Important Travel Guidelines

All travel must be approved by ORAU before it occurs. A completed and approved Preapproval Request (PA) form should be submitted as soon as your travel plans have been determined, at least two weeks in advance of domestic travel or two weeks prior to the early fee payment deadline if attending a conference, whichever comes first. Please allow plenty of time for the approval process at your facility.

You will receive an approval email when the PA has been approved. You are not authorized to travel unless you have received an approval email from ORAU.

Pre-approval is required to:

  • Determine whether you have adequate funds in your travel budget to cover the estimated cost of the trip
  • Prevent problems with unallowable costs
  • Adhere to ORAU travel policy

Steps to follow

  1. Complete a PA in Chrome River or use the manual PA request: Include all of the following on the PA:
    • Each destination that will be visited and the date(s) of the visit; unapproved side trips that are not included on the PA are not authorized.
    • Personal travel* dates and destinations (when combined with research-related travel) must be notated on the PA.
    • Estimated costs for all expenses that may be incurred, including:
      • Airfare* and/or personal vehicle mileage
      • Ground transportation (taxis, subways, buses, etc.)
      • Rental cars*
      • Lodging*
      • Per diem*
      • Registration fees*
      • Miscellaneous expenses (costs must be itemized)
      • Travel advance*, if needed for per diem or a registration fee cost traveler has incurred and requested
      • Appropriate comments, when possible, to help us understand the travel plans
  2. Obtain appropriate approval signatures if using the manual request form.
  3. If using the manual form, submit the approved PA by email to ORAU Travel Central.

*Important points to remember:
Airfare: ORAU prefers to purchase your airline ticket. If you purchase the ticket, however, you should include the cost of the ticket on the PA. All ORISE foreign travel tickets must be purchased by ORAU.

Note: If ORAU is purchasing airfare for you, you must reply to the ORAU Travel Office with your approval of the tentative itinerary before an electronic ticket can be purchased. Any delay in the approval of the itinerary may cause an increase in the actual airfare at the time the ticket is purchased (airfares tend to change daily and sometimes even several times a day).

Personal Travel: When personal travel is combined with research-related travel, an airfare simulation must be obtained on the same day of ticketing and reflect the lowest available airfare to meet the business need. The traveler will be responsible for any increase in airfare or other expenses due to the addition of personal travel and the increase in costs will be deducted on the Expense Report (ER). If the comparison is not done on the same day of ticketing, the traveler will be responsible for a proportionate part of their airfare cost equal to the number of days on personal travel.

EXAMPLE
Total number of days: 10 | Business days 7 | Personal days 3

ORAU would pay 70% and traveler would pay for 30% of the cost of the airfare.

Rental Car: Optional insurance coverage that is not included in the rental car rate (PAI, LDW, CDW, etc.) is NOT reimbursable. Rental cars are not usually justified when taxis, subways, buses, and other ground transportation are available, or when you lodge at a conference hotel. You must provide a justification for the approval of a rental car. Note: Charges for optional equipment or services on rental cars, such as “Fuel Service Option” or global positioning system (GPS) unit, are not reimbursable.

Lodging: GSA rates must be used when available. If your lodging will exceed the GSA ceiling, you must provide a justification on the PA.

Per Diem: Per diem rates are based on the lodging locations. Three-fourths of the per diem rate is paid for the first and last days of travel, and the full amount is paid for all other days. You may choose to request reimbursement for less than the full per diem allowed. The U.S. General Services Administration website contains government per diem rates for lodging and meals, as well as travel advisories.

Registration Fees*: ORAU can provide an advance reimbursement to you for your registration fee. Please be sure to note any meals to be deducted if they are included in the registration fee. Please note: reimbursement for registration fees cannot be paid until the PA and conference are approved. The registration fee receipt must be submitted with the ER for your trip.

Travel Advance: ORAU can advance only the allowed per diem for the destinations and dates of travel, less deductions for meals that will be provided. We cannot advance airfare, hotel, rental car, or other costs.

After travel is completed – ER procedure
ORAU Travel Guidelines require that a completed Expense Report be submitted in Chrome River within ten (10) days of the completion of your travel. A manual ER form and receipts can be scanned and e-mailed to ORAU Travel Central.

If scanning is not available, the forms may be faxed to 865-574-6563 or mailed to:
ORAU Travel Central
P.O. Box 117, MS-36
Oak Ridge, TN 37831-0117

Use this address for FedEx/overnight deliveries:
ORAU Travel Central
1299 Bethel Valley Road
Building SC-200, MS-36
Oak Ridge, TN 37830

Please contact ORAU Travel Central at (865) 576-6500 if you have questions about the PA, ER, or travel guidelines.