Procedure 2-80-2

Travel Authorization and Obtain Permission to Travel [8-13-2016]

Responsible Officer: Chief Financial Officer and Vice President

Sponsoring Department: Procurement Services

Revision Date: 06 April 2017

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 Appropriated 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.

Scope

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

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 Student Account 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 faculty requests for international travel that use state appropriated funds
Vice President for Human Resources
  • Approves staff requests for international travel that use state appropriated funds

Procedures

 

Section I. State Appropriated 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 cost center / project ID 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
A Travel Authorization is used to authorize business travel. The State regulations permit two purposes for travel:

  • To benefit the University of Texas at Arlington, and
  • The presentation of original research before a national, international, regional, or state learned society that has been approved in advance.
  1. UTA Employees and Students

    1. A Travel Authorization, is required before a trip occurs, whether or not there is a cost to the university.

      The Travel Authorization must clearly state how the university will benefit from the trip, including, but not limited to, what is learned that can be brought back to the classroom, or that it is beneficial to the performance of other duties, or other essential criteria.


      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. 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.
    2. 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 cost center/project ID to be charged for travel expenses.
    3. 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.
  2. Prospective Employees/Consultant/Speaker/Independent Contractor

    1. A Travel Authorization is only required when the following apply:

      1. Paying for airfare booked through one of the University's dedicated travel agencies (ref. Procedure 2-81-2)
      2. Reimbursing the non-employee for approved travel expenses
    2. 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 cost center / project ID to be charged for travel expenses.
    3. 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 (President) of UTA, and/or his/her 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:
Office Requesting ReimbursementEmail/URL
PresidentChief Financial Officer and Vice President
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,
Executive Director-Fort Worth Center,
Director of Athletics,
Director of Government Relations,
University Attorney
President or his/her designee

Section IV. Spousal Travel
  1. Spouse of the President
    Travel expenses for the spouse of the President are governed by UTS120, Spousal Travel Policy.
  2. Spouse of Other University Employees:
    1. Eligible Reimbursements
      Occasionally, travel, meals and expenses of the spouse of other University employees will be deemed to be for a bona fide business purpose, and a benefit to the University. Under these circumstances, and with the prior written approval of the President, the spouse is entitled to reimbursement for the allowable cost of travel, meals and incidentals expenses in accordance with Procedure 2-86-2. No state appropriated funds may be used for reimbursement.
    2. Conditions for Reimbursement
      The propriety of reimbursement is dependent in part on the nature of the employee's office, the spouse's traditional role, the purpose of the particular trip, and the spouse's connection with that purpose. For example, the presence of the spouse of a vice president or a dean may be necessary at a major event where attendance by spouses is customary and expected
Section V. Cash Advance for Travel

A cash advance is available for a traveler on official UTA business. Additionally, it is a promissory note, and must be acknowledged by the traveler that:

  • they accept the travel cash advance terms;
  • acknowledge all travel rules; and
  • will repay unused funds upon the completion of the trip.

A traveler may be eligible for a cash advance if any of the following are true:

  • The cash advance request is a minimum of $100.00
  • The destination is in an isolated area or region with limited access to suppliers or services that accept credit cards.
  • Travel is for an extended period of time.
  • A faculty member takes a group of students overseas or educational purposes, such as for a study abroad program.
  • It would be a financial hardship for the traveler to pay the travel expenses out of pocket.
  1. How to Request a Travel Cash Advance

    Travel cash advance requests must be submitted to Travel Services Office at least seven (7) business days prior to the date funds are needed. To request a travel cash advance, take the following steps:
    1. Travel Authorization approvals must be completed and approved in UTAFlow.
    2. Travel Authorization must be completed in UTShare.
    3. Travel Advance approvals must be completed and approved in UTAFlow.
    4. Create and submit for approval a Cash Advance Report in UTShare. The travel cash advance amount cannot exceed the estimated cost of expenses given in the Travel Authorization

      Note: A Cash Advance to an individual student requires the student to have a valid EMPLY ID prior to processing the Cash Advance voucher.
  2. Travel cash advances are not normally made under the following conditions:
    1. When the trip does not require an overnight stay.
    2. When the employee or student has an outstanding advance.
    3. When the traveler is a Non-employee or Prospective Employee.
    4. The travel cash advance requested is less than $100.00.

      Exceptions to the travel cash advance policy must be documented in writing and approved by the Associate Vice President for Business Affairs and Controller. The request must be submitted using the BA Exceptions Tracker Request menu located in UTA FLOW. Each request must include detailed justification for the exception and the benefit to the University if the exception is granted. Documentation of the request and its disposition will be maintained in the Business Affairs online policy exceptions files. In every case the account administrator is responsible for ensuring that all travel and charges are appropriate and support the mission of the University.
  3. Methods of distribution for approved travel cash advance:
    1. Cash Advance Check
      Travel cash advance checks are held for pick-up at Student Accounts Office, Room 130 Davis Hall.
    2. Direct Deposit
      When this method is used, the funds will be deposited into the travelers' bank account approximately 2-3 days after final approval of the cash advance.
  4. Reconciliation
    1. Unused Funds

      All unused funds related to a travel cash advance must be repaid and deposited by the traveler or department at Students Accounts Office, no later than 15 days after the last day of travel. Deposit the unused funds into Cost Center 129009, Dept. 320106, Fund 2100, Function 999, with the GL Account Code 11650.

      Forms of repayment for unused funds accepted are:
      • Cash (must be exact change)
      • Check
      • Traveler's Check
      • Money Order
      NOTE:
      Additional requests for travel cash advances will not be processed until all prior cash advances have been reconciled. Also, if the traveler routinely does not reconcile travel cash advances/Expense Reports in a timely manner, the traveler may be subject to refusal for future travel cash advances.
    2. Documentation Required After Travel is Complete

      Employees and students traveling on University business need to follow the reimbursement guidelines established in Meals, Lodging, Incidental Expenses and Other Fees for Travel for State and Local Funds (Procedure 2-86-2).

      The expenses related to the travel will be documented using the Travel Expense Report in UTShare. Please visit https://www.uta.edu/business-affairs/training/financial.phpfor resources to assist with this report.

      NOTE:

      If the UTShare Expense Report is submitted more than sixty (60) days after the last day 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.

      Forgetting to file for reimbursement or losing the voucher in a desk are not reasonable exceptions.

Section VI. 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 Travel 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 as given in the dropdown menu.
  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.

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 VII. 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 2-83-2).

Definitions

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

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

Chartfields: Data fields used to segregate accounting information, i.e. cost center, department, fund, account, business unit, project, activity, and function.

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

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

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.)

Appendices

None

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

Website Address for This Procedure