Travel Related Links
- Fly America Act
Effective July 13, 2015, travelers to international destinations will receive an email from Travel Services with information to assist the travelers with preparing for their trip. A copy of this email is included below for your reference. Travelers will receive this email soon after their Travel Approval Request (or a trip adjustment) is approved.
As a reminder, a Travel Approval Request is required for all University of Maryland employee, sponsored, and group international travel. For additional information, see the University of Maryland Travelers' Guide.
UMCES utilizes the Travel Management Program of UM College Park. These programs are managed through UMCES Comptroller’s Office. Our differences few, but UMCES Travel Policy prevails if any conflicts found between linked information and UMCES Travel Policy.
- Travel Services
- Travel Card Application
- Travel Card Management System Training
- Travel Forms Training
I. PURPOSE AND APPLICABILITY
UMCES travel policies are intended to facilitate travel and travel arrangements; to provide full reimbursement for all necessary expenses; and to protect travelers against the risk of loss, while simultaneously maintaining the necessary controls for accountability. The basis for UMCES rules and regulations for official travel are as stated in the University System of Maryland BOR Policy 301.0 VIII-11.00 on travel which can be found at: http://www.usmd.edu/Leadership/BoardOfRegents/Bylaws/SectionVIII/VIII1100.html .
II. TRAVEL APPROVAL & MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
All travel is to be documented. Pre-approval via a Travel Approval Request form (TAR) is required for all UMCES employee and sponsored visitor (1) out-of-state travel and (2) in-state travel requiring an overnight stay. UMCES business conducted in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area (Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington D.C.) is classified as in-state travel.
UMCES utilizes the Travel Management Program of UM College Park. This includes the use of an electronic travel approval and expense system. Access to travel forms and expense systems is at http://ares.umd.edu/Elf/Elf.html. This program also offers a Travel Card to travelers and travel arrangers for use when traveling on official UMCES business. The Travel Card is centrally billed, with no out of pocket expenses to the traveler. Use of the UMCES Travel Card is subject to rules and regulations in accordance with the BOR and UMCES Travel policies and procedures and any other university and sponsored program regulations that may apply. Travel cards may not be used to obtain cash advances without specific prior authorization from the Comptroller. Travel cards are authorized by each UMCES Laboratory or other unit.
In general, UMCES employees with Travel Cards will not be eligible for travel advances. Requests for travel advances are to include a justification and require approval of the Comptroller or their designee.
No individual may approve their own supervisor’s travel.
Approval requirements may vary according to the travel destination and source of funds.
Special needs should be addressed in advance of travel in coordination with Laboratory or unit and UMCES Comptroller.
For purposes of this policy, all travel outside the United States (“United States” means the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories and possessions of the United States (49 U.S.C. 40102) is foreign travel. Although the State of Maryland does not categorize travel to and within Canada as foreign travel, required approval within UMCES may vary according to the travel destination and source of funds.
Travel to countries that are under any type of U.S. sanction program may require UMCES to obtain a license from the U.S. Treasury Department Office of Foreign Asset Control. The list of those countries can be found at http://www.treasury.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/programs. Any questions on this matter should be referred to the UMCES Director of the Office of Research Administration & Advancement (ORAA).
As sponsor and agreement terms and conditions vary, all foreign travel to be covered by a sponsored project account must be approved by ORAA in advance of ticket purchase. Check with ORAA if you have questions about contract or grant travel requirements.
Fly America Act
All federally funded travel must comply with the U.S. "Fly America" Act; a United States flag carrier MUST be used. Federally funded travel normally is funded from FRS accounts 5-20000 - 5-29999 and many of 4-30000 - 4-34999 at UMCES. Non-federal funds that are used for cost sharing purposes on federal programs are also subject to this Act.
This Act states that any air transportation to, from, between, or within a country other than the U.S. of persons or property, the expense of which will be assisted by federal funding, must be performed by a U.S. flag air carrier or under a code-sharing (see note below) arrangement with a U.S.-flag air carrier if service provided by such a carrier is available. Tickets must identify the U.S. flag air carrier’s designator code and flight number.
For the purposes of this requirement, U.S.-flag air carrier service is considered available even though: (a) comparable or a different kind of service can be provided at less cost by a foreign-flag air carrier; (b) foreign-flag air carrier service is preferred by, or is more convenient for the traveler; or (c) service by a foreign-flag air carrier can be paid for in excess foreign currency.
