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RAP Home  >  Associate Travel Information  >  Travel Authorization Instructions

 
INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLETING THE ONLINE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION

 

As part of the award, NRC Research Associates are provided a budget to support travel for professional development and, in some cases, for relocation. All Associate travel, for which reimbursement is sought, must be approved in advance using a Travel Authorization (TA) request. Documenting estimated travel costs using a TA assures that Associate travel adheres to Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) and any other requirements, such as Department of Defense Joint Travel Regulations (JTR). You are required to use Omega World Travel (OWT) for all domestic and international travel. This will assure that your itinerary conforms to travel rules and regulations and avoid unallowable expenses.

You may access the online TA by logging in to the NRC Research Associateship Programs (RAP) website.

The Research Adviser, the Laboratory Program Representative (LPR) or other designated official must approve all professional TA requests. Please note relocation TA requests require only RAP fiscal approval. Authorization for international travel also requires approval by the National Academies’ Office of Contracts and Grants. TA requests must be completed 
four weeks in advance for domestic travel and six weeks in advance for international travel.

Once a TA request is approved, you will receive an automated confirmation email from the InfoRAP system. Please review your approved TA request before booking travel as revisions may occur regarding authorized travel expenses. All air, train and rental car reservations must be made using OWT at 866.740.0627 or nas@owt.net. Costs of travel made outside of OWT will not be reimbursed.

When completing the TA request, please make sure that all required information and cost estimates are entered as accurately as possible. Incomplete TA requests will delay approval. Costs not entered on the TA request will not be reimbursed. Additional information may be found in the Travel Guide or you may contact the Fellowships Office Travel Unit at 202.334.2710 or raptravel@nas.edu.

Travel Type, Travel Itinerary, Travel Purpose

Indicate the purpose of your travel including the meeting location and name of the conference/meeting, if applicable. Your itinerary must include the departure date, departure city and state, and arrival city and state. A single line itinerary is allowed only for one way relocation. Please include an itinerary line for each city and state and your return home. For travel to professional meetings, travel dates are typically the day before and day after the meeting dates. If personal travel is to be combined with professional travel, please include personal travel dates. If you are combining personal travel with professional travel, you must notify OWT when booking your travel so they can provide constructive cost for airfare. Any increase in airfare resulting from combining personal travel with professional will be the financial responsibility of the Associate as federal contracts do not allow deviations that exceed constructive cost. For relocation travel please provide names of spouse and/or dependents in the comment section.

Cost Estimates

Travel must be booked using the most expeditious and economical mode, which is generally economy class airfare. If travel is done by personal vehicle or other mode of transportation, a constructive cost must be obtained from the Fellowships Office Travel Unit and reimbursement may be limited to the cost of a comparable airfare. Domestic relocation in a personal vehicle does not require a constructive cost estimate but is only eligible for the relocation mileage rate. Cost estimates for lodging, meals, etc. should exclude days taken for personal travel.

When traveling by air, note the Fly America Act requires that you travel on a US-flag carrier whenever such carriers exist between points of travel. Omega World Travel can advise you on the requirements of the Fly America Act and will ensure that your travel does not violate federal travel regulations.

Lodging and meal expenses are reimbursed on an itemized, actual cost basis. Costs must not exceed the federal per diem allowance which can be found on the GSA website for domestic travel, the U.S. Department of Defense website for travel to Alaska and Hawaii and US territories, and the U.S. Department of State website for international travel. Expenses that exceed the per diem will not be reimbursed. Per diem for travel days is calculated at 75% of the daily per diem.

When making hotel reservations, Associates should request the federal per diem rate. In some cases, it may not be possible to obtain a hotel that is within per diem (e.g., negotiated conference rates exceed per diem). In this case please provide a justification in the comments section of the TA request for a per diem waiver. If you have difficulty securing conventional lodging and request non conventional lodging within per diem prior approval is required. Non conventional lodging will not be reimbursed after travel is completed. Please contact RAPtravel@nas.edu as soon as possible for approval prior to travel. 

Domestic lodging per diem rates do not include hotel taxes. Domestic hotel taxes are claimed and reimbursed as a separate expense. International per diem rates include hotel room rate and hotel taxes. 

A rental car request requires justification for approval. Reservations must be arranged through OWT and will be billed directly to the Fellowships Office. The National Academies has negotiated agreements with rental car companies to provide the lowest available rates for Associates. These rates include unlimited mileage and loss or collision damage waiver (LDW or CDW) insurance at no additional cost. 

When choosing to use a personal vehicle as an alternative to common carrier (e.g. airline), expenses can only be reimbursed up to the cost of a round trip airline ticket. A constructive cost will be determined by the Fellowships Office Travel Unit. If you are approved for use of a personal vehicle, you will be reimbursed based on mileage traveled from the lab address to the meeting location. Distance must be verified using Google Maps. 

Conference Registration

If you are planing to attend a professional conference and the registration fee is $250 or more, the Fellowships Office Travel Unit can pre-pay your registration fee to reduce your out-of-pocket costs. Enter the registration fee on your TA and check the direct-bill box. Registration for workshops or seminars that you would like to attend during the conference may also be paid as part of registration. In order for the Fellowships Office Travel Unit to process your registration online, you must complete all applicable sections under Conference Registration Request. 

Please note that we do not allow additional expenses associated with:

  • Membership dues/fees
  • Poster or other printing costs
  • Luncheons and receptions not part of the registration fee
  • Books, including bound abstracts and proceedings or CDs not part of the registration fee
  • Tours and optional social activities
  • Registration expenses for a spouse and/or dependent family member(s)
Please note that if you do not attend the conference after submitting a TA request, the registration fee will still be deducted from your travel budget.

Travel Advance

A travel advance can be requested for 80% of the lodging, meals and incidental expenses. To allow for processing, the travel advance request must be received no less than 30 days prior to the proposed start date of the trip. Travel advances are distributed by direct deposit no less than 3 days before the travel start date. Travel advances cannot be processed if the Associate’s tenure is set to terminate within 60 days from travel date. The Associate must submit a travel expense report (TER) within 10 days from trip end. Additional travel advances will not be issued until the TER is completed. Any unused portion of the travel advance must be returned to the Fellowships Office Travel Unit when your TER is completed.

Please contact RAPtravel@nas.edu or 202.334.2710 with any questions prior to submitting your TA request.


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