RAP Home > Associate Travel Information > Travel Guide
Associateship Programs Travel Guide
Welcome to the National Research Council (NRC) Research Associateship Programs (RAP)! During the course of your tenure, you will likely undertake one or more trips, and when you travel you will need to complete and submit documentation that authorizes your travel and allows you to be reimbursed for the expenses incurred while on travel. This document provides guidance on the entire travel process--from completing a Travel Authorization form to completing a Travel Expense Report and receiving your reimbursement.
Associate travel is governed by three levels of policy, regulations, and laws; these are program, institutional, and federal. This Travel Guide should not be considered all inclusive as it is not possible to cover every scenario that you may experience as you plan and take a trip. However, this guide addresses the most common travel situations and the processes which you will need to follow.
The NRC Research Associateship Programs uses the services of Omega World Travel (OWT) for air and other travel arrangements for Associates. Use of OWT allows your airfare to be direct billed, reducing your out of pocket expenses. Further, use of OWT ensures compliance with all applicable federal travel regulations and avoids possible disqualification of expenses.
If you have any travel questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the Associateship Travel Unit at (202) 334-2710 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
2.1 All professional and programmatic travel during your tenure must be approved in advance on a Travel Authorization form (see section 3) regardless of the source of support.
2.2.1 Professional travel
is defined as travel to a professional meeting or other scientific event which is considered part of your career development. As an NRC Research Associate, you have funding provided for professional travel during your tenure. This funding is intended to afford the opportunity to present results of your research and to learn about other current research in your field. Attendance at one or two meetings per year is considered appropriate. The selection of meetings to attend should be discussed with your Research Adviser, who will approve your travel.
2.2.2 Programmatic travel is defined as other career development and research-related travel that occurs during your tenure as an NRC Research Associate. Programmatic travel may involve attending a workshop, receiving training, or field work. Because attending and presenting at professional scientific meetings is very important for career development, the first priority for use of your travel funds should be for professional travel. Use of travel funds for programmatic travel should be discussed with, and approved by, your Research Adviser.
2.2.3 Relocation travel is defined as travel which is required to relocate to the vicinity of the laboratory where you will be conducting your research. You must reside more than 50 miles from the laboratory location to qualify for relocation travel. Relocation includes your travel, travel of family members, and movement of household goods. Different rules apply if you are relocating from within the United States or from outside the United States. Please follow this guide for the type of relocation that applies to your situation.
3 Getting Travel Approved - Travel Authorization
3.1 All professional, programmatic and relocation travel undertaken during your tenure as an NRC Research Associate requires submission of a Travel Authorization form prior to travel. Personal travel does not require submission of a TA. However, plans for an extended absence from the lab should be communicated to your Program Coordinator, in advance. Foreign nationals on an F or J visa who plan to travel internationally must notify the RAP Visa Officer, Peggy Wilson (email@example.com
) prior to traveling.
3.2 A Travel Authorization form and instructions are available on the RAP website
. You must use a separate Travel Authorization form for each trip.
3.3 The Travel Authorization form must be signed by you, your Research Adviser, and your Laboratory Program Representative (LPR) or other designated official, before it is sent to the NRC. Adviser and LPR signatures are not required for relocation, but are required for all other travel. An authorization for travel outside the United States also requires approval by the National Academies' Office of Contracts and Grants. The Travel Authorization form should be submitted to your NRC Program Coordinator at least four weeks in advance of domestic travel and six weeks in advance for international travel.
3.4 A Travel Authorization form must include your name, complete home or laboratory address, phone and fax numbers, e-mail address, and completed cost estimate section. Be sure to include the type of travel, date(s) of travel, official meeting dates, destination, and mode(s) of travel. A Travel Authorization that is missing information will be returned to you for completion and may delay approval.
3.4.1 For professional travel, include the name of the conference, meeting, or workshop and attach a copy of the program, if available.
3.4.2 If a workshop requiring a special fee is included as part of a professional meeting; you must secure prior approval from the NRC by listing the workshop in the "Other" section on the Travel Authorization form in order to claim reimbursement for the expense.
3.4.3 For programmatic travel, include the nature of the activity (e.g., sample collection, data analysis, meeting with colleagues, etc.).
3.4.4 If you are an exchange visitor (J-1 visa holder) undertaking international travel, you must first obtain written approval from the NRC Visa Officer. (See Section 9.5 for visa requirements when traveling.)
3.4.5 Any unusual circumstances surrounding your travel should be noted in the "Additional Comments" section of the Travel Authorization form.
3.5 Cost estimates should be as accurate as possible and include any expense for which you plan to request reimbursement from the National Academies. Expenses claimed on the Travel Expense Report (see Section 10) that were not listed on the approved Travel Authorization will require justification and additional approval and may not be reimbursed.
3.5.1 If another organization will reimburse you for part of your travel, this should be noted on the TA. For example, if an organization invites you to give a seminar or lecture, and will pay all or a portion of your trip expenses, this should be noted and explained.
3.6 When personal travel is combined with official NRC travel, make sure to clearly state on the Travel Authorization form the dates for professional or programmatic travel and the dates for personal travel. Any increase in travel cost, including airfare and applicable change fees, as a result of combining personal and professional travel is your financial responsibility.
3.7 Use of a rental car requires prior approval. Please include a justification for the use of a rental car on the Travel Authorization form in the "Additional Comments" section. If approved by the NRC, you must make rental car reservations through Omega World Travel. By using Omega World Travel you will automatically be insured by the National Academies. Additional insurance is your financial responsibility.
3.8 Your NRC Program Coordinator will notify you of Travel Authorization approval via email; a copy of the approved Travel Authorization form will be sent to you and a copy will also be forwarded to Omega World Travel. Once you have received an approved Travel Authorization, you are responsible for contacting Omega World Travel to make your travel arrangements.
