Travel FAQ

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General Guidance

Is all international travel restricted?

Yes, ALL university-sponsored international travel remains suspended for students, faculty, and staff. The Board of Regents will be extending the 30-day travel ban that began on March 5 by 7 days each Monday, effective March 9, until conditions improve.

Faculty, staff, and students may not conduct university business (such as delivering a lecture at an institution or conference, or conducting research) while traveling internationally for personal purposes. 

Is domestic travel restricted?

Travel within Iowa and the U.S. for university business is allowed, but must be pre-approved by the employee’s direct supervisor. Travelers should follow CDC guidance. Approval should be granted if in the supervisor’s view the travel is appropriate pursuant to the guidance below and other university policy. The request and approval should be documented and can be done through e-mail.  

The university strongly recommends decisions are made to minimize travel, consistent with our goal of taking reasonable actions to reduce transmission risk. Some factors to consider when evaluating travel include: whether the activity is necessary to enable a student to remain on-track for degree completion; whether the activity could be postponed, moved online, or done by phone; the number of attendees and whether the attendees can practice social/physical distancing (e.g. sitting at least six feet apart). 

Travelers are encouraged to review travel restrictions they may encounter upon arrival at their destination. Please check the state and territorial health department websites for the latest information. 

Is there a university policy for personal travel?

There are no university rules restricting travel by faculty, staff, and students for personal reasons. It is important to note that, aside from incidental university business such as checking email and making phone calls, university business may not be conducted while traveling out of state or internationally for personal reasons. Faculty, staff, and students who travel out of state or internationally should be aware that they may have isolation or other restrictions imposed by other states or countries that could restrict or delay some aspects of their travel and/or their return to Iowa. We strongly urge you to use extreme caution and judgment for personal travel. Please check the state and territorial health department websites for the latest information

What do visitors traveling to campus need to know?

University-sponsored visitors to campus who are traveling from within the United States are permitted if the visit is preapproved by the supervisor of the unit or department that is sponsoring the University visit. University-sponsored international visitors are not permitted.


University travel: Reimbursement for canceled travel plans related to official university business

In all cancelled travel situations, the traveler or department should make a concerted effort to get expenses refunded directly. 

Documentation of refund denials should be retained by the units. Non-refundable expenses will be covered by the original funding source for the trip, if allowed. 

For costs that were charged to a grant, if there are airfare or other travel expense refunds, it should be credited back to the grant. The National Institute of Health has issued Notice Number NOT-OD-20-086 allowing nonrefundable costs associated with grant-related travel that has been cancelled due to COVID-19 to be charged to NIH awards if the costs would have otherwise been allowable. Further guidance was also issued on 3/16/2020 by the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) here. In order to be allowable on the grant, documentation that the traveler has requested and been denied a refund must be retained with the transaction. Institutional policy established for COVID-19 allowing travel cancellation costs to be charged to institutional funds should also be applied to sponsored projects to ensure consistent charging practices. Guidance for other federal agencies has not yet been released; however, at this time, we recommend that travelers follow the same guidance provided by NIH and COGR.

Please complete an expense report/event in Workday for all remaining costs and any credits or vouchers for airline tickets, after all credits and refunds have been requested directly and received, as if the trip occurred. 

Cancellation costs and travel change fees as well as refunds and credits directly related to COVID-19 should be tracked with the COVID-19 Department Detail DD11790.

What if I have purchased an airline ticket for travel that will occur during the travel restrictions?

If purchased with your University T&H Card through one of the ISU travel contracts (CTP or Key Travel):

  • Contact the travel agency used (CTP or Key Travel) to get assistance on canceling the flight and obtaining any refund or voucher that may be available. Voucher information should be maintained by the department or unit centrally.
  • If no voucher or refund is available, provide your department with the documentation showing the cancellation evidencing denied refund or voucher.
  • For costs that were charged to a grant, any refunds should be credited back to the grant. The National Institute of Health has issued Notice Number NOT-OD-20-086 allowing nonrefundable costs associated with grant-related travel that has been cancelled due to COVID-19 to be charged to NIH awards if the costs would have otherwise been allowable. Further guidance was also issued on 3/16/2020 by the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) here. In order to be allowable on the grant, documentation that the traveler has requested and been denied a refund must be retained with the transaction. Institutional policy established for COVID-19 allowing travel cancellation costs to be charged to institutional funds should also be applied to sponsored projects to ensure consistent charging practices. Guidance for other federal agencies has not yet been released; however, at this time, we recommend that travelers follow the same guidance provided by NIH and COGR.
  • Please complete an expense report/event in Workday for all remaining costs and any credits or vouchers for airline tickets, after all credits and refunds have been requested directly and received, as if the trip occurred. 
  • Cancellation costs and travel change fees as well as refunds and credits directly related to COVID-19 should be tracked with the COVID-19 Department Detail DD11790.
  • If you have credits or a voucher from cancelled airline tickets please see the I received credits or a voucher from the airline for my cancelled airline ticket, now what do I do? section of this FAQ.

