Travel Guidelines

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Traveling to collaborate and share with other colleagues is an integral part of university life. UB offers payment options and will reimburse individuals for reasonable, necessary, appropriate and approved travel and business expenses incurred in the performance of university business.

Criteria for Purpose of Travel

All travel must:

  • be in compliance with departmental requirements
  • be in compliance with the rates and regulations listed here, which follow New York State and Research Foundation rules and regulations
  • be in compliance with any additional sponsor guidelines
  • include documentation regarding the purpose of travel, which includes the dates and location of the event
  • have a direct relationship to the university or research project’s mission
  • be conducive to achieving the objectives of the trip while balancing factors such as cost, time and safety
  • follow the procedures for filing an accident report if an employee sustains a work related injury

If the purpose of travel is to attend a conference, the conference brochure, agenda or program is required. If the purpose of travel is something other than attending a conference, a letter, email, agenda or other documentation regarding the purpose of travel is required to obtain reimbursement. 

Know Before You Go

Has your department approved your plan to travel? Check with your departmental travel administrator to find out your limits.

Foreign travel requires prior review of federal export controls. Watch for travel warnings.

Travel Status Definition

An employee is in travel status when the employee is:

  • Engaged in official university business
  • At a distance of more than 35 miles from the designated official station and place of residence

Official Station Definition

Official Station is generally defined as the address of the office to which the employee is assigned:

  • A employee can have only one official station
  • The designation of office station is determined by the university in the best interest of the university and not for the convenience of the employee
  • The purpose of the official station is to determine when the traveler is in travel status and eligible for reimbursement of travel expenses
  • Travel between the employee’s home and official station is considered commuting and is not reimbursable

Travel Warnings

Travelers and administrators approving all travel are advised to review the following:

Tax Exemption Guidance

Tax exemption should be obtained for lodging and purchases made within New York State. Make sure you have the correct tax exemption certificates for your destination. Each state, funding source, and vendor may have different requirements for accepting tax exempt verification, therefore it is possible that a particular transaction will not quality for tax exempt status.

Using State Funds

When employees are traveling on state funds, NYS taxes are not reimbursable. This applies to sales tax, hotel occupancy taxes, and NYS taxes on car rentals and hotels. Travelers are advised to use the NYS Tax Exempt Certificate (AC946) and NYS Exemption Certificate for Tax on Occupancy of Hotel or Motel Rooms (ST 129) forms.

Using RF Funds

When employees are traveling on RF funds, every effort should be made to obtain NYS tax exemption. If tax exemption is not possible, the reimbursement request must include an explanation. Use the Exempt Organization Tax Exempt Purchase Certificate for RF Funds (ST 119.1).

Payment of Conference Registration Fees

The university’s preferred and most efficient method of payment for conference registration is the Procurement Card (PCard) when using either state or RF funds.

  • Registration fees cannot be advanced.
  • Social activities (e.g. sightseeing, golf outings) are considered personal expenses and will not be paid or reimbursed.  

Conference Lodging and Travel

Pay for lodging with your personal credit card. The conference hotel single room rate will be reimbursed. If you had to lodge at an alternate hotel and the rate was higher than the conference hotel or per diem, you will be reimbursed if you provide sufficient justification as to why you had to use the alternate hotel.

How much you get reimbursed depends on the city where you lodged, according to the rates established within the current federal per diem schedule.

When attending a conference and staying at a conference hotel:

  • Business calls and Internet use must be documented on the hotel bill.
  • Personal expenses such as pay TV, movies and laundry are not allowed.
  • Documentation for the conference hotel single room rate must be attached to the travel voucher to allow reimbursement of costs in excess of the per diem.

Car rentals are normally not allowed as shuttles and taxis are usually more cost-effective.

Meals

An employee is only eligible for reimbursement for certain meal and/or lodging expenses when they are in travel status.

  • Transportation is not reimbursable to and from personal meals.
  • When a meal, such as a breakfast, dinner, banquet or buffet, is included or provided at the conference, the meal is not reimburseable.
  • Reimbursement is not provided for lunch.

Local Hotels for UB Guests

The university has negotiated rates with several area hotels for official guests of UB, such as faculty candidates or guest speakers.

Transportation Expenses

Transportation from an employee’s home to the official station is not allowed. Generally, an employee’s official station is his or her usual work location (office); regardless of where the employee maintains his or her residence.

Travelers should use the most efficient and cost-effective method of transportation available. Often, this means using a common carrier such as an airplane, train, bus or taxicab. The choice of transportation method must be in the best interest of the state, Research Foundation and sponsor. Travelers should obtain the lowest cost coach equivalent accommodations available. 

