Travel & Reimbursement Procedures
Please see the Health Alerts Information for Travelers site for the most up to date information regarding travel restrictions.
Non-Travel Purchases and Reimbursements
Be sure to save all itemized receipts for any business purchase and turn them in to department staff who will clear the charges (if a department credit card is used) or provide reimbursement.
Gratuities: Tips should never exceed 20% of the service charge (minus tax). Any portion of a tip over 20% is not payable or reimbursable by Stanford. If you tip over 20% when using the Pcard, you will need to reimburse Stanford for the additional tip amount. 20% tips should not be given for deliveries.
A Department purchasing credit card is available for making purchases under $5000. Please check with E-IPER staff for allowable expenses on the purchasing card. To clear charges made with the department card or to obtain reimbursement, please provide receipt, business purpose for the expense, attendee list for meal purchases, travel and reimbursement expense form and the account to use (if applicable).
Travel and certain student related expenses are not allowed on the Pcard. The Pcard is meant for program purchases, business meal, or purchases for events.
***Airfare, Hotel, and Car rental must be done though the Stanford Travel booking channels***
Effective June 15, 2020, university funds may be used to purchase or reimburse new university-sponsored travel expenses only when booked through one of the Stanford Travel booking channels. This policy applies to Stanford faculty, staff and students booking airfare, hotel, and/or car rentals.
The centralized booking program, Stanford Travel, automatically registers travel reservations in the university’s Travel Registry, which connects to Stanford’s provider of medical, personal, travel and security assistance. This program provides the university with the ability to locate and support its travelers in the event of an emergency, supports compliance with reimbursement policies and procedures and offers discounts, waivers, and perks to travelers.
To be reimbursed for university-sponsored travel, travelers must use a Stanford Travel booking channel when booking airfare, hotels or car rentals. There are limited exclusions to the travel booking policy, which are described below under "Exclusions to Travel Booking Policy".
Beginning April 1, 2022, all field-related travel and course-related travel (including day trips), must be registered through the Stanford EARTH Travel Registry. The information collected (basic travel plans, participants information, and emergency contact info) will be used by your department/program staff and the Field Education Office to better provide logistics prior to departure (if requested) as well as any required support in emergencies.
To be reimbursed for university-sponsored fieldwork travel, travelers must register in advance in the Stanford Earth Travel Registry and use a Stanford Travel booking channel when booking airfare, hotels or car rentals. Advance registration in the Stanford Earth Travel Registry is required and should be completed at time of booking travel to be reimbursed or processed if using the Travel Card. Please note that if you use the Travel Card and do not complete the Stanford Earth Travel Registry in advance of travel, you will be required to pay the University back. This registry is separate from the university registration that is created when a trip is booked through Stanford Travel booking channels. There are limited exclusions to the travel booking policy, which are described below.
A travel period may begin one day ahead of a business event (for example, arriving on Sunday for a conference that begins on Monday). The business travel period may include weekends, holidays, and other necessary standby days if they fall between business travel days. If a traveler chooses to arrive early or to stay longer for non-business reasons, the university does not pay for expenses incurred during those additional days. Exceptions include when travel is at a lower total cost if the traveler stays over a weekend or holiday, with department approval, or when traveling more than eight time zones. The traveler must document the reason for this extra expense in order to support the non-business-day payment.
Most Direct Route
The traveler should select the most direct route for air travel, preferably nonstop or, if not available, the fewest stops possible. A more direct route is preferable over a lower cost fare. If, for other than university business, the traveler takes an indirect route or interrupts a direct route, payment for airfare will be at either the actual charge or the charge that would have been incurred by traveling the direct route by the most economical means, whichever is less. The charge that would have been incurred as the lowest available airfare for a direct route must be documented through a fare comparison.
Students must submit request for approval for use of Professional Development and Conference funds to Ann Marie Pettigrew before making any travel arrangements or purchases.
