Travel Authorization Procedures

Policy No: 
6.2
Type of Policy: 
Administrative
Last Revised: 
April 2017
Review Date: 
April 2022
Policy Owner: 
Accounts Payable
Contact Name: 
Abbie Coker
Contact Title: 
Director of Accounts Payable & Travel
Contact Email: 
abbie.coker@business.gatech.edu
Policy Statement: 

Each employee required to travel in the performance of official duties and entitled to reimbursement for expenses incurred must have prior authorization from the department head (or their designated official) for the performance of travel. The Dean, or department head, may authorize and approve travel for all employees that report to him/her. For example: travel for a department head or school chair must be approved by the dean, or their designated official, and travel for a Dean must be approved by the Provost or designee. In no case is a subordinate authorized to approve travel for his/her superior.
Approval attests to the necessity of the travel and ensures that anticipated travel expenses are reasonable in nature and amount.

Procedures: 

In-State Travel
The T&E System Travel Authorization is not required for in-state employee travel. Approval to travel within the state of Georgia, or just beyond the state borders, on a regular or continual basis may be given as a blanket routine travel authorization. This may be maintained as an internal list in department files, or may be granted based on the employee’s primary job duties that include a business need to travel in-state. Employees whose headquarters/primary work location is outside of the state of Georgia are not required to complete a Travel Authorization for routine travel within that state. 

Campus units may require that a Travel Authorization be completed for all in-state travel within their unit to meet their business needs.

Out-of-State Travel
The Travel Authorization must be completed and properly approved prior to the first day of travel for all travel outside the state of Georgia.

International Travel
GT strongly recommends against, but does not prohibit, travel to countries where the U.S. Department of State has issued an official Travel Warning (a Travel Warning is distinct from a State Department issued Public Announcement), or where there is other reliable information of significant health or safety risks. The final decision about making a trip to such a country is up to the individual making the trip; however, GT reserves the right to require the execution of an appropriate release or waiver before permitting such travel. This recommendation is directed toward individual travelers in the following categories: faculty, staff and graduate students. Faculty/Staff taking students on international travel will require prior approval from Office of International Education.
For further information about U.S. Department of State travel advisories, please consult the Department of State List of Current Travel Warnings. GT will review on a case-by-case basis plans for travel using state or sponsored funds to countries for which travel warnings have been issued.
The International Questionnaire is used as an initial screening for all international travel. As part of the Travel Authorization process, the traveler must complete the questionnaire on-line in the TechWorks Employee Travel & Expense System prior to final submission of the TA. This form should be submitted to the Office of Legal Affairs not later than thirty (30) days prior to the desired departure date for travel to a foreign country and 45 days for travel to sensitive countries under travel advisories or involving the shipment of equipment or biological materials. The earlier the proposed travel is reviewed, the greater likelihood of processing reviews without delay.
Prior to international travel faculty should become aware of applicable export laws, regulations and risks associated with international travel. Several key reference sources include:

Employees must comply with U.S. laws and regulations when traveling internationally on Georgia Tech business. An export review must be obtained from the Office of Legal Affairs prior to travel if any questions are answered “yes”.
No export review is required for employees traveling internationally on vacation or attending conferences at their own expense, however a review is required if Georgia Tech contributes to any cost of the trip, including but not limited to salary. If any response is “yes”, an email is sent to initiate review by Legal Affairs.
International travel being sponsored by the Federal Government must be ticketed by U.S. Flag carriers. See section "Foreign Travel" for more information regarding the Fly America Act.

No-Cost-To-Tech Travel
In situations where no charges to the Institute are involved, but the purpose of the trip is official business or Institute related, a paper Travel Authority Request Form may be approved and retained in the traveler's department. The TechWorks T&E System will not permit a $0 Travel Authorization.
The International Questionnaire for Export Control Review must be completed for all foreign trips regardless of whether Georgia Tech is financially supporting the travel, if the employee is active on Payroll.

Itinerary Changes
If the itinerary of the trip fundamentally changes (location or business purpose) from that stated on the original Travel Authorization (TA) and the original TA has been approved, a new TA should be completed and the original TA should be cancelled.

Travel Authorization via the TechWorks Employee Travel & Expense System
Effective April 2011, Travel Authorization is completed electronically through the TechWorks Employee Travel & Expense System. Electronic workflow approval by the supervisor (or their financial approval delegate) and the department financial approver is required prior to the 1st day of travel. It is not necessary to print the Travel Authorization for inclusion with the Expense Report. For domestic trips, the traveler's approval may be delegated to the preparer and the unit financial approver. For international trips, the traveler must complete the International Questionnaire and specifically approve the TA.

Travel Authorization via the Paper Travel Authorization Request Form
If travel authorization was approved prior to the TechWorks T&E System implementation or for cases when completion of the Travel Authorization Form prior to the travel is impractical or impossible, email communications, notes of phone conversations, etc., between the traveler and the individual authorizing the travel, may be printed and attached to the paper TAR as evidence of prior authorization to travel. Both the approval signature and traveler's signature may be delegated, but in all cases must be approved prior to trip initiation.
In either case, if the Travel Authorization was not approved via the TechWorks T&E System, the paper TAR must be scanned and included with the barcode expense report documentation.

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