Travel

Travel Guidelines

 


PURPOSE
: State regulations related to travel of Texas A & M University System employees and members of the Board of Regents are based on state and system guidelines. All such travel is to be evaluated as to its applicability to the official position of the employee, its necessity, and its benefit to the State.

A state employee is entitled to reimbursement of certain travel expenses required by the employing agency to conduct official state business. The amount of reimbursement is subject to certain limitations as prescribed by Chapter 660 of the Texas Government Code, the General Appropriations Act PDF and rules adopted by the Comptroller.

CONSERVATION OF FUNDS

Requirement of the State of Texas Travel Regulations Act-Texas Government Code Chapter 660.
A State agency shall minimize the amount of travel expenses paid or reimbursed by the agency. The agency shall ensure that each travel arrangement is the most cost-effective considering all relevant circumstances.

All University Travel reimbursements / payments are issued under the following rules and regulations:
1.  Textravel
2.  Hotel Directory Listing
3.  State Travel Management Program
4.  Google Maps
5.  In-State and Out-of State Meal and Lodging Rates

Additional resources:  TAMU System Travel Manual and TAMIU University Travel Guidelines

PROCEDURES: The following guidelines are used to evaluate both travel requests and travel vouchers based on the above information.



Travel Forms

Please note: An employee must check with their department secretary for internal department procedures regarding the travel forms. The travel forms are available below:

University Employee Travel Request

An employee must complete and obtain approval prior to the date of departure. Failure to do so may lead to the non-reimbursement of expenses.  Form is required even if the traveler is not requesting reimbursement.  Under social security #, only enter the last 4 digits.

Prospective Employee Travel Verification

The form is to be filled out and signed by prospective employee. The form outlines details of trip. All receipts are required, with the exception of meals. The form is to be attached to the Travel Voucher and submitted to Accounting Services along with the W-9.  The W-9 is required even if the prospective employee will not get reimbursed directly.  If we are paying lodging or airfare on their behalf, the W-9 is required.

Foreign Travel Request

In addition to the University Employee Travel Request form and Risk Assessment form , the Request for Foreign Travel form must be submitted to the President's Office at least six weeks prior to travel. The signature of the President is required. The signature of the Chancellor is not required since state appropriated funds cannot be used for foreign travel.  Employees need to check with the department secretary for other internal departmental procedures.

Although the Chancellor's written approval is not required, TAMIU requires the Request for Foreign Travel and Risk Assessment forms for all international travel including Mexico and Canada for all travel beginning on or after February 16, 2009, to assist with compiling the required information for the University safety and risk management department.

Risk Assessment (for foreign travel only)

In addition to the University Employee Travel Request and the Request for Foreign Travel, the Risk Assessment form must be filled out and all three forms submitted to Safety/Risk Management at Physical Plant.  The forms need only the traveler, supervisor/dept head signature when turned in to Safety/Risk Management.  After the assessment, the forms are returned to the traveler to obtain the rest of the signatures on the Request for Foreign Travel.  For assistance in filling out the form, contact safety@tamiu.edu.

International Travel Extreme Risk Questionnaire

Questionnaire required for all travel to Extreme Risk countries and regions.
For list of Extreme risk countries click here.

Travel to Washington, D.C.

In addition to the University Employee Travel Request, the individual must submit the Travel to Washington, D.C. form electronically to the Office of State Federal Relations (OSFR).  For fiscal year 2008 and on, only state travelers who intend to confer on legislative or appropriations issues with U.S. Congress/The Federal Government, staff, or officials, should submit travel information to the Texas Office of State-Federal Relations (OSFR).  The department secretary or the traveler can fax the confirmation received from the OSFR office to the following required office listed below.

Guy K. Diedrich
Vice Chancellor for Federal Relations, Research, and Commercialization
The Texas A&M University System
A&M System Building, Suite 2043
College Station, TX  77845-3424

or Campus Mailstop 1122 or Fax: (979) 845-1402

Contract Travel Vendor Exception Form

State Agencies are required to participate in the State Travel Management Program who has awarded contracts for travel agencies, charge card providers, rental car companies, airlines and hotels. The contract must be used and use of non-contract vendors may be allowed under certain conditions. Refer to the Contract Travel Vender Exemptions Form.

State of Texas Travel Voucher (Revised 9/14)

The voucher must be completed immediately after the travel is completed. The travel voucher must be typed. Under social security #, only enter the last 4 digits.  Original signatures are required on vouchers. The voucher must be signed by the claimant and the employee's supervisor and/or account manager. An acronym can be used on the details section of the travel voucher if they have been previously defined. Corrections should be clear & initialed by the traveler. Do not use liquid paper to make corrections. (Sample Travel Voucher)

Coordination of Travel Infeasibility

The form must be used if coordination of travel has been recommended, but due to official business reasons cannot be accompanied.

