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Official ORISE foreign travel is approved travel (whether wholly or partially on official business) from the U.S. (including Alaska, Hawaii, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the territories and possessions of the U.S.) to a foreign country and return from or travel between foreign countries by persons, including foreign nationals, whose salaries (including honorarium, subcontractor fees, or stipends) and/or travel expenses or both will ultimately be funded in whole or part by DOE from its appropriations. Official foreign travel includes travel funded by non-DOE sources and travel for which the traveler is representing DOE or conducting business for DOE.

DOE-ORISE Foreign Travel

Programs operating under the Oak Ridge Associated Universities ORISE contract with the Department of Energy (DOE) must adhere to the requirements set forth in DOE Order 551.1D.  DOE defines foreign travel as travel (whether wholly or partially on official business) from the U.S. (including Alaska, Hawaii, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the territories and possessions of the U.S.) to a foreign country and return or travel between foreign countries by persons, including foreign nationals, whose salaries or travel expenses will be funded in whole or part by DOE from its appropriations and includes travel funded by non-DOE (Strategic Partnership Projects) for which the traveler represents DOE or conducts business on behalf of the U.S. Government (see table below).

For travel that is funded by the Department of Energy, a complete and accurate RAFT (Request for Authorization of Foreign Travel) must submitted into the DOE FTMS (Foreign Travel Management System) at least 45 days prior to the departure date.

Traveler is . . . Then . . .

Traveling under DOE funding
(salary or expenses) or traveling under SPP funding and the traveler (1) represents DOE or (2) conducts business on behalf of the U.S. Government.

A RAFT is required. Travel is entered into the FTMS and submitted to DOE for approval.

Traveling under non-DOE (Strategic Partnership Program) funding and the traveler is not (1) representing DOE or (2) conducting business on behalf of the U.S. Government (e.g. non-employee research participants engaged in an educational/ training/developmental experience).

A RAFT is not required. A TAR only is submitted for approval. Travelers should refer to the Non-DOE, ORAU Guidelines below.


If a RAFT is required, the initial form should include an accurate itinerary, all required information requested on the RAFT, and an accurate cost estimate. Any changes to the original RAFT information should be communicated to Travel Services immediately using the Foreign Travel Change Request Form.

A notification e-mail will be submitted to the traveler once the RAFT has been routed for approval. Once DOE approval and Country Clearance has been granted, the traveler will be notified.

In addition to the traveler obtaining DOE approval, the travel must be entered and approved in the ORAU TMS or authorized on a purchase order or letter of invitation.

DOE Foreign Travel Order 551.1D Requirements

These DOE requirements apply to all employees and nonemployees on ORISE official foreign travel that is funded by DOE, including participants, reviewers, and subcontractors.

  • The country clearance cable (eCC) must be submitted, and the clearance must be received from the U.S. Embassy in the country or countries to be visited.
  • A pre-briefing is conducted at the discretion of DOE counterintelligence officers if the travel is to a sensitive country or if the traveler is a sensitive country foreign national. A foreign national is considered to be from a sensitive country if he/she is a citizen of a sensitive country or is employed by the government or an institution of a sensitive country.
  • Consideration is given to the travel risk and the traveler’s safety, including airline carriers and short-term medical and evacuation coverage. (The cost of the medical/evacuation coverage will be reimbursed.)
  • The traveler is aware of safety and health issues of the country to be visited.
  • The traveler has obtained any required visas.
  • The traveler has a valid passport. (The traveler should ensure that the passport will not expire within six months of the departure date of the trip.)
  • The traveler is traveling on a carrier that has been approved by the DOE Office of Aviation Safety.
  • If the traveler will be on foreign travel for longer than 30 days, the traveler must complete SAFE (Serving Abroad for Families and Employees) training.
  • If the traveler will be staying in country for over 30 days, the traveler must obtain Medical Clearance.
  • Anyone traveling to a sensitive country for more than 30 days must complete the F.A.C.T. (Foreign Affairs Counter-Threat) course. The DOE Sensitive Countries List continually changes as countries may be designated sensitive based on reasons of national security, nuclear nonproliferation, regional instability, threat to national economic security, or terrorism concerns. Please contact a Travel Central foreign travel specialist for the most up-to-date DOE listing.