Reimbursement under the “Fly America Act” for the use of a foreign-flag air carrier, requires the traveler to provide a certification which includes: (a) your name; (b) the dates that you traveled; (c) the origin and the destination of your travel; (d) a detailed itinerary of your travel, name of the air carrier and flight number for each leg of the trip; and (e) a statement explaining why you met one of the exceptions. Such documentation is required (and cannot be waived) when submitting an expense statement when a foreign-flag air carrier was used.
A. The following rules apply unless their application would result in the first or last leg of travel from or to the U.S. being performed by a foreign-flag air carrier:
1. A U.S.-flag air carrier shall be used to destination or, in the absence of direct or through service, to the farthest interchange point on a usually traveled route
2. If a U.S.-flag air carrier does not serve an origin or interchange point, a foreign-flag air carrier shall be used only to the nearest interchange point on a usually traveled route to connect with a U.S. flag air carrier
3. A U.S.-flag air carrier involuntarily reroutes the traveler via a foreign-flag air carrier, the foreign-flag air carrier may be used notwithstanding the availability of alternative U.S.-flag air carrier service.
B. Use of Foreign-Flag Air Carriers is permissible if:
1. Travel To and From the U.S. Use of a foreign-flag air carrier is permissible if: a the airport abroad is the traveler's origin or destination airport, and use of U.S.-flag air carrier service would extend the time in a travel status by at least 24 hours more than travel by a foreign-flag air carrier; or b the airport abroad is an interchange point, and use of U.S.-flag air carrier service would increase the number of aircraft changes the traveler must make outside of the U.S. by 2 or more, would require the traveler to wait four hours or more to make connections at that point, or would extend the time in a travel status by at least six hours more than travel by a foreign-flag air carrier.
2. Travel Between Points Outside the U.S. Use of a foreign-flag air carrier is permissible ifa travel by a foreign-flag air carrier would eliminate two or more aircraft changes en routeb travel by a U.S.-flag air carrier would require a connecting time of four hours or more at an overseas interchange point(c) the travel is not part of the trip to or from the U.S., and use of a U.S.-flag air carrier would extend the time in a travel status by at least six hours more than travel by a foreign-flag air carrier.
3. Short Distance Travel. For all short distance travel, regardless of origin and destination, use of a foreign-flag air carrier is permissible if the elapsed travel time on a scheduled flight from origin to destination airport by a foreign-flag air carrier is three hours or less and service by a U.S.-flag air carrier would double the travel time.
Notes on “code-sharing”: It is a mechanism by which a U.S. certified carrier leases space on an aircraft of a foreign air carrier, and visa versa. It is not “partner” airline arrangements. Federal regulations require that the ticket or documentation for an electronic ticket must identify the U.S. Flag air carrier's two letter designator code and flight number which is located on the right hand section of the passenger receipt. This indicates that the flier is in a U.S. Flag carrier seat, regardless of the air carrier which owns the aircraft. You may want to avoid Code-share flights whenever possible to avoid complications related to allowability of cost under federal awards. However, our approved travel agencies, which can be found on the UM College Park Travel Services webpage http://www.dbs.umd.edu/travel/services/agents.php are knowledgeable of this requirement and can assist with appropriate ticketing on international flights.
III. RESERVATIONS AND TICKETING
Travelers and travel arrangers should ensure that all arrangements are reasonable and appropriate and be alert to possibilities to obtain air, hotel and rental car services at the discount rates available to UMCES. Travelers are expected to make advance bookings, using the least expensive logical fare via the most direct route (or other reasonable routing that results in a lower fare) and are encouraged to purchase air and rail tickets and reserve in- trip services through the contract travel service vendors identified on the UM College Park Travel Services webpage http://www.dbs.umd.edu/travel/services/agents.php. First-class airfare is not permitted.
In the event of changed plans, cancellation and other penalties will be paid by UMCES provided that the cancellation or change was made for the convenience of the institution or was necessitated by circumstances of an emergency nature affecting the traveler. Such situations need to be documented and approved by the Comptroller.
Air travel should be completed the most direct route at coach rate. The additional cost of any personal side trips are the responsibility of the traveler.
Back up documentation for airline travel expenses must be provided whether the employee uses the UMCES travel card or is reimbursed via a Travel Expense Statement. Proper documentation may include: the trip itinerary, electronic invoice, e-ticket (if applicable), and boarding passes.
Every effort must be made to provide common carrier passenger receipts (boarding passes) for all portions of a trip.
If boarding passes are not available due to carrier ticketing procedures, (i.e. electronic ticketing), then the e-ticket accompanying the travel card packet or expense statement must include a note to that effect.
If boarding passes are issued but are lost or misplaced by the traveler, a statement must be provided by the traveler, certifying that the trip was completed as previously approved. This statement is to be included with the trip back-up documentation.
