International travel

As the the state’s flagship university and a premier research institution, KU serves the state, nation, and world. Your research may call you to travel outside the United States and U.S. territories.
A KU research team poses holding a Jayhawk flag during a trip to Tanzania.

International travel guide

If your travel is funded through accounts managed by the KU Center for Research Inc. (KUCR), please review the international travel guide in the accordion menus on this page to ensure you are well-prepared for your journey.

Travel alerts

Before planning an international trip, consult KU International Affairs guidance about travel to high-risk locations and check the U.S. State Department website for travel warnings, country-specific information and travel alerts. KU does not support travel to countries designated as Level 3: Reconsider Travel or Level 4: Do Not Travel by the U.S. State Department, and students and faculty who choose to travel to those locations are not to use university, grant or KU Endowment funds. Researchers who choose to undertake such travel must submit a waiver of liability form.




Preparing for your trip

KUCR travel policy

If your travel is funded through accounts managed by KUCR, review and familiar yourself with the KUCR travel policy prior to your travel.

If your travel is funded with state of Kansas funds, please follow procedures as instructed per the University of Kansas Comptroller’s Office:

Travel authorization

University regulations require a travel authorization for any university employee and students traveling on official KU business, regardless of funding source. You must complete the required documentation with your departmental business office prior to a reimbursement or cash advance. Contact the KU Research Post-Award team with any questions regarding travel on your sponsored project, such as budgetary and sponsor preauthorization.

Be sure you have an approved travel budget

For travel funded by sponsored research funds, please contact the KU Research Post-Award team to endure that your research project has the proper budgetary requirements in place prior to making any travel arrangements.

U.S. State Department travel warnings

Is your destination a country on the travel warning list? You may need to complete a waiver. See KU's Policy on Travel to High-Risk Locations.

Undergraduate students are not authorized to travel to locations listed on the U.S. State Department Do Not Travel list.

Travel insurance

Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation Insurance and Business Travel Accident policies managed by the Human Resources and Equal Opportunity office (HREO) will cover all faculty, staff and student employees traveling on university business, up to seven days before and after the scheduled end of the travel.

Learn more about KU travel insurance options

If you are traveling with colleagues or collaborators who are not KU employees, please ensure they have obtained this important insurance.

Airfares to international locations on federal and federal flow-through sponsored funds must be purchased according to conditions of the Fly America Act. Please contact the KU Research Post-Award team to find out if your award requires compliance with this regulation.

Fly America waiver checklist (.pdf)

Cash advance requests require approved travel authorization and must be approved by your department approver a minimum of 10 business days prior to payment to be issued in time for your departure. Please provide a budget for your trip. Airfares, lodging and registrations should be purchased whenever possible with your KUCR issued p-card.

If you do not have a procurement card (credit card), please contact kucrcard@ku.edu. This card can be used to purchase airfares, registration fees, etc. If you need to use the procurement card outside of the United States, please be sure KUCR is aware of your needs as soon as possible. Please allow 30 days to receive your card and to obtain the required training. This training is mandatory prior to activation of the card. 

For large groups, it may be possible to prepay expenses such as hotel/lodging, in-country travel, entry fees, etc. Or, if your research will require foreign government-issued permits, licenses or fees for the use of facilities, grounds, etc., please supply the required information necessary for application and payment to KUCR Accounting Services or contact kuresaccounting-l@lists.ku.edu.

If you will ship or take any university equipment, supplies, materials, tools, software, or technical data with you abroad, or if you will transfer any software or technical data from KU to a foreign country before or during your travel, your transactions may be subject to U.S. export controls. This is true even if you are the only user of the item, software, or technology and you will not leave any item abroad.

For more information, contact Susan MacNally, export control officer and director of research integrity at 785-864-7429 or sumac@ku.edu

If your research will require employment of an individual located outside of the United States, please adhere to KU's policy regarding Obtaining Services of Foreign Nationals in Countries Outside of the United States

If you require the professional services of an individual on a contractual basis outside of this policy, please have the individual complete KU's contractual services form or prepare a document describing the required services. The document must include verification of the location of services. If the services are limited to local service trades such as guides, drivers, etc., obtain a signed receipt with the name and general location of the individual and the dollar amount paid to them. Please ensure the information is legible. 

It is recommended that you provide a prepared statement about anticipated conditions and expectations for your research group participants regarding accommodations, health and safety, communication, food and budgetary limitations.

