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Business and Financial Policies and Procedures

8.2.1 Request Reimbursement for Domestic or International Employee Travel and Business Meals

Policy Statement

Travel expenditures by employees, including student employees, must serve the University of Illinois System's best interest, have a legitimate system business purpose, and be related to the employee's job duties. The system may deny reimbursement or request repayment or payroll deduction if the travel does not comply with these policies:

  • The unit head or delegate must verify the unit has travel funds available and must pre-approve all travel and business meals.
  • All travel must be by the most direct route, using the most economical mode of transportation available considering travel time, costs, and work requirements. If travelers interrupt business travel or deviate from the direct route for personal convenience or personal leave, they will be reimbursed only for uninterrupted travel by the most direct route.
  • The unit head or delegate must approve employee use of private passenger vehicles—if it is the most economical and convenient transportation available. However, travelers who use private passenger vehicles will not be reimbursed for more than the cost of commercial coach round-trip airfare plus transportation to and from the airport.
  • Per diem allowance must always be reduced for any meals provided.
  • Expenses must be substantiated by receipts and received by University Payables (UPAY) within 60 days or the entire reimbursement amount may be reported to you processed as taxable income. This 60-day limit is in accordance with IRS guidelines regulations.
  • Lodging charges for official conferences/meetings higher than normally allowed under the lodging allowance are reimbursable if the unit head approves.

University Payables reports all lodging expenses that exceed the maximum to the Higher Education Travel Control Board (HETCB), except for conferences/official meetings. If HETCB does not allow the exception, the traveler must refund the disallowed amount to the system account charged for lodging.


To request reimbursement for domestic or international employee travel and business meals:

  1. Be prepared to provide the following:
    • Itemized receipts for non-per diem expenses for $10 or more
    • Translated receipts for international travel
    • For business meals, business purpose of the meeting and names and business affiliations of the participants
  2. Log in to TEM (Travel and Expense Management System). In the Create New area, select the Expense Report icon. Consult the job aid for System Navigation if you need help identifying the icon.
  3. In the Document Header screen, select Employee Travel/Meal Reimbursements and T-Card Charges in the Purpose field.
  4. Proceed through the screens. Consult the Create an Expense Report (ER) job aid for step-by-step instructions, including how to submit the receipts. For international travel, TEM automatically converts foreign currency into U.S. dollars.
  5. UPAY reviews the request and processes for payment. Payees will be notified at their university email address when the payment is deposited to their payroll bank account.

Travel Within Headquarters
Employees may incur travel-related expenses within their headquarters while performing their duties, even though they are not in travel status. Common examples include mileage and parking for attending a meeting across campus or to deliver documents. You may accumulate these expenses and request reimbursement on a monthly basis by following the steps above.

Employees With Special Needs
If employees have a disability or other medical condition which necessitates premium transportation to accommodate their special needs, they may be reimbursed for those expenses. The reimbursement request must include documentation from the physician indicating how long the condition is expected to last. If the condition is permanent or indefinite, the doctor's statement must be renewed each year.

Travel by Employees on Sabbatical Leave
Expenses related to sabbatical research travel are reimbursable under the IRS accountable plan rules if the research is required by the system and must be performed at the location where the expenses are incurred. The anticipated expenses must be included on the approved application form for requesting sabbatical leave.

Travel by Private Plane
The maximum reimbursement for private plane transportation is limited to lowest available commercial discounted round-trip air fare, including the cost of transportation to and from the airport. Reimbursable miscellaneous items not covered by the mileage allowance include airplane parking, hangar rental, landing, and tie down fees unless the unit restricts such allowance. If two or more employees are traveling in the same private plane, only one employee may claim air mileage reimbursement.

Related Policies and Procedures

15.1.3 Make Travel Arrangements
15.1.4 Determine Allowability of Travel Expenses
8 Payments and Reimbursements - Documentation Required to Support Payment
15.1 Travel - Headquarters and Travel Status
1.3.3 What Approving or Signing a Document Means

Additional Resources

TEM Resource Page
Job aid for System Navigation
Job aid for Create an Expense Report (ER)
University Payables Training Materials
Reimbursement Rates for Travel Expenses (including mileage for personal passenger vehicles)
Guidelines for Sabbatical Leaves of Absence

Last Updated: February 20, 2019 | Approved: Senior Associate Vice President for Business and Finance | Effective: September 2012

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