Travel reimbursement

Required materials

  • Itemized receipts in PDF format (see below for receipt requirements and allowable expense reimbursements)
  • UW Travel Policies must be followed.


  • Submit Travel Pre-Authorization Request to your PI if applicable (recommended, not required)
  • Travel Reimbursement requests can be submitted by logging into UW Connect with your UW NetID and searching for “Travel Spend Authorization & Travel Reimbursement Request”
  • Once the UW Connect form has been submitted, it will route to the Engineering Shared Environment for processing
  • Please reach out to your PI or Grant Manager for UW Worktag information. The ESE does not provide worktag information for travelers.


  • Speak with your faculty adviser before seeking reimbursement and enter their name on the request form under “faculty sponsor”. *This process may change slightly after UWFT is live in July*

Pre-trip Reimbursement

  • It is allowable to reimburse travel expenses prior to the trip as long as it meets all other travel compliance requirements.  The most common expenses include airfare, registration, and lodging.

How to pay for travel

Category Purchase Options Comments
Airfare – domestic (see Personal Time)
  1. Christopherson Business Travel (charges directly to your budget)
  2. Out-of-Pocket / submit for Reimbursement
  • Select most economical/reasonable option
  • First class, business class, coach upgrade and seat fees are not reimbursable unless you have appropriate justification
  • Create an ECE Christopherson Business Travel account here. Since tickets require departmental approval within 24 hours, please book your flight during the work week (before COB on Friday).
  • Flights purchased using rewards programs are not reimbursable
Airfare – foreign (see Personal Time)
  1. Christopherson Business Travel (charges directly to your budget)
  2. Out-of-Pocket / submit for Reimbursement
Lodging / hotel Out-of-Pocket / submit for reimbursement
  • On rare occasions, such as student trips and visitors, the department can request approval to charge lodging on the department travel card (Central Travel Account)
Non-traditional lodging / hotel (e.g. AirBnB) Out-of-pocket / submit for reimbursement
  • Reimbursable with itemized receipt (including names of guests)
  • Indicate UW or non-UW employee
Meals Out-of-pocket / submit for reimbursement
  • Reimbursable at the per diem rate
  • Provide airfare/train/car rental itinerary or indicate time of departure if using personal vehicle
  • Indicate if meals were provided (e.g. conference, host)
Other transportation (privately owned vehicle, taxi, public transportation) Out-of-pocket / submit for reimbursement
  • Reimbursable with itemized receipt
  • Map for mileage (privately owned vehicle) required
  • Taxi/Uber – full receipt is required
  • Tips are reimbursable
  • Rounding up for donations are not reimbursable
Car rental Out-of-pocket / submit for reimbursement
  • UW employees only (drivers); if non-UW employee is listed (e.g. spouse, friend), the expense is void, and NOT reimbursable.
  • When possible, use Enterprise and National UW Contract rates
    • Decline all additional coverage
  • Reimbursable with itemized receipt
Train / rail
  1. Christopherson Business Travel (charges directly to your budget)
  2. Out-of-Pocket / reimbursement
  • Reimbursable with itemized receipt

Additional travel information

Per diem rates

Travel packages

Travel packages are only reimbursable as a travel expense if components of the travel package can be itemized (airfare, airfare tax, lodging room rate per night, lodging tax per night, etc.)

If package deals are reimbursed without detail, it is not an allowable travel expense, and the reimbursement counts as taxable income for the traveler and is taxed through payroll.

Visit UW’s policy on package deals.


Travelers must indicate if meals were provided by other sources. For example, if you are attending a conference and lunch is included. Your conference itinerary must be included in your reimbursement request.

Meal per diem starts when you are in travel status. Documentation examples include airfare itinerary, train reservation confirmation, or POV departure time.

You will not be reimbursed for alcohol. For additional information on meals and/or alcohol during travel, please see UW’s policy on meals.

Lodging per diem

Before you book, verify lodging per diem rate for your travel destination. Reimbursement is limited to per diem rate unless an exception exists.

Exceptions in which lodging costs in excess of the per diem rate is allowable include:

  • Hotel is adjacent to conference listed in program – limitations apply
  • Lower cost overall to stay in more expensive hotel (vs. combined cost of staying in cheaper hotel and taking a taxi to conference or renting a car) – limitations apply
  • Concerns for health and safety
  • Special event or disaster

For additional information on lodging, please see UW’s policy on lodging.

Personal time

If taking personal time, you will need to provide documentation comparing airfare costs showing your personal time did not incur additional costs.

Comparison airfare

If you are taking personal time off, comparison airfare is the airfare you would have booked if you only stayed for the allowable business days. For example, a conference is Monday-Thursday, and you want to take personal time from Thursday-Sunday. You will need to provide comparison airfare for the Monday-Thursday dates, along with the airfare you purchased with personal time. If the purchased airfare exceeds the comparison cost, you will only be reimbursed the lesser of the two.

For additional information on comparison airfare, see UW’s policy on comparison airfare.

Mileage for long distances

If requesting mileage for long distances, you will need to provide other transportation comparisons to show what the cost would have been if taking other means of transportation (e.g. train, airfare, bus, etc.). For example, if you were traveling from Seattle to Portland, you will need to provide documentation on cost of airfare, mileage, and/or other means of transportation (e.g. bus or train).

Car rental

Compact or sedan (5-person car) is the standard allowable car rental. Upgrades are allowable with appropriate justification. For example, requesting a van to transport supplies and equipment necessary to complete field work is an appropriate justification.

For additional information on car rental or other transportation, see UW’s policy on car, insurance, mileage and other transportation.

Mileage rates for privately owned vehicle

All mileage starts from the university campus on weekdays, during work hours 8am- 5pm. If travel begins outside of work hours, you may use your home as your starting point for mileage. You cannot claim reimbursement for BOTH mileage and gas. The mileage rate accounts for gas and wear and tear.