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FAQ: Travel and reimbursements

For Faculty and Staff | Updated March 31, 2020

COVID-19 symptoms or exposure? Find out what to do if you or a close contact have symptoms or think you may have been exposed.

Travel guidance

Is business travel allowed for faculty and staff?

No, all business travel is prohibited for faculty and staff and for campus visitors. This includes domestic and international travel, and includes all methods of travel (e.g. by airplane, by train, etc.). Those who feel they must travel should request an exception from their dean or unit director.

The University will not pay for or reimburse any University-related travel (whether it’s outbound by University faculty and staff or inbound by visitors) until further notice.

We’d recommend using alternative virtual tools to conduct University business and meetings. See this list of tips for remote work.

Important Update: On March 19 the U.S. State Department issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory — Do Not Travel. All University of Rochester travelers abroad should have returned immediately either to the U.S. or their home country. If you are on University-related travel, you can contact our travel assistance services provider Europ Assistance (240-330-1414) to assist in providing emergency travel arrangements. Learn more.

Am I allowed to travel for personal reasons?

The University strongly recommends against personal travel to areas affected by the pandemic. The most current information about restricted travel can be found on the CDC website.

If you do travel, please be aware that given the rapid pace of the spread of this coronavirus, there is a possibility you will be required to enter into quarantine for 14 days (preferably at your home address) when you return to Rochester. You may find yourself in a location where travel becomes restricted only after you arrive at your destination.

If you are concerned you have been exposed or have symptoms, please follow these guidelines and seek advice before returning to work or campus. You can also our reference our FAQs on how to report COVID-19 symptoms or potential exposure.

Reimbursements for business travel

I need to cancel a business trip, but I’ve already prepaid for some expenses. What should I do?

You should request refunds for anything you paid for that will no longer be used.

  • Contact conference/event organizers for registration and deposit refunds.
  • Contact hotels for deposit refunds.
  • Contact airlines for airfare credits or refunds. Note: If airline reservations were made through the University’s travel agents, Town & Country or DePrez, contact the travel agent who will contact the airlines and handle the refunds/credits for you.
If an expense was covered by the University, what should I do with a reimbursement paid to me?

If the expense was paid for by the University or reimbursed to you by the University, then the funds should be deposited back to the University FAO and SC where the expense was charged.

If the money was deposited into your account or is in the form of a check with your name, you will need to write a check payable to “University of Rochester” and give it to your departmental finance staff for deposit to the University.

University policy states that reimbursement may be requested as soon as you have made the expenditure and completed the Employee Business Expense Report (Form F3).  However, you should try to get a refund from the person/company you paid before submitting an expense reimbursement request. This is especially true in cases when events are canceled or likely to be canceled.

Check with your divisional and departmental finance and administration offices to determine if your reimbursement is subject to more strict guidance. In particular, conference and travel expenses associated with sponsored funding can only be charged if these benefited the grant, and reimbursement may need to be made from unrestricted funds.

Are there fees for canceling a flight?

There are no fees for canceling a flight; however, there are typically fees when you rebook a flight.

To elaborate: Many tickets are non-refundable. If you cancel your flight, usually the ticket is still available for use one year from the date of issue. When you go to rebook a non-refundable canceled ticket, there are airline-imposed change fees.

The fee is usually $200 for domestic flights and $300 for international flights, plus any difference in fare. This can vary though depending on the airline.

I still have questions about reimbursements. Is there someone I should contact?

For business travel expense reimbursement questions, call (585) 275-0668. You also can call the University’s Travel Accountant, Erin Johnson at (585) 275-0668 or visit the Business Expense and Travel Reimbursement website to review the full BETR policy.


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