private sedan or town car service when the cost is reasonable and consistent with business requirements.  The decision to use a private car service should be made jointly by the traveler and departmental business office, based on an analysis of cost and business requirements.

Use of a private stretch limousine should be limited to situations involving multiple passengers or exceptional circumstances.  Travelers (or their designees) must document the justification on the applicable expense report.

For a list of preferred vendors, refer to Private Car Service.

E. Train Travel

Travelers (or their designees) using train service should book train fare within the main cabin class (e.g., economy, coach) that is reasonably priced, consistent with business requirements.  Travelers are permitted, when applicable funding allows, to use business class, but not first class, train service.

4. Lodging Arrangements

Prior to making lodging arrangements, travelers and their designees should familiarize themselves with the lodging principles in Policy 3301, Section 3301.4.

In general, Lodging is an appropriate business expense for multi-day travel beyond 50 miles from a regular work location.  The University does not pay for lodging related to single-day travel within 50 miles of a regular work location.

Travelers (or their designees) are expected to select a reasonably priced hotel room with a single occupancy rate.  The University reimburses actual hotel expenses.  Travelers must not use federal per diem rates for lodging.

Yale contracted discount rates are available through Egencia.

A. Airbnb

Travelers are permitted to use Airbnb for lodging.  The preferred method for arranging Airbnb lodging is the Yale Airbnb for Business platform, using a Yale email address.  The preferred method of payment for Airbnb is the Yale PCard.  See the Yale Airbnb page for more information.

B. New Haven Area Special Rates

Yale has contracts with several hotels in the New Haven area for special rates for individual travelers on University business.  A current list of these hotels is available at Hotel Discounts.

C. Travel Greater than 30 days

It is expected that when research or business requires residence in a distant location for periods of time greater than 30 days, travelers (or their designees) will be able to find less expensive accommodations.  Therefore, reimbursement for actual lodging expenses for travel greater than 30 days is permitted only up to 50% of the current published federal per diem rates for lodging expenses at that location for the applicable time period, available at Domestic Per Diem or Foreign Per Diem.  These reimbursement limits apply for the entire duration of the trip, not just the portion of the trip greater than 30 days.

D. Lodging in Private Residence

Travelers who stay in a private residence at no cost to the traveler will be reimbursed for a reasonable token of appreciation (not to exceed $100 per trip) for the courtesy of staying with the host.  Proper documentation must be provided with the expense report and charges must be coded to the unallowable travel ledger account and spend category.  Reimbursement is not permitted for individuals who own the place of residence.  Note: Tokens of appreciation may not be charged to sponsored project funds. 

E. Cancellations

If travel plans change, the traveler (or their designee) should make every effort to cancel hotel reservations in advance to avoid any penalties.  Penalties or cancellation fees incurred for changes to hotel reservations due to business reasons or circumstances beyond the traveler’s control will be reimbursed.  Note: In certain limited situations, penalties may be reimbursable under a federally-sponsored award.  Direct questions concerning the appropriateness of penalty charges on sponsored awards to your award manager in OSP for assistance.

5. Group Travel Arrangements

Several resources exist for providing assistance with planning and arranging group travel, conferences, and other events involving multiple people.  For detailed information on the availability of these resources, visit Group Travel and Meeting Planning Resources.

6. Business Meals, Entertainment, and Other Travel Expenses

For detailed information on the allowability and expectations for meals (both individual and group) and entertainment while traveling on University business, see Policy 3301, Section 3301.5.

For detailed information on the allowability and expectations for other categories of expenses while traveling on University business (e.g., phone, internet, laundry), see Policy 3301, Section 3301.6 and Section 3301.7.

7. Arrangements for Travelers Who Are Neither Citizens nor Permanent Residents of the United States

Individuals who are neither citizens nor permanent residents of the U.S. must follow specific rules regarding travel payments.  Prior to the trip, please refer to the International Payment Requests page to determine any payment restrictions and documentation requirements.

A. Payments Other Than Expenses

Prior to issuing payment to an individual in this category, department administrators should visit the Office of International Students and Scholars (“OISS”) website, About Visa Categories section, to review recommended immigration status based on type of payments (e.g., honoraria) and length of stay.  If the administrator has any questions, they should contact OISS (203-432-2305) prior to the individual’s arrival in the United States to arrange for the appropriate visa for the type of payment contemplated.

B. Reimbursement of Substantiated Expenses

Generally, substantiated expense reimbursements paid pursuant to University policy and paid to or on behalf of individuals who are neither citizens nor permanent residents of the U.S. are permissible.  Further, such payments are not subject to Internal Revenue Service reporting or withholding.

For B1, B2, WB, and WT visas, international visitors must complete Form 3415 FR.01 International Information Form (IIF) for International Short-Term Visitors & Scholars and submit receipts as stated in the chart below.  The immigration status code (visa type) is provided on the individual’s Form I-94, Departure Record.  International visitors with any other visa categories only need to submit receipts for reimbursement.  Contact the International Tax Office (203-432-5597) with questions.

