When is a Travel Authorization required?
A Travel Authorization is required when a University of Arizona Employee, Student, or Designated Campus Colleague will be on travel status (at least 35 miles outside of their duty post) and travels on behalf of University business, regardless of expenses incurred by the University.
Is the Employee required to sign the Travel Authorization?
It depends on whether travel advance funds are requested from the University. If such funds are not requested, then the employee is not required to sign the TA. If an advance is requested, then the employee must sign the TA form.
May I view the Travel Authorization online after I send it to the Travel Office?
Initiators of electronic TA forms may view a routed document's status via the Manage tab in Adobe Sign. For more information on using Adobe Sign, please review the Electronic Travel Authorization Tutorial
. Also, please note that Adobe Sign provides a routing history, but does not contain a final approved version of the document that is routed to FSO. Contact FSO Travel to request a copy of TA forms submitted either electronically or physically.
Do I need to fill out a new Travel Authorization Form if the dates of my travel trip changed?
No. Please send an email to FSO Travel with the TA number, traveler's name, and the updated dates. Financial Services Specialists will take care of the rest. Please also note that if the TA form has been routed electronically, the initiator may reroute the form with the corrected dates, however, this is not required. Simply notifiying FSO Travel is sufficient.
If travel is split-funded, which department should fill out and sign the Travel Authorization Form?
The traveler's supervisor or principal investigator must review and approve/sign the travel authorization. If the travel is split-funded, the department approving the traveler's timesheet within UAccess Employee should hold this responsibility. Departments can negotiate exceptions as needed depending on the circumstances of the travel.
What additional documentation is required for travel outside the United States or to U.S. Territories?
The traveler or an authorized delegate must register the trip with the University's International Travel Registry. Registration must be completed for all travel outside the U.S. This includes trips to U.S. Territories due to insurance and safety considerations. For more information and FAQs on this topic, please visit ua-risk.terradotta.com
Electronic Travel Auth (Adobe Sign)
How do I obtain access to the Adobe Sign application?
The initiator of a Travel Authorization is required to have access to Adobe Sign and should contact the IT administrator within their department or the University Information Technology at 520-626-8324 for application assistance. Approvers or signers are not required to have access to Adobe Sign but must have a valid email address.
What happens to the electronic Travel Authorization if the approver needs a reminder to approve or is in a remote area without internet access?
The initiator of the Travel Authorization is required to manage their pending approval list and should send reminders to the approver periodically until they have completed the approval process. This can be completed in the Manage tab by selecting the document and then clicking Remind in the box on the right side. You may select your desired reminder options from this menu. If the approver is unable to access email, the initiator should resend the Travel Authorization to a delegate or someone who has email access to approve.
How do we handle approval of Travel Authorization if the travel is sponsored by another entity and no UA funding/reimbursement will be required?
A fully approved Travel Authorization is required prior to the departure of the employee. The approver should be a departmental Supervisor or Principal Investigator who authorizes the employee to be away from their primary duty post.
Is University VPN access required to approve a Travel Authorization?
No. VPN access is not required to approve a Travel Authorization. It is only necessary for individuals to have a valid email address as Adobe Sign captures the digital footprint of the approver.
May a traveler or business office submit a Travel Authorization if the traveler is already on travel status or has returned from travel?
It is not required to submit an after-the-fact Travel Authorization form because University Travel Policy 14.10 requires travel to be approved prior to the traveler's departure. When a traveler departs without a fully-approved TA, the trip is non-compliant and will be recorded as such by Financial Services.
What is the preferred internet browser for Adobe Sign?
Testing completed with the Adobe Sign application was successful when using all browsers.
May an initiator cancel a routed Travel Authorization?
An initiator may cancel a document while routed by navigating to the Manage tab in Adobe Sign and then clicking on the specific Travel Authorization to be cancelled. Once the Travel Authorization has been identified click Cancel. The initiator has the option to notify other parties by email and should include the reason for cancellation.
How does an approver disapprove a Travel Authorization?
An approver is encouraged to have a conversation with the traveler to discuss the travel prior to declining the Travel Authorization. The approver should then email the initiator of the Travel Authorization to decline the travel agreement.
How does a Travel Authorization initiator share the Travel Authorization with co-workers?
The initiator may share an individual Travel Authorization by navigating to the Manage tab in Adobe Sign and then clicking on the specific document to be shared. Once the Travel Authorization is identified, share the agreement by adding the email addresses (separate with a comma), include a message to the individuals, and then click Share Agreement.
May the traveler request an advance after the Travel Authorization is submitted and fully approved?