Airfare and Amtrak

Ticket Purchase

Purchase airfare and Amtrak fares with a personal credit card. Upon your return, reimbursement can be made when the itinerary and receipt are provided with your travel expense voucher.

  • Only coach/economy fare is reimbursable.
  • Research Foundation-funded air and Amtrak travel may be purchased using the American Express Business Travel Account (BTA).
  • Airfare cost comparison may be necessary to justify method of transportation, times of travel, or if personal travel is combined with business travel.
  • When making airline arrangements or when reviewing itineraries and receipts, most travel vendors and airlines will use the 3 letter code.  You can use the world airport codes cross walk for the codes to the city name. 
  • RF only —  rail travel in excess of 200 miles one way may be business class.

Required Documentation

  • Provide documentation as to the official university business conducted while traveling to support the days in which the air or train travel encompass.
  • Requests for airfare and Amtrak reimbursement must be made using a Travel Voucher and include proof of payment (i.e., receipt) and itinerary. This also applies to pre-travel airfare and Amtrak reimbursement requests.

When travelers choose to use their personally-owned vehicle for their convenience, instead of a common carrier, transportation expense reimbursement will be limited to an amount equal to the common carrier coach fare for the same route. A cost comparison between airfare and mileage must be included with the Travel Voucher. Find out more about how to prepare a cost comparison.

6/7/17

When traveling for university business, rental vehicles may be used when it is in the best interest of the university. UB has contracts with agencies from which you can rent a vehicle for both local and nationwide rentals.

6/28/17
UB follows New York state, Research Foundation and UB Foundation guidelines when applying the IRS rates for personal vehicle use, daily meals and lodging.

The Travel Team, Inc.

2495 Main Street, Suite 340

Buffalo, NY 14214-2156

Phone: 716-332-6500

Toll free phone: 800-633-6782

www.thetravelteam.com

 

The Travel Team's UB travel portal

 

Online booking tool information and support

 

Look up The Travel Team profile code (need your UBITName and password)

Transaction Fees:

$12.75 online booking tool

 

$22.00 airline reservation, domestic and international

 

$22.00 Amtrak reservation

Submitting Receipts

All expenditures should be submitted within two weeks of the traveler’s return date. Travel receipt envelopes are a great way to collect receipts as you travel. They also serve to remind you which receipts are needed to attach to the travel voucher.

When submitting receipts for reimbursement:

  • Original receipts are required.
  • The conference or meeting brochure or agenda is required.
  • In all instances an agenda, program or other documentation is required to substantiate all travel expenses/days expenses are claimed.
  • Original signatures of traveler, Principle Investigator (PI) or supervisor and approval authority (when applicable) are required.
  • When a portion of the travel expenses are paid by another funding source (for example UBF or conference organizer), information must be included on the voucher.

Tolls, Parking, Taxis and Public Transportation

If any portion of the receipt includes non-UB business expenses, that portion cannot be reimbursed.

Receipt Requirements Travel Expenses
Expense Type State Research Foundation

Taxi

 

Yes, all dollar amounts

Yes, if over $75

If under $75, travel details are required *

Tolls — all (E-ZPass and cash)

Yes, all dollar amounts

Yes, if over $75

If under $75, travel details are required *

Parking fees

Yes, all dollar amounts

Yes, if over $75

If under $75, travel details are required *

Local bus, train and subway

Yes, all dollar amounts

Yes, if over $75

If under $75, travel details are required *

Airline baggage fee

Yes, all dollar amounts

Yes, all dollar amounts

Gasoline

Yes, all dollar amounts

Yes, all dollar amounts

Global Positioning System (GPS) fees

Yes, GPS usage charges associated with a rental vehicle are allowable expenses Yes, GPS usage charges associated with a rental vehicle are allowable expenses

All other allowable travel related expenses

Yes, all dollar amounts

Yes, all dollar amounts

*For Research Foundation funds, expenses for tolls, parking, taxis and local bus, train or subway fares under $75.00 may be reimbursed without a receipt. This applies per individual receipt and travelers need to itemize each expense on the travel voucher indicating the date, location and amount claimed. Your department or sponsor may require receipts for these expenses at its discretion.

International Travel

Individuals traveling to locations outside the United States on university business must ensure the proper authorizations and reviews are performed prior to travel.

International Travel Insurance

For travel with state funds: Europ Assistance is available for SUNY faculty and staff.