Travel advances may be available prior to travel for costs that will be incurred during fieldwork. A department travel credit card should be used for advance purchases such as airfare, lodging, car rental using one of the Stanford Booking Channels. Travel advance requests should be made at least 3 weeks before travel.
Using Department Travel Card
Before travel, check with E-IPER staff to borrow the department travel card to book airfare, conference registrations, lodging, vehicle rental reservations. If using Egencia, the travel card is already in the Egencia system. For all other booking channels, the travel card will need to be checked out or use personal card for payment and request reimbursement.
Stanford Travel must be used for booking car rental. No exception. When reserving a vehicle for University business use, always decline all insurance options for rentals within the contiguous US. Stanford has a blanket insurance policy for University business vehicle coverage. Vehicle insurance is not reimbursable (except for work in Hawaii and international).
Vehicle reserved for university business should include the drivers name and "Stanford University" on the rental agreement whenever possible. Only the driver named on the car rental agreement is covered by the rental agency's basic insurance. The driver on the agreement may not leave the state in which it is rented without the rental agency's permission.
In addition, the university self-insures against risk for all employees and students who rent a car from any agency while on university business within the continental U.S. Copies of the university's Certificate of Self-Insurance can be obtained through Stanford's Office of Risk Management.
Airfare and Lodging
Stanford Travel must be used for booking Airfare and Hotel (slimited exception listed below). Stanford reimburses at the rate for non-refundable coach airfare. Do not purchase trip insurance, carbon offsets or carbon credits, Global Entry and TSA PreCheck (Stanford will not reimburse).
At this time, separate rooms for each traveler are still considered best practice, but individuals who are fully vaccinated and are comfortable with sharing rooms may do so. Masks should be worn indoors in shared spaces.
- Egencia which is a full-service online travel agency
- United Corporate Direct via United.com or the United App, with Mileage Plus profiles linked to Stanford negotiated rates
- FCM (formerly CASTO) FCM provides a small team of dedicated travel agents, as well as a concierge team, and specializes in complex travel bookings.
- StudentUniverse offers unique features and benefits designed especially for students.
Booking Airfare: Fly America Act
- Fly America Act: Generally, all flights charged to federal projects must be taken on US flag air carriers or on foreign air carriers that code share with a US flag carrier on the flight taken. This includes flights within the US. If there is no US carrier to your destination, you must travel on a U.S. carrier as far as possible. By law, additional cost for US carrier flights is not sufficient justification to fly on foreign carriers. Please note that the same rules apply to a foreign visitor's flights when supported by federal funds.
- For more information about Fly America Act, visit Fly America Act and Open Skies Exceptions (Air Carrier Requirements)
- If applicable, please complete the Certification of Exception to Fly America Act form, which justifies the use of a foreign flag air carrier for travel charged to a federally sponsored project.
Exclusions to Travel Booking Policy
The following are instances where faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars and students are not required to be booked through Stanford Travel booking channels but should manually enter and update their reservations in the university’s Travel Registry.
- Conference hotels, which may be booked directly with the hotel at the conference rate per the Lodging Policy.
- Airline ticket reissues or exchanges.
- Travel purchases booked outside of the U.S. for employees of Stanford’s affiliated global subsidiaries and branches. Non-employees affiliated with activities managed through these subsidiaries and branches, for example, coaches or volunteers are also excluded.
- Group travel bookings for 10 or more travelers going to the same destination.
- Rental cars booked through the Enterprise Rent-A-Car branch located on Stanford's historic campus.
- International travel for foreign airlines, hotels, or car rental companies not available in the United States, if no other option is available in Stanford Travel.
The following are excluded from the booking policy and are not entered into the Travel Registry:
- Travel for visitors and guests.
- Non university-sponsored or personal travel (such as for non degree programs, internships not sponsored by the university, house-hunting or moving expenses).
- Travel for Stanford Healthcare and SLAC employees, which follow each organization’s respective travel policies.