3.9 An approved Travel Authorization authorizes you to travel and incur necessary expenses in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. All expenses that are approved on the Travel Authorization and require reimbursement must adhere to program, institutional, and federal government policies, regulations, and laws. Expenses that do not comply with these policies will not be reimbursed.
3.10 Any changes to the original approved Travel Authorization, including cancellations or changes to the travel dates and/or cost estimates should be communicated by email to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. Substantial changes may require the submission of a revised Travel Authorization form.
4 Planning Travel - Omega World Travel
4.1 Omega World Travel (OWT), a full-service travel agency, has been designated by the NRC Research Associateship Programs Office to serve Associates’ travel needs.
4.2 The NRC requires that you use Omega World Travel for both domestic and international travel. This will assure that your itinerary conforms to Federal Travel Regulations and will avoid the possibility of unallowable expenses.
4.3 Once your Travel Authorization has received the necessary NRC approvals, a copy will be forwarded to Omega World Travel. You will be able to obtain direct-billed (i.e., paid by the NRC) airline tickets and/or rental car according to your approved Travel Authorization. Omega World Travel may also assist you in locating and booking lodging that is within federal Per Diem rates. Lodging cannot be direct billed; the lodging reservation will be guaranteed with your personal credit card.
4.4 Omega World Travel’s hours of operation are Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. You may contact the office at:
Emergency after-hours number: 1-800-685-6342 – mention code 6CE1-National Academies
When communicating with OWT by email, you must include "Associate Travel Request" in the subject line. Also, please be sure to include your contact information to allow for quick response time, and be very specific about your travel needs.
4.5 Omega World Travel will provide you with complete documentation necessary for travel including transportation, and rental car information (if applicable).
4.6 If you are combining personal travel with professional or programmatic travel, you must request an airfare cost comparison from OWT prior to booking your travel. Any increase in airfare resulting from combining personal travel with professional or programmatic travel will be the financial responsibility of the Associate. An airfare cost comparison from any source other than OWT will not be accepted. Failure to obtain a cost comparison could result in not being reimbursed for all or part of your airfare.
4.7 If any change in travel is required because of a missed connection, canceled flight, or change in itinerary during travel, you may contact Omega World Travel at the 24 hour toll-free number; please call 1-800-685-6342; be sure to refer to ID Code 6CE1-National Academies.
5 Travel Advance Requests
5.1 You may request a travel advance to offset a portion of the out-of-pocket expenses that you will incur during your professional or programmatic travel. Travel advances must be requested on the Travel Authorization form. Travel advances are not provided for relocation travel.
5.2. In order to secure your travel advance, the NRC must receive your Travel Authorization form no less than four weeks before you are scheduled to travel (six weeks for international travel).
5.3 You may request an advance for up to 80% of the estimated hotel and meal costs (which must be within the established Per Diem for the city to which you will travel). Your advance request will be recalculated if you exceed these percentages.
5.4 The National Academies’ Travel Accounting Office will issue the advance by direct deposit 3 days before you are scheduled to travel. If you do not receive the advance check within this time period, please contact the RAP Travel Unit at email@example.com
5.5 Associates may only have one outstanding travel advance. If you have back-to-back trips, you must submit a Travel Expense Report and required receipts accounting for the advance before another advance will be issued. At least 15 working days are needed to process the second travel advance request.
5.6 Travel advances will not be issued to Associates for travel dates within 60 days of the end of tenure.
6 Conference Registration
6.1 The NRC will pay your registration for a professional meeting or conference in advance if the fee is $250 or more. To request payment of registration through the NRC, you must first submit a Travel Authorization form to your NRC Program Coordinator with approval signatures from your Adviser and your Laboratory Program Representative (LPR).
6.2 Once you have received approval for travel to a professional meeting or conference, you may request the NRC register you for that meeting or conference. To request registration, download the meeting/conference registration form from the web
and complete all applicable sections of the form, except the payment section. Email the completed registration form as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org
. The request must be submitted at least three weeks before the conference registration deadline.
6.3 Please note that if for some reason you choose not to attend the meeting/conference after your meeting registration request has been processed by the NRC, the registration fee will be deducted from your NRC travel funds.
6.4 The NRC will only pay the cost of the conference registration. Membership dues are not an allowable expense.
7 Allowable Travel Expenses
7.1.1 You are expected to travel the most expeditious and economical route when traveling between two points, which is usually by air. Travel by another mode of transportation when air is the most expeditious route requires justification. Cost savings justification must be supported by cost comparisons issued by Omega World Travel or the Rap Travel Unit.
7.1.2 You must use Omega World Travel for airline and rail services. This cost will be direct billed to the NRC. Air travel must be coach/economy class.
7.1.3 The Fly America Act requires that you travel on United States flag carriers whenever such carriers exist between points of travel. Travel on non-United States flag carriers will not be allowed--regardless of cost, routing, convenience, or preference--if a United States carrier serves the route. No exceptions are made to this regulation. Omega World Travel will ensure compliance with the Fly America Act regulations.
7.1.4 If for any reason you purchase your own airline ticket and it does not adhere to the Federal Travel Regulations, you will not be reimbursed.
7.1.5 Associates are authorized to receive reimbursement for fees for the first checked bag, which will be treated as an airline fee. With prior approval by the NRC, a second bag may be covered.
7.1.6 Should you choose to use your personal vehicle rather than a commercial airline, you will be reimbursed at the current government mileage rate plus any applicable tolls and/or parking expenses. The NRC verifies trip mileage, so if you claim more than 20 miles over the verified mileage, a justification must be provided. Gasoline costs are included in the government mileage rate and will not be reimbursed separately. Reimbursement for travel by POV is limited to the cost of a comparable airfare.
7.2 Lodging, Meals, and Incidental Expenses
7.2.1 As an NRC Associate, you will be reimbursed for lodging, meals, and incidentals based on the prescribed maximum Per Diem rate established by the United States government. Domestic Per Diem rates may be found at the GSA website and foreign Per Diem rates may be found on the U.S. Department of State website.
