Business Policies and Procedures Manual

Foreign Travel

BPPM 95.15

For more information contact:
   Travel Services


University international travel includes travel undertaken by WSU faculty, staff, and students as well as WSU-supported travel by foreign nationals.


An authorized administrator may approve requests to undertake international travel for any of the following purposes:

  • To allow active participation in research projects.
  • To make use of unique library or similar resources.
  • To allow major participation in a significant international professional meeting.
  • To develop international education, research, and/or training projects with developing nations.

Applicable Regulations

WSU and state of Washington policies and procedures apply to foreign travel.

Tax Implications

Departments which support travel by foreign nationals to the United States should contact Payroll Services (telephone 509-335-9575) and the Office of International Programs (telephone 509-335-4508).


Foreign travel requires prior approval by an authorized University official. Initiate a Spend Authorization in Workday to request approval for foreign travel. (See BPPM 95.01 and the Workday Create Spend Authorization reference guide.)

If the travel is supported by international programs or projects accounts, Workday routes the Spend Authorization to International Programs for approval.

Food and Lodging

See BPPM 95.06 for reimbursement procedures. Contact Travel Services for foreign rates. The rates are also available from the U.S. Department of State.

Air Carriers

University travelers are to use U.S.-flag air carriers for international air transportation. If a foreign carrier is used, the traveler is to justify the use of the foreign carrier on a Spend Authorization or Expense Report in Workday. The traveler is to be mindful that the state considers economy to be the primary criteria to apply when making travel decisions.

Travel Supported by Sponsored Projects

Before undertaking foreign travel, ascertain that the planned travel is allowable under sponsor’s current regulations and the terms of the agreement. Some agreements restrict or do not allow the use of foreign flag air carriers.

Some sponsors require that foreign travel be itemized in the proposal and award agreement budgets. In addition to, or in lieu of, an itemized budget, certain sponsors require that written agency approval be obtained prior to each foreign trip. Some sponsors have delegated this prior approval responsibility to WSU. Contact Sponsored Programs Services for more information.

Short-term Travel (Less Than 30 Days)

Maximum Rates

The foreign travel food and lodging rates represent maximum amounts which may be reimbursed.

If a sponsor specifies a different rate, apply the lower of the two rates.

Sponsor’s Procedures

Travelers are responsible for applying sponsor’s procedures as detailed in the agreement and/or regulations when appropriate. State of Washington and WSU procedures supersede a sponsor’s procedures when the sponsor is less restrictive.

Extended Travel (30 Days or More)

Generally, reimbursement procedures are the same as for short-term travel. Some sponsors’ agreements and/or regulations may provide for additional specified travel and residence expenditures attendant to long-term travel.

Revisions:  Jan. 2021 (Rev. 560); Apr. 2001 (Rev. 183); July 1996 (Rev. 100); July 1992 (Rev. 90); Mar. 1983 (Rev. 51); Nov. 1979 (Rev. 36);June 1978 (Rev. 26); Aug. 1977 (Rev. 20); June 1977 (Rev. 19).