There are four primary mechanisms for obtaining funds and paying for business expenses while traveling:
- Reimbursement - The traveler pays for travel expenses with a credit card (either overseas program-provided or University-provided corporate card or a personal credit card) and submits the travel expenses to the overseas program for reimbursement. For more information refer to the Travel and Business Expense Information page from Procurement Services.
- Travel Advance – The traveler obtains an advance for his/her travel expenses and then reconciles the advance upon return. Individual travel advances can be requested through the University’s Accounts Payable Office. Advances for international travel are allowable for greater dollar amounts than domestic travel. It is important to note that individual travel advances can be deemed taxable imputed income if they are not reconciled in a timely manner. For more information on travel advances and the advance reconciliation process, refer to the Travel Expense Policy. Department Administrators looking to request an an advance through ARC should reference the Job Aid on Creating Vouchers for Cash and Travel Advances.
- Bank of America Corporate Card - program at Columbia University provides employees with a convenient method of paying for University-approved travel expenses. Any full-time officer may request an application by contacting the Finance Service Center for details on the process. For further information on the Corporate Card, please consult the Corporate Card web page.
- Direct Payment to Vendors – In some cases, it may be possible to have a vendor that provides travel services, invoice the overseas program or University for direct payment. It might be necessary to ask vendors to provide a W8 (or W9 for U.S. vendors). For further information on W8 requirements, please consult the Policy on Payment to Foreign Nationals and Entities
Columbia travelers should review the Global Travel website for additional guidance for managing expenses before leaving, while in a host country and after they return.