7.2.2 The Per Diem rate is the maximum daily allowance for which you will be reimbursed for subsistence (lodging, meals, and incidentals, if applicable) in each location (based solely on the location of the hotel) within or outside of the United States.
7.2.3 Per Diem rates change at the beginning of each federal fiscal year. The current Per Diem rate at the time of travel will be applied if there has been a rate change from the time the Travel Authorization was approved. It is your responsibility to check the appropriate website for the current Per Diem rate at the time of travel.
7.2.4 For domestic travel, if your hotel is in a city that is not listed for the state to which you will travel, you must use the Per Diem for the county in which the city is located. If neither the city nor the county in which the hotel is located is listed, you must use the current standard CONUS rate.
7.2.5 If you have difficulty securing Conventional lodging (Nonconventional lodging requires prior approval) within Per Diem, please contact email@example.com as soon as possible.
7.2.6 For international travel, if the city or province in which the hotel is located is not listed, you must use the rate prescribed for "Other". This is also true for travel to Hawaii, Alaska, and other U. S. territories.
7.2.7 Per diem expenses for international travel include lodging and applicable lodging tax, meals, tips, and incidental travel expenses within the foreign country.
7.2.8 Professional or programmatic travel (within 35 miles of your laboratory or home that takes place over a period of at least 12 hours or more), is considered "local" travel. For local travel, you may be reimbursed for transportation (if justifiable), registration fees (if applicable), and any tolls and/or parking expenses incurred as part of your travel. Meals are not an allowable expense for local travel.
7.2.9 When personal is combined with professional or programmatic travel, you will not be reimbursed for per diem expenses on those personal days. Further, if your airfare is higher due to the addition of personal travel days, you will be required to charge the airfare to you personal credit card. The OWT agent will document a constructive cost in your invoice, and after your travel is complete, you will be reimbursed up to the constructive cost.
7.2.10 No claims are allowed for personal expenses such as entertainment, sightseeing, tours, personal telephone calls, or laundry/dry cleaning.
7.3 Use of a Rental Car
7.3.1 You may request the use of a rental car when circumstances make it impractical, or more costly to use other means of commercial and/or public transportation.
7.3.2 Please include the justification for use of a rental car on the Travel Authorization form in the "Additional Comments" section. Rental cars requested solely for travel between your home and the airport will not be approved. Rental cars are approved on a case by case basis. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
7.3.3 You must make your rental car reservations through Omega World Travel. Insurance will automatically be provided by the NRC. Any additional insurance incurred by you will not be reimbursed.
7.4 Non-Reimbursable Expenses
- Membership dues/fees
- Books, including bound abstracts and proceedings
- CD ROMs not included in the registration fee
- Equipment and/or tools
- Labor or assistance of any kind
- Fax and/or copy machine use
- Materials, supplies, or printing associated with a poster or presentation
- Meals already included in the registration fee
- Shipment or purchase of personal items
- Tours and optional attractions
- Expenses of a spouse and/or dependent family member(s)
(Please note that this list is not all-inclusive. Contact the RAP Travel Unit at email@example.com if you require further clarification.)
8 Relocation and Movement of Household Goods
8.1 Requirements for Relocation
8.1.1 The National Academies will reimburse you for one-way relocation expenses and provide for the movement of household goods if your tenure will be six successive months or longer, and if you currently reside more than 50 miles from the laboratory. If you already reside within commuting distance (50 miles) of the laboratory, you are not considered eligible for relocation reimbursement. Questions concerning unusual circumstances should be directed to your NRC Program Administrator.
8.1.2 If you are eligible for relocation, you must complete the Relocation Information form as part of the award acceptance process. Instructions for accessing this form were included in your award letter and may be found at Relocation Information Form. This information is required to assure that relocation costs do not exceed NRC estimates. Please complete all sections of the form. If you will be relocating from an address that is different from the “current address” on your application, you must note this change on the Relocation Information form.
8.1.3 You will be reimbursed for the relocation expenses of a spouse and/or dependent family member(s) under the age of 21 who will reside with you. Expenses for domestic partners are not reimbursable.
8.1.4 If you are a Senior Research Associate moving to a laboratory for a tenure period of less than six successive months, you will be reimbursed for travel and for transportation of needed personal and professional belongings, but not for the movement of household goods.
8.1.5 For a Senior Research Associate returning to a permanent position after a tenure period of less than six successive months, you will be reimbursed for travel and for transportation of needed personal and professional belongings brought to the area at the beginning of tenure, but not the movement of household goods.
8.2 Travel Authorization for Relocation
8.2.1 After you and the laboratory have decided upon a mutually agreeable starting date and you begin to plan your relocation, you should complete and submit a Travel Authorization form for your relocation. This must be done no later than four weeks before your proposed travel date(s). Only your signature, and not those of the Adviser and LPR, is required for the relocation Travel Authorization form.
8.2.2 If your spouse and/or dependent family member(s) will relocate at a different time from you , you must complete and submit a separate Travel Authorization form for their travel. No additional subsistence in the vicinity of the laboratory may be claimed for your spouse and/or dependent family member(s) if they relocate separately.
8.2.3 When completing the Travel Authorization form you should be as specific as possible, making sure that you include the name of your spouse and/or the name(s) and age(s) of any dependent family member(s) traveling with you. Also, any unusual circumstances surrounding your relocation should be noted in the "Additional Comments" section.
8.3 Relocating Within the United States
In order to be reimbursed, you must complete and submit a Travel Expense Report within 60 days after arriving in the vicinity of the laboratory.
18.104.22.168 You must use Omega World Travel for airline reservations for you, your spouse, and/or dependent family member(s). If traveling by air, Associates will be reimbursed fees for two checked bags; you are required to provide justification on your Travel Authorization form if you anticipate charges will be incurred for baggage in excess of two items. If traveling by air, taxi or other ground transportation costs from the airport to your place of residence or lodging will be reimbursed based on actual cost.
