Procedure 2-80

Travel Authorization and Obtain Permission to Travel

Responsible Officer: Vice President for Business Affairs and Controller

Sponsoring Department: Travel

Revision Date: 22 April 2015

Errors or changes to: aim@uta.edu

Procedure Objective

Procedure 2-80 provides procedural guidelines for requesting authorization to travel and obtaining permission to travel in accordance with applicable laws and rules. This procedure does not apply to individuals traveling for personal reasons with personal funds. This procedure distinguishes the difference between State Funds and Local Funds. Also, procedures regarding how to request authorization for travel, obtain a Travel Advance, and obtaining permission for International Travel or travel to Washington D.C. are included in this procedure.

Rationale

Travel rules and policies come from a variety of sources including the State of Texas Travel Regulations Act (Chapter 660 of the Texas Government Code), the General Appropriations Act, and the Board of Regents' Rules and Regulations.

The chartfield funding source for travel determines whether the chartfield follows UT State Travel Rules or UT Local Travel Rules. Thus, one must distinguish (prior to travel) the difference between the two types of chartfields and how to determine if a chartfield follows state or local travel rules. Travel to benefit the University or for University business must be approved prior to travel. Moreover, further approval must be acquired from a departmental head, Chief Administrator, and/or their designated representative prior to international travel or travel to Washington D.C. (Please note that the procedure does include the few exceptions when obtaining approval for travel.)

Scope

All UT Arlington employees, prospective employees, students and non-employees who are traveling for UT Arlington business.

Website Address for This Procedure

Related Statutes, Policies, Requirements or Standards

Contacts

If you have any questions about this procedure, contact the following departments:

SubjectOffice NameTelephone NumberEmail/URL
All topics in procedureProcurement Services817-272-2194travel_help@uta.edu
http://www.uta.edu/policy/bac/travel
Website accessAdministrative Information Management817-272-0222aim@uta.edu
http://www.uta.edu/aim

Definitions

Actual Expense: Expenses that are reasonable and appropriate to the circumstance. Personal expenses are not included.

Appropriated Funds: Chartfields funded by State general revenue, chartfield "Fund 21xx" and some others. Also referred to as State Funds.

Authorized Signers: Employees authorized to approve expenditures in the UT Share accounting system.

UT Share: The computerized accounting system used at UT Arlington.

International Travel: Travel to, in, or from any country outside of the United States or U.S. Territories and Possessions.

Local Funds: All chartfields that are not State Funds chartfields. Please check with the head of your department or the chartfield administrator for specific travel or entertainment restrictions which may be placed on individual chartfields within the Local Funds chartfields.

Personal Expenses: Expenses that benefit the employee or spender only and do not benefit the University either directly or indirectly. Also includes inappropriate or excessive expenses that appear to be University related.

Travel Authorization: This document is used in UT Share to authorize travel for employees, prospective employees, students, and non-employees who are traveling for UT Arlington business.

State Funds: Chartfields that are funded by State general revenue. Most State Fund chartfields have a Fund 21xx. State Fund accounts also appear in other numbered chartfield series.

Responsibilities

The Traveler/Individual(s) Responsible for Travel Planning
  • Completes Travel Authorization and has the immediate supervisor or department head approve the Travel Authorization and approval form.

  • Obtains the approval from either the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs or Vice President for Human Resources when planning any International Travel using state appropriated funds
  • Completes the Office of State-Federal Relations (OSFR) form when planning to travel to Washington D.C. and intending to confer on Legislative or Appropriation issues with U.S. Congress/the federal government, staff or officials

  • Deposits any unused funds related to a Cash Advance at the Bursar's Office no later than fifteen (15) days after the last day of travel

Department Head/Supervisor
  • Approves employees, prospective employees, students and non-employees' Travel Authorization

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Approves requests for international travel that use state appropriated funds
Vice President for Human Resources
  • Approves requests for international travel that use state appropriated funds

Procedures


Section I. State Funds vs. Local Funds

When planning to travel, one needs to determine the source of funding that will be utilized to pay for the travel. Chartfields containing money from the State of Texas are referred to as state chartfields and chartfields containing money from other sources (e.g., gift, scholarship) are referred to as local chartfields. The Chartfield funding sources determine whether the account follows State Travel Rules or University Travel Rules.

