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Business and Financial Policies and Procedures

Travel Reimbursement and Per Diem

Per Diem for Domestic Travel

The word "per diem" means "per day," or "for each day." Per diem is a daily allowance for meal expenses while in travel status that includes an overnight stay. Per diem is not given for same day travel. Per diem covers the cost of meals and tips. Receipts are not required to receive this per diem allowance. Consult Meal Per Diem Reimbursement for Domestic Travel.

Per diem is based on four 6-hour quarters. The traveler is allowed one fourth of the allowance for each period of 6 hours or fraction thereof.

Graphical representation of Quarters

Meals Provided - Reduce the amount of the per diem you are claiming if you were provided any meals during your travel. For example, if lunch was provided by a conference, subtract the lunch per diem allowance from the total amount you are submitting for reimbursement. If you hosted a business meal do not claim both reimbursement for your meal and per diem allowance. Consult Meal Per Diem Reimbursement for Domestic Travel.

International Travel Reimbursement/Per Diem

Depending on the internal policies of their unit, international travelers may be reimbursed for lodging expenses using either actual receipts or the U.S. Department of State lodging rates. For meals and incidentals, travelers must use the Department of State Meals and Incidental Expenses (M&IE) rates.

Whichever reimbursement method is chosen for lodging must be used for the entire trip.

Actual Receipt Method for Lodging - When traveling internationally employees may pay for lodging using their University T-Card or personal funds. Advantages of using the T-Card include automatic conversion to U.S. dollars at the point of sale and avoiding employee out-of-pocket lodging expense.

Regardless of the method of payment for lodging, all receipts must be translated into English and submitted as documentation for the TEM expense report. Follow the steps in Request Reimbursement for Domestic or International Employee Travel and Business Meals.

U.S. Department of State Per Diem Method - The U.S. Department of State foreign per diem rates for lodging are separate from the rates for meals and incidental expenses (M&IE). Per diem for days of departure and return is calculated on the quarter method.

Lodging Rates - The maximum lodging amount is intended to substantially cover the cost of lodging at adequate, suitable, and moderately priced facilities.
Meals and Incidental Expenses (M&IE) Rates - These charges include meals and the following incidentals:
  • Personal use of room and bath during daytime
  • Fees and tips to waiters, porters, baggage handlers, bellhops, hotel servants, dining room stewards, and similar employees
  • Telephone calls to reserve hotel accommodations, make business inquiries such as status of salary, expense vouchers, and advance of funds
  • Laundry, dry cleaning, and pressing of clothing
  • Fans, air conditioning, heating, radio, or television in rooms
  • Transportation between place of lodging or business and places off site to obtain meals, when they are not obtainable within the immediate vicinity

Other expenses not included in the M&IE rates may be reimbursed using the actual receipt method.

Meals Provided - Reduce the amount of the M&IE foreign per diem you are claiming if you were provided any meals during your travel, including meals at a conference or on board an airplane, train, or ship:

  • Breakfast - deduct 15%
  • Lunch - deduct 25%
  • Dinner - deduct 40%

If you hosted a business meal do not claim both reimbursement for your meal and per diem allowance. Consult Meal Per Diem Reimbursement for Domestic Travel.

Related Policies and Procedures

Make Travel Arrangements
Determine Approved Use of Department and Motor Pool Vehicles
Determine the Allowability of Serving Alcohol at an Event
Request Reimbursement for Domestic or International Employee Travel and Business Meals

Additional Resources

Business Travel
Lodging Allowance Rates
Domestic Travel
Hotels
Meal Per Diem Reimbursement for Domestic Travel
U.S. Department of State Foreign Per Diem Rates

Last Updated: May 2, 2014 | Approved: Senior Associate Vice President for Business and Finance | Effective: September 2012

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