HBP Part 11.2. Travel Authorization

Handbook of Business Procedures

Date published: June 29, 2005
Last revised: August 9, 2023
Issued by: Travel Services


A. Introduction

All travelers should submit an electronic Request for Travel Authorization (RTA) for business travel.  Prior approval for all business travel is required for absences of employees from the campus or other designated headquarters for periods of half a day or more during the normal working period, whether or not there is a cost to the university.  Prospective employees (traveler type P on an RTA) also require prior approval before travel dates. Non-employees and students not traveling as employees (traveler types N and S) are not required to have prior approval. All travelers must submit an RTA before claiming travel reimbursements. Payment Services does not require travel authorization for personal absences such as vacation.

Approval of an RTA is delegated to the immediate supervisor.

An RTA includes:

  • Traveler's name
  • Traveler type (E for employee, P for prospective employee, N for non-employee, S for student)
  • Dates of travel
  • Destination
  • Purpose of travel
  • Benefit of travel
  • Disposition of traveler's job duties
  • Account to be charged for travel expenses, if applicable

Appropriate arrangements for disposition of the faculty or staff member's normal duties must be made in advance of the travel. If classes are to be missed, a qualified member of the instructional staff shall be identified to and approved by the departmental Chairman as a substitute instructor. Under normal circumstances, classes should not be rescheduled.

The RTA provides the authorization to charge the specified account for centrally billed travel expenses, if applicable.

Additional approvals or preparations may also be required.

B. Washington D.C.

Before an employee travels to Washington D.C., the Office of State-Federal Relations (OSFR) must be informed about the timing and purpose of the trip. Section W of the electronic Request for Travel Authorization (RTA) must be completed. A report based on the section W information is generated and sent to OSFR.

Office of State-Federal Relations (OSFR)

C. Foreign Travel

All university business travelers with international destinations are required to comply with UT Austin’s International Travel Policy, which includes travel to Canada and Mexico. Travelers planning to visit destinations on the university’s Restricted Regions List must obtain approval from the International Oversight Committee (IOC) by completing the Restricted Regions request process at least 5 weeks prior to departure. UT Austin travel protocol also mandates registration of travel in the university’s International Travel Registry (UTAITR), which initiates coverage in On Call International Overseas Insurance. Travelers must also comply with UTS190 International Travel Policy

1. Foreign Travel Using State Accounts

Section 2.02(B) of the State of Texas Travel Allowance Guide states that a state agency may pay or reimburse a state employee for travel expenses incurred while traveling to or from, or staying at a duty point in a foreign country only if the agency's chief administrator, or someone designated by the chief administrator, provides prior written approval. This approval is not required for Canada, Mexico, or U.S. possessions because they are considered out-of-state travel, not foreign by the State of Texas Travel Allowance Guide thus travel expenditures should be coded as out-of-state travel.

At UT Austin, foreign travel using a state-funded account requires prior approval from the Dean/Vice President either in writing or, alternatively, electronically via the document routing of the Request for Travel Authorization (*DEFINE VE5/VE6). Prior approval cannot be delegated further by the Dean/VP.

Travel documents for foreign travel on state accounts must be imaged for long-term storage. The creator of the electronic travel document will send the document voucher transmittal form, along with the written prior approval, to Imaging and Documentation Services, mail code K6000; Main Building, Room 132. If the Dean or Vice President approves the document electronically, the routing showing the Dean/VP logon approval will be sent with the voucher transmittal form as the approval document instead of the written document.

State of Texas Travel Allowance Guide

2. Contracts & Grants

When foreign travel expenses are to be paid from grant and/or contract funds, required approvals must be obtained. Specific authorization for the foreign travel may be stated in the approved grant or contract; if not, the Principal Investigator (PI) must obtain approval from the sponsor. The approval of the foreign travel may be delivered via email. It is the responsibility of the PI to secure all necessary approvals; failure to do so will result in disallowance of the travel expenses.

D. Changes to Travel Plans

Some changes to travel plans, such as travel dates more than one business day outside the originally approved absence or additional destinations, require approval via an amended RTA. Other changes to travel plans, such as accounts that are to be charged for travel expenses, encumbrances, estimated expense breakdown, and traveler's name, may also be changed.




Part 11. Travel - Table of Contents