Handbook of Business Procedures
June 29, 2005
June 17, 2012
11.2. TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION
Prior approval for all business travel is required for absences of employees from the campus or other designated headquarters for periods of half a day or more during the normal working period, whether or not there is a cost to The University. Non-employees and students not traveling as employees (traveler types N and S on an electronic Request for Travel Authorization) are not required to have prior approval before claiming travel reimbursements. The Office of Accounting does not require travel authorization for personal absences such as vacation.
An electronic Request for Travel Authorization (RTA) should be completed. Approval is delegated to the immediate supervisor.
An RTA includes:
- Traveler's name
- Traveler type (E for employee, P for prospective employee, N for non-employee, S for student)
- Dates of travel
- Purpose of travel
- Benefit of travel
- Disposition of traveler's job duties
- Account to be charged for travel expenses, if applicable
Appropriate arrangements for disposition of the faculty or staff member's normal duties must be made in advance of the travel. If classes are to be missed, a qualified member of the instructional staff shall be identified to and approved by the departmental Chairman as a substitute instructor. Under normal circumstances, classes should not be rescheduled.
The RTA provides the authorization to charge the specified account for centrally billed travel expenses, if applicable.
Additional approvals or preparations may also be required.
Before an employee travels to Washington D.C., the Office of State-Federal Relations (OSFR) must be informed about the timing and purpose of the trip. Section W of the electronic Request for Travel Authorization (RTA) must be completed. A report based on the section W information is generated and sent to OSFR.
Some foreign destinations are considered restricted regions and travel must be approved by the International Oversight Committee. For information on this policy and its procedures, go to the International Office’s UT Travel Policy to Restricted Regions Web page.
Section 2.02(B) of the State of Texas Travel Allowance Guide states that a state agency may pay or reimburse a state employee for travel expenses incurred while traveling to or from, or staying at a duty point in a foreign country only if the agency's chief administrator, or someone designated by the chief administrator, provides prior written approval. This approval is not required for Canada, Mexico, or U.S. possessions because they are considered out-of-state travel, not foreign.
At UT Austin, foreign travel using a state-funded account requires prior approval from the Dean/Vice President either in writing or, alternatively, electronically via the document routing of the Request for Travel Authorization (*DEFINE VE5/VE6). Prior approval cannot be delegated further by the Dean/VP.
Travel documents for foreign travel on state accounts must be imaged for long-term storage. The creator of the electronic travel document will send the document voucher transmittal form, along with the written prior approval, to the Office of Accounting — Imaging and Documentation Services. If the Dean or Vice President approves the document electronically, the routing showing the Dean/VP logon approval will be sent with the voucher transmittal form as the approval document instead of the written document.
When foreign travel expenses are to be paid from grant and/or contract funds, required approvals must be obtained. Specific authorization for the foreign travel may be stated in the approved grant or contract; if not, the Principal Investigator (PI) must obtain approval from the sponsor. The approval of the foreign travel may be delivered via email. It is the responsibility of the PI to secure all necessary approvals; failure to do so will result in disallowance of the travel expenses.
D. Changes to Travel Plans
Some changes to travel plans, such as travel dates more than one business day outside the originally approved absence or additional destinations, require approval via an amended RTA. Other changes to travel plans, such as accounts that are to be charged for travel expenses, encumbrances, estimated expense breakdown, and traveler's name, may also be changed.