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California State University, Long BeachCalifornia State University, Long Beach

XIII. INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL

Employees planning to travel to foreign destinations must request approval from their campus Appropriate Administrator prior to making any travel arrangements and should contact their campus college Business Office for guidance.  Travel to countries on the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs Current Travel Warning List or those deemed high hazard risk requires approval from the campus President or designee and the Chancellor’s Office.  Refer to the information provided by System wide Risk Management under International Travel Resources located at: http://www.calstate.edu/risk_management/rm/.

Departments may impose more restrictive guidelines. See your appropriate administrator for most current department restrictions that may be effect at time of travel.

For general campus restrictions and guidelines, refer to Delegation of Signature Authority. (http://daf.csulb.edu/admin_guidelines/policies/sig_auth.html)

  1. Assignments of Less than 30 Days

  2. Travelers to foreign destinations will receive a fixed amount per diem for lodging, meals and incidentals in accordance with the Federal Maximum Travel Per Diem Allowances for Foreign Areas published by the U.S. Department of Defense and may be found at http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/perdiemCalc.cfm (see Appendix C). Receipts will not be required for reimbursement.

    If actual expenses are claimed due to special or unusual circumstances, the traveler must document such circumstances by submitting a written explanation with the Travel Expense Claim. The amount reimbursed, however, may not exceed 300% of the applicable federal rate established for the location of travel. The reimbursement of actual expenses must be supported by receipts, as specified in Section IX.B.2, Documentation Requirements.

    Following are some examples of special or unusual circumstances that warrant reimbursement of actual expenses:

    • A traveler is required to attend a meeting or conference where meals and lodging must be obtained at a prearranged place, and lodging consumes all or most of the applicable maximum per diem allowance;
    • The travel is to an area where the per diem is normally adequate, but subsistence costs have temporarily increased because of a special event or function, e.g., a national or international sports event; or
    • Due to the situation described above, affordable lodging is not available within a reasonable commuting distance of the employee’s meeting or conference and transportation costs to commute to and from the less expensive lodging facility consume most or all of the savings achieved from occupying less expensive lodging.
  3. Travel Less than 24 Hours

  4. The actual, necessary and non extravagant cost of lodging for an overnight stay associated with international travel of less than 24 hours shall be reimbursed when supported by an original receipt or a statement explaining why a receipt is not available.

    The reimbursement of meals and incidental expenses shall be calculated in multiples of the applicable federal per diem rate based on the total number of hours between the time of arrival at the foreign location and the time of departure.

    For partial days, hours should be rounded to the nearest quarter day as follows:

    • 3 hours up to 9 hours equals 1/4 day or 25%;
    • 9 hours up to 15 hours equals 1/2 day or 50%;
    • 15 hours up to 21 hours equals 3/4 day or 75%; and
    • 21 hours up to 24 hours equals 1 day or 100%.
  5. Assignments of 30 Days or More

  6. The per diem allowance for travel assignments of 30 days or more for international travel should be determined by the traveler’s management based on an estimate of actual daily expenses. Refer to Section XI., Travel within the contiguous United States – 30 Days or More for instructions on calculating the daily expense rate.

    The traveler is expected to seek long-term accommodations when staying in one location for 30 or more consecutive days but less than one year. The rate for reimbursement shall not exceed the maximum Federal Per Diem rate applicable for the destination as published by the U.S. Department of Defense.

    Actual costs paid for lodging taxes, which are not included in the published per diem rates, may be reimbursed as a miscellaneous expense.

  7. Indefinite Assignments that Exceed One Year

  8. The rules for domestic indefinite travel set forth in Section XI.A., Indefinite Travel - Assignments that Exceed One Year, also apply to the reimbursement of travel expenses incurred in connection with indefinite international assignments of one year or more, with the following exceptions:

    • To compensate for additional federal and state income taxes and employment taxes owed by the employee, the reimbursement rate for subsistence expenses may be increased by up to 150% of the applicable federal per diem rate authorized for long-term travel.
    • The amount of the increase, if any, calculated for each employee must take into account the effect of the annual foreign earned income exclusion that may be available to the employee.