  1. All travel using State Appropriated Funds (21xx Fund and some others) must use state travel rules.

  2. Travel using Local Funds (non 21xx chartfield funds) usually follow the procedures set forth in the University's Local Fund travel rules, except when a chartfield is specifically directed to utilize state travel rules or travel is prohibited.

Section II. Travel Authorization

Prior approval for all business travel is required before a trip occurs (whether or not there is a cost to the university). To obtain approval, The Travel Authorization is used. The Travel Authorization is used to authorize travel for employees, prospective employees, students and non-employees who travel for UT Arlington business.

  1. The State regulations recognize two purposes for travel:

    1. To benefit the University of Texas at Arlington, and

    2. The presentation of original research before a national, international, regional, or state learned society that has been approved in advance.

  2. If the travel is justified by the criteria above, the Travel Authorization must state how the university will benefit from the trip. What is learned that can be brought back to the classroom or that is beneficial to the performance of other duties are essential criteria, and must be clearly stated on the expense report.

    1. If the travel involved attendance at and participation in a meeting, the travel authorization must provide the name and date of the meeting, the sponsor, where it was held, and what benefits will inure to the University.

    2. If recruiting of faculty is involved, the names of the individuals interviewed must be submitted.

    3. In every instance, the description must include a very clear statement of what the traveler did and the names of the individuals contacted in addition to the benefit that inured to the University of Texas at Arlington.

  3. The Travel Authorization is to be completed by the department and approved by the immediate supervisor or department head. A Travel Authorization should state the traveler's name, dates of travel, destination, purpose and benefit of travel, and the account to be charged for travel expenses.

    1. The Travel Authorization is to be processed electronically in UT Share. For information on how to complete the Travel Authorization in UT Share please see Business Affairs UPK Training guides.

Section III. Executive Management Travel
  1. The Chief Administrator of an agency, and/or their designated representative is eligible for reimbursement of all expenses incurred while in travel status on university business. The following approval matrix must be used when Executive Management Travel is approved:

    Official Requesting ReimbursementAuthorized Approver

    President

    Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs,

    Vice President for Administration and Campus Operations,

    Vice President for Business Affairs and Controller,

    or their designee(s).

    Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs,

    Vice President for Administration and Campus Operations,

    Vice President for Business Affairs and Controller,

    Vice President for Communications,

    Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations,

    Vice President for Global Educational Outreach and Extended Studies,

    Vice President for Human Resources,

    Vice President for Research,

    Vice President for Student Affairs,

    Assistant Vice President for Strategic Initiatives,

    Executive Director-Fort Worth Center,

    Director of Athletics,

    Director of Government Relations,

    University Attorney

    President or his/her designee

    Vice Provost for Academic Analytics and Operations,

    Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer

    Provost or his/her designee
Section IV. Travel Advances
  1. Cash Advances are available for travelers on official UT Arlington business. A Cash Advance is a promissory note acknowledged by the traveler to receive cash in advance. The traveler is responsible for repayment of the Cash Advance.

  2. Cash Advance (Online Form) and Travel Authorization (Online Form) must be completed by the department administrative assistant and acknowledged by the traveler and approved before the travel advance will be issued.

  3. If a Cash Advance is involved, a Travel Authorization must be done and the Cash Advance will be requested in the UT Share Expense module based on the Travel Authorization. If a Cash Advance is not involved, then all transactions are processed in UT Share Expense module. Note: A Cash Advance to an individual student requires the student to have a valid EMPLY ID prior to processing the Cash Advance voucher.

