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Travel Policy

Before the Trip

Procedures and responsibilities for all participants when requesting travel authorization, approving and arranging travel.

After The Trip

Procedures and responsibilities for all participants when preparing expense reports, requesting travel reimbursement and approving expenses


Terminology related to Institute travel


Travel Forms

Who to Contact?

Preferred Travel Agencies


















































































































After the Trip Procedures

Purpose: To provide travel procedures in alignment with the Institute Travel Policy for all participants when preparing expense reports, requesting travel reimbursement and approving expenses.

Participants: All Institute Travelers, Lab Administrators, Dept/Lab Administrative Assistants, Approval Authorities, the Office of Sponsored Programs, and the Business Office.

Process Overview: The following flowchart illustrates the basic steps involved in the travel process after the trip.


  1. Travel Expense Report
  2. Required Approval
  3. Travel Reimbursement


STEP 1. Travel Expense Report: Travelers must submit a Travel Expense Report within 10 business days of completion of the trip for travel expense reimbursement.

Preparation of a Travel Expense Report: Prepare a Travel Expense Report for each trip and include the following information:

Several of the fields on this form are self-explanatory; those needing explanation are addressed below:

  1. TA Number: If the trip required prior approval, include the TA Number assigned to that trip (Please refer to Before the Trip Procedures- STEP 3). This number is required by the Institute to reconcile any cash advances and/or expenses paid for by the Institute against the actual expenses of the trip.
  1. Expense description and related receipts: Report only those expenses that are authorized for reimbursement by the Institute policy. Provide a description of the expense and the date when it was incurred and support each expense with a receipt.

    Note: Indicate on the face of the receipt all charges that are ineligible for reimbursement by the Institute policy and subtract those charges from the total amount of the receipt.

    Include the following receipts and explanations for the expenses reported on the Travel Expense Report:

      1. Receipts: Original receipts are required unless expenses are being partially/totally reimbursed by other organizations. In that case, submit the original receipt to the organization sharing the expense, and a duplicate copy of the receipt to the Institute.

        Note: Label all the receipts with a number and write this number on the form under the "Receipt number" column.

      2. Transportation: Provide receipts for all transportation costs incurred during the trip:
        • Air transportation - include the original passenger receipt coupon and the travel agency itinerary showing dates of departure and arrival and airfare cost. If other than economy or coach airfare was used, provide an explanation/ justification for the airfare upgrade
          • If prepaid airfare - include also a copy of the Travel Authorization form and, if applicable, the Check Request form submitted when the pre-payment was requested. Record the expense on the "Prepaid by WIBR column."
          • If purchased via Internet - include also the confirmation receipt indicating that tickets have been paid for, and the credit card statement reflecting the charge.
        • Car Rental- provide original car rental agency statement showing the dates of use and total rental cost. Report and provide receipts for related costs such as fuel charges and tolls.

        Note: Travelers using rental cars should not claim mileage reimbursement, and must deduct rental cost for days of personal use.

        • Private Automobile - include the total mileage traveled and the standard mileage rate for that period. The report automatically calculates the mileage reimbursement based on the total mileage times the standard mileage rate. Include also and provide receipts for any automobile expenses such as bridge/tunnel tolls and parking charges.

        Note: The standard rate already accounts for automobile expenses such as fuel and maintenance, so do not include such costs for reimbursement

      3. Lodging: Submit the original statement from the hotel/motel indicating hotel/motel name, address and phone number, and the dates of lodging and daily room charges. Business phone charges reflected on the hotel bill may be claimed as a miscellaneous expense if documented by receipt.
          • If prepaid lodging- include also a copy of the Check Request form that prepaid the hotel expense. Record the expense on the "Prepaid by WIBR column."


      4. Meals and Beverages: Submit meal receipts from the restaurant indicating date of the meal, food and beverage items.
          • If alcoholic beverages were consumed, split the bill as to the cost of the meal and the cost of the alcohol, including related taxes and tips. Indicate the alcohol portion on the receipt and subtract this portion from the total amount. Report only the cost of the meal portion.

        Note: Usually, restaurants provide itemized receipts, but when not available, travelers should indicate on the receipt whether alcoholic beverages were consumed and should not submit alcohol charges for reimbursement.

      5. Registration fees: Provide original receipt and a program or literature showing the opening and closing dates of the conference.
      • If prepaid- include copy of the Check Request form that prepaid the registration fee. Record the expense on the "Prepaid by WIBR column."