Visa Status

International Information Form (IIF) – complete section 1 only, signature and date

Receipts and other appropriate documentation per University policies and procedures




All other visa categories



Note: a Social Security Number (“SSN”) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (“ITIN”) is not required to reimburse international visitors for substantiated expenses.

C. Restrictions for B2/WT Visa Status

If the academic activity in which the B2 or WT visitor is engaged lasts no longer than nine (9) days and the visitor has not accepted payment of expenses and/or honorarium from more than five (5) U.S. institutions or organizations in the previous six months, the visitor is permitted to receive reimbursements paid to or on his or her behalf.  If, however, either of these conditions is not satisfied, reimbursement made to or on behalf of the visitor is not permitted.

8. Arrangements for Non-Employees

In general, Yale will pay for reasonable travel expenses incurred by non-employees, including University visitors, who are traveling on University business.  Travel arrangements for such individuals can be facilitated in one of the following two ways:

  • Employees making arrangements on behalf of non-employees will need a secondary Egencia account, called a Guest Account, set up in advance of making reservations.  Arrangers should contact Yale Travel Management to request an account (203-432-9662).  Arrangers may then use the account to make travel arrangement on behalf of the non-employee.  The arranger will need the traveler’s name as it appears on their government-issued ID, gender, and date of birth.
  • Departmental travel arranger may obtain and complete a Request to set up a Meeting or Traveler Group form to set up a customized group or meeting.  Once the group is set up, the traveler may self-book online or call an Egencia agent for assistance.

9. Payment Methods and Documentation

Prior to incurring any expenses related to travel on University business, travelers and their designees should familiarize themselves with the preferred payment principles in Policy 3301, Section 3301.8.  In general, the Yale Purchasing Card (“PCard”) is the University’s preferred method for purchasing travel reservations and accommodations and paying for travel expenses.  In certain circumstances, out-of-pocket expense reimbursement and travel advances are also allowable.

A. Expense Documentation and Receipts

Receipts are required documentation for all travel expenses greater than or equal to $75.00 (Note: receipts are required for all lodging expenses, including those below $75.00).  Original, detailed receipts are the preferred documentation, but electronic copies of originals are also acceptable.  Additionally, contracts and other agreements are subject to the requirements of Policy 3210 Purchase Contracts and its related procedures.  If original receipts are in a language other than English, the traveler (or their designee) is responsible for providing the following:

  • If the receipt total is greater than or equal to the equivalent of $1,000.00, a full translation to English (this may be accomplished via Google Translate, an interpreter, or other comparable service); or
  • If the receipt total is less than the equivalent of $1,000.00, an annotation in English on the original receipt (i.e., notes from the traveler indicating the items purchased).

Receipts, when required, must be provided and attached to the expense report when submitted.  Expense report Approvers may, at their discretion, request receipts for all expenses (including those less than $75.00).

Note: In rare circumstances, it is possible that a traveler (or their designee) prepays all their travel expenses (e.g., an all-in-one conference).  In those instances, if the travel is charged to a sponsored award, the traveler is expected to submit the following statement with their expense report (or provide this statement via email to their designee for submission on the traveler’s behalf):

“I, [traveler’s name], submit this expense report anticipating that I will not incur additional expenses on this trip for which I will obtain separate receipts.  In the event I do not travel as indicated by these expenses, I will ensure any associated expenses are removed from the charged sponsored award(s).”

In addition to the above requirements, the table below details specific supplemental documentation requirements by expense type:

Expense Type

Supplemental Documentation Requirements

Air travel expenses

  • Include the itinerary listing traveler name, flight details (including airfare class), pricing, and payment.  Also see Procedure 3301 PR.03 Air Travel on University Business.

Business meals and entertainment (individual)

  • If per diem is used, no receipts are required.
  • If actual expenses are used, receipts for expenses of $75 or greater are required.

Business meals and entertainment (group)

  • A detailed list of attendees will be required for meals up to and including 10 people.
  • For a group of more than 10 people, a description of the group, including the number of people attending, will suffice.
  • A detailed receipt (must include date, amount, and place) from the restaurant will remain the preferred type of receipt.  If it is not available, however, a credit card receipt is acceptable. 
  • Refer to Policy 3302 Business Meals, Entertainment, and Other Social Events for more details.

Car rental expenses

  • Include the final receipt indicating daily rate, mileage, vehicle size, insurance options, plus any gas receipts.

Lodging expenses

  • Include the itemized hotel receipt.  The per diem rates for lodging cannot be used for reimbursement of a hotel stay.  Any expenses on a hotel receipt must be itemized using the appropriate expense type.

Missing documentation

  • If any required receipts are missing, complete and submit Form 3301 FR.05 Missing Receipts Form.

Multiple expense reports

  • If multiple expense reports are used for one trip, each additional report should reference the original report number.

Yale PCard expenses

  • Some major vendors provide receipt-level detail in an electronic report. These itemized electronic reports (also called “Level 3” detail reports) can take the place of a detailed receipt, where applicable, when submitting an expense report.