- Ground transportation options such as car service, rail, taxi and public transportation.
- Homeshare or rideshare services (e.g., Uber, Lyft, and AirBnB). If travelers choose to utilize these optional services, they may be booked either within or outside of the Stanford Travel program.
A desk guide with more information including meal, lodging, and transportation limits.
Important Time Considerations for Post-Travel
- Reimbursement requests (including clearing travel card purchases and travel advances) should be submitted within 10 days from the last day of business travel. If you cannot meet this deadline, please notify E-IPER staff as soon as possible.
- If requests are not processed and submitted by the Program within 60 days from the last day of travel, expenses will be tax-reportable as income to the individual per IRS guidelines. If you submit your receipts to on the 60th day, it will not have enough time to be processed and will be tax reportable. For more information, please visit Stanford's Reimbursement/Expense Reporting Process.
- Reimbursements are processed in the order received. Allow 2 weeks for processing time.
- The turn-around time for Stanford's central reimbursement office is approximately 20 working days.
Students are required to download and fill out the Travel and Reimbursement Expense Form for all travel and reimbursement related expenses (Be sure to download before filling it out!).
- Submit ALL itemized receipts along with any needed forms. Receipts may be printed originals, scanned and sent, or forwarded from email (such as airfares or Uber/Lyft rides).
- If attending a conference, please submit conference program even if not presenting. If presenting, please also submit page showing your name and presentation title.
- If there are any receipts missing, regardless of amount, please complete Missing Receipt Form.
- Below are receipt requirements for various expense types:
- Submit itemized airfare itinerary and receipt showing form of payment.
- If airfare did not meet with Fly America Act and Open Skies agreement, complete the Certification of Exception to Fly America Act to help identify legitimate exceptions for use of a non-U.S. carrier.
- Submit an itemized hotel bill showing method of payment and a zero balance. If necessary, have the hotel email it to you. Stanford Travel must be used for booking Hotel. No exception.
The use of personally-owned automobiles is generally most appropriate for round trips of 200 miles or less (temporarily extended to 300 miles round trip). Commercial air travel is generally the most economical and practical means for round-trip distances over 200 miles.
The university provides a $200 maximum round trip reimbursement for the actual costs of transportation to or from a Bay Area airport. This reimbursement amount can be used to cover personal mileage, parking fees, ride-hailing service charges and taxi fares.
- Car rental - Submit car rental receipts (not agreements). Insurance, Loss / Damage Waiver (LDW), Collision, etc. are not reimbursable unless you are traveling in Hawaii or foreign countries.
- Car Mileage - include map of route and directions ($0.56/mile). If your mileage is more than 200 miles round trip, please provide an Egencia flight comparison. If the flight is less expensive than the mileage reimbursement, please provide an explanation for why the car was needed. You may only be reimbursed for the cost of the flight comparison. This is not needed for field trips. The standard mileage allowance (rate per mile multiplied by miles traveled) is intended to cover automobile expenses such as fuel and lubrication, towing charges, physical damage to the vehicle, repairs, replacements, tires, depreciation, insurance, etc.
In addition to the standard mileage allowance, necessary and reasonable charges for the following automobile-related expenses are allowed:
- Liability and physical damage insurance coverage for driving in foreign countries
- Meals - itemized receipt and list all attendees present for meals.
- Tips may not exceed 20%.
Stanford uses per diem rates recommended by the U.S. government to take advantage of governmental cost studies and to ensure general equity with grant and contract requirements.
Stanford travelers may select between per diem or actual reimbursement within the lodging policy. The method selected must be used for the entire trip.
- Domestic per diem rates are maintained by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). To view the current per diem rates for a city (or county if the city is not listed), access the GSA’s Domestic Per Diem Rates.
When using the per diem method, documentation is required to demonstrate proof of travel, such as boarding passes and conference or hotel receipts to substantiate trip dates.