Justification of Mileage vs Airfare on Out-of-State

The form provides a comparison between the actual mileage incurred to the airfare quote plus other related expenses such as rental car, gasoline, parking, and taxi fares that might be incurred when flying. A justification for claiming mileage reimbursement is needed when claiming Out-of-State mileage. A comparison should be made in determining the most cost-effective method of transportation.

Hotel Occupancy Tax Exemption Certificate

For In-State Use only. The certificate is to be used for business only and not for private purposes, under penalty of law. Religious, charitable or educational organization or employee are exempt from State taxes only. It is the responsibility of the State employee to identify themselves as a state employee when required. If a state employee fails to obtain the tax exemption, taxes will not be reimbursed.

Travel Advance Credit Card Agreement

Faculty Led Program Travel Advance Agreement


This is a pre-loaded credit card that is issued when a traveler does not have a personal credit card or was not approved for an individual university credit card.  Agreement and required documents are to be turned in at least 5 business days before the trip.

Required Receipts

In order to receive reimbursement for travel expenses incurred on a business trip on behalf of Texas A & M International University, the following required receipts must be submitted at all times:

  1. Lodging- Contracted Rates Available
    Receipt should be under the University employee's name at all times. Reimbursement will be at the Single rate. Contracted hotel rates should be used when possible unless an allowable exception exists. The name and address of the of the commercial lodging establishment, the name of the employee, the single room rate, and a daily itemization of the lodging charges must be included on a lodging receipt. Reservations for lodging over the Internet are discouraged since lodging receipts do not comply with all state receipt requirements.
  2. Airfare
    A passenger receipt or e-ticket is required for reimbursement purposes. The receipt must contain the following: name of the employee, name of the airline, ticket number, invoice number, class of transportation, fare basis code, travel dates, amount of the airfare, and the origin and destination of each flight.

          National Travel Systems (NTS) has been contracted by the State Travel Management Program of the Texas Building and Procurement Commission. If the University employee is a frequent flyer, an Individual Traveler Profile must be submitted to NTS. If the employee is a non-frequent flyer, an individual travel profile
is not required.  Reservations can be made online at http://nationaltravelsystems.com/ or by calling 1-877-717-7768. The University
code of 761 must be given to the travel agent when making reservations.        

Contract term is September 1, 2011 through August 2014.

         
Short's Travel Management has been awarded the contract for travel agency services.   The contract contains both online and full-service reservation and ticketing 
services for airline, hotel and rental car rates under contracts established by the Comptroller's office and/or rates available to the general public.    Reservations may be made online at:   www.shortstravel.com/texas

Contract term is September 1, 2011 through August 2014.

         Contact person is:  Erin Morse
                                      Accounts Manager-emorse@shortstravel.com
                                      (913) 220-2744


Airfare can also be purchased from the approved contracted vendors:
American Airlines � 800-433-7300
JetBlue Airways � 888-538-2583, prompt #3

As there are NO contract city pair flights from Laredo, airfare can be purchased directly from any airline's website or booked through the contracted travel agencies listed above.

Additional airline information can be found at                                                   
http://www.window.state.tx.us/procurement/prog/stmp/stmp-airline-contract

  1. Rental car- Contracted Rates Available
    It is the responsibility of the State employee to verify that contracted rates are provided.
    Included in Enterprise's Liability coverage is Personal Injury Protection of $2,500 per person and Uninsured Motorist with a combined single limit of $55,000 per claim for "no fault" accidents.
    This coverage is called the Prestige SLP and has some exclusions. They are not similar to the damage waiver exclusions that are currently listed in the proposal under 3.2.2.8. Please use the exclusions listed in the SLP policy on the back of each rental agreement. The rental car contracts do not cover persons and property inside the rental vehicle. State employees, while in the course and scope of their employment, are covered by Worker's Compensation. All other insurances are the traveler's personal expenses.

    Awarded vendors:

    Avis Rent A Car System, Inc.
    Enterprise Rent-A-Car
    Hertz Rent-A-Car

    Mileage reimbursement vs. car rental-Standard Administrative Procedure Effective 06/25/14
    Hertz Memo

    Hertz Rate Memo

  2. Transportation - Receipts must be itemized on the travel voucher stating the following information: date, Point-to-point destination, and amount. Transportation includes taxi, shuttle, bus, train, etc.
  3. Parking If there are no receipts available, a memo signed by the traveler stating the amount and the name where he incurred the expense will be accepted.

IN-STATE TRAVEL

Meal reimbursements- Receipts not required at travel office

For FY 2014- The In-State meal and lodging rates are available on the :
                         Travel Reimbursement Rates (GSA) website.

If the city is not listed, but the county is listed; use the rate of the county.