This procedure does not preclude the necessity to make every effort to provide boarding passes.
Pullman rates are allowed for an overnight train trip, otherwise only coach rates are permitted.
IV. HOTEL, MEAL, AND OTHER EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT
Expense statements with appropriate receipts are to be submitted within two (2) weeks following completion of the travel. With approval from the Comptroller’s office, expenses reimbursements may be submitted periodically when in extended travel status.
Lodging costs are to be reasonable and appropriate. The cost of hotel accommodations will be reimbursed on the basis of receipts. Original receipts (including hotel’s itemized bill) must be submitted with the Expense Statement for reimbursement. A credit card slip alone does not satisfy the receipt requirement.
Any overage above the single room rate, which is a result of non-official travelers utilizing the accommodations, will be the personal financial responsibility of the traveler.
UMCES will not reimburse “no show” charges. In-room cable TV and other items of a personal nature are not reimbursable. Reimbursement for meals charged to the hotel bill must be submitted as outlined under the Meal section.
See also Section 6, for additional criteria and case-by-case approvals required for travel with extended stays.
For domestic travel, meal expenses will normally be reimbursed on per diem rates from the Board of Regents Schedule of Reimbursable Rates at www.usmd.edu/Leadership/BoardOfRegents/Bylaws/SectionVIII/. Foreign travel is reimbursed at actual (and reasonable) cost with receipts or at the applicable U.S. Department of State meal and incidental (M&IE) rate.
Travelers are not required to provide individual meal receipts or to show a per meal breakdown for daily travel using the standard University rates for domestic travel or the U.S. Department of State M&IE rate. Based on a work day schedule of 8AM-5PM, a partial day's travel may cover breakfast if travel begins by 6:30AM or earlier, lunch if travel begins by 10:30AM and ends after 1:30PM and, dinner if the travel ends 6:30PM or later. These time guidelines may be adjusted as appropriate for different work schedules.
In special circumstances, a higher amount of reimbursement may be appropriate and allowable with advance approval and supported by proper receipts.
Reimbursement in excess of per diem should not be used on a routine basis and must be accompanied by written justification.
The cost of alcoholic beverages will not be reimbursed. Reimbursement will not be made if a meal is included as part of a meeting or conference.
C. Miscellaneous expenses
UMCES travel policy requires advance approval via a Travel Approval Request form, and original receipts must be provided with the Expense Statement. Receipts are used to verify that the travel services purchased were used for the approved traveler, dates, and location for which official travel was approved. Receipts also document the actual cost and payment of each expense.
Detailed original receipts are required for all travel expenses including airfare, airport/train station parking, rail ticket, car rental, ground transportation, lodging, conference/event registration, rental vehicle fuel, and any meal reimbursed in excess of the per diem amount allowed for that meal.
Receipts should show the date and specific services rendered, vendor name, the amount charged, and the form of payment. Receipts for air, rail, car rental, and lodging should also include the traveler's name. Travelers should take care to submit receipts rather than "confirmations," which do not show how payment was made. If hotel, car rental, or other "express" check-out receipts or Internet vendor receipts do not show how payment was made, a copy of the credit card bill with the corresponding final total charge should be provided with the Expense Statement.
Permissible miscellaneous expenses may include taxi fares, tolls, local parking fees, local bus fares, subway/light rail fares, and the like. The expense breakdown for each miscellaneous expense must be provided on the Expense Statement. For example, if two taxis are used and receipts are not provided, the traveler must indicate the cost breakdown and route details for each taxi used.
V. USE OF STATE, PERSONAL AND RENTAL VEHICLES
A. State Vehicle
State (i.e. UMCES and System-owned) vehicles may be driven only by UMCES University System officers and authorized institution and System personnel and only when acting within the scope of their public duties.
A volunteer, providing services to UMCES, may ride in a state vehicle but not drive a state vehicle. A notice of such should be submitted in advance to the UMCES Fleet Manager.
Only state employees and authorized volunteers are to ride in state vehicles. Individuals who are not employees or are not on approved UMCES business, including any family members, may not ride in State vehicles.
Any person driving a State-owned vehicle must have a driver's license that is valid in the State of Maryland, comply with all traffic laws, and obtain approval as required by UMCES. An employee may not drive a state vehicle if they have accrued in excess of 5 points on their driver’s license. It is the employee’s responsibility if they have an out-of-state license to obtain a copy of their driving record once a year and submit a report to the UMCES Fleet Manager. If an employee has a valid Maryland drivers license, this report is automatically sent to the Fleet Manager.
