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Business Travel

Reimbursement for Foreign Travel Expenses

Meal and Incidental Expenses (M&IE) Per Diem

University employees on approved business travel are eligible to receive meal and incidental expenses (M&IE) per diem for the time spent in international travel status.  Employees traveling within the United States and its territories receive the State of Illinois in-state and out-of-state meal per diem rates.  International M&IE 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 expense report.

The Travel & Expense Management (TEM) system automatically calculates per diem reimbursement based on the date and time that travel status begins and ends to the countries visited.

The international M&IE per diem rates are determined by the U.S. Department of State and include the following:

  • meals and taxes
  • fees and tips to waiters, bellhops, housekeeping, etc.
  • laundry, dry cleaning, etc.
  • transportation between place of lodging or business and places off site to obtain meals 

For a detailed list, see Section 15: Travel Reimbursement and Per Diem.

For additional information, see the U.S. Department of State Foreign Per Diem Rates website.

Meal Deductions

Reduce the amount of the M&IE per diem being claimed if any meals were provided during travel, including meals at a conference or on board an airplane, train, or ship:

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

If an employee hosted a business meal, do not claim both reimbursement for the meal and per diem allowance.

The University Travel Card (T-Card) may not be used for meal purchases when in travel status, except when hosting an allowable business meal.

Lodging Reimbursement

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 expense report.

The employee must choose one of these methods of lodging reimbursement for the entire trip.  The two methods may not be co-mingled.

The T-Card may be used for lodging expenses while in travel status. Using the T-Card eliminates the need for lodging reimbursement, however an expense report must still be submitted with the T-Card transaction and receipts attached.

Last Updated: March 15, 2017

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