University Accounting Services

International Travel

Refer to Planning your Trip for information regarding Authorization to Travel/Travel Request and required approvals for International Travel.  Employees planning to travel to foreign destinations on official University business are required to review and comply with additional requirements in Section VIII Travel Related Insurance and Section XIII International Travel as documented in the CSU Travel Procedures. 

All faculty, staff and students traveling internationally on CSU business are required to use the California State University Risk Management Authority (CSURMA) Foreign Travel Insurance Program (FTIP).  For additional information related to international insurance, please contact University Risk Management. 

Travelers to foreign destinations will receive the lesser of the actual costs incurred or a fixed amount per diem for lodging, meals and incidentals in accordance with the Federal Maximum Travel Per Diem Allowances for Foreign Areas published by the U.S. Department of State Office of Allowances.  Receipts will not be required for reimbursement.

Travelers may not request reimbursement of actual foreign expenses for one portion of a trip and per diem for the remainder.  The method selected must be used for the entire foreign portion of the trip.  However, a per diem may be used for meals and incidentals and actual costs used for lodging.  A traveler may claim any combination of the following:

  • Actual cost of lodging and actual cost of meals and incidentals
  • Actual cost of lodging and per diem meals and incidentals
  • Per diem lodging and per diem meals and incidentals

When international lodging or meal expenses are paid directly by the University or are otherwise furnished to the traveler without charge, the maximum per diem rate authorized for international travel must be adjusted.  A breakdown by meal for every per diem amount is available at https://aoprals.state.gov/.

High Hazard Destinations

Travel requests to high hazard areas or countries on the U.S. State Department Travel Advisory List require underwriter approval and must be reported as soon as practical, but no less than 30 days prior to the planned departure date.  All travel to high hazard areas or countries must be approved by the Provost/Vice President of the respective division, in consultation with the President. 

Countries designated as “War Risk” must reviewed by the Chancellor’s Office. 

For the most current high hazard/travel advisory information, please check the U.S. Department of State website at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/

For the most current high hazard/war risk information from CSURMA, please refer to the information provided by Systemwide Risk Management under International Travel Resources located at:

http://www.calstate.edu/risk_management/rm/

Taxability of International Travel with Personal Use

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows a deduction of all travel expenses to get to and from a business destination when the travel is international and considered entirely for business.  When an employee spends a portion of his/her time on personal travel, any employer reimbursement applicable to the personal portion of the trip is taxable unless an exception applies. 

The value of an employee’s international flight will be considered entirely a business cost, and thus completely nontaxable, when any one of the 4 exceptions applies:

1)  The employee does not have substantial control over arranging the trip;

2)  Travel outside of the U.S., combining business and personal time, is for one week or less;

3)  Less than 25% of total time is spent on personal activities; or

4)  Vacation is not a major consideration in planning the trip.

Under exceptions 1) and 4), the trip will be deemed entirely for business purposes if (a) the employee did not have substantial control over arranging the trip, or (b) the employee can establish that vacation was not a major consideration is arranging the trip.  If the employee’s primary purpose for travel outside the U.S. is vacation, then the flight is fully taxable, and only the reimbursed business expenses incurred while on the trip are nontaxable.

Currency Converter

Upon return from international travel, all receipts must be converted and submitted in US Dollars.  Please use the OANDA rate service to determine the correct conversion rates when completing your Travel Expense Claim Form.  Please attach a copy of the currency conversion website output to your Travel Expense Claim Form along with your receipts.

Concur utilizes a built-in exchange calculator to help manage charges in foreign currency.  The OANDA rate service is used by Concur Expense to calculate the conversion from one currency to another.  When using the system delivered exchange calculator, a copy of the currency conversion website output is not required.