B. Personal Vehicle
Generally it is expected that a state vehicle would be used for UMCES business, but each UMCES Laboratory manages their own fleet and may issue their own written guidance for use of state vehicles. The use of a personal vehicle, properly insured, rather than a state vehicle must be approved in advance by the UMCES Laboratory or unit Business Office in accordance with this and specific Lab policy. An “Advance Authorization for the Use of Personally-owned Vehicle” form must be approved in advance of a trip – even if the use is a matter of personal preference. That approval must accompany the traveler’s expense statement for reimbursement. The approved use of a personal vehicle will be reimbursed at the rate established by the Board of Regents Schedule of Reimbursable Rates at www.usmd.edu/Leadership/BoardOfRegents/Bylaws/SectionVIII/.
Use of personal vehicle as a matter of personal preference or without specific approval will be reimbursed at ½ the mileage rate.
Employees must take care to ensure that normal daily commute mileage is subtracted from the total mileage traveled. Authorized drivers shall be reimbursed for reasonable parking and toll expenses incurred while conducting UMCES business in a privately owned vehicle. UMCES shall not reimburse its employees for any increased insurance premiums or gasoline expenses accountable to use of their vehicle for University business. Reimbursement for insurance and gasoline is reflected in the mileage reimbursement rate.
C. Car Rental
Where a car rental is deemed necessary, the lease of the least expensive car which will accommodate the trip's requirements is to be used. Travelers should take advantage of University System, Federal and State Government, and institution vendor discount rates which are available. Car reservations through UMCES travel vendors will utilize University discounts.
UMCES employees renting vehicles within the U.S. may NOT be reimbursed for CDW/LDW (we are self insured for liability as an agency of the State of Maryland). UMCES employees renting vehicles outside the U.S. may be reimbursed for CDW/LDW. Receipt is required for reimbursement.
Although unusual, non-employees may be reimbursed for CDW/LDW with approved vehicle rental. This requires specific pre-authorization and a receipt is required for reimbursement.
VI. COMBINING PERSONAL & UMCES BUSINESS TRAVEL
When spouses travel with UMCES employees but are not themselves serving as agents of the institution, travelers should be careful to maintain a record of individual expenses. UMCES will not reimburse any expenses incurred on behalf of a spouse or travel companion not themselves employees or agents of UMCES. Likewise, airfare or any other travel expense that is directly billed to the institution should not include expenses for travel companions or personal legs of the trip.
Any additional cost incurred due to stopovers, route modifications for convenience of the traveler and/or stays beyond the time required for UMCES business are to be borne entirely by the traveler.
VII. INVITATIONAL, EXTENDED TRAVEL AND OTHER SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES
Travelers should check with the IRS to determine whether any record keeping is required for personal income tax purposes when using per diem allowances.
A. Invitational Travel
UMCES employees may travel on UMCES business at times at the invitation and cost of another party. In those cases UMCES is not involved in the reimbursement process or procedure and the rules of reimbursement would those of the organization providing the reimbursement. UMCES travel cards are not to be used for these trips. However a “no cost” UMCES Travel Request Authorization (TAR) is to be submitted for insurance coverage purposes.
B. Extended Travel
Field and research trips may involve extended travel. Extended (30 consecutive days or more) or recurrent travel will often require special arrangements to be coordinated by the Laboratory /Unit Approving Authority and UMCES Comptroller on a case by case basis.
Examples of such circumstances may include extended stays in a residential setting where grocery purchases provide a more cost-effective approach than dining out. In those cases grocery receipts would be required.
Long term rates with hotels or other lodging rental arrangements that prove to be more cost-effective would also be considered. Reimbursements cover actual expenses incurred. Stays with friends, family or at personally owned lodging would not normally be subject to reimbursement.
C. Authorized Non-Employee Travel
UMCES visitors or other non-employees for which UMCES funds are to be used to cover expenses are to follow the travel approval request and reimbursement requirements that are established for UMCES employees who travel. As with all UMCES travel requests, the purpose of the travel as it relates to UMCES business needs to be clearly stated. Social Security numbers will need to be provided for non-employee travelers and VISA number, type and citizenship information for foreign non-employee travelers. A pre-approved TAR is required for all travelers who will receive any travel funds, either directly paid by UMCES through use of travel cards or by reimbursements directly back to the traveler. This policy includes visitors and potential employment candidates on interview status. Use of are rental car for a non-employee requires specific advanced authorization.
D. Travel through USMF
Payment of expenses through the University System of Maryland Foundation, Inc. must comply with USMF Policies and Procedures. Traveler would need to contact your foundation representative prior to travel.