Reimbursements for Foreign Travel Expenses
Meal Per Diem
University employees on approved business travel are eligible to receive meal and incidental expense (M&IE) per diem reimbursement for the time spent in international travel status. Travel within the United States and its territories must use the State of Illinois in-state and out-of-state per diem rates, however international per diem rates apply once the employee is onboard the aircraft leaving the U.S. The cost of actual meals purchased while in travel status is not reimbursable and receipts for such meals should not be submitted with the reimbursement request.
The Travel & Expense Management system (TEM) automatically calculates the per diem reimbursement amount based on number of travel days, the time that travel status starts, the time that travel status ends, and the countries visited during the travel. The international M&IE per diem rates are determined by the U.S. Department of State and include meals, taxes, tips, and other incidental travel expenses such as laundry, dry cleaning, baggage transport and handling. (See the U.S. Department of State Foreign Per Diem Rates website for more information.) The University Travel Card (T-Card) may not be used for meal purchases when in travel status, except when hosting an allowable business meal.
Reimbursement for lodging costs incurred while traveling internationally may be requested in one of two ways:
- Actual Cost – reimbursement may be requested for actual, reasonable lodging expenses. Receipts are required and must be translated to English and converted to U.S. dollars.
- Per Diem – international lodging per diem rates are determined by the U.S. Department of State and are dependent upon the country in which the employee lodged. Receipts are not required and should not be submitted with the reimbursement request.
The employee must choose one of these two methods of lodging reimbursement for the entire trip. The lodging reimbursement request for the trip must be submitted using either the Actual Cost method or the Per Diem method – the methods may not be co-mingled.
The T-Card may be used for lodging expense while in travel status. Using the T-Card eliminates the need for reimbursement, however an expense report must still be submitted with the T-Card transaction and receipts attached.
Last Updated: August 8, 2012