Travel and Business Expenses

Travel Policy

All travelers are responsible for adhering to BU’s travel and expense policy. The relevant informational documents are listed below. Expenses that do not comply with this policy may not be eligible for reimbursement.

Staff and students traveling internationally must register their travel in advance with BU Global Programs. It is recommended (but not required) that faculty register their travel as well.

If you are a student who is traveling internationally and you do not have medical insurance coverage through BU, please contact Thompson Scott-Ludwig immediately.

Submit an Expense Report

Before filing an expense report, be sure you have all the required receipts and documents. To find out what documentation is required for your expenses, please review the Expense Documentation Matrix.

Faculty and staff must submit expense reports through Concur, which is accessible through the Employee Self Service (ESS) tab in BUworks. Step-by-step guides are available to help you begin a report in Concur. We highly recommend signing up for direct deposit for reimbursements before you travel to help expedite your refund.

Students and guests do not have access to Concur, and are not eligible for direct deposit for reimbursements. Students and guests may submit an expense report using our online form.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, there are several things to remember when flying internationally on federal funds:

Fly America Act: The Fly America Act requires that you book foreign travel on a US flag carrier. When purchasing your ticket, be sure that the airline code is that of a US airline.

Open Skies Agreement: When traveling to the European Union (EU), Australia, Switzerland, or Japan, you may use a carrier from the destination country (when traveling to the EU, you may use an airline from any EU country). *Open Skies does not apply if you are traveling on Department of Defense (DoD) funds. In that case, you must use a US carrier for all foreign travel.

There are two ways to claim per diem:

1. To create a per diem natively in Concur you should create an Allowance. You will not be able to make granular adjustments to your per diem if you use this method.

2. You can create a customized per diem by doing the following. First, create a regular meal expense. Enter the total amount of per diem you would like to claim (for all days). In the comments section, indicate the number of days and amount per day. For a receipt, attach a pdf of the official rate sheet for your destination (view rates here: Domestic; Foreign).

Note: you may NOT claim lodging as a per diem.

All expenses over $25 require an itemized receipt for reimbursement. For meals and lodging, receipts should include a breakdown of the individual charges. If you don’t have this receipt, you should fill out a missing receipt affidavit.

Materials and supplies for University- or research-related business should be purchased through a staff member in the Physics Department office. You should only purchase supplies in an emergency situation AND when Physics Department staff are unavailable (e.g. after-hours, weekends, or while travelling). Please note that tax is NOT reimbursable on supplies. Non-travel expenses are submitted in the same way as travel expenses. The “travel dates” should be the first and last dates of the expenses incurred.

Posters can be printed through Fedex Kinko’s, located below Warren Towers. If you expect to get reimbursed, you must contact a Physics Department staff member to place the order to avoid paying tax. You will not be reimbursed for any tax incurred if you pay out of pocket.

DOMESTIC: Faculty and staff should not purchase additional insurance (e.g. Collision Damage Waiver) when renting a car domestically for Boston University business, as all travelers are automatically covered by BU insurance. Any additional insurance purchased will not be reimbursed. Exception: travelers not employed by BU (e.g. visiting researchers) are not covered by BU insurance and may purchase additional rental insurance.

INTERNATIONAL: Faculty and staff traveling internationally should not purchase additional rental insurance when using their BU travel card. If the traveler does not have a BU travel card (e.g. students, visiting researchers) or the travel card can’t be used, additional rental insurance may be purchased.

For additional details, please refer to BU’s Risk Management website. Boston University also has a number of discounted car rental rates. A complete list is available here.

Students are not covered by BU’s liability insurance unless special precautions are taken. Students are only covered IF a Boston University employee has rented or leased the vehicle on their behalf and has added the student as an additional driver on the car rental contract. If this precaution is not taken, Students should purchase insurance coverage as they are not covered by the University insurance policy.

For additional details, please refer to BU’s Risk Management website. Boston University also has a number of discounted car rental rates. A complete list is available here.

You may spend additional time before or after your trip for personal use. However, you will only be reimbursed for the expenses incurred during the business portion of your trip. If you are extending your flight dates to cover this personal travel, or if you are not leaving from/returning to Boston, you must price out the flights that you would have taken for the business trip alone from Boston. You can only be reimbursed for airfare up to this amount.

Example 1

If your conference in San Francisco ends on Friday, but you spend the weekend in San Francisco for personal reasons and return to Boston on Monday, you must provide a sample itinerary showing the airfare for your flight had you returned on Friday.

Example 2

If you fly from Boston to your conference in San Francisco, and then fly to Los Angeles for a personal trip after your conference, you must provide a sample itinerary showing the airfare for a round trip flight from Boston to San Francisco.