Unclassified subjects/topics are identified in existing federal regulations governing export control as well as by DOE, and involve information, activities, and/or technologies that are relevant to national security. The Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation maintains the list of sensitive subjects on their website.

Travelers who hold or have previously held an access authorization (Q clearance) and propose to travel to a sensitive country in a personal status are required to submit a RAFT to fulfill their previously agreed on security responsibilities. This requirement is for security purposes only. For safety purposes the traveler should register the trip with the Department of State.

The traveler shall not depart on foreign travel until officially informed by ORAU Travel Central that the travel has been approved by DOE.

Re-approval by DOE is required when substantial changes are made either before or after final approval. Substantial changes include but are not limited to the addition of one or more countries or a change in trip sensitivity from non-sensitive to sensitive.

A full copy of DOE Foreign Travel Order 551.1 D can be found on U.S. Department of Energy website under Office of Information Resources (MA-90) Archived Directives.

FTMS Trip Closeout Requirements

All trips must be closed out in the FTMS within 60 calendar days of the traveler’s return date.

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Safety and Security During Foreign Travel

Sensitive Countries

Countries may appear on the sensitive country list for reasons of national security, nuclear nonproliferation, regional instability, threat to national economic security, or terrorism support. The Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation maintains the list that can be accessed in the FTMS or by contacting Travel Services.

Country Clearance Cable

The electronic country clearance cables (eCC) are official government messages transmitted by the U.S. Department of State Communication Center to U.S. embassies and selected USG agencies overseas. The eCC is a mechanism of keeping the ambassador informed of personnel conducting official business and the purpose of the visit in his/her assigned country. The eCC process plays a vital role in ensuring the safety and security of all DOE and DOE contractor personnel engaged in official foreign travel. In case of emergencies, the ambassador has the responsibility of locating and assisting government personnel in his/her assigned country. The traveler must obtain a country clearance from the U.S. Embassy in the country to be visited prior to departing to that country.

Non-ORISE or Corporate funded Foreign Travel Guidelines

It is ORAU’s desire to provide you with the best guidance possible to ensure your foreign travel is successful, trouble-free and safe. The guidelines below have been assembled with your best interest in mind. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to use these guidelines and to do your due diligence in planning your travel abroad.  Please check with your POC or Manager to regarding reimbursement of any trip expenses.

Register* all Foreign Travel with the State Department

Use the State Department website to:

  • Register your trip(s) with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
  • Find safety, legal, and health information about the foreign destination.

STEP, free of charge to U.S. citizens, allows you to enter information about your upcoming trip abroad so that the Department of State can better assist you with important country specific information. This registration can assist you in case of a major crisis or emergency.

The following country specific information can be found under International Travel Information:

  • Entry/exit requirements
  • Passport requirements
  • Visa requirements
  • Required inoculations
  • Travel alerts or warnings (If active, you should use caution and consider postponing your travel when possible. Please check this often prior to departure.)
  • Medical Facilities and Health Information
  • Medical Insurance

Obtain detailed information about steps you can take to ensure a safe trip on Tips for Traveling Abroad. Be sure to visit the website often to track current country information as the site is regularly updated.

*Foreign Nationals cannot register with the U.S. Embassy, but can use this website prior to commencement of travel to become familiar with country entry/exit and other requirements.  

Report Foreign Travel

U.S. citizens traveling to a sensitive country or anyone possessing a security clearance and traveling overseas must complete a Foreign Travel Notification Form and a Counterintelligence Pre-Travel Briefing. The Foreign Travel Notification Form can be obtained from your point of contact upon request and must be submitted as soon as the need for travel is identified.

Safeguard Your Health

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) websitehas a Travelers’ Health section with health-related travel tips and news. It also has country-specific health information. Please check this site prior to your trip.

Additionally, it is important that you contact your personal doctor, travel doctor or Health Department preferably 4-6 weeks before departure to schedule an appointment to receive any required and/or suggested inoculations. If less than 4 weeks, contact your personal doctor, as some of the inoculations could still be beneficial if started prior to travel.  For additional health-related questions you may contact Occupational Health at (865) 241-2124.

Follow Export Control Requirements for Portable Devices

Travelers should avoid taking portable devices (e.g. laptops, PDAs) on foreign travel unless there is a legitimate business need. Export Controlled Information (ECI) is protected by statute and may not be taken outside the U.S. without the proper license or authorization.