 

If purchased with your University T&H Card directly with an airline:

  • Contact the airline directly to get assistance on canceling the flight and obtaining any refund or voucher that may be available. Voucher information should be maintained by the department or unit centrally.
  • If no voucher or refund is available, provide your department with the documentation showing the cancellation evidencing denied refund or voucher.
  • For costs that were charged to a grant, any refunds should be credited back to the grant. The National Institute of Health has issued Notice Number NOT-OD-20-086 allowing nonrefundable costs associated with grant-related travel that has been cancelled due to COVID-19 to be charged to NIH awards if the costs would have otherwise been allowable. Further guidance was also issued on 3/16/2020 by the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) here. In order to be allowable on the grant, documentation that the traveler has requested and been denied a refund must be retained with the transaction. Institutional policy established for COVID-19 allowing travel cancellation costs to be charged to institutional funds should also be applied to sponsored projects to ensure consistent charging practices. Guidance for other federal agencies has not yet been released; however, at this time, we recommend that travelers follow the same guidance provided by NIH and COGR.
  • Please complete an expense report/event in Workday for all remaining costs and any credits or vouchers for airline tickets, after all credits and refunds have been requested directly and received, as if the trip occurred. 
  • Cancellation costs and travel change fees as well as refunds and credits directly related to COVID-19 should be tracked with the COVID-19 Department Detail DD11790.
  • If you have credits or a voucher from cancelled airline tickets please see the I received credits or a voucher from the airline for my cancelled airline ticket, now what do I do? section of this FAQ.

 

If purchased with your personal credit card:

  • Check with the airline or company you purchased your ticket through first to see what options are available for refund or credit. The airlines are frequently updating their policies on waivers they are offering, as well as effective dates.
  • If credits are issued for the cost of a flight to the traveler, there are two options:
  • Request reimbursement by creating an expense report and then provide that voucher or credit information to your department or unit so it can be used for future ISU travel.
  • Cancellation costs and travel change fees as well as refunds and credits directly related to COVID-19 should be tracked with the COVID-19 Department Detail DD11790.
  • If you have credits or a voucher from cancelled airline tickets please see the I received credits or a voucher from the airline for my cancelled airline ticket, now what do I do? section of this FAQ for how to document the credits in your expense report.
  • If you choose to keep the credit or voucher personally, you may not be reimbursed for the expenses at this time. If used for university travel in the future, and expense report and receipt documentation could be submitted at that time.

 

If your ticket is non-refundable and credits will not be issued you will need to provide the following for reimbursement:

  • Actual receipt of airfare
  • Recent documentation stating the airfare is non-refundable. This would mean something in the past month or so stating airfare is non-refundable even with the virus risk.
  • Complete an expense report/event in Workday for all remaining costs and any credits or vouchers for airline tickets, after all credits and refunds have been requested directly and received, as if the trip occurred. 
  • Cancellation costs and travel change fees as well as refunds and credits directly related to COVID-19 should be tracked with the COVID-19 Department Detail DD11790.
  • If you have credits or a voucher from cancelled airline tickets please see the I received credits or a voucher from the airline for my cancelled airline ticket, now what do I do? section of this FAQ.

Will airfare change fees be allowed on university funds? Allowed on grants?

Yes, Iowa State University will allow change fees on university funds. 

The National Institute of Health has issued Notice Number NOT-OD-20-086 allowing nonrefundable costs associated with grant-related travel that has been cancelled due to COVID-19 to be charged to NIH awards if the costs would have otherwise been allowable. Further guidance was also issued on 3/16/2020 by the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) here. In order to be allowable on the grant, documentation that the traveler has requested and been denied a refund must be retained with the transaction. Institutional policy established for COVID-19 allowing travel cancellation costs to be charged to institutional funds should also be applied to sponsored projects to ensure consistent charging practices. Guidance for other federal agencies has not yet been released; however, at this time, we recommend that travelers follow the same guidance provided by NIH and COGR.

Please provide appropriate documentation for the change fees AND use the COVID-19 department detail DD11790 to document the change fee incurred due to COVID-19. If your funding source is from AES or Athletics or if using a department detail worktag would be problematic, please contact your CCM

What if my conference/event/visit has been cancelled?