22.214.171.124 If you use your personal vehicle to relocate, you will be reimbursed for mileage. The current government POV mileage allowance (which includes the cost of gasoline), plus any applicable tolls and/or parking expenses for one car only, will be reimbursed for the actual distance driven from your current address to the vicinity of the laboratory. Any detours due to inclement weather or road conditions should be noted when you submit your Travel Expense Report.
8.3.2 Subsistence: Lodging, Meals, and Incidental Expenses
126.96.36.199 If traveling by personal vehicle or rental truck, you will be reimbursed for subsistence en-route to the vicinity of the laboratory.
188.8.131.52 The cost of lodging, meals, and incidental expenses incurred during relocation will be reimbursed up to the maximum allowable per diem rate. Incidental expenses include tips to porters, baggage carriers, bellhops, hotel maids, and hotel servants.
184.108.40.206 The maximum allowable reimbursement for lodging, meals, and incidental expenses during relocation is based on the prescribed maximum Per Diem rates established by the United States government. If you are traveling by personal vehicle, you must cover at least 350 miles within at least a 12-hour period and must use the most direct and continuous route. Associates accompanied by family members will be reimbursed an additional three-fourths of the allowable meals, and incidental expenses rate for a spouse and an additional one-half of the allowable meals, and incidental expenses rate for each child. Expenses that exceed Per Diem will not be reimbursed. No claims are allowed for personal expenses such as entertainment, sightseeing, tours, personal telephone calls, or laundry/dry cleaning.
220.127.116.11 After arriving in the vicinity of the laboratory, subsistence costs for a maximum of seven days may be allowed until permanent living arrangements are made.
18.104.22.168 You may not claim reimbursement for car maintenance expenses (such as oil changes, vehicle service, towing), personal vehicle mileage once you reach the vicinity of the laboratory, expenses associated with moving a pet, including pet fees charged by places of lodging, replacement of any lost or stolen belongings, or subsistence in your hometown.
8.3.3 Use of a Rental Car
22.214.171.124 The cost of a rental car for a maximum of seven days may be allowed as part of your relocation. Please include the request for the rental car on the relocation Travel Authorization form. Only compact or sub-compact sized cars will be allowed.
126.96.36.199 You must make your rental car reservation through Omega World Travel. Insurance will automatically be provided by the NRC. Any additional insurance requested by you will not be covered.
8.3.4 Travel for House Hunting
This section applies only to new Associates who currently reside within the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii.
188.8.131.52 A total of seven days of subsistence is allowed as part of your relocation (not including time spent for the actual move - see section 8.3.2). Some of this time may be used for the purposes of house/apartment hunting. Any time spent house hunting will reduce the number of days available at the time of relocation. For example, if three days are spent house hunting, only four days would be available for local subsistence at the time of relocation.
184.108.40.206 Travel advance requests are not allowed for relocation.
220.127.116.11 The Associate must use his/her personal credit card to pay for lodging, meals, and incidental expenses as well as for a rental car (if previously approved).
18.104.22.168 Transportation for house hunting is a non-reimbursable expense when claiming reimbursement for relocation. Only Per Diem may be claimed for house hunting trips.
22.214.171.124 Reimbursement for house hunting cannot be processed until the Associate has officially started tenure and submitted a Travel Expense Report along with required receipts. (Please note that you cannot log into Concur Solutions to complete a Travel Expense Report – see Section 10.2 - until the NRC receives your Start Date Form.)
8.4 Movement of Household Goods
8.4.1 The NRC will authorize the reimbursement of certain moving expenses incurred by awardees who have been offered a tenure period of six successive months or more. This section of the Travel Guide provides information on the overall policy covering the movement of household goods. Associates have two options when relocating: the use of a contracted commercial moving company or a self move. Because the National Academies has negotiated a very favorable rate with a commercial moving company, a self-move is considered an exception subject to formal NRC approval.
8.4.2 Transportation of Household Goods
126.96.36.199 Reimbursement of moving expenses will be provided for Associates moving within the United States who have been offered a tenure period of six successive months or more. New Associates cannot begin tenure or move household goods until they have successfully defended their doctoral dissertation and met all university requirements for their degree. In addition, for those laboratories that require a security clearance, household goods cannot be moved until the conditions for the clearance have been satisfied.
188.8.131.52 Associates eligible for movement of household goods will be reimbursed for transport of personal belongings and household items from their address at the time of application. If the Associate’s home address has changed subsequent to the application date, an amendment to the application may be requested in writing to the NRC Program Administrator. If the request is approved, reimbursement will be provided from the amended address.
184.108.40.206 Associates who voluntarily terminate their tenure prior to the completion of six successive months will be asked to repay the NRC for the costs incurred for moving their household goods.
220.127.116.11 Generally, the cost of movement of household goods will be reimbursed only for new awardees residing in the United States whose residence at the time of the award is 50 miles or more from the laboratory where they will conduct research.
18.104.22.168 Reimbursement for return relocation/movement of household goods is provided only for Senior Associates who are on a leave of absence from a permanent position to which they will return after completing their tenure. Prior approval of return relocation by the NRC Program Administrator is required.
22.214.171.124 Senior Associates moving to the laboratory for a tenure period of six months or less will be reimbursed for the transport of needed personal and professional belongings, but not for movement of household goods.
8.4.3 Use of the NRC Contract Moving Company
126.96.36.199 The NRC will make the necessary arrangements through a national moving company, for the packing, unpacking, and shipment of items normally considered to be household goods.
188.8.131.52 Associates who choose to move household goods using the NRC contracting moving company should note this on the Relocation Information form when accepting the award. To initiate a move, Associates must submit the “Request for Movement of Household Goods” form to the NRC Program Coordinator at least three weeks prior to the scheduled move. The NRC will notify the moving company, which will then contact the Associate directly to make arrangements. The NRC will pay all allowable moving expenses directly to the moving company for the movement of household goods. The Associate will be billed by the moving company for any unallowable items moved.
