Financial Services Manual (FIN)

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Effective: 6/21/1983

Revised: 7/1/2009

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FIN 506: Foreign Travel

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To allow university employees to travel to foreign countries on official university business. Also, on an as-needed basis, to allow students to travel when specifically approved by the college or department.

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Financial Services

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Travel Authorization

An authorizing travel official must approve all foreign travel. For travel paid by external grants or contracts, departments are urged to check with appropriate agencies such as the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, or the university’s Office for Research and Sponsored Projects Administration (ORSPA) to determine whether special requirements for foreign travel apply.

With the exception of estimating lodging and meal expenses, preparation of the Travel Authorization form for foreign travel does not differ from regular out-of-state travel authorization procedures. See FIN 505–01, “Out-of-State Travel Authorization,” for more information on travel authorization requirements.

Note: For current foreign per diem rates, contact Travel Reimbursements at 480/965–3111 (the Tempe campus) or 602/543–6717 (the West campus).

Travel in Sanctioned Countries

Insurance coverage is not provided to university employees traveling in sanctioned countries unless the State of Arizona Department of Administration, Risk Management Section, purchases the insurance for the trip separately. Individuals traveling to sanctioned countries will be required to obtain authorization from the U.S. Treasury Department. A copy of the authorization, along with a copy of the Travel Authorization form, must be submitted to ASU Insurance Services 60–90 days prior to travel.

ASU-contracted travel agencies should be able to assist travelers with these foreign travel requirements.


The procedure for reimbursing out-of-pocket foreign expenditures and repaying any advances received by the traveler on university business does not differ from regular out-of-state travel reimbursement, except for air travel and exchange rates (see FIN 505–02, “Out-of-State Travel Reimbursement,” for travel reimbursement procedures).

Air Travel

Air travel to and from a foreign country under sponsored project awards must be on a U.S. flagship carrier. If a carrier other than a U.S. flagship is used, the airfare may be disallowed on the grant and the traveler or department may be responsible for the cost. For more information on air travel or travel on other common carriers, see FIN 512, “Transportation.” For more information on air travel to and from a foreign country under sponsored project awards, see the Research and Sponsored Projects Policies and Procedures Manual—RSP 504–01, “Sponsored Projects Travel for ASU Employees” for further information.

Note: You may contact ORSPA to determine an airline’s flagship status.

Meal Per Diems

Meal and incidental expenses for foreign travel are reimbursed, up to the maximum rate allowed, at the established rates published by the U.S. Department of State Standardized Regulations. A copy of this listing is available for review at Travel Reimbursements. Foreign meal per diem is allocated among breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Contact Travel Reimbursements for each meal percentage or visit the Financial Services Travel Page.

Maximum rates of reimbursement are not authorized when free or low-cost lodging and meals are provided. Under travel regulations implemented by the General Services Administration and individual agency authorities, certifying officials are required to reduce the maximum rate of reimbursement when necessary to maintain a level of payment consistent with necessary travel costs.


Lodging expenses for foreign travel are normally reimbursed, up to the maximum rate allowed, at the established rates published by the U.S. Department of State Standardized Regulations. A copy of this listing is available for review at Travel Reimbursements. Original receipts (itemized when available) supporting the actual cost of lodging are required. Maximum rates of reimbursement are not authorized when free or low-cost lodging is provided.


If a passport is required for authorized university business travel and the traveler does not already have a passport, the expense can be reimbursed. The expense of a visa and associated fees are authorized reimbursable university business travel expenses.

Exchange Rates

While foreign travel is in progress, travelers should take note of exchange rates used to convert foreign money to U.S. dollars (USD) in each country visited. Exchange rates can be obtained by contacting a bank or making notations on the original receipts (itemized when available) obtained from establishments at the time of the currency exchange transaction.

If the traveler neglects to get the exchange rate at the time of travel, contact Travel Reimbursements at 480/965–3111 upon return. Travel Reimbursements will provide the traveler with the rate that was applicable on the dates of travel, as listed on the Web site.

