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Travel Allowances for Travel Outside the Continental United States

1. Short-Term Per Diem Allowance - Meals and Incidental Expenses (M&IE)
2. Long-Term Per Diem Allowance
3. Travel In Excess of 14 Hours

1. Short Term Per Diem Allowance - Meals and Incidental Expense (M&IE)

For continuous travel of 24 hours or more outside the Continental U.S., per diem allowances are authorized on the basis of the rates established by the Secretary of State and published in "Maximum Travel Per Diem Allowances for Foreign Areas." Under this system, the per diem allowance for each travel day is established on the basis of a maximum amount for lodging expenses plus a fixed allowance for meals and incidental expenses, the total not to exceed the applicable maximum per diem rate for the location concerned. Please contact SDSU Research Foundationís travel coordinator for the current rate or you may log on directly to the U.S. Department of State Per Diem Rate website  If the specific city of travel is not listed, the "other" per diem rate for that country applies.  Documentation requirements are as follows:

  • An original receipt is required to support all lodging expenses for which an allowance is claimed. The traveler is reimbursed only for her/his actual lodging costs up to the applicable maximum amount.
  • The fixed allowance for meals and incidental expenses is payable without itemization of expenses or receipts. For conference/workshop-provided meals and partial days of travel, the meals and incidental rate shall be prorated accordingly.
  • All other requirements for receipts and documentation shall apply as per non-foreign travel.

2. Long-Term Per Diem Allowance

A long-term per diem allowance is applicable when an individual’s original estimated travel is for more than 30 consecutive days in one location.  SDSU Research Foundation follows the guidelines for long-term per diem as outlined by the U.S. General Services Administration.  Please contact SDSU Research Foundation’s travel coordinator for current rates and policies.

3. Travel In Excess of 14 Hours

The use of business-class airline accommodations may be authorized or approved as an exception to normal policy under the following conditions: a) when business class travel is approved in advance of the trip by the sponsor's grant/contract officer (if grant or contract funds are being used), b) when travel is direct between authorized origin and destination points which are separated by several time zones, and either the origin or destination point is outside the continental United States, and c) the scheduled flight time (including stopovers) is in excess of 14 hours. When this authority is exercised, the traveler shall not be eligible for a rest stop en route.

Please check with the cognizant SR administrator and PI or designee before making travel plans to ensure that the funding source for travel allows this upgrade and that the PI authorizes the additional expense.

Sponsoring agencies normally do not approve airfares that exceed the lowest available commercial discount airfare, except when the airfare accommodations: a) require circuitous routing, b) require travel during unreasonable hours, c) result in excessively prolonged travel, d) greatly increase the duration of the flight, e) result in increased cost that would offset transportation savings, or f) offer accommodations not reasonably adequate for the medical needs of the traveler. In order to charge these types of airfare costs such as use of first-class or business-class airfare, the institution must document each situation on a case-by-case basis with the applicable condition(s) set referenced above.

Individuals traveling outside the U.S. must contact SDSU Research Foundationís risk manager 30 days prior to departure to ensure adequate insurance coverage is provided. See Section V. for additional travel requirements.

Travel warnings, public announcements, consular sheets and tips on safety abroad are available at the U.S. Department of State website .


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