For areas not listed (city or county), the rates are: 

Lodging In-State: up to $85
Meals In-State/Out-of-State: up to $46


Although meal receipts are not required at the travel office, reimbursement of meals is based on actual expenses not to exceed the allowable rate per day. A carryover from one day to the next is not permitted. For example: If the meal per diem is $36 and a state employee incurs expenses of $ 38.00 on day 1 of a trip and $ 18.00 on day 2 of the trip, only $54.00 of those expenses are reimbursable.

 Please note: Meals will only be reimbursed if the employee stays overnight.

Lodging Reimbursement- Receipts required

A state employee may increase the lodging rate by decreasing the meal rate and adding the amount to the lodging rate.


Please Note: Taxes are not considered part of the lodging amount, but are considered incidental expenses. For In-State travel, city, county, and municipal taxes are the only reimbursable taxes. It is the responsibility of the traveler to present the Hotel Occupancy Tax Exemption Certificate to be exempt from the state hotel tax. Reimbursement of lodging taxes will be based on the lodging amount being reimbursed.

                                                   OUT-OF-STATE TRAVEL

Meal reimbursements- Receipts not required at travel office

For FY2014:  The Out-of-State meal and lodging rates are available on the :
                         Travel Reimbursement Rates (GSA) website.

If the city is not listed, but the county is listed; use the rate of the county.

For areas not listed (city or county), the rates are:

Lodging Out-of-State:  up to $83
Meals In-State/Out-of-State: up to $46


Please Note: Meals will only be reimbursed if the employee stays overnight.

 Lodging Reimbursements - Receipts required

A state employee may increase the lodging rate by decreasing the meal rate and adding the amount to the lodging rate.

Please Note: Taxes are not considered part of the lodging amount, but are considered incidental expenses. For Out-of-State travel all taxes are reimbursable.  Reimbursement of lodging taxes will be based on the lodging amount being reimbursed.

Reimbursements of lodging and meals is based on actual expenses not to exceed the federal GSA rates.  A State employee must incur the expense before he/she can claim it.

FOREIGN TRAVEL

***SPECIAL NOTE:
Request for Foreign Travel and Risk Assessment Forms must be submitted at least six weeks in advance. 

International Travel Extreme Risk Questionnaire required for all travel to Extreme Risk countries and regions.
Click here for list of Extreme Risk Countries.

In addition to the University Employee Travel Request, the Request for Foreign Travel must be submitted to the President's Office at least six weeks prior to travel. The signature of the President is required. State appropriated funds cannot be used for foreign travel therefore it does not require the Chancellor's signature.  Employees need to check with the department secretary for other internal departmental procedures.

In addition to the University Employee Travel Request and the Request for Foreign Travel, the Risk Assessment must be filled out and all three forms submitted to Safety/Risk Management at Physical Plant.  The forms need only the supervisor/account manager signature when turned in to Safety/Risk Management.  After the assessment, the forms are returned to the traveler to obtain the rest of the signatures on the Request for Foreign Travel.  For assistance in filling out the Risk Assessment form, contact safety@tamiu.edu.

Train traq course 2111728: International Travel Safety Safe Passage is required for all foreign travel.  Proof of completion must be attached to Request for Foreign Travel and Risk Assessment.  Required once every three years.


Meal Reimbursement - Receipts not required. Reimbursement is based on actual expenses. Lodging reimbursement - Receipts required.  Reimbursement is based on actual expenses.


**Foreign currency exchange rate used for conversion to U.S. dollars must be noted on travel voucher and receipts.**

What is travel registration?  Travel registration is a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country.  Registration allows you to record information about your upcoming trip abroad that the Department of State can use to assist you in case of an emergency.  Americans residing abroad can also get routine information from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
Register at https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/


MILEAGE REIMBURSEMENT

Mileage reimbursement vs. car rental-Standard Administrative Procedure Effective 11/1/2010


For FY 2014-  As of Jan 1, 2010, the rate is .50.  See above link for limitations.

The number of miles traveled by an employee for state business may be determined by  Google Maps or by point-to-point itemization. Point-to-point mileage may be documented by an employee's vehicle odometer reading or by a readily available online mapping service. An agency must adopt by internal policy which online mapping service is to be used by agency employees. The itemization must be sufficiently detailed for the agency reimbursing the mileage to verify the number of miles. 
For Out-of-State mileage: The Justification of Mileage vs Airfare for Out-of-State Travel form is required for mileage reimbursement. Estimated cost of airfare, mileage to airport, and parking expenses must be listed for justification of savings to the University and the State.