      1. Other Expenses: Provide original receipts, including dates of the expense, for all miscellaneous travel expenses authorized for reimbursement (i.e., telephone calls, fax, and cost of acquiring passports/visas, etc.).


      1. Foreign Receipts: All amounts recorded on the expense report must be in U.S. dollars. To report foreign charges proceed as follows:
        • Convert all foreign receipts to dollar based amounts on the exchange rate effective for the date the expense was incurred. If the expense was charged to the traveler's credit card, use the conversion rate on the credit card statement when available. Otherwise, use the conversion rates available at
        • Indicate on the face of the receipt the following information:
          • what the receipt is for - if in a language other than English.
          • the exchange rate used - per credit card statement or conversion rate web site.
          • the amount in US dollars.


      2. Missing Receipts: In case of a lost original receipt, complete a Missing/Lost Receipt Form to document the expenditure. When possible, request a duplicate of the missing receipt from the vendor and attach the duplicate to the Missing/Lost Receipt Form. If the expense was paid with the traveler's credit card, attach also the credit card statement reflecting the charge.

        Note: Any irregularities or an excess of lost receipts may result in denial of reimbursement.

    1. Deductions from reimbursable amount: Report all cash advances and prepaid expenses paid for by the Institute as well as any expenses reimbursed by a third party. The Travel Expense Report will automatically subtract these amounts from the total amount due for reimbursement.
      1. Cash advances - report any cash advances received for the trip. Failure to clear cash advances on the Travel Expense Report will result in loss of future cash advances privileges.
      2. Prepaid Expenses - indicate all prepaid expenses on the "Prepaid by WIBR" column of the report. The Excel form will automatically add up all the prepaid expenses.
      3. Third party reimbursement - the traveler must report if expenses for any part of the trip were or will be reimbursed by any source other than the Institute.

        Note: In no event may the traveler be reimbursed for more than 100% of the cost of the trip from all funding sources.

    2. Expense reconciliation: DO NOT ADD TOTALS UP, unless completing by hand. The Expense Report is available in an Excel format and total amounts ARE AUTOMATICALLY CALCULATED. Cells with automatic calculations are identified by zero amounts ($0.00). Total expenses due to traveler (or to Whitehead Institute) are calculated once all travel expenses and deductions are recorded and entered into the proper cell.
          • If expenses are due to Traveler - the Institute will reimburse the traveler within 10 business days of a receipt of the approved Travel Expense Report by the Accounts Payable Office.
          • If expenses are due to Whitehead Institute - traveler must pay the difference to the Institute by attaching a personal check to the Travel Expense Report, made payable to Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. The amount credited to the Institute must be made to the same activity/account category that the cash advance and/or prepaid expense was charged to (as indicated on the Check Request form that paid the cash advance/prepaid expense).


    3. Activity and account categories funding the expenses: Indicate the funding source (i.e., grants and/or Whitehead accounts) covering the travel expenses. For most labs, the assigned Lab Administrator is the one responsible for coding travel expenses to the proper funding activities and account categories. Procedures for coding expenses to the right funding sources are:
      • Assign an activity based on where traveler has effort.
      • Check activity to make sure funds are available to cover trip requirements.
      • Reassign activity with effort if no money available.
      • Assign account category based on Domestic or Foreign Travel (6000 category in the accounting system).


    1. Traveler's Signature: Regardless of who prepares the Travel Expense Report, each traveler must sign the report, and is responsible for the information submitted. The traveler's signature indicates that:
      • the information provided is correct.
      • proper receipts are included, and
      • cost claimed for reimbursement complies with Institute policy.


STEP 2. Required Approval: Once completed, submit the Travel Expense Report to the following authorities for approval:

    1. Department/Lab Approval Authority: All Travel Expense Reports must be approved by the person responsible for the budget within the lab or department. Signature by the approval authority indicates that:
      • funding is available for reimbursement.
      • all required receipts are included and,
      • any exceptions to the travel policy travel have been approved for reimbursement.



STEP 3. Travel Reimbursement

Approved Travel Expense Reports will be automatically sent to Accounts Payable for reimbursement by either the Business Office staff or the Sponsored Programs Assistant responsible for reviewing and approving the reports.

Note: Every effort will be made to reimburse the traveler within 10 business days of receipt of properly prepared and approved Travel Expenditure Report by the Accounts Payable Office. Reimbursement checks will be sent directly to the traveler's home address or, if requested, to the department/lab Administrative Assistant.



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