184.108.40.206 Associates should make every effort to coordinate their arrival in the vicinity of the laboratory with the arrival of their household goods.
220.127.116.11 Pick-up of household goods will be from one location only. The Associate will be billed directly by the carrier for any additional pick-ups (even within a 5-10 mile radius).
18.104.22.168 The following services relating to transport of personal goods will not be reimbursed:
- Any poundage in excess of 11,000 lbs. for Regular Associates or 13,500 lbs. for Senior Associates
- Shipment of pianos, automobiles, boats, trailers, motorized vehicles, animals, or frozen foods.
- Removal of all curtain rods, draperies, window cornices, mirrors, and other items attached to walls, as well as the removal of attached floor coverings.
- Dismantling or installation of plumbing or electrical connections for appliances, clothes dryer ventilation pipes, stereos, televisions, or television or radio antennae.
- Maid service or other comparable special services.
- Installation of attached floor coverings.
- Exclusive use of a moving van or expedited service.
- Articles such as documents, valuable papers, collector’s items, money, jewelry, or other items of high value, are not covered by the carrier’s insurance. These items should be carried with personal luggage.
- Fresh fruits, plants, and flammables, including paints and ammunition, cannot be transported by the commercial moving company. Personal arrangements must be made to transport these items.
22.214.171.124 The National Academies pays insurance on the household goods shipment at the rate of $3.00 per pound. If more coverage is desired, the additional cost must be paid by the Associate. In the event of loss or damage to the shipment, the Associate should make notations on the carrier’s inventory of articles at the time of delivery. The notations made at the time of the delivery do not constitute filing a claim in writing. This notation is made to support any claims that may be filed later. Damage claims are between the mover and the Associate. The NRC will only become involved should there be problems with expediting such claims.
126.96.36.199 All claims for loss or damage must be filed in writing with the destination agent. The driver is not responsible for reporting damage. The carrier is required to acknowledge claims within 30 days and to either pay,
decline, or make a firm compromise settlement offer within 120 days of receipt of the claim. If some reason beyond the carrier’s control delays action on the claim for an extended period of time, the carrier is required to notify the Associate each 30 days thereafter until final action is taken.
(a) Send a letter reporting a claim to the destination agent as soon as possible after delivery. The agent will send the necessary claim documents.
(b) Return claim documents with complete information on all items claimed.
(c) Maintain regular contact with the agent until a mutually satisfactory settlement has been reached.
(d) Report any difficulties or concerns to the Associateship Programs Office. (All correspondence concerning the claim for loss or damage should be between the Associate and the moving company.)
Note: In most cases of loss or damage, the carrier’s destination agent, if immediately notified by telephone, is able to offer assistance in effecting equitable adjustment as quickly as possible and with minimal delay. This action is recommended especially when an item necessary to everyday living is involved.
188.8.131.52 An exception to the use of our commercial mover is the use of other small, partial move companies or storage facilities such as PODs and POD-moves. These companies provide storage as well as transport of an individual’s belongings. The Associate may use one of these companies but they must pay the bill and then be reimbursed for allowable expenses only (see section 184.108.40.206) by the NRC. The Movement of Household Goods form must be submitted to pre-approve such moves. Please indicate in the Remarks section of the Movement of Household Goods form that you will be using a partial move company.
8.4.4 Self-Move (Use of a rental truck or trailer)
220.127.116.11 Associates with a small amount of household goods may choose to rent a moving truck, van, or trailer to move themselves. A self-move must be requested on the Travel Authorization form (in the "Other" section), and approval of the NRC must be given prior to the move. An estimate of the total cost should be included on the Travel Authorization form.
18.104.22.168 The Associate is responsible for making all arrangements and paying all costs associated with a self-move. Immediately following the move, a claim for reimbursement must be made using an NRC Travel Expense Report. Detailed receipts for costs associated with self rentals must be provided in the Travel Expense Report. Only allowable expenses will be reimbursed.
22.214.171.124 The following expenses may be reimbursed for a rental moving vehicle:
- Cost of a one-way truck, van, or trailer rental
- Gasoline and tolls for the rental truck
- Packing supplies
- If applicable, a temporary tow hitch to transport your personal vehicle
Insurance on a rental truck can be reimbursed if you are not covered by your personal auto insurance policy or by a credit card that you use to rent the truck. You should always verify any existing coverage you personally might have with your personal, auto, home, credit card or AAA insurance. If you are not covered and must purchase insurance from the rental company, contact the RAP Travel Office to receive approval in advance.
126.96.36.199 If another family member drives your personal vehicle, you may request mileage reimbursement for this vehicle in addition to the costs of the truck or trailer. A second personal vehicle is a non-reimbursable expense.
8.4.5 Limitations of Reimbursement for Transport of Household Goods
188.8.131.52 A relocation budget will be provided to a new Associate as part of the award offer. The relocation budget includes transportation (airfare or POV costs), per diem (during travel and up to seven days allowed at the destination) and an estimated cost for movement of household goods. Expenses for movement of household goods, incurred by the Associate in excess of those budgeted and authorized by the NRC will be the responsibility of the Associate, who will be billed directly by the moving company for the expenses. Accurate completion of the Relocation Information form by the Associate will assist the RAP Travel Unit in anticipating additional costs associated with the movement of household goods.
8.5 Return Relocation – Domestic (If Applicable)
8.5.1 You may be reimbursed for domestic return relocation costs if you are a Senior Associate on leave from a permanent position of employment within the United States to which you will return.
8.5.2 In order to be reimbursed, you must complete your relocation travel within three months of your last day of tenure and submit a Travel Expense Report within 60 days of relocation.
8.5.3 You should complete and submit a Travel Authorization form for your return relocation at least four weeks before your proposed travel date(s). Your return relocation Travel Authorization should be signed by you, your Research Adviser, and your Laboratory Program Representative.