If the exchange rate is not listed on the claim form, the form will be returned to the traveler for this information. Below is an example of calculating exchange rates. See Examples of Some Foreign Currencies on the Financial Services Travel Page for a list of various foreign currency denominations.

The notation regarding exchange rate calculations must be written on the original receipts or beside the original receipt on the sheet to which it is taped for the reimbursable expenses. Original receipts are required. Itemized receipts are preferred and may be required in certain circumstances before reimbursement is made. For example:

Lodging for 12/10/93, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Exchange rate: 1.35 CDN = 1.00 USD.

Calculating Exchange Rates
Employees traveling in a foreign country calculate exchange rate(s) for reimbursement as follows:

Formula 1: 1.35 (name of foreign currency) = 1.00 USD


Formula 2: 1.00 (name of foreign currency) = 0.70 USD

The following examples show how to calculate U.S. dollar equivalents. If exchange information is given in formula 1 above, the USD equivalent can be found by:

Amount of expense (foreign currency)

= Amount of expense (USD)

or, if using formula 2:

Amount of expense (foreign currency) x .070 USD = Amount of expense (USD).

Potential ASU Foundation Reimbursement

There is an option in those cases where a request for reimbursement is less than completely paid by ASU due to the restrictive state rules. That option is to submit a request for disbursement for any unreimbursed portion to the ASU Foundation for payment by funds maintained in an ASU Foundation account by the requestor’s campus, college, or unit. If this option is pursued, the requestor must determine that the campus, college, or unit has funds at the ASU Foundation that permit this additional reimbursement. Sometimes this approach works, sometimes it doesn’t, but it is worth considering. The campus, college, or unit business office should be able to assist in making this determination. The ASU Foundation requires the requestor to submit a copy of the request for reimbursement that was submitted to ASU, along with its request for disbursement form, properly completed and approved. ASU Foundation forms are available through ASU MS Outlook.

Reimbursement by a Third Party

A traveler who receives reimbursement from a third party for travel expenses claimed on the travel reimbursement must return those funds to ASU. The returned funds shall be deposited to the agency/org and object/sub object code where the travel reimbursement was processed. This includes any travel pre-payments made by ASU.

Helpful Hints for Foreign Travel

Foreign Country Entry and U.S. Reentry Requirements

For travel outside the U.S., travelers should check the entry requirements for the specific country to which they are traveling. This information is available at any travel agency or the U.S. Department of State Web site at For reentry into the U.S. after travel outside the U.S. (including travel to Canada and Mexico), travelers should have a valid U.S. passport.

Traveler’s Checks

The traveler should purchase traveler’s checks at a local bank in foreign currency at the prevailing rate. If it is necessary to exchange currency abroad, use banks and avoid more costly exchanges in airports, train stations, and hotels.

Passport Photocopies

The traveler should make two photocopies of the first page of his or her passport. Leave one copy with a trusted friend or family member and take the other along, but do not keep it in the passport. If the passport is stolen, the information on the photocopy will expedite renewal.


The traveler should remove any old tags or stickers on luggage from previous flights. During days of political unrest, it is best to mark luggage with a plain colored sticker, not with a business card or some other identifying mark that could attract a terrorist’s attention.

The traveler should never pack anything valuable or hard to replace (e.g., cash, documents, medicine) in checked luggage. Such items are safer and more accessible in pockets or carry-on bags.

Credit Cards

The traveler should take along only the credit cards needed for the trip. Write down the credit card account numbers and the phone numbers for reporting lost or stolen credit cards. Keep this information in a separate, safe place, not in a wallet or handbag.

Rest, Fluid, and Food

The traveler should go to bed early for three or four days before flying abroad to prevent jet lag. On the flight, the traveler should drink plenty of nonalcoholic beverages to prevent dehydration and eat sparingly for the first couple of days after arrival to allow the body to become accustomed to new meal times.

Registration of Valuable Items

The traveler should register valuable items with customs before departure. Otherwise, upon return the traveler may have to pay duty on items that were not purchased abroad.

If, after the initial reimbursement of travel claim expenses, an audit or other review identifies an error, a repayment to the university by the traveler or an additional payment to the traveler by the university for the over- or underpayment may be necessary, regardless of the funding source.

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