  4. When requesting a Cash Advance, an estimated amount of travel expenses must be provided on the online form. The Cash Advance cannot exceed the approved amount. University policy establishes the maximum advance not to exceed the estimated cost of expenses on the Travel Authorization. The Cash Advance request should be submitted early enough to allow the traveler to be paid prior to the travel dates (usually one week). Cash Advances are not normally made under the following conditions:

    1. When the trip lacks an approved Travel Authorization online form.

    2. When the trip does not require an overnight stay.

    3. When the employee or student has an outstanding advance.

    4. When the traveler is a Non-employee or Prospective Employee.

  5. Any Travel Authorization that involves a Cash Advance must be processed within 15 days after the last date of travel. Any unused funds related to the Cash Advance must be deposited at the Bursar's Office no later than 15 days after the last day of travel. Additional requests for Cash Advances will not be processed until the prior advance has been cleared, if the travel for which the Cash Advance was issued has occurred.

    If the expense report is submitted more than sixty (60) days after the completion of travel, the reimbursement is considered taxable income to the traveler unless a reasonable justification for an exception is presented. Tax withholding will be made from a subsequent salary check. Federal tax regulations require that substantiation of reimbursable expenses be made within a reasonable period. Under the IRS safe-harbor rule, that period is sixty (60) days.

    Examples of reasonable exceptions include, but are not limited to:

    • Extended personal illness
    • Death in the family
    • Travel outside of country for an unexpected period of time
    • Unforeseen circumstances, which must be explained
    Forgetting to file for reimbursement or losing the voucher in a desk are not reasonable exceptions.

    If it becomes necessary for the Travel Services Office to frequently contact an individual concerning repayment of the travel advance, the individual will lose his/her privilege of acquiring future travel advances.
Section V. Washington, D.C. Travel and/or Meetings with Federal Officials on Legislative or Appropriations Issues

Before traveling to Washington D.C., the Office of State-Federal Relations (OSFR) in Washington D.C. may require information about the timing and purpose of the trip. The OSFR form should only be completed by travelers who intend to confer on Legislative or Appropriation issues with U.S. Congress/the federal government, staff or officials.

  1. The travel information form should be filled out and sent online from the OSFR website. When completing the form online, go to "State Travel to DC" section. Your agency name is University of Texas at Arlington and your 3 digit Agency Code is 714. The registration with the OSFR should be done regardless of destination, if conferring with federal officials on Legislative or Appropriations issues.

    1. After you have completed the requested information and click Submit Form, your information is automatically sent to OSFR in Washington D.C. and, a confirmation page is immediately generated, showing your information as submitted.

    2. If there is a Cash Advance, the department requesting the advance should submit the form.

  2. In creating the Travel Authorization in UTShare, please select YES in the field *Are you doing business in Washington DC, and indicate the purpose of the visit (i.e. political reasons, attending a meeting or conference, etc.).

  3. These rules apply to all Washington, D.C. travel paid for, or reimbursed from any source of funds including state funds; travel where expenses are to be reimbursed by non-state agencies (e.g. NSF, NIH); travel reimbursed from existing grants or contracts with a federal agency pursuant to the terms of such grants or contracts; and/or any travel for meetings with any member(s) of the U.S. Congress, congressional staff, or agencies of the federal government.

  4. Exception: The only travel to Washington, D.C. that is an exception to this requirement is strictly personal travel being paid from personal funds.

Section VI. International Travel

If using state appropriated funds, the Travel Authorization is to be pre-approved by a person authorized by the President of the University to act in the official capacity of approving international travel. Currently either the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, or Vice President for Human Resources are authorized to approve international travel using state appropriated funds. An email reflecting approval for travel must be attached to the Travel Authorization in UTShare.

As a general rule, the international travel request should be submitted 30 days in advance of the departure.

Note: Advance approval for international travel is not required when traveling to Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. territories and possessions, or when using a local chartfield.

For more information regarding international travel, please see International Travel (Procedure 2-83).

Appendices

None