Washington State University
BUSINESS POLICIES AND PROCEDURES MANUAL

TRAVEL
95.05
Revised 8-11
Travel Services
335-2034

Travel Authority

PDF link

PRIOR APPROVAL

Official University travel requires prior approval by an appropriate University administrator. (See 95.01 and "Approving Official" below.)

Written Prior Approval

Written prior approval on a Travel Authority (TA) form is required in the following circumstances. The department routes or retains the TA as indicated.

Routing Approved TA to Travel Services is Required

In each of the following two circumstances, the department must route the approved TA to Travel Services:

Routing Approved TA to Travel Services is Not Required

In each of the following six circumstances, the department must retain the approved TA in the departmental files. (See below.) The department does not route the approved TA to Travel Services.

Verbal Prior Approval

Verbal prior approval by the administrator is acceptable when a Travel Authority is not required. A Travel Authority is required whenever one of the above circumstances applies to the travel plan.

TA FORM

Download or copy the PDF version of the Travel Authority on 95.05.9 to obtain a template that may be completed with a computer and printed for approval and routing.

Substitute TA Forms

The department may not use a substitute TA if a travel advance is included in the request or if the department wants Travel Services to pay the conference registration.

A department may use a substitute TA form if:

See "Completing the TA" below for data requirements.

COMPLETING THE TA

Complete the Travel Authority in accordance with the following instructions. Form sections without instructions are considered self-explanatory.

TA Number

The department may enter an identifying number for the Travel Authority. This field is optional.

Section 1--Travel Authority

Complete Section 1 to authorize travel. This section is always completed.

Title

Enter the traveler's working title.

Purpose of Trip/Speaker's Program Description

Describe why the traveler is traveling. Indicate the exact purpose of the trip. Describe the program involved.

If an applicant's or speaker's travel includes a speaker fee, describe the proposed program here.

Include the full name of organizations and agencies rather than initials.

Continue descriptions and justifications on an attachment if necessary.

Itinerary

Enter dates of travel. Enter starting points and destinations for each leg of the trip. The itinerary should be complete enough to locate the traveler in case of an emergency and to show the traveler's route.

Authorized Items

Check all items authorized by this Travel Authority:

Domestic Speaker

Check to authorize a speaker's or conference participant's travel expenses and/or speaker fee.

Rental Car

Check to authorize use of a rental car (other than Motor Pool). See also 95.12.

Exceptions

Check if the Travel Authority authorizes or requests authorization for exceptions to standard travel policies.

Lodging Exception

To authorize payment of more than the standard allowable lodging rate in accordance with the procedure in 95.06 indicate the exception rule.

Exceptions/Restrictions

The supervisory administrator evaluates the travel plan and indicates any restrictions or special arrangements, e.g. reimbursement limitations, special allowances speaker fee. See also SPPM 5.40.

Approving Official

A University official who is authorized to approve travel signs Approving Official. See 95.01.

The designated approving official must personally sign the Travel Authority. A subordinate's signature or a facsimile, e.g., rubber-stamped signature, is not acceptable.

When a designated acting official signs the Travel Authority, the acting title must be shown.

Two Departments

When more than one department is supporting the travel, an administrator from each department must sign the TA.

Employee Travel

For employees the approving administrator must be the traveler's supervisor and an official who is authorized to approve travel. See 95.01.

Student Travel

For students the approving administrator must be an official who oversees the department or office responsible for the travel activity and an official who is authorized to approve travel. See 95.01.

Applicant or Speaker Travel

For applicants or speakers the approving administrator must be the chair or unit administrator who oversees the department or office responsible for the travel activity and an official who is authorized to approve travel. See 95.01.

Exceptions Noted and Approved

Administrators and the Controller use this section to approve exceptions to WSU travel policy.

Section 2--Conference Registration

Check this section to request that Travel Services submit prepayment of conference registration.

NOTE: The department may choose to prepay the conference registration by using a departmental purchasing card. See 70.08.

Registration Fee

Submit completed registration materials to Travel Services with an approved Travel Authority at least ten days before the registration is due. Travel Services mails the registration fee directly to the organization.

If time limits prevent this procedure and there is no departmental purchasing card available, the traveler may pay the registration fee and be reimbursed with a claim on the Travel Expense Voucher (TEV). Attach a receipt for the expenditure to the TEV.

When Travel Not Required

If the employee does not have to travel to attend the conference, the approving administrator may authorize payment of conference, convention, or meeting registration fees, including certain meal costs (see 95.06).

