In addition to all other policies set forth in the travel policy, the following policies must be adhered to when traveling internationally. The following approvals must be obtained in advance, dated and submitted with the traveler's expense report.
- If the traveler is a State employee, approval must be made in advance by the respective agency head or designee.
- If the traveler is an agency head, approval must be made in advance by a higher level authority.
Air Travel Emphasized
The guidelines stated for air travel apply to international travel. Business class travel may be approved under the following circumstances:
- When it does not cost more than the lowest available tourist/coach fare (comparison must be attached to travel voucher), or
- For travel to western Europe if the business meeting is conducted within three hours of landing, or
- For transoceanic, intercontinental trips involving flight-time of more than 10 consecutive hours.
Reimbursement for first class travel is prohibited.
With proper documentation, justification, and approval the State will reimburse:
- Commission for currency conversion or traveler checks when deemed necessary.
- Bank charges for ATM withdrawals
- Services of guides, interpreters, packers, or drivers when deemed necessary.
- Fees for the issuance of passport or visa, inoculations, and affidavits when required for business international travel.
The Fly America Act was enacted to mandate the use of U.S. flag air carriers for federally funded international travel. The Federal Travel Regulations requires international flights be on U.S. flag air carriers whenever possible, which is accomplished when code sharing is present. Code sharing occurs when two or more airlines "code' the same flight as if it was their own. In other words, the international flight may be on a foreign air carrier's plane, but is consider the same as one operated by an U.S. flag air carrier. Compliance with the Fly America act is satisfied when the U.S. flag air carrier's designator code is present in the area next to the flight numbers on the airline ticket, boarding pass, or on the documentation for an electronic ticket (passenger receipt).
What does this mean to you? If you are scheduling international travel that is federally funded, you must ensure that all flights, where possible, are scheduled on U.S. flag air carriers or on foreign air carriers that code share with a U.S. flag air carrier.
Federal per diem for meals also applies to international travel and when traveling to destinations outside the Continental United States (OCONUS), including Hawaii and Alaska. When filing an expense report in the PeopleSoft system, the traveler can obtain the proper per diem amounts based upon travel to specific cities.
Per diem rates include both the cost of meals and incidental expenses. Incidental expenses include: fees and tips given to porters, baggage carriers, bellhops, hotel housekeeping, stewards or stewardesses, and hotel staff, and transportation to restaurants. Incidental expenses cannot be reimbursed separately as they are included in the per diem rate. Ground transportation (e.g., taxi, shuttle) to and from airports and railroad stations, and between business meetings while on travel status, is not included in the per diem incidentals. Additionally, the Reimbursable Miscellaneous Expenses referenced in Section 5 are not included in the per diem incidentals.
Travelers are eligible for 75 percent of the total per diem rate on the first and last day of travel. For a complete listing of the GSA per diem tables visit the GSA per diem website.
Foreign Currency Conversion
When a traveler incurs expense in a foreign currency each expense should be converted to United States dollars (USD). The following methods are acceptable:
- Credit card statement: If the expenses are charged, the credit card company will convert them to USD.
- Conversion of charges via the internet for the dates of travel. An acceptable site is: Oanda Converter - this site allows for built in exchange fees and specific dates.
- Currency rate conversion based on actual cash exchange. Use the following formula:
- F x C = U
- F = amount of charges in foreign currency
- C = conversion factor = USD's per unit of foreign currency
- U = expense in USD's
- $100 expenses in Candian Dollars
- $.68 USD's per Candian Dollar
- $100 X .68 USD/CD = $68 USD
- F x C = U