Yes. If a Travel Advance is required after submission/approval of the original Travel Authorization the initiator should edit the original Travel Authorization with the Travel Advance details and route the new Travel Authorization Form via Adobe Sign to obtain Department approval, Funding Approval and Payee approval (all three approvals are required to issue an advance).
Do travelers and initiators receive a confirmation when the travel has been fully approved?
Travelers receive a confirmation only if a Travel Advance was requested.
Initiators do receive a confirmation and may forward it to the traveler if so desired.
To see the routing process in action, please view the Adobe Sign video demonstration within the Electronic Travel Authorization Tutorial.
Is the electronic Travel Authorization mandatory or may paper forms still be used?
The electronic approval process is highly recommended as part of the University's Strategic Plan to reduce workload and paper across the institution. The paper process may continue during the implementation period. However, after this phase is complete (end of January 2019), FSO Travel will monitor paper submissions and begin reaching out to departments still submitting paper TAs. As always, we will offer guidance and training in order to help everyone move in the digital direction.
What is considered supporting documentation required for "designated lodging"?
A copy of the conference flyer or website indicating the lodging information for the event.
When a traveler exceeds the established reimbursement rate for lodging, what should the business office provide to support the expenditure?
The business office should ‘tell the story’ within a note on the Disbursement Voucher indicating the business purpose for exceeding the lodging rates and the decision to approve the overage amount. Examples include the conference hotel was sold out or meetings conducted during site visit required specific location for traveler.
May an individual use Airbnb for University business travel and receive reimbursement for the expense and meal reimbursement?
Yes, Employees may be reimbursed for Travel expenses incurred while conducting University business, when accommodations such as Airbnb, VRBO or Home Away establishments are economical and a cost savings to the institution. Travelers utilizing these services qualify for lodging and meal reimbursement/per diem, not to exceed the published state limits. While there is no central administration requirement to provide a comparison or justification for these expenses, departmental business units are encouraged to consider requesting from the traveler, when/if appropriate.
Additional consideration should be placed on the safety of the employee with respect to well-lit facilities, surroundings, public activity, and in some cases hotel security when booking lodging.
If a Travel Advance is required for the traveler, when and how will they receive the funds?
Travel Advances are issued up to seven days prior to the departure date of the trip, and will be directly deposited into the employee's primary bank account as indicated in UAccess Employee. A check can be issued if a note is placed on the Disbursement Voucher stating that the payee prefers a check disbursement. Please update the Disbursement Voucher with the employee’s home address and click the ‘check enclosure’ box.
Can the traveler use the PCard for hotel expenses to avoid out of pocket expenses for employees?
Yes. Provided the traveler has the Travel/Hotel enhancement, the PCard may be used for hotel expenses (room and tax only). Please visit the PACS PCard website for additional information https://pacs.arizona.edu/purchasing_card
Can the Travel Office provide prepayment to hotels to avoid out-of-pocket expenses for employees, since the PCard does not allow these types of expenses?
The Accounts Payable Office has the ability to prepay hotel room/tax charges with a Single Use Account (SUA) credit card. The business office should book the reservation, print the confirmation, and initiate a Disbursement Voucher (DV) directly to the hotel for the amount due and attach all the supporting documentation (Example: hotel reservation confirmation, hotel credit card authorization form, etc.). Please use the Y – Prepaid Travel Expense Payment Reason Code to alert Accounts Payable of the expenditure pending. Accounts Payable receives a daily UAccess Analytics report of all pending Prepaid Travel Expenses and will begin the process to prepay for room and tax for the hotel stay.
Can the traveler use the PCard for hotel expenses or the Department PCard to avoid out of pocket expenses for employees?
Yes. Provided the traveler/department card has the Travel/Hotel enhancement, the PCard may be used for hotel expenses (room and tax only). Please visit the PACS PCard website for additional information https://pacs.arizona.edu/purchasing_card
What are the "times" of travel that determine allowable meals on the first day and last day of travel?
Tracking time of departure and return of the traveler is no longer required as the traveler receives 75% of the full-day rate on the departure and return days of travel. Meals that are provided at no cost to the traveler on the departure and return day must be deducted at the full-day rate from the 75% reimbursement.
If I am traveling to a city that is not listed on the lodging/meal reimbursement rate tables, what rates should be utilized?
If reimbursement rates are not available for the city you are traveling to/lodging in, then the corresponding county rates should apply. To locate the county, look up the city using the NACO guide
. If the county is not listed in the lodging/meal reimbursement rate tables, the default rates should be utilized, which are the first entry on every page of the Continental United States rate tables and 'Other' on the International and AK-HI-US Territory rate tables.
If the traveler turns in meal receipts for each day of the trip, can the traveler be paid for more than the maximum reimbursement allowed for that day?
