Travel Policy Overview

Before Traveling:

Familiarize yourself with the University (and any funding agency) policies and regulations. If you have any questions, please contact

All Travel arrangement can be made and  managed by reaching out to our Prefered Suppliers via the Concur Application with the assistance of WTI.

From Air and Hotel reservation,Car rentals to eatery locations the World Travel Internationl team will assist. Columbia Travelers can make both domestic and international flight reservations in a variety of ways, including:Concur Travel.

A Columbia University designated Travel Counselor at World Travel, Inc. (WTI) can be contacted at 1-855-961-0313.

You can also reach out to the ISERP Business Office for further assistance with our dedicated staff who serves as a traval manager to all travel related matters via

  • William Puleo for Non Grant Related  Expenses and Grant Related Expenses

Air travel booked through World Travel using the Columbia Air/Rail Central Pay method will be paid by the University.All air or rail travel booked on Concur Travel or through World Travel using the Central Pay method will include Travel Accident Insurance provided by third-party providers of Bank of America.  Policy inclusions and exclusions can be found on the Description of Coverage provided for Bank of America.

Negotiated discounts will be applied to tickets booked via Concur Travel and when booking via a Travel Counselor at WTI.

Following Policies should be noted before and After traveling;

  • Exepnses ae all necessary & reasonable which may be incurred in the ordinary course of business
  • All Day travel without overnight stay is considered Business Expensee.The reverse is a Travel Expense.
  • Expensess exceeding all thresholds will require payee justifcaition  & SBO approval and FInancial Approver Acknowledgement.
  • Lodging expenses should not exceed $350 per night in the U.S., $400 per night in international locations.
  • Transportation fares (e.g., airline, rail) should be at economy rate.
  • Do not request reimbursemnt for Gas when the request reimbursemetn is based on mileage.
  • Inusranrace willb e reimbursed for all other suppliers when Hertz is not available or using Hertz internationally.
  • Tolls & reasonable parking expenses will be reimbursed 
  • Tickets, fines & Vehicle repiars can not be reimbursed
  • Appreaciation of Lodging in private homes in excess of $100.00 requires payee Justification.
  • All hotel rates above General Services Administration, GSA rates for Lodging must be segregated. In Concur check off, Apply GSA in the box to complete a Travel Allowance itinerary which will provide full reimbursement for all travel expenses on Sponsored Project

  • Keep the original itinerary, confirmation or quote provided by the travel agency or carrier.
  • Reimbursable dates of travel/hotel stay -The University will cover the full cost of a flight only if it is equal or lower to the cost of the flight if one had traveled immediately before/after the conference date (unless there is another Columbia related business purpose for the additional days). The costs related to an earlier departure and/or later return for airfare may be reimbursed when the total cost of the airfare is clearly documented and demonstrated to be equal to or lower than it would have been for the dates required for business travel. If your business trip contains additional days or a personal stop, you should run the two itineraries on the same day and print them for comparison. Retain both copies, as the two itineraries will then need to be submitted along with the remainder of your reimbursement request documentation for processing.
  • International travel as part of work to be done on a federally sponsored project must adhere to the Fly America Act: The Fly America Act is a Federal regulation states that any foreign air travel that is financed by Federal funds must be booked on U.S. Flag Air Carriers, regardless of cost or convenience. Only Federally funded sponsored projects are subject to this policy. There are specific exceptions to the Fly America Act that allow travelers to use Federal funds on foreign carriers, but only under certain circumstances. To assist you in identifying these circumstances, please refer to the following:

While traveling:

  • Save all of your original receipts & documentation to submit to your department for reimbursement.
    • Hotel, original ticket, electronic confirmation (e-ticket), travel itinerary.
    • Local transportation (note the destination and arrival points).
    • Conference flyer (documentation, program or other literature describing the event).

Travelers will not be reimbursed for airline tickets purchased, partially purchased or accommodations and upgrades obtained using frequent flyer miles.


Expenses for meals for an individual away on approved University business or among University personnel or peer groups (consisting of research collaboration or administrative meetings) should not exceed $25 for breakfast, $35 for lunch, and $75 for dinner, not including tips or tax.

Expenses for business meals involving certain external parties for fundraising, recruitment or speaking engagements (hosted and paid for by a University employee and attended by business colleagues, donors, students, or prospective employees, which result in a business benefit to the University) should not exceed $125 per person, not including tips or tax. 

For all meals involving two or more individuals, document the business purpose, names of the attendees (if over 10 people, the number of attendees), and the relationship (to the University) of the attendees.

Please note when any alcohol is purchased or included on a meal receipt to segregate this when reporting. Save all meal itemized receipts and submit them to your department.  

When you get back:

Expense Reimbursement

All requests for reimbursement including travel advance reconciliations should be submitted to your department within 10 days business days of the completion of the trip. Travel and Business Expense Reports must include supporting documentation and business reasons. You must submit all original receipts to your department for expenses.

Late Expense Reimbursement Submissions

Employees must request reimbursement no later than 120 days after date of the expenditure. Late submissions may only be reimbursed with the approval of the department and A&S. Supporting documentation must be provided in order to describe the circumstances leading to the late submision in order to evaluate whether it is a taxable event. If the circumstances described would not have prevented the traveler from submitting within the proper timeframe (120 days), they are considered taxable income. Expense reimbursements requested more than one year from the date of expenditure are always considered taxable income to the traveler.

Important Resource  To use 






Full Policy Links:

Travel Expense Policy 

Business Expense Policy

Fly America

Fall 2022 Travel Guidance 

International Travel Planning Policy 


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