Sponsored travel

A few federal agencies, in addition to requiring the use of American carriers (See Fly America Act) and economy class tickets, require prior approval for each foreign trip - even if it was included in the approved budget. Always check the terms and conditions of a grant when it arrives to make sure you understand what is required by the sponsor in regard to international travel.

Investigators with federally-funded research are required to disclose certain information about all sponsored or reimbursed travel that meets certain criteria.

  • The faculty or staff member is paid on federally-funded research, which includes the following components
    • National Institutes of Health (NIH),
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),
    • Food and Drug Administration (FDA),
    • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA),
    • Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR),
    • Office of Global Affairs (OGA),
    • Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDAR),
    • Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA),
    • Indian Health Service (IHS),
    • Department of Energy (DOE);
  • The travel is reimbursed or sponsored by some external entity (see exceptions below);
  • The sponsored travel is related to your institutional responsibilities to Duke (e.g. as a physician scientist, you’re being sponsored to speak about your science, as opposed to being sponsored to speak on unrelated topic, like a hobby).

You do not have to report travel if it is reimbursed or sponsored by any of the following:

  • An institution of higher education (as defined in 20 U.S.C. § 1001(a)), a federal, state or local government agency, an academic teaching hospital, a medical center, or a research institute that is affiliated with an institution of higher education. 
  • However, these references refer to a U.S. Institution of higher education or a federal, state, or local government agency within the U.S. Therefore, Investigators, including Subrecipient Investigators, must disclose all travel information related to foreign Institutions of higher education or the government of another country.

Travel costs

For each trip, the proposed destination, purpose and duration of the trip should be described. An estimated breakdown of expenses for each person traveling should include:

  1. round trip coach air fare
  2. per diem or living expenses
  3. other related expenses such as ground transportation, conference registration fees, and short-term Visa fees, etc.

For use in federal projects, the General Services Administration publishes the maximum allowable Federal per diem rates for U.S. and foreign cities.

The Federal Government imposes strict regulations regarding the use of U.S. flag carriers and the class of ticket a grantee must purchase. See Fly America Act.

Restricted locations

As part of the travel policy, Duke maintains a Restricted Regions List (RRL) of locations that pose a high risk to travelers. The Duke RRL is updated as conditions warrant by the Global Travel Advisory Committee (GTAC).  Travelers should also be aware of the list of countries that have been sanctioned by the U.S. Government. Travel to these countries may have restrictions or could require a license.

There are no restrictions on faculty and staff travel to any country or location, but faculty and staff are expected to consult the Duke Restricted Regions List and the Office of Export Controls and to explore other sources of information in arriving at their own judgment with respect to the level of risk involved. No faculty can be required to travel to a location on the Duke Restricted Regions List. Faculty and staff are requested to register their travel plans on the Duke Travel Registry (link is external) web site. The Registry will be the first source of information to be consulted in case of a health emergency, natural disaster, or a crisis of civil or political unrest in a foreign location that requires assistance or evacuation.

Health while abroad

Faculty and staff who travel internationally will be covered by Duke’s international travel insurance policy.

Staff and Faculty planning to travel abroad please note that some countries may require vaccines for entry or a certificate of health.

Employee Occupational Health and Wellness now provides travel-related health services, to include vaccinations, to employees who must travel abroad on Duke related business. To learn more about this 'at cost' benefit via the HR policy website by clicking here.