Iowa State University Hosted Conferences/Events/Visits held off-site or on campus:

As the organizer of the event: Contact Procurement Services to assist you with canceling or amending any hotel, catering, and/or speaking agreements.

As an attendee of the event: The traveler or department should make a concerted effort to get expenses (conference registration, hotel deposits, etc.) refunded directly from the hotel, conference, etc. Documentation of refund denials should be retained by the units. Non-refundable expenses will be covered by the original funding source for the trip if allowed.

For costs that were charged to a grant, any refunds should be credited back to the grant. The National Institute of Health has issued Notice Number NOT-OD-20-086 allowing nonrefundable costs associated with grant-related travel that has been cancelled due to COVID-19 to be charged to NIH awards if the costs would have otherwise been allowable. Further guidance was also issued on 3/16/2020 by the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) here. In order to be allowable on the grant, documentation that the traveler has requested and been denied a refund must be retained with the transaction. Institutional policy established for COVID-19 allowing travel cancellation costs to be charged to institutional funds should also be applied to sponsored projects to ensure consistent charging practices. Guidance for other federal agencies has not yet been released; however, at this time, we recommend that travelers follow the same guidance provided by NIH and COGR.

Please complete an expense report/event in Workday for all remaining costs and any credits or vouchers for airline tickets, after all credits and refunds have been requested directly and received, as if the trip occurred. 

Cancellation costs and travel change fees as well as refunds and credits directly related to COVID-19 should be tracked with the COVID-19 Department Detail DD11790.

If you have credits or a voucher from cancelled airline tickets please see the I received credits or a voucher from the airline for my cancelled airline ticket, now what do I do? section of this FAQ.

 

Other Conferences/Events/Visits:

As an attendee of the event: The traveler or department should make a concerted effort to get expenses (conference registration, hotel deposits, etc.) refunded directly from the hotel, conference, etc. Documentation of refund denials should be retained by the units. Non-refundable expenses will be covered by the original funding source for the trip if allowed.

For costs that were charged to a grant, any refunds should be credited back to the grant. The National Institute of Health has issued Notice Number NOT-OD-20-086 allowing nonrefundable costs associated with grant-related travel that has been cancelled due to COVID-19 to be charged to NIH awards if the costs would have otherwise been allowable. Further guidance was also issued on 3/16/2020 by the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) here. In order to be allowable on the grant, documentation that the traveler has requested and been denied a refund must be retained with the transaction. Institutional policy established for COVID-19 allowing travel cancellation costs to be charged to institutional funds should also be applied to sponsored projects to ensure consistent charging practices. Guidance for other federal agencies has not yet been released; however, at this time, we recommend that travelers follow the same guidance provided by NIH and COGR.

Please complete an expense report/event in Workday for all remaining costs and any credits or vouchers for airline tickets, after all credits and refunds have been requested directly and received, as if the trip occurred. 

Cancellation costs and travel change fees as well as refunds and credits directly related to COVID-19 should be tracked with the COVID-19 Department Detail DD11790.

If you have credits or a voucher from cancelled airline tickets please see the I received credits or a voucher from the airline for my cancelled airline ticket, now what do I do? section of this FAQ.

Can Iowa State University reimburse non-employees/non-students for personally incurred travel expenses for Iowa State University Conferences or Events that have been cancelled or because non-employee(s) are concerned about travel to the Conference or Event?

Refunds or reimbursements resulting from the cancellation of Iowa State University sponsored conferences and events should be guided by the cancellation policies of those programs and should be communicated to the participants in the notice of cancellation.

If the ISU department or unit is issuing registration refunds they should NOT use the COVID-19 Department Detail. Additional information for tracking lost revenues is being developed and will be coming soon.

If an Iowa State University Event is still taking place, non-employees who choose not to attend for personal reasons will not be refunded or reimbursed. Extenuating circumstances may be considered.

What if I am charged cancellation fees on any other pre-trip related costs (hotels, registration fee, shuttle, etc.)?

Please complete an expense report/event in Workday for all remaining costs (including cancellation fees), and any credits or vouchers for airline tickets, after all credits and refunds have been requested directly and received, as if the trip occurred. 

You will need to provide appropriate documentation for the cancellation fees AND use the COVID-19 department detail DD11790 to document the cancellation fee incurred due to COVID-19. If your funding source is from AES or Athletics or if using a department detail worktag would be problematic, please contact your CCM.

