22.1 Travel for Faculty and Staff

(Amended 1/03; 6/13; 2/7/20; President 8/5/21; 8/24/22; 3/24/23)


  1. Definition. University-sponsored travel is defined as university faculty, staff, postdoctoral researchers, medical residents, or graduate assistants who are traveling due to their position as an employee of the university. Personal travel is excluded. Funding for university-sponsored travel must be provided by one or more of the following:
    1. the university; 
    2. a grant or contract that is managed by the university;
    3. and/or a third party, but the purpose of the travel is due to the traveler’s position within the university.
  2. Authorization. University-sponsored travel for in-state, out-of-state and international locations requires authorization from the traveler’s supervisor or delegate to assure that the travel is approved, in compliance with institutional and federal requirements, and that funds are available when applicable.
    1. All university-sponsored travel must be approved using the ProTrav trip request electronic form in advance of the trip.
    2. The university provides travel insurance for university-sponsored travel to international locations only if the ProTrav trip request is approved in advance of the departure date.
  3. The university and/or Board of Regents, State of Iowa, may prohibit or restrict university-sponsored travel when the health, safety, or well-being of the traveler may be endangered. Exceptions may be granted with appropriate business justification.
  4. The university of Iowa requires approval of all travel-related forms by the traveler and the traveler's supervisor, department head, or dean. The traveler's approval is required and cannot be delegated. The second signature must be the traveler's supervisor, department head or dean, or their delegate (see V-7.3 Delegation of Signature Authority). No individual may approve a form in more than one capacity. It is the traveler's and department's responsibility to ensure that the appropriate/approved departmental approvals are obtained, and/or to obtain multiple departmental signatures when required, prior to the form being sent to the Travel Department.
  5. Travel advances. Travel cash advances are used to cover miscellaneous expenditures that will be incurred while in travel status (taxi, meals, tips, etc.). An approved Request for Travel Advance form, authorizing the advance amount and verifying funding, must be submitted to the Travel Department in order to obtain a cash travel advance. Travel cash advances will be limited to domestic travel over 14 days, all foreign travel, and emergencies. Requests for amounts exceeding the standard $60-20 advance for other special situations will be considered. A statement of explanation and itemized estimate of expenses must be provided on the Request for Advance form for any cash advance exceeding the standard $60-20 limit. Travel cash advance checks can be picked up at the Travel Department 5 working days prior to the start of the trip.