8.5.4 The Travel Authorization form should be as specific as possible, making sure that you include the name of any spouse and/or the name(s) and age(s) of any dependent family member(s) traveling with you. Also, any unusual circumstances surrounding your relocation should be noted in the "Additional Comments" section.
8.5.5 Once an approved Travel Authorization has been received, prepaid airline tickets should be obtained from Omega World Travel.
8.5.6 Rules for Per Diem (lodging, meals and incidental expenses) associated with return relocation are the same as previously described. You may not claim reimbursement for subsistence once you return to your home town.
8.5.7 If return relocation involves the movement of household goods, this move may be by either commercial moving company or self move. The same rules described for relocation will apply to return relocation/movement of household goods.
8.6 Relocating from Outside the United States
This section applies to an Associate or Senior Associate who has applied from anywhere outside the United States, whether a United States citizen or a foreign national.
As part of your award, the National Academies will reimburse you for relocation expenses from the current address on your application to the vicinity of the laboratory. Relocation reimbursement will include one-way transportation, rental car (with prior approval), a Per Diem allowance during travel, and a maximum of seven days of subsistence (lodging, meals, and incidentals) upon arriving at the vicinity of the laboratory. Relocation reimbursement will not include movement of household goods.
In order to be reimbursed, you must complete and submit a Travel Expense Report within 60 days after arriving in the vicinity of the laboratory.
8.6.1 Visa Documents for Foreign Nationals
If you are relocating as a new Associate and you are not a United States citizen or legal permanent resident, please consult the Visa Options for International about visa requirements. Before traveling to the laboratory, you must hold an appropriate visa.
184.108.40.206 You will be reimbursed for a single one-way trip to the vicinity of the
220.127.116.11 You must contact Omega World Travel to make your travel arrangements to ensure that the airline tickets comply with the Fly America Act. The Fly America Act requires that you travel on United States carriers whenever such carriers exist between points of travel. If the service provided by the United States flag carrier includes service on a foreign carrier under a code share agreement, the ticket or flight documentation (such as the itinerary in the case of an electronic ticket) must identify the United States carrier’s designator code and flight number.
18.104.22.168 If you travel by commercial carrier--airline, rail, or bus--the actual travel costs for you, your spouse, and/or dependent family member(s) will be reimbursed. Air travel must be coach/economy class.
22.214.171.124 Only one-way airline tickets may be purchased for relocation. If you make your own travel arrangements and purchase a round trip airline ticket, you must surrender the unused flight coupon(s), or in the case of electronic tickets, you must supply documentation that the return segment(s) was not used, in order to be reimbursed for the full airfare. Otherwise, you will only be reimbursed for half of the airfare. There are no exceptions to this policy.
126.96.36.199 Taxi, or other ground transportation costs from the airport to your place or residence or lodging will be reimbursed based on actual cost.
8.6.3 Subsistence: Lodging, Meals, and Incidental Expenses
188.8.131.52 The cost of lodging, meals, and incidental expenses incurred during relocation will be reimbursed on an itemized, actual cost basis. Incidental expenses include tips to porters, baggage carriers, bellhops, hotel maids, and hotel servants.
184.108.40.206 The maximum allowable reimbursement for lodging, meals, and incidental expenses during relocation is based on the prescribed maximum Per Diem rates established by the United States government. Associates accompanied by a spouse and/or dependent family member(s) shall be reimbursed an additional three-fourths of the allowable meals, and incidental expenses rate for a spouse and an additional one-half of the allowable meals, and incidental expenses rate for each child. Expenses that exceed Per Diem will not be reimbursed. No claims are allowed for personal expenses such as entertainment, sightseeing, tours, personal telephone calls, or laundry/dry cleaning.
220.127.116.11 After arriving in the vicinity of the laboratory, subsistence costs for a maximum of seven days may be allowed until permanent living arrangements are made.
8.6.4 Use of a Rental Car
18.104.22.168 If taxi service is not readily available from the nearest air, rail, or bus terminal to a place of lodging near the laboratory, a rental car may be used with prior approval.
22.214.171.124 You must include the request for the rental car on the relocation Travel Authorization form. Only compact or sub-compact sized cars are allowed.
126.96.36.199 You must make your rental car reservation through Omega World Travel in order to be insured by the National Academies in case of accident. Additional insurance is at your own expense.
8.6.5 Accompanied Airline Baggage
188.8.131.52 Associates will be reimbursed fees for two checked bags; you are required to provide justification on your Travel Authorization form for charges incurred for baggage in excess of two items.
184.108.40.206 Reimbursement may be made for excess baggage for no more than 25 pounds (11.4 kg) additional for each traveler. Baggage charges beyond the allowable weight limits are your financial responsibility.
220.127.116.11 Excess baggage and accompanied baggage are usually insured by the airline. If you choose to purchase additional insurance, the cost of this insurance will not be reimbursed.
8.6.6 Unaccompanied Baggage
18.104.22.168 If you send unaccompanied baggage, you must submit an original receipt or Bill of Lading for the charges as follows:
- Up to 200 pounds (90.91 kg) [not to exceed 20 cubic feet] of additional crated baggage shipped by surface freight for each adult traveler, and
- Up to 100 pounds (45.45 kg) [not to exceed 10 cubic feet] for each child traveler.
22.214.171.124 If you must receive your belongings more quickly than would be possible by surface freight, you may investigate shipment by air freight.
126.96.36.199 Shipment by air freight cannot exceed the cost of surface freight. To verify this, you must provide documentation from the shipping company attesting to the costs of both surface and air freight. This documentation should be submitted with your Travel Authorization form and on your Travel Expense Report.
188.8.131.52 If you have a relatively small amount of unaccompanied baggage, you may ship belongings by Federal Express, postal service, United Parcel Service (UPS), or similar service.
184.108.40.206 For the protection of crated baggage, have the baggage insured on the receipt or Bill of Lading for the full actual value of its contents. You will be reimbursed for the cost of this insurance if you submit an original receipt or Bill of Lading.