For costs that were charged to a grant, any refunds should be credited back to the grant. The National Institute of Health has issued Notice Number NOT-OD-20-086 allowing nonrefundable costs associated with grant-related travel that has been cancelled due to COVID-19 to be charged to NIH awards if the costs would have otherwise been allowable. Further guidance was also issued on 3/16/2020 by the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) here. In order to be allowable on the grant, documentation that the traveler has requested and been denied a refund must be retained with the transaction. Institutional policy established for COVID-19 allowing travel cancellation costs to be charged to institutional funds should also be applied to sponsored projects to ensure consistent charging practices. Guidance for other federal agencies has not yet been released; however, at this time, we recommend that travelers follow the same guidance provided by NIH and COGR.

What if an event is canceled after arrival at the business destination?

Expenses incurred to return after a business travel event is canceled can be submitted as business expenses.

Please complete an expense report/event in Workday for all remaining costs and any credits or vouchers for airline tickets, after all credits and refunds have been requested directly and received, as if the trip occurred. 

Cancellation costs and travel change fees as well as refunds and credits directly related to COVID-19 should be tracked with the COVID-19 Department Detail DD11790. 

What if I become stranded in a country or state and am unable to return to Iowa State University?

It is important for faculty and staff traveling outside the U.S. on ISU sponsored travel to register with the International Travel Registry. It is also recommended to register with the US State Department at http://step.state.gov.

If you experience a travel disruption, work with one of the ISU contracted travel agencies (CTP or Key Travel).

If you experience difficulties with entry or exit requirements, contact American Citizen Services (ACS) at the nearest US Consulate.

You may also reach out to the ISU Office of Risk Management Urgent Phone line at 515.294.7700 for additional advice while traveling. Please communicate any delays in return to your department.

My travel included extra time for personal travel. The business event was canceled or falls under the BOR travel restrictions. Can I still use the airfare for personal travel to the original destination?

Hotel, plane ticket, or other costs the university pre-paid in support of the business trip need to be reimbursed by the employee prior to travel. Please contact Risk Management regarding the change from business trip to personal trip.

Prior to travel, the employee needs to:

  • Cancel or change all reservations (that can be changed) from the university’s name to their personal name (credit card reservations, etc.).
  • Reimburse the university for any funds already expended.
  • Follow normal departmental procedures for approval of personal time and use of leave accruals.

Can Iowa State University expense travel costs for non-employee(s)/non-student(s) that were purchased on a travel and hospitality (T&H) card? (Examples would include interview candidates)

The department should make a reasonable effort to get expenses (airfare, hotel, registration, etc.) refunded directly from the hotel, conference, etc. Documentation of refund denials should be retained by the units. Non-refundable expenses will be covered by the original funding source for the trip.

For costs that were charged to a grant, any refunds should be credited back to the grant. The National Institute of Health has issued Notice Number NOT-OD-20-086 allowing nonrefundable costs associated with grant-related travel that has been cancelled due to COVID-19 to be charged to NIH awards if the costs would have otherwise been allowable. Further guidance was also issued on 3/16/2020 by the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) here. In order to be allowable on the grant, documentation that the traveler has requested and been denied a refund must be retained with the transaction. Institutional policy established for COVID-19 allowing travel cancellation costs to be charged to institutional funds should also be applied to sponsored projects to ensure consistent charging practices. Guidance for other federal agencies has not yet been released; however, at this time, we recommend that travelers follow the same guidance provided by NIH and COGR.

Please complete an expense report/event in Workday for all remaining costs and any credits or vouchers for airline tickets, after all credits and refunds have been requested directly and received, as if the trip occurred. 

Cancellation costs and travel change fees as well as refunds and credits directly related to COVID-19 should be tracked with the COVID-19 Department Detail DD11790.

I received credits or a voucher from the airline for my cancelled airline ticket, now what do I do?

For credits from airline tickets purchased with a University T&H Card:

  • Please complete an expense report/event in Workday for the airline ticket and any remaining costs, after all credits, vouchers, and refunds have been requested directly and received, as if the trip occurred.
  • You will need to note the following information in the header memo of the expense report: Airfare for ___(conference name OR if travel wasn’t for a conference the location the individual was traveling to)__. Travel was cancelled due to COVID-19. A credit was received for airfare and has been provided to ___(name of department or unit)___.
  • You will also need to attach the receipt of the credit, voucher, or documentation showing how to use the credit, in either the attachments tab of the expense report OR in the attachments section of the individual expense line for the airline ticket.
  • Please use the COVID-19 Department Detail DD11790.
  • Please provide the receipt of the credit, voucher, or documentation showing how to use the credit to your department or unit as well. All credit, voucher, or documentation regarding credits should be maintained by the department or unit centrally.