When reporting your travel costs, please provide U.S. dollar equivalents for each receipt in foreign currency. If you have a receipt indicating a particular rate of exchange, please submit with your expense report. If not, use the foreign currency rate provided by an established company or bank.

The OANDA currency converter website includes a currency converter and a tool for listing your expenses, then converting the amounts into an Excel report. This format is helpful and convenient for the KUCR audit staff when reviewing your claim. You also may create your own spreadsheet. Email completed reports to kuresaccounting-l@lists.ku.edu.

Submit waiver forms

Use these buttons to submit waiver forms before you travel.

Reporting your expenses

Please review and become familiar with the KUCR travel policy prior to your travel. 

International travel expense reports must have a daily itinerary that documents business days and personal days, if applicable. Use this itinerary or log to collect and maintain detailed records of your expenses while traveling so your records can be as accurate as possible. Using an electronic device to record these expenses while traveling can be helpful.

Please include this log with your expense report. If you provide a clear and accurate expense report and spreadsheet, we will be able to determine that the expenses you are claiming are reasonable, applicable and allowable. In order to make these determinations, we will need to know:

  1. What the expense is: hotel, car rental, taxi, etc. (please translate to English)
  2. Why the expense was incurred: lodging for whom, how many nights, purpose, etc.
  3. When the expense was incurred: a chronological listing of your expenses
  4. Where the expense was incurred: especially if your travel involves multiple locations
  5. Who was involved with this expense: traveler, colleagues, students, etc. Please list the names of any individuals involved in each expense.

Receipts are required for any expense $50 or more for the following expenses (not inclusive):

  • Lodging
  • Car rentals
  • Fees for services
  • Registrations
  • Transportation (air, bus, boat, ferry, taxi, etc.)
  • Supplies/other

If you do not have a receipt for any of these expenses and are claiming reimbursement, it is imperative that you document why you do not have a receipt. Detail on your log must include: purpose, amount, vendor, location, and date(s) of expense(s). It is possible you may be reimbursed for these expenses provided the expense is reasonable, applicable and allowable.

A KUCR Travel Expense Report must be submitted within 30 days of your return.

KUCR has one per diem rate for domestic travel and one rate for locations outside of the United States. There is not a per-country rate nor a federal rate. Please review the KUCR travel policy for current rates.

KUCR will approve a reduced per diem rate according to the per diem exceptions policy has been followed. If you use a lower per diem rate than the KUCR published per diem rate, please document how the rate was calculated. This rate must be used consistently throughout your entire trip for all individuals involved. If you obtain funds for intended use by other individuals in your travel party — such as graduate research assistants, non-KU collaborators or colleagues for their specific use — please obtain a signed receipt indicating the name of the recipient, amount and date.

If your research requires the purchase of any consumable supplies, please thoroughly document the purpose for the purchase of these supplies and how they are used throughout your project while in travel status.



International travel expense policies

Foreign travel costs

Not allowed unless foreign travel is specifically budgeted and authorized in the agreement or approved in writing by the sponsoring agency.  If specific travel restrictions included in the terms of a sponsored agreement are more restrictive than KUCR policy, the agency terms will govern.  Travel under a sponsored agreement may require written advance approval of the sponsor agency. Contact your Post-Award team for guidance.

Currency conversion

Convert to U.S. dollars on travel report. Use rates applicable on the date of expense. Document currency conversion calculation with receipts or credit card statement.

Itineraries

Required for substantiation of international travel to meet Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations for documenting personal vs. business travel.  A daily itinerary is required to substantiate the business purpose of the trip. Each travel day shall be identified as either business or personal.

Passport and visa fees

Reimburseable if necessary for completion of the business purpose of the trip.

Per diem allowance

Check the travel expense reports section for information on current per diem rates.

Personal time combined with business travel

Business travel combined with personal activities will require additional documentation.  If personal days exceed business days, the cost of transportation may be considered a personal expense and not reimbursed.  International travelers may choose the option of documenting meals with detailed receipts OR claiming the international per diem rate. Only one method may be used per trip.

Travelers checks fees

Reimburseable expense for international travelers only.

U.S. flag carriers

U.S. flag carriers shall be utilized for transportation funded by federal grants and contracts whenever possible. Contact your Post-Award team for guidance prior to booking airfare.