220.127.116.11 Any deviation from this policy must have prior approval from your NRC Program Administrator and must be accompanied by supporting documentation.
8.7 Return Relocation – Outside the United States (If Applicable)
In order to be reimbursed, you must complete your relocation travel within three months of your last day of tenure and submit a Travel Expense Report within 60 days of relocation.
8.7.1 You will be reimbursed for return relocation costs if
- You hold J-1 visa status, you relocated from your home country or country of legal residence, and will return to your home country or country of legal residence, or
- You are returning to a permanent position of employment outside the United States from which you were on leave during your Research Associateship award
In all cases, check with your NRC Program Administrator to see if you are eligible for return relocation.
8.7.2 You should complete and submit a Travel Authorization form for your return relocation no later than eight weeks before your proposed travel date(s). Your return relocation Travel Authorization form should be signed by you, your Research Adviser, and your Laboratory Program Representative.
8.7.3 The Travel Authorization form should be as specific as possible, making sure that you include the name of any spouse and/or the name(s) and age(s) of any dependent family member(s) traveling with you. Also, any unusual circumstances surrounding your relocation should be noted in the "Additional Comments" section.
8.7.4 Once your Travel Authorization is approved, you may obtain direct-bill airline tickets from Omega World Travel.
8.7.5 You are limited to the same amount of accompanied, excess, and/or
unaccompanied baggage as for your initial relocation.
8.7.6 Travel by air must be in accordance with the Fly America Act.
8.7.7 The use of a rental car, whether in the vicinity of the laboratory or in the home country, is not an allowable expense. If you require the use of a rental car before your departure or after you arrive in your home country, the expense is your financial responsibility.
8.7.8 Subsistence in the vicinity of the laboratory or in the home country is not an allowable expense. If you require subsistence in the vicinity of the laboratory before your departure or after you arrive in your home country, the expense is your financial responsibility. Minimal subsistence may be reimbursed en-route to your home country if deemed necessary because of your flight itinerary.
9 International Travel and Visas
Note: The following is intended as general guidance for NRC Research Associates, and does not constitute legal immigration advice. For specific questions not covered below, contact the NRC Visa Officer.
9.1 United States Citizens
9.1.1 If you are planning to travel abroad, you must carry a valid United States passport and a visa to the country you will visit, if required. Some countries require that your passport be valid for at least six months beyond the length of your visit. For information on entry requirements and other travel topics, see U.S. Department of State.
9.1.2 If you are planning to travel within the Western Hemisphere only (Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Central and South America), see specific information here: U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
9.1.3 If you do not yet have a U.S passport, or if your passport has expired, you can obtain information on how to apply for one at U.S. Department of State.
9.2 United States Lawful Permanent Residents
9.2.1 If you are a U.S. permanent resident (LPR), you must carry your U. S. Resident Alien Card (green card) to re-enter the United States. However, the country you plan to visit may require you to carry your passport and a visa for that country. You can obtain information on visas and how to apply for them by contacting the relevant embassy at Foreign Embassies in the U.S. and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
9.2.2 If you are not yet a permanent resident, but have applied for adjustment of status, you must obtain advance parole before traveling. Advance parole will enable you to travel abroad without abandoning your application for adjustment of status. To learn if you need a visa for the country you will visit, see Foreign Embassies in the U.S.
9.3 Foreign Nationals (F-1, J-1, and their dependents)
9.3.1 If you are a foreign national in the United States, such as a J-1 exchange visitor or F-1 student, you must carry a passport valid for at least six months after your travel. You may also need a visa for the country you are planning to visit. In order to be readmitted to the United States after your trip, you must carry your passport, valid DS-2019 or I-20 form, and a valid J-1 or F-1 visa stamp. J-1 exchange visitors must have a valid Form DS-2019, endorsed for travel by your J-1 Responsible Officer (RO). F-1 students must carry a valid I-20 form, endorsed for travel by your university’s Designated School Official (DSO). Dependent DS-2019 and I-20 forms also must be endorsed for travel.
9.3.2 Travel endorsement signatures are valid for 12 months for J-1 research scholars and F-1 students, and 6 months for J-1 short term scholars. If the signature on your form is missing or has expired, send it to the NRC Visa Officer with the address and phone number where it should be returned to you by FedEx.
9.3.3 If your F-1 or J-1 visa stamp has expired and you will travel outside North America, you must plan extra time abroad to apply for a new U.S. visa in order to return to the United States. Though you can apply for a visa at any United States embassy or consulate abroad, it is advisable to apply for a visa in your home country if possible. Consular officers there are better able to evaluate your application and your intentions to return to your country following your program in the United States. Be aware that visa application and processing may take days or weeks to be completed, especially if you are subject to background checks. For specific information on application procedures at United States posts, see the U.S. Department of State Visas page.
9.3.4 If you have changed status from F-1 or another status to J-1, you will need a J-1 visa stamp to return to the U.S., even if your current visa is still valid. See information above in 9.3.4. In addition to the visa application fees, you must pay the I-901 SEVIS fee online at least three days before your visa interview. For more information on this, see SEVIS I-901 Fee.
9.3.5 For travel to Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean, a valid, unexpired United States entry visa is not required if you travel to a contiguous territory for fewer than 30 days. This is known as "automatic extension of visa validity" or "automatic visa revalidation." This applies to J-1 or F-1 exchange visitors who entered in J-1 status and those who have changed to status. For more information and conditions, see Department of State Automatic Revalidation. Note that some travelers will be ineligible for automatic revalidation and must apply for a new visa before returning to the United States.
9.3.6 To use automatic revalidation, you must not visit a U.S. consulate or surrender your valid I-94 card to airline or immigration officials upon departure from the United States. Keep it in your passport for your return.