Meals Included in Registration Fee

If meals are part of the regular registration fee and are not optional, general University funds may be used to pay conference registration costs.

Optional Meals

Meals are considered optional if the conference registration fee is adjusted for meals purchased.

When conference meals are optional, general University operating funds may support meal costs up to the maximum allowable amounts shown in 95.19. If meal costs exceed these maximums, the excess costs may be supported by one or both of the following:

NOTE: Departments may not use purchasing cards to pay for optional conference meals.

WSU-Sponsored Conferences

If the conference is sponsored by a WSU department, use an IRI to pay registration fees. See 70.05 for IRI instructions.

Section 3--Travel Advance

A travel advance allows a traveler to receive cash to use to defray reimbursable lodging and meal expenses while performing official duties.

A travel advance may not be considered to be a loan to an employee. Any unauthorized disbursement of a travel advance is considered a misappropriation of state monies. (SAAM 10.80.60.b)

Charge Cards

WSU travelers may obtain University travel charge cards to use in lieu of travel advances. See 95.03.

Appointed Employees

Appointed WSU employees with at least two months of remaining employment are eligible for travel advances.

Others

Students, student groups, faculty/staff traveling with student groups, and employees with less than two months left on appointment may apply for travel advances on an exception basis.

Exceptions

A departmental administrator may include a request for an exception to advance policies on the Travel Authority form.

Current in Accounting

A traveler must be current in accounting for previous advances in order to receive another advance.

Mailing Address of Traveler

The traveler's mailing address should be a home address. This address should correspond to the home address entered in the University's computer Name and Address File (see 90.70). Verify addresses by referring to PAPR, an online administrative application. See 85.37 for more information about administrative applications.

Check Disposition Instructions

Travelers are encouraged to direct the check to a home address.

Reserve the "pick up" or hold privilege for emergencies. Preparing checks for pick up results in several extra steps for the Controller's Office.

Authorized Expenses

Estimate meal and lodging expenses. See 95.19 for meal and lodging rates.

Limits

The minimum dollar limit for a travel advance is $85.00.

The maximum dollar limit for a travel advance is 90 days authorized allowance at the maximum allowable rates for the travel locations.

If travel status extends beyond 90 days, an additional advance may be requested after the previous advance is cleared by submitting a TEV. NOTE: A TEV must be submitted at least every 30 days during extended travel supported by a travel advance.

Employee Agreement

Read the Employee Travel Advance Agreement statement carefully.

A Travel Expense Voucher (TEV) which justifies the expenditure of the advance is to be submitted to the Controller's Office on or before the tenth day of the month after the authorized travel period. (SAAM 10.80.60.d) See also 95.20.

When a travel advance is unaccounted for by the above deadline, Travel Services initiates payroll deduction or collection procedures.

Any unexpended portion of a travel advance is to be returned to WSU Travel Services with a properly completed TEV at the conclusion of the authorized travel period. (SAAM 10.80.60.d) The traveler is to make payment to the University by personal check, cashier's check,or money order payable to WSU. Travel Services does not accept cash payments.

Travelers Signature

The signature must be the traveler's own signature. Substitute signatures or signature stamps are not acceptable.

Section 4--Account Information

Indicate the account coding for supporting WSU account(s). If the travel expense is to be paid by the traveler or another source, enter details above the approving administrator’s signature and leave the Account Information section blank.

Net Amount

Enter amount in the following circumstances:

DISTRIBUTION

The TA is routed differently for different travel situations.

General Travel

If the TA includes a request for a travel advance and/or conference registration, the department must route the TA to Travel Services as indicated below.

If the request does not include a travel advance or conference registration, the originating unit retains the original of the TA or substitute TA (see above) and any back up documentation. This constitutes the official University record of approval for the travel.

The department routes a copy to the traveler.

The department prepares an additional copy for the college if required by the responsible dean/director.

Travel Advance

Submit the original TA and a copy to Travel Services at least ten days before anticipated departure.

Rental Car

If the traveler does not wish to use his or her state charge card to obtain a rental car, he or she may present a signed copy of the TA or substitute TA to Travel Services to obtain a WSU rental car credit card.

Rented Aircraft

Submit the original TA or substitute TA to Purchasing at least 10 days before anticipated departure.

Conference Registration

Submit the original and a copy of the TA and the registration form to Travel Services at least 10 days before the fee is due.

Foreign Travel

See 95.15.

See PDF master form:
95.05.9: Travel Authority
Print or complete and print as needed