For travel with RF funds: GeoBlue/Frontier MedEx is available to individuals (other than independent contractors) traveling on official RF business.

Contact Meg Mitchell for more information on these programs.

Other Expenses

For travel with state funds: some expenses unique to foreign travel may be reimbursed if they are directly associated with and required for the specific trip including passport and visa fees, cost to convert currency, travelers’ checks, laundry charges for extended stay and departure taxes.

For travel with RF funds: only expenses specifically approved by the sponsor (e.g., lodging, meals and transportation) will be reimbursed.

Cancelled Trips

When a trip is cancelled:

  • At the direction of the university, the traveler will not be responsible for costs incurred.
  • If the traveler canceled travel arrangements for the sake of personal convenience, the traveler may be responsible for costs incurred.
  • Non-refundable travel costs may not be charged to a sponsored project.

Personal Travel

Reimbursement, advance or payment is not permitted for personal expenses (e.g., hotel, transportation, meals, other personal incidentals) when personal travel is combined with business travel or personal expenses are incurred while in business travel status. Car rental, airport parking, and other costs will be prorated to reimburse only the days the employee was on university business.

Examples of non-reimburseable/personal expenses:

  • Early bird check-in option fees
  • Airline club membership
  • Non-cash airline/hotel credits (e.g., frequent flyer mileage, traveler rewards, gift card)
  • Upgrade seat charges
  • Trip cancellation insurance
  • Entertainment
  • Speeding fines
  • Parking tickets
  • ATM fees
  • Laundry (except state funded travel which include laundry expenses for extended stay at international locations are reimbursable)
  • Pay TV, movies, sightseeing, golf outings

If the cost of air travel includes additional stops to accommodate personal travel, a cost comparison must be provided to confirm that the cost of business and personal travel does not exceed the cost of business travel alone; the lesser of the two will be reimbursed.

When travelers choose to use their personally-owned vehicle for their convenience instead of a common carrier, transportation expense reimbursement will be limited to an amount equal to the common carrier coach fare for the same route. A cost comparison between airfare and mileage must be included with the Travel Voucher. A cost comparison between airfare and mileage must be included with the Travel Voucher. 

Student, Guest and Candidate Travel

All student, guest, and candidate travel expenses must be supported by receipts and follow the university’s travel policy. When using Research Foundation funding for non-employee (e.g., student, guest, candidate) travel expenses, the direct relationship of the individual to the project must be identified.

Students

Travel expenses incurred by enrolled university students are reimbursable when such travel directly benefits the academic, research, service, or operational interests of the university. Reimbursable travel includes, but is not limited to:

  • participation, on behalf of the university, in academic competitions, conferences, or programs
  • student recruitment
  • travel required in the performance of university employment

Guests and Candidates

Guest and candidate travel expenses (e.g., transportation, lodging, meals) are allowable when directly related to the individual’s time spent in Buffalo on UB business. When using state funds, reimbursement to candidates will be allowed only when the individual resides more than 50 miles from the UB campus where the interview is scheduled.

Payment Options for Student, Guest and Candidate Travel

Related Link

Contact an Expert

Travel with State Funds

Nicole Pawelski

Travel, Financial Management

Phone: 716-645-4505

Email: npawelsk@buffalo.edu

Cindy Zogaria

Travel, Financial Management

Phone: 716-645-4538

Email: czogaria@buffalo.edu

Travel with RF Funds

Karen Scott

Travel, Financial Management

Phone: 716-645-4536

Email: kescott@buffalo.edu

Dorothy Solomon

Travel, Financial Management

Phone: 716-645-4534

Email: das11@buffalo.edu

Travel with UBF Funds

Sponsored Programs, Dental Medicine, Engineering & Applied Sciences, Architecture & Planning, Nursing 

Cindy Paterson

UB Foundation

Phone: 716-645-8724

Email: clbragg@buffalo.edu

Arts & Sciences, Health Sciences, Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

Kim Carloni-Singer

UB Foundation

Phone: 716-645-3017

Email: kimcarlo@buffalo.edu

UDSMR, Management, Law, Pharmacy, Student Life

Ingrid McCabe

UB Foundation

Phone: 716-645-8723

Email: deviam@buffalo.edu

Athletics, Graduate School of Education, Social Work, Student Housing, Philanthropy & Alumni Engagement

Stephanie Ruffino

UB Foundation

Phone: 716-645-8748

Email: scruffin@buffalo.edu

Accounts Payable Manager

Rose Dommer

Accounts Payable Manager

UB Foundation

Phone: 716-645-8749

Email: rdommer@buffalo.edu

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