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RAP Home  >  Associate Travel Information  >  Travel Expense Report Instructions


Instructions for Completing Your Travel Expense Report
Completion of a Travel Expense Report (TER) is necessary in order to receive reimbursement for any travel expenses incurred. Your TER should be completed within 10 days of the completion of travel. If a travel advance was issued for the trip, the advance must be accounted for upon the completion of travel. A TER is required even if no reimbursement is due to you but direct billed airfare and/or rental car expenses were incurred. Please read the instructions below carefully and refer to the corresponding lines on the TER.
The following documentation is required to process your TER:
  • Original airline, rail, or bus passenger receipt coupon, or e-ticket receipt. 
  • Original hotel receipt.
  • Original, detailed rental vehicle contract and receipt (if applicable).
  • Original receipt for any expense (including taxis and meals) that is $75 or greater.
*Receipts are always required for lodging, transportation, registration and abstract submittal fees, excess and unaccompanied baggage, and rental car gasoline expenses regardless of cost (see below for what qualifies as a valid receipt).
In the absence of an original receipt, you may submit either a copy of your credit/bank card statement showing the charge or copies of the front and back of the canceled check as an alternate proof of payment. For airline tickets obtained through Omega World Travel, you may submit a copy of the Omega invoice. You must always submit the original, detailed rental vehicle receipt; an alternate proof of payment will not be accepted.
All expenses reported on the TER must in US dollars, and receipts in a foreign language must be translated into English.   A currency converter may be found at
All TERs and accompanying receipts should be e-mailed to
Instructions for completing the TER:
1.        Mail Check To - Enter address. Note: You will receive your travel reimbursement electronically. 
2.        Traveler Type - Check the appropriate box (e.g., “Associate”).
3.        Trip Type - Check the appropriate box.
4.        Traveler Signature and Date - Sign and date the TER. Your email will serve as signature on the Excel TER. You may use electronic signature if available.
5.        Purpose of Trip - Enter the purpose of the trip (name of conference attending, programmatic travel, or relocation).
6.        Meeting Date(s) - Enter the date(s) of the meeting(s).
7.        Meeting location – (e.g. city/state, province/country).
8.        Date - Enter the first date for which you traveled on Academy business under "Day 1."
9.        City - Enter the city in which you incurred expenses on the corresponding dates. For example, if you left from Tampa on August 1 to travel to Washington, DC, on the same day, you would enter “Tampa to DC” as the city.
10.     Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner - Enter the expense incurred for each meal. Note that the daily meal total should not exceed the per diem allowance for meals. The cost of alcoholic beverages is not a reimbursable expense. If a meal included alcohol, please deduct that amount from the total meal cost and enter only the meal cost on the TER.
NOTE: Simply checking that you ate breakfast, lunch, or dinner is not sufficient for reimbursement. Actual dollar amounts must be entered for each meal.
11.     Lodging - Enter the cost of your hotel, excluding any domestic hotel tax, for each night in the corresponding boxes. Domestic hotel tax is considered a non-per diem expense and should be entered on line 14 “Lodging Taxes.” International hotel tax is considered a per diem expense and should be reported as part of the lodging expense entered on line 11 “Lodging.” 
12.     Tips - Enter the daily amount for tips other than those for meals and/or taxis. Tips for meals and taxis should be claimed as part of the meal or taxi expense.
13.     Incidentals - Enter any fees and tips paid to porters, baggage carriers, bellhops, hotel maids, hotel servants in foreign countries, transportation between places of lodging or business and places where meals are taken.
14.     Lodging Taxes - Enter the domestic hotel tax for each night of lodging. 
15.     Meeting Related Calls - Enter the total amount of the daily calls associated with business travel (e.g., calls determined to be of an official nature, calls to inform family members of safe arrival, change of itinerary or daily check-in with immediate family). Calls must be justified and be reasonable in length and cost.
16.     Parking/Tolls, etc. - Enter the daily total.
17.     Taxis/Metro - Enter the daily total.
18.     Transportation – Check the Transportation type used (e.g. air, rail, bus, or car rental) and enter the amount paid. If directly billed by Omega, click the box “Check if paid by the National Academies (Direct Billed).   
19.     Personal Auto - Enter the actual number of miles driven with your personal vehicle (ROUNDTRIP for professional or programmatic travel; ONE-WAY for relocation). Reimbursable miles include travel between your home and the airport or meeting location. 
NOTE: The government mileage allowance includes the cost of gasoline. Therefore, do not enter gasoline expenses on line 20 as “Miscellaneous Expenses” when a personal vehicle was the mode of transportation.
20.     Miscellaneous Expenses - Enter any travel-related expenses that were not covered in an earlier section (e.g., conference registration fees, excess and/or unaccompanied baggage, gasoline for rental car). Be sure to include sufficient explanations and receipts for expenses $75 and over. If the expense is not deemed travel-related, it will not be reimbursed (e.g., travelers check fees, laundry, entertainment, supplies, use of computers, printers and fax machines, and express delivery charges).
21.     Travel Advance - If a travel advance was issued, enter the amount on line 21 “Less Travel Advance.” You are required to reimburse The National Academies for any unused portion of the advance.
How long is the reimbursement process?
TERs are processed within two weeks of their receipt by the Associateship Programs office. After the TER has been audited, it is forwarded to The National Academies’ Travel Accounting Department where the process usually takes 10 business days. It is to your advantage to submit your TER and all required receipts as soon as possible following the trip. Missing documentation will delay the settlement of your reimbursement request. Reimbursement payments are processed twice a month by the Payroll Office; by check or a direct deposit.

Associates with any questions or concerns about completing the TER or the status of their reimbursement should contact the Associateship Travel Unit at (202) 334-2710 or  


All receipts must adhere to The National Academies' Accounting policies.
Receipts are required for lodging expenses regardless of cost. A valid hotel/lodging receipt contains the following information:
  • Associate's name
  • Provider of and date(s) of service
  • Room and tax rates
  • Total expense
  • Form of payment
  • Zero balance or other notation indicating full payment has been made
All air travel must meet the Fly America Act requirements. Regulations require that the US carrier issue the airline tickets.
Airline tickets should be obtained using Omega World Travel. Receipts should contain the following:
  • Traveler's name
  • Flight itinerary
  • Cost of flight and tax information
  • Total expense
  • Form of payment
  • Zero balance or other notation indicating full payment has been made
Conference Registration Fees
Registration receipts come in various forms. Any receipt submitted for reimbursement should contain the following:
  • Associate's name
  • Name and date of conference
  • Services included in fee
  • Total expense
  • Form of payment
  • Zero balance or other notation indicating that full payment has been made