 

For credits from airline tickets purchased with a personal credit card, you have two options:

  • Request reimbursement for the cost of the flight and turn over the credit or voucher to Iowa State University.
  • Please complete an expense report/event in Workday for the airline ticket and any remaining costs, after all credits, vouchers, and refunds have been requested directly and received, as if the trip occurred.
  • You will need to note the following information in the header memo of the expense report: Airfare for ___(conference name OR if travel wasn’t for a conference the location the individual was traveling to)__. Travel was cancelled due to COVID-19. A credit was received for airfare and has been provided to ___(name of department or unit)___.
  • You will also need to attach the receipt of the credit, voucher, or documentation showing how to use the credit, in either the attachments tab of the expense report OR in the attachments section of the individual expense line for the airline ticket.
  • Please use the COVID-19 Department Detail DD11790.
  • Please provide the receipt of the credit, voucher, or documentation showing how to use the credit to your department or unit as well. All credit, voucher, or documentation regarding credits should be maintained by the department or unit centrally.
  • Choose to keep the credit or voucher personally.
  • You may not be reimbursed for the expense at this time. If used for university travel in the future, and expense report and receipt documentation could be submitted at that time.

What guidance is being given for future travel and events?

Due to the rapidly changing situation, we are currently recommending that ISU Employees:

  • Wait until as close to the event as reasonable to order an airline ticket, understanding that the travel bans may continue to be extended.
  • Purchase the airline ticket with a University Issued T&H Card AND utilize one of our Iowa State University contracted travel providers (CTP for domestic and Key Travel for international) as this will put us in the best position to help you should something change after you purchase the airline ticket.

Using a T&H card AND our university contracted travel providers will allow employees to avoid incurring any personal costs associated with cancellation of flights and give the university the most protection and resources for recovering costs or re-using tickets for future travel.

Additional information on how to utilize our university contracted travel providers, please visit www.controller.iastate.edu/travelinformation/airtravel.htm

If you proceed with additional arrangements, charge all pre-trip related costs (registration, hotel, etc.) to Iowa State University issued T&H cards.

If you do not have a T&H card, please use the Card Applications In Workday Job Aid to request a T&H Card. The T&H card application is available in Workday under the Procurement icon on your Workday homepage.

Who do I contact if I need assistance with travel related questions or concerns?

Please email travelinfo@iastate.edu and provide as much Information as possible so that we can get your question or concern directed to the correct department or unit.


Transportation Services: Use of university-owned vehicles

What are the recommendations for vehicle occupancy and occupant behavior expectations?

Whenever possible, use university vehicles for university business rather than personally-owned vehicles

All vehicle occupants must wear face coverings while in the vehicle. Vehicle occupancy should be reduced as much as possible; at a minimum “bench” seats in mini-vans, suburbans, and vans should be limited to two individuals per bench, and individuals must sit as far apart as the vehicle allows (while ensuring everyone is in a seat with a seat belt and applicable University policies are followed)

All drivers and passengers are expected to wash or sanitize their hands before and after each trip. Refer to the CDC guidelines for protecting yourself while using transportation: 

How should vehicle cleaning be handled?

Clean and disinfect each vehicle after every trip. Refer to ISU’s campuswide cleaning and disinfection guidance and the CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfection for mass transit vehicles:

Does Transporation Services have guidance for van pools and carpools?

  • Van pools (ISU-owned vehicles): Due to close proximity, enclosed space, and time together, face coverings are required for all occupants. Drivers must clean and disinfect the van after each trip. Refer to the cleaning guidelines above. Maximize separation between occupants – where possible, six-foot spacing is expected.
  • Employee carpools (privately owned vehicles): Face coverings are strongly recommended for all occupants. Drivers are strongly advised to clean and disinfect their vehicles after each trip. Refer to the cleaning guidelines above.
  • CyRide: Follow current CyRide guidance.

Can I get my vehicle serviced?

Yes, at this time we are still open. However, we do have some staff working from home. This is one of those times where if you were too busy with work to get something fixed or your oil changed now is a quiet time to do so. Please continue to call 515-294-7552 to schedule service vehicle repair needs.

Can we still get fuel for our university owned vehicles during this time?

Yes, we have staff monitoring the fuel levels, and it is still business as usual at Transportation Services.

What do I do if I have a yearly/seasonal leased vehicle and my travel is now limited?

Transportation Services asks that you keep your yearly vehicles in your departments. Things are changing so quickly and we do not know how we will all be affected. Again, please keep your vehicles in your departments as we do not have the storage capacity for these vehicles at Transportation Services, and you may need your vehicle again sooner than you may anticipate.