Incidental Expenses

Reimbursable expenses (Receipts required)

  1. Hotel occupancy or similar taxes for which a state employee is entitled to be reimbursed.
  2. Business related telephone calls or internet charges.
  3. Gasoline charged when rented or state-owned or leased motor vehicle are used.
  4. Toll charges if reimbursable under Textravel Section FPP G.005.
  5. Copying charges.
  6. Repair charges when a state-owned or motor vehicle is used.
  7. Freight charges for state equipment or materials.
  8. The cost of money orders.
  9. Foreign Travel: passport or visa charges, airport boarding passes, departure taxes, and inoculations.
  10. Postage.
  11. Mandatory charges or mandatory service charges: * by a commercial lodging establishment other than the room rate and additional persons charges; or * paid or imposed in connection with a meal; or * for loading and unloading state  equipment.
  12. Books or documents purchased for and while attending a seminar or conference.
  13. Facsimile charges.
  14. Parking fees.
  15. Service charges validly imposed by a travel agency or an internet reservation booking service.
  16. Preparation of the remains and personal property of a deceased state employee.
  17. Notary fees.
  18. Charges to exchange US currency for foreign currency and vice versa.
  19. Mandatory checked baggage fees (1 each way)


B. Non-Reimbursable Expenses

  1. Any expenses that are not related to official state business.
  2. Any expense, with the exception of parking and toll expenses, that is related to the operation of a personally owned or leased motor vehicle.
  3. Tips or gratuities.
  4. Excess baggage charges for personal belongings.
  5. Personal expenses, such as the rental or purchase of a video tape for personal entertainment, alcoholic beverages, dry cleaning, or laundry.
  6. Kennel expenses for a pet.
  7. Sales and use taxes if applicable law provides an exemption from those taxes and the state employee or legislator either fails to claim the exemption or does not follow the required procedures for claiming it.
  8. Optional insurance on rental cars.

4-Per Car Rule-Coordination of Travel

When two or more employees are traveling with the same itinerary on the same dates, they are required to coordinate their travel and ride together. Transportation expense can only be claimed for one car for every four people attending a conference. Should schedules, classes, etc. prevent employees from traveling together, a reason must be noted on the travel voucher.

Justification of Traveler (Required on University Employee Travel Request)
When more than one employee employed by the same state agency travel on the same dates with the same itinerary to conduct the same official state business, justification of travelers must be stated on the Travel voucher. An Example of such justification is : Co-presenter of paper or Concurrent sessions are held which require two employees to attend in order to attend all sessions.

Prepaid expenses

There are two travel expenses that can be paid in advance to reduce expenses to the state employee. These expenses are registration fees and airfare expenses.

Registration fees can be prepaid by submitting an "R" requisition with the registration form to the Accounting Services or by charging registration fees to the Procurement Card.

The airfare expenses can be charged to the corresponding Citibank CBA Division account. When the monthly CBA statement is received, the transaction log is filled out, signed and sent to Accounting Services Travel department with E-ticket or receipt and copy of travel request for employees.


CITIBANK CENTRAL BILLING ACCOUNTS -Referred as CBA Accounts-

TAMIU has several Citibank CBA accounts assigned to the different Colleges of the University. These accounts have been setup strictly to handle airfare charges and can be used in the following instances.

  1. Airfare for prospective employees and students.
  2. State employees who did not qualify to receive an individual credit card issued by the University to handle their travel expenses and charging the airfare to the University's CBA account is the method of guaranteeing the contracted rate.
  3. Airfare must be purchased in advance in order to qualify for a discounted airfare rate and by charging the airline ticket to the division account will prevent the employee from being billed to his credit card.

**Use of the Citibank Central Billing Account must be authorized by the College Dean**

APPLICATIONS FOR THE INDIVIDUAL CITIBANK TRAVEL CREDIT CARD CAN BE OBTAINED AT THE PURCHASING DEPT WITH LAURA GAMEZ.

TRAVEL CODES SUMMARY

Description of Travel Expense

In-State Code

Out-of-State Code

Public trans-rental car only 3010 3110
Public Trans-Airfare, taxi, other 3011 3111
Mileage rate not to exceed maximum 3016 3116
Actual expenses-Overnight travel 3020 3120
Incidental Expenses 3025 3125
Meals and lodging not to exceed State allowances 3030 3130
Prospective Employee Expenses-All Expenses 3210
Foreign Travel-All expenses 3310
Student travel Expenses 3410
Registration fees 5215

This guide provides general travel information. For more information contact Martha Laura Medina (ext. 2817).



Department Location Telephone
Account Services KL 152 (956) 326-2150
Accounts Payable KL 152 (956) 326-2157
Cashiers USC 137 (956) 326-2140
Comptroller KL 162 (956) 326-2378
Travel KL 152 (956) 326-2817

 

 

Office of the Comptroller

Phone: (956)326-2378, Fax: (956)326-2159

5201 University Blvd. KL 162

Laredo, Texas 78041-1900

5201 University Boulevard, Laredo, TX 78041-1900 Work956.326.2100