9.3.7 Automatic revalidation may not be used for travel from a contiguous territory to a non-contiguous territory (e.g., from the U.S. to Canada to Ireland). The use of automatic revalidation after travel to a third country is a violation of immigration law that can lead to deportation. Travelers to third countries must apply for a new U.S. visa before returning to the United States. See information in 9.3.4 above.
9.3.8 When you have been readmitted to the United States, please notify the NRC Visa Officer and send a scan of your new visa, if applicable, and your electronic arrival record.
9.4 Useful Resources for International Travel
Background Country Notes
CIA World Factbook
U.S. State Department Travel Information
The World Clock
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
All National Research Council sponsored travel must be accounted for by submitting a Travel Expense Report, whether or not reimbursement is due to you. Government regulations require that all airline tickets and/or rental cars provided by Omega World Travel must be accounted for on a Travel Expense Report.
10.1 Associates must submit a web-based Travel Expense Report as directed by your NRC Program Coordinator. An exception is that Foreign Nationals will be directed to use a paper expense report.
10.2 Electronic Travel Expense Report
10.2.1 Associates must complete the Electronic Travel Expense Report (TER) using the system found at www.concursolutions.com, unless you are a Foreign National. All travel regulations stated above pertain to the electronic TER. Please visit the Electronic TER instructions page for more direction in completing the form. Contact your Program Coordinator with any questions about which version (web-based or paper) of the TER you should use.
10.2.2 Your Travel Expense Report must be submitted with all receipts to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 10 days following the completion of travel.
10.2.3 All entries on your Travel Expense Report must be reported in United States dollars at the official exchange rate on the day of the expenditure. You may find the conversion rate at Currency Converter or your local banking institution. Please document the source of the conversion rate used.
10.2.4 Claims for unauthorized or unallowable expenditures may delay the reimbursement process.
10.2.5 If you owe a refund on the unused portion of the travel advance, you will be notified by e-mail as to the amount you owe; this amount must be paid by a check or money order made payable to The National Academies. Please follow the instructions in the email message as to where to send the check or money order.
10.2.6 You are advised to keep a copy of the completed Travel Expense Report and receipts for your records.
10.3.1 Receipt Requirements
10.3.1.1 In order to be reimbursed for expenses incurred during travel, you must submit receipts with your Travel Expense Report. Receipts with handwritten notations, corrections, or changes will not be accepted.
10.3.1.2 All expenses must be converted to United States dollars, and foreign receipts must be accompanied by an English translation.
10.3.1.3 Receipts are required for lodging, transportation, registration and abstract submittal fees, unaccompanied baggage, excess baggage, and rental vehicle gasoline expenses. Any other single expense of $75 or more requires an itemized receipt.
10.3.1.4 Third party payments (when another person or entity pays the expense on your behalf and you reimburse that party) are not allowable and cannot be reimbursed.
You are required to break out actual expenses for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A detailed, itemized receipt is required for any meal over $75. If the cost of the meal includes alcoholic beverages, that cost is not reimbursable and should be subtracted from the total meal cost.
10.3.3 Lodging (Hotel/Motel)
10.3.3.1 Receipts are required for lodging expenses regardless of cost. A valid lodging receipt includes the following:
- Your name
- Provider of and date(s) and service
- Room and rate taxes
- Total expense
- Form of payment
- Zero balance or other notation indicating full payment was made
10.3.3.2 When sharing lodging, be sure that your name is listed on the receipt.
10.3.4.1 An official invoice is required showing air, rail or bus travel.
10.3.5 Rental Vehicle (must have been preapproved prior to travel)
10.3.5.1 You must submit the final, detailed rental vehicle receipt.
10.3.5.2 A valid rental vehicle receipt includes the following:
- Your name
- Rental rate and applicable taxes and fees
- Date(s) of rental
- Total cost
- Form of payment
- Zero balance or other notation indicating full payment was made
10.3.6 Checked Baggage including Excess Baggage
Associates are authorized to receive reimbursement for all pertinent fees dealing with the first checked bag, which will be treated as a miscellaneous expense on the Travel Expense Report. You may be reimbursed for fees from a second bag if you receive approval from the RAP Travel Unit prior to your trip.
Receipts for checked baggage fees must include the following:
- Your name or that of any dependent family member(s) traveling
- Total weight
- Total cost
- Form of payment
- Zero balance or other notation indicating full payment was made
10.3.7 Unaccompanied Baggage
Receipts for unaccompanied baggage must include the following:
- Your name or that of any dependent family member(s) traveling
- Departure and destination locations
- Weight or volume of shipment
- Cost of insurance (if applicable)
- Total expense
- Form of payment
- Zero balance or other notation indicating full payment was made
10.3.8 Alternate Proof of Payment
10.3.8.1 In the absence of an original receipt, please contact RAP Travel a email@example.com to discuss alternative forms of proof of payment.
10.4 Travel Reimbursement Process
10.4.1 The reimbursement process is a coordinated effort between the RAP Travel Unit, the National Academies’ Travel Accounting Department, and the National Academies’ Payroll Office (for Foreign Nationals only).
10.4.2 The reimbursement process takes approximately 4 weeks from the time the NRC receives the Travel Expense Report to the time the reimbursement is processed. Missing and/or incomplete receipts and/or travel documentation will delay reimbursement.
10.4.3 Within one week of NRC receipt of the Travel Expense Report, it will be audited. The audit process includes verifying that the expenses claimed were approved for the trip (as indicated on the Travel Authorization form), verifying the expense(s) claimed against the receipt(s) submitted, and making sure that the claim for reimbursement is in compliance with all applicable policies, rules, and regulations.
10.4.4 After the Travel Expense Report is audited by the RAP Travel Unit, it is forwarded to the Travel Accounting Department or the Payroll Office (for Foreign Nationals) for final review and issuance of an EFT payment or a check.
10.4.5 For Foreign Nationals only, reimbursement payments are processed twice a month by the Payroll Office; by check or a direct deposit.
If you have any questions about this document or other travel concerns please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.