    Approval from the Director of Human Resources Service Group shall be obtained prior to any indefinite assignments.

  9. Adjustment of International Per Diem Rates

  10. Travelers may not request reimbursement of actual foreign expenses for one portion of a trip and per diem for the remainder. The method selected must be used for the entire foreign portion of the trip. However, a per diem may be used for meals and incidental expenses and actual costs used for lodging.

    1. Adjustment for Multiple Locations
    2. The method provided in Appendix E may be used to prorate per diems when travel to more than one foreign location occurs. This method may not be used if an alternative method is contractually mandated by the funding source.

    3. Adjustment for Partial Days
    4. The reimbursement of subsistence expenses shall be calculated as outlined in Section B. above.

    5. Adjustment for International Lodging or Meals Provided Without Charge
    6. When international lodging or meal expenses are paid directly by the University, are reimbursed as entertainment expenses, or are otherwise furnished to the traveler without charge, the maximum per diem rate authorized for international travel must be adjusted.

      When lodging is provided without charge, only the meals and incidentals portion of the maximum per diem will be reimbursed. If a meal is provided, the meals and incidentals rate must be reduced by the value of the furnished meal.  If the actual value of the meal is now known, the traveler may provide an estimated cost.

      Situations that may require an adjustment include the following:

      • Meals are furnished as part of official University entertainment,
      • Meal or lodging expenses are included in the registration fees,
      • Group expenses are billed directly to the University, or
      • Complimentary accommodations are extended (generally to a conference leader/coordinator and assistants) by a hotel or motel complex for block patronage of guest rooms.

      Refer to Section V.D., Payment of Group Subsistence Expenses, for more information on claiming group expenses.

  11. Taxability of International Travel with Personal Use

  12. Travel deemed entirely for Business – Nontaxable When an employee spends a portion of his/her time on personal travel, any employer reimbursement applicable to the personal portion of the trip is taxable unless an exception applies. Airfare is the typical expense that must be allocated between business or leisure time and taxed accordingly.

    The value of an employee’s international flight will be considered a business cost, and thus completely nontaxable, when any one for the following exceptions applies:

    • The employee does not have substantial control over arranging the trip;
    • Travel outside of the U.S. combining business and personal time, if for one week or less;
    • Less than 25 % of total time is spent of personal activities; or
    • Vacation is not a major consideration on planning the trip

    Under exceptions 1) and 4), the trip will be deemed entirely for business purposes if a) the employee did not have substantial control over arranging the trip, or b) the employee can establish that vacation was not a major consideration in arranging the trip. If the employee’s primary purpose for travel outside of the U.S. is vacation, then the flight is fully taxable, and only the reimbursed business expense incurred while on the trip are nontaxable.

    The IRS defines “substantial control” as follows: The fact that you control the timing of your trip does not,  by itself, mean that you have substantial control over arranging your trip. You do not have substantial control over your trip if you are an employee who was reimbursed or paid a travel expense allowance and you are not related to your employer.

    A “managing executive” is an employee who has the authority and responsibility, without being subject to the veto of another, to decide on the need for business travel.

    For additional information regarding the taxability of international travel, please refer to the Chancellor’s office travel procedures

  13. Special Fees for International Travel

  14. Unique costs associated with international travel will be reimbursed, such as: the actual cost of obtaining or renewing a passport, visa, tourist card, and necessary photographs; cost for certificates of birth, health, identity, and related affidavits; charges for required inoculations and medical evacuation insurance; currency conversion, ATM and check cashing fees outside the U.S.; the cost of traveler’s checks; costs related to hiring guides, translators, and local labor; and the cost of full collision insurance on automobiles rented in foreign countries.