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Travel Policies

Prior approval for travel

All travel and an agenda while traveling must be approved prior to travel by the person whose budget is paying for the travel. An agenda while traveling could be a conference agenda or invitation from the host. Please refer to UW Travel Policies and Procedures.

Prior Approval Documentation Requirements: State of Washington policies require prior written approval for all out-of-state travel. For the purposes of prior approval, out-of-state is defined as any travel destination outside of Washington, Oregon, or Idaho. The prior written approval may be for a specific individual on a trip by trip basis or it may be a "blanket" approval for specific individuals or group of individuals who must travel outside the state to perform UW business consistent with job responsibilities.

Prior approval must include the following information:

  • Name of traveler
  • Purpose of trip
  • Travel destination
  • Dates of travel
  • Budget number to be charged
  • Whether an exception to maximum lodging will be approved for payment

Copy on both the original request for travel and on the approval from the principal investigator (for research) or Jim Hermanson (for state and self-sustaining budgets or other funding). Jim should always be informed when a principal investigator will be traveling.

The department is required to retain the approval for six years and approvals must be available for audit.

When traveling you must exercise the same care in incurring expenses and accomplishing the purposes of the travel that a prudent person would exercise if traveling on personal business. Excess costs, circuitous routes, delays, or luxury accommodations unnecessary or unjustified in the performance of official state business travel are not acceptable. List of responsibilities associated with traveling on university business.


  • Foreign currency fees are not reimbursable. If your bank charges these fees, they will be at your expense.
  • All student foreign travel must be coordinated prior to trip with Global Affairs.
  • All Faculty and Staff on foreign travel are also encouraged to register with Global Affairs.
  • Non-reimbursable expenses include trip/health/travel insurance unless required by the destination country or the participating program.

Use Procard or Central Travel Card (CTA) when possible

  • Procard and CTA use minimizes traveler burden.
  • Airfare can only be charged via CTA when no personal travel is included in the trip.
  • Hotel arrangements can only be placed/made on a Procard when bundled with conference attendance by the event.
  • All CTA/Procard purchases require the same approval, as a reimbursement, at the time of purchase.

Lodging per diem

Meal per diem

  • If your conference agenda has a scheduled meal and you claim that meal, documentation is required why you abstained from the provided meal.
  • If you are claiming meals for others, a detailed list of attendees and receipts are required.

Rental vehicles

  • If you are renting a vehicle that is anything other than a sedan, you need to provide justification for the rental choice.
  • Enterprise is the preferred rental agency as the UW has a contract with them and the contract number is required. Read more at
  • Insurance is provided by the UW while on business travel. Read more at
  • UW's Ucar program is preferred for all in-state vehicle rentals. While it may look more expensive, there are no hidden costs and has the benefit of clear billing.
  • Travel outside of the state with a rental vehicle or personal vehicle requires comparison airfare at the time of reimbursement.
  • Detailed rental invoice showing all costs is required.

Travel expenses summary

Please submit your Travel Expenses Summary Reimbursement Form to

Fly America Act

The Fly America Act requires that flights be on U.S. flag air carriers when the travel is paid by federal research funding.  

The consequence of using non-US carriers is that your expense—which may be substantial—will not be reimbursed.

Read more about the Fly America Act.

First or business class air travel

This University policy applies to anyone who travels on university business, however the travel is paid. 

First class and business class air travel have their own set of rules distinct from regular travel regulations. It is very important that you review these regulations before reserving air fare for first class or business class. These regulations are distinct from approval prior to regular travel (see my email Prior Approval for Travel) and require a higher level of authorization prior to reservations being made.

Prior written approval by a vice president, vice provost, or dean that is to be handed in the TEV to travel is required for first class or business class not associated with air travel in excess of 14 hours.

For business class air fare when travel is in excess of 14 hours, the following are required: prior written approval from an authorized person, use of all state business frequent flyer miles available for the upgrade, and contact of a qualified state contract travel agency.

See full details about air travel on the UW Travel Office website.

If you still have questions after reviewing the website, contact We will get clarification from the Travel Office.

We may have questions for you

When we ask follow-up questions, we are trying to comply with the complex compliance requirements from the State of Washington, the University of Washington, and any Federal sponsors that may be involved in your travel arrangements.

Do you have questions?