If traveling with:

  • an ORAU-owned laptop, Blackberry, or other electronic device, the S&S Export Control Coordinator must review and approve the device in advance of the trip. Take the following steps to maximize security:
    • Utilize a laptop from the ISD laptop pool.
    • ORAU Controlled Unclassified Information (i.e. Official Use Only (OUO), Business Sensitive, Export Controlled Information, Personally Identifiable Information (PII), and Protected Health Information (PHI)) must be encrypted when stored on portable devices and removable media.
    • Keep the device under your physical control at all times, or secure it in a manner to protect it from loss, theft, damage, abuse, or unauthorized use.
    • Avoid Wi-Fi networks if you can. In some countries they are controlled by security services; in all cases they are not secure.
    • Consider transporting the laptop in a bag that does not resemble a laptop carrying case.
    • Avoid transporting the device in checked baggage.
    • If the device is stolen or lost, report it to S&S Cyber Security immediately, (865) 241-8187.
    • Complete and submit an Employee Request to Export Government Property form (required).
    • Do not attach the laptop to the ORAU network upon return until ISD has inspected it.
  • a personally-owned laptop, Blackberry or other electronic device, please use caution and take the following steps to maximize security: 
    • Don’t take information that you do not need.
    • Back up all information you take; leave the backed-up data at home.
    • Create a strong password (numbers, upper and lower case letters, special characters – at least 8 characters long) on the device(s).  Never store passwords, phone numbers or sign-on sequences on any device or in its case.
    • Download current, up-to-date antivirus protection, spyware protection, and a personal firewall.
    • Avoid transporting devices in checked baggage.
    • Avoid Wi-Fi networks if you can.  In some countries they are controlled by security services; in all cases they are not secure.
    • If your device is stolen, report it immediately to your home organization and the local US Embassy or Consulate.
    • Inspect your computer for the presence of malicious software when you return.

NOTE: ORAU Controlled Unclassified Information (i.e. Official Use Only (OUO), Business Sensitive, Export Controlled Information, Personally Identifiable Information (PII), and Protected Health Information (PHI)) may not be stored on personally owned or non-ORAU devices.

Follow Protection Measures for Sensitive Information

Sensitive information, also known as Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI), should not be taken on travel unless there is a legitimate requirement and other options have been exhausted. Sensitive information  includes:

  • Official Use Only (OUO) Information;
  • Business Sensitive Information;
  • Protected Personally Identifiable Information (PII);
  • Export Controlled Information (ECI)
  • Unclassified Controlled Nuclear Information (UCNI).

Before travelling with sensitive information:

  • Ensure that the same information is not available at the destination and cannot be transmitted to the destination by other means;
  • Make sure the information can be properly handled and protected en route and at the location;
  • Obtain managerial approval prior to travel;
  • (If you plan to present or share sensitive information while on travel, notify S&S prior to travel , allowing enough time for them to review the information and ensure that it may be released in the proposed venue; and
  • review specific protection requirements for sensitive information in security policies SP-400, Information Protection and SP-730, Export Controlled Information Protection. Some specific points to remember :
    • Do not read or display sensitive information in public places;
    • Lock up or protect it as well as practical when it is not in your possession; and
    • Question a person’s  “need to know” the information if they request access.

    Export Controlled Information (ECI) is protected by statute and may not be taken outside the U.S. without the proper license or authorization. If you plan to take ECI (or information which you believe may be ECI) with you on travel, contact the ORAU Safeguards and Security Export Control Coordinator.

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Foreign travel airline tickets

All airline tickets for foreign travel must be arranged and purchased by the ORAU contracted travel agency to assure compliance with the U.S. Fly America Act.

The traveler must follow the Fly America Act; use a U.S. flag carrier to the extent that such service is available - even if this service is not the lowest cost (Note: A U.S. carrier means the ticket has a U.S. carrier’s flight number. A code-share agreement does not make a flight a U.S. carrier.) You can read about the Fly America Act in the ORAU Travel Central FAQ.

Per Diem

For foreign travel per diem info, refer to the following links

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ORAU Travel Central
P.O. Box 117, MS-36
Oak Ridge, TN 37831

Travel Hotline
865.576.6500

Travel Fax
865.574.6563

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