A traveler may be reimbursed for actual costs of meals, although the amount cannot exceed the meal reimbursement rates for the day.
When traveling overnight, can a traveler claim meal reimbursement if they stay with a friend/relative to save money on behalf of the University?
University policy allows for meal reimbursement rates while on University business travel, although meals provided should be deducted from the meal reimbursement claim.
When traveling without an overnight stay, may a traveler claim a meal reimbursement?
Meal reimbursements without an overnight stay may be provided up to $13 for a minimum of six hours but less than 12 hours or $20 if the travel exceeds 12 hours. These single day reimbursement rates must be reduced by any meals provided during the day and the amount reimbursed for the meals is taxable income to the traveler.
With the new ‘Basic Economy’ airfare restricting the use of overhead bins, are University travelers mandated to use these Basic Economy fares?
While University and State of Arizona policy mandate that the travelers select the most economical means of transportation, it is incumbent upon the traveler and travel arrangers to recognize these new restrictions and accommodate accordingly. Traveling on behalf of the University of Arizona must be reasonable in nature; however, we recognize that the restrictions imposed upon the most economical fares may ultimately result in higher travel costs.
Travelers and those arranging University travel are encouraged to review costs associated with the Basic Economy fare to determine whether this option will truly provide the most economical means of transportation for the traveler.
May a traveler be reimbursed for mileage when they drive a personal vehicle to the airport while conducting University business, and what supporting documentation is required?
Yes. Mileage to and from the airport may be reimbursed at the current state mileage rate based on the departure time of the traveler. Travel to the Tucson International Airport during normal business hours may be reimbursed based upon 20 miles round trip with no supporting documentation required. If departure time occurs outside of normal business hours, including holidays and weekends, a traveler will be reimbursed for mileage to and from their residence. Supporting documentation should include odometer readings or an internet based map such as MapQuest or Google maps.
Mileage to and from the Phoenix International Airport may be reimbursed with supporting documentation to include odometer readings or an internet based map such as MapQuest or Google map.
Uber transportation receipts on occasion include a "wait time" expense. Is this allowable and reimbursable?
Uber drivers notify the traveler via their mobile device upon arrival that "wait time" charges are initiated two minutes upon the Uber driver's arrival at the designated location. Business units are required to monitor these charges and excessive "wait time" (exceeding .99 cents) should be evaluated and documented with a UA business purpose. If a UA business purpose is not provided (ex: shopping, socializing) the charges should be deducted from the reimbursement or repaid to the University.
If a PCard was used, a Self-Reporting Violation Form should be completed and included with the documentation. In addition, the PCard should not be saved to any Uber account.
If a traveler is on travel status and unavailable to sign the Travel Expense Report (TER) for their last trip, do I have to wait until they return for an original signature?
No. If the employee is on travel status (away from their duty post) and unable to physically sign the TER, the business office may arrange with the traveler to approve the Disbursement Voucher within UAccess Financials. The traveler will need VPN access to log in UAccess Financials. If this option is not available the business office can email a copy of the TER to the employee's UA email address for review. The traveler may then reply (from their UA email address) with approval or disapproval, indicating necessary changes, and the email can be printed and attached to the supporting documentation as the electronic approval.
If a traveler prepays for expenses, may they be reimbursed prior to the travel event?
Yes. Travelers may submit partial reimbursement(s) for expenses or deposits incurred in planning for the business travel. Reimbursements must be supported with a paid receipt/invoice and in some circumstances, proof of payment may be required. In the event the travel is cancelled, the traveler must repay the University for monies received for the travel event.
May a traveler be reimbursed for incidentals such as housekeeping tips and baggage handling?
It depends. Discretionary incidental expenses are included in the Meal Reimbursement rate and individual incidental expenses are not reimbursable. Examples of discretionary expenses include laundry service, tips to concierge, bellhop, housekeeper/doorman, newspapers, magazines, etc. Expenses incurred for business purposes such as tipping at the airport for excessive baggage for equipment, may be reimbursed with a receipt or detailed explanation of expenditure.
Are international transaction fees incurred on the traveler’s personal credit card for business expenses reimbursable?
Yes. Fees incurred for business expenses while traveling internationally are reimbursable. The traveler may provide a bank statement for the supporting documentation for the expenses, however they should redact any personal information displaying only the fees incurred for the business trip.
Are medical expenses incurred while traveling reimbursable?
Is a Pre-Encumbrance document in UAccess Financials required for every funded travel?
The best practice is to pre-encumber travel costs exceeding $1000 by completing a Pre-Encumbrance document in UAccess Financials. This is a current process that continues to ensure fiscal responsibility of University funding.