    Travel advances must be cleared by submitting a completed and approved travel expense voucher along with the required receipts (or repaid) within 2 weeks from date of return. If settlement does not occur within the required time frame, a reminder letter is sent. If the advance is still not cleared by the time defined within that letter, the outstanding indebtedness will be withheld from the employee's payroll check or billed through Accounts Receivable for students. Any advance that is over 120 days past due will be reported as income to the individual traveler per the Internal Revenue Service. Additional advances or reimbursements will not be allowed until the delinquent advances have been cleared. 
  6. International travel.
    1. Self-register. Travelers traveling internationally on university-sponsored travel with a passport issued by the U.S. are strongly encouraged to self-register with U.S. Department of State (DOS) Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at https://step.state.gov/step/.  Travelers traveling with a passport issued by a country other than the United States are strongly encouraged to inquire about similar travel enrollment services with the embassy of their country of citizenship.
    2. Monitor travel information. ProTrav university travel registry will issue automated notification of the DOS advisory level for the countries that are originally entered into ProTrav when a trip is created.  International travelers on university-sponsored travel are also strongly encouraged to monitor U.S. Department of State travel advisory information for all destinations outside the United States.  
    3.  International insurance card. Travelers are strongly encouraged to check their assigned uiowa email account regularly before international travel on university-sponsored travel for receipt of the Iowa Regents’ international travel, health, and security insurance card. Travelers are strongly encouraged to continue monitoring their uiowa email account before and during international university-sponsored travel for U.S. Department of State notifications generated by the ProTrav university travel registry and STEP registry. Details about the insurance can be found at the following: https://hr.uiowa.edu/benefits/disability-and-other-insurance/accidental-death-and-dismemberment-insurance.
    4. Resources for faculty and staff international travelers:   
      1. Travel Department: https://ap-purchasing.fo.uiowa.edu/travel/internationaltravel.   
      2. IT travel checklist: https://itsecurity.uiowa.edu/resources/faculty-staff/check-your-security. This information will help prepare individuals leaving on university-related business, with personal or university-owned equipment, and reminds the traveler of their security responsibilities/best practices for protection of both physical assets and data.
      3. International Programs: Health, safety, and security abroad: https://international.uiowa.edu/study-abroad/study-abroad-resources/health.
      4. Export control: Export controls can arise due to the location of the travel, the people with whom you interact while traveling, the items you take with you or ship for use while abroad, and the nature of the information you take with you, even if you do not intend to share it while abroad. Contact export-control@uiowa.edu in advance of travel with questions about what, if any, export control regulations apply to your travel.
    5. University Travel Advisory Committee. The University Travel Advisory Committee is comprised of representatives from the Offices of International Programs, Risk Management, Accounts Payable and Travel, Shared Governance, and General Counsel. The Committee advises the appropriate administrator on university-sponsored travel.
    6. Travel in progress. International Programs, in collaboration with the Office of the Provost, will review university-sponsored international travel in progress while a significant health or safety concern arises regarding that travel, including new and renewed U.S. DOS travel advisories and alerts, advisories from the Centers for Disease Control or World Health Organization, natural disasters, wars, political disturbances or other indicators of potential health or safety threats to travelers.  International Programs, in consultation with the Provost, will make decisions based solely on health, safety and security risks, with no consideration of the financial consequences to the administering unit in the decision-making process.  International Programs and the Office of the Provost may request input from the University Travel Advisory Committee in this process.
    7. U.S. Department of State Advisory Level 3 or 4:  The university strongly advises travelers who are planning to go on university-sponsored travel to high-risk areas where U.S. DOS has issued a level 3 or 4 risk rating to review available resources and take appropriate safety and planning measures prior to departure and while traveling.
    8. University policies apply. University policies apply to university-sponsored international travel. For example, faculty and staff are subject to university policies while traveling internationally on university-sponsored travel and may be required to complete specialized training related to safety and compliance issues prior to travel with students.
    9. Excluded activities. Faculty and staff who engage in activities excluded from coverage under the employer-provided international insurance policy for university-sponsored travel will be personally responsible for any personal injury, property loss or damage resulting to themselves and/or others as the result of their engaging in such activity. Activities excluded from coverage under the employer-provided insurance policy include mountaineering where ropes or guides are normally used; hang gliding; parachuting; bungee jumping; racing by horse, motor vehicle or motorcycle; and parasailing.
    10. Motor vehicles. In international locations, faculty and staff are strongly discouraged from driving vehicles with students as passengers. Driving vehicles without students as passengers is permitted. It is best practice to use public transportation or locally hire drivers and vehicles to transport students in international locations, in accordance with transportation recommendations in the country advisory from the U.S. DOS.
    11. International Programs Study Abroad Programs. Faculty and staff sponsoring or administering an approved Study Abroad program or trip for/through the University of Iowa International Programs office must comply with the additional procedures and/or processes defined by International Programs at: https://international.uiowa.edu/study-abroad.
    12. Travel in violation of this policy. Faculty and staff who travel on university-sponsored travel in violation of this policy may be subject to discipline, up to and including termination, as well as financial consequences.
  7. Employee travel expense reimbursement when working at a remote location.
    1. Reimbursement of eligible expenses from V-22.3 is allowable and is not subject to taxation for travel to and from the employee’s remote location to campus when:  
      1. Distance is greater than a 50-mile radius around Iowa City; and
      2. Employer requires employee to be located remote from campus for the convenience of the employer (i.e., hired for specific business needs to occur in that location or to meet a critical business need that could not be filled by a non-remote employee/hire).

        To initiate this type of reimbursement, a Travel Expense Voucher (TEV) should be processed. Departmental approval in ProTrav indicates that all expenses for employee are a result of employer requiring employee to work at a remote location.
    2. Reimbursement of eligible expenses from V-22.3 is allowable and subject to taxation for travel to and from the employee’s remote location to campus when:   
      1. Distance is greater than a 50-mile radius around Iowa City; and
      2. Employee voluntarily requests and is approved for a remote work arrangement based on the criteria established by the organizational unit business needs and in alignment with university criteria as stated in III-24.7 (i.e., space saving; retention; productivity).

        Employees are paid monthly and in one of the following employment types: 
        1. Faculty,
        2. P&S,
        3. Merit, or
        4. SEIU.

          To initiate this type of reimbursement, a Special Compensation—Remote Travel Reimbursement form should be processed through Payroll. 

          Travel expenses must follow V-22 and must be supported by receipts where required. Requests for reimbursement should be supported by written documentation to the employee. Please state in the employee agreement/offer letter that “travel payments are considered a taxable employee benefit by the IRS. Therefore, associated federal, state, and FICA taxes will be withheld from your reimbursement.” 

          Requests for reimbursement of such travel expenses sent to University Shared Services staff will be forwarded to the department's Human Resources staff for submission.
    3. Reimbursement of eligible expenses from V-22.3 is not allowable for reimbursement for travel to and from the employee’s remote location to campus when:
      1. Distance is not greater than a 50-mile radius around Iowa City; or
      2. Employee voluntarily requests to work remotely under III-24.4 Remote Work and there is no written agreement by the unit approving reimbursable travel. Note: this includes mandatory meetings and hybrid days on campus.