The university pays directly or reimburses individuals for expenses that are necessary and appropriate to conduct university business. Expenditures must be consistent with the university’s purchasing policies and guidelines as well as the guiding principles and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations with regard to business and travel expense policies.
Booking and Payment
In order to be able to effectively support university travelers, Stanford requires the use of a centralized travel booking program when faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars and students are booking air fare, hotels, or rental cars for university-sponsored travel. The centralized booking program, Stanford Travel, automatically registers travel reservations in the university’s Travel Registry, which connects to Stanford’s provider of medical, personal, travel and security assistance. This provides the university with the ability to locate and support its travelers in the event of an emergency. More policy details are available in the Business and Travel Expense policy overview.
The Stanford Travel Card (TCard) is the preferred payment method for travel expenses. Alternatively, personal funds may be used and a request for reimbursement can be submitted after the trip. The same policies and guidelines must be followed regardless of payment or reimbursement method. Learn more about these methods on the Travel Process page.
Stanford Employees Traveling to, From, or Between Foreign Countries
Note: In an effort to mitigate the budgetary impact of COVID-19, the university is suspending all business-class travel until further notice. Learn more on the Health Alerts website.
Before Foreign Travel
Before foreign travel, Stanford business travelers should:
- Acquire required travel documents (visit the Office of International Affairs website for guidance, including a travel checklist).
- Review New U.S. Department of State travel advisories and what they mean for you.
- Follow the International Travel Policy issued by the provost.
- If booked outside of Stanford Travel, register the trip on the Office of International Affairs travel registration webpage.
- If travel is funded with government monies (grants or contracts), ensure compliance with Fly America Act.
- If travel includes a stay in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria or the Crimea region of Ukraine, travel plans must be reviewed by the University Export Control Officer. Refer to Policy: Export Control/Trade Sanctions Compliance Requirements.
- Review the individual policy pages as they apply to the trip: air travel, ground transportation, lodging and meals.
Permissible Foreign Business Travel Expenses
In addition to air travel, ground transportation, lodging and meals for foreign business travel, Stanford will pay these other business and travel expenses: actual costs of acquiring passports, visas, tourist cards, necessary photographs, birth certificates, required inoculations, immunizations, health cards and fees for the conversion of funds to foreign currencies.
Reporting Expenses for Foreign Travel
Expense reports with relevant supporting documents attached must be completed for all travel expenses paid by the university. Refer to How to: Create Foreign Expense Report for an SU Payee.
Note: If a trip either originates or terminates in a foreign country, the entire cost of the trip is coded to a foreign travel expenditure type. This includes any costs for transportation, meals and lodging in the United States that is necessitated by the foreign business travel (e.g., ground transportation to and from a U.S. airport at the start or end of foreign travel).
Supporting documentation required for expenditures associated with foreign travel are the same as for domestic travel. The university does not require receipts for expenditures less than $75; however, schools and departments may require receipts for such expenditures.