• Per University Policy, UCLA's Travel Accounting must process travel reimbursement within 45 days of trip completion, or it will be treated as imputed income and taxable.
  • Travelers should not pay for other travelers’ expenses.   
  • When traveling on behalf of the University, travelers must use the most economical mode of transportation by the most frequently traveled route. Original itemized receipts are required for all expenditures regardless of the amount.

The following expenses are examples of those that are reimbursable by the University:

  • Airfare
  • Baggage Fees
  • Lodging/Hotel Expenses
  • Conference Registration
  • Car Rentals
  • Ground Transportation (i.e., App-Based Rideshare, Taxi, Train, Shuttle)
  • Private Car Mileage  
  • Meals and Incidentals
  • Hosted Business Meals
  • Parking Fees
  • Internet 

Instructions – Submitting a Travel/Entertainment Reimbursement Request:

  1. Complete the appropriate form connected to your request. (e.g., Travel Reimbursement Request Form, Mileage Reimbursement Request Form, or Hosted Business Meals Reimbursement Request Form)
  2. Send the form and all supporting documents (receipts) to your Fund Manager/ Director.  
  3. Fund Manager/Director will verify funding and send the request to the Business Office at SONDLBusinessManagement@sonnet.ucla.edu.
  4. Purchasing Coordinator will process within 2 days of receipt.
  5. Employees will receive reimbursement based on the UCPath payroll payment method.

Please refer to the following links for any additional questions:


  • In general, UCLA will only pay for/reimburse basic economy fares. Travel should be scheduled as far in advance as feasible and prudent to obtain the lowest possible fares.
  • Direct billing of airline tickets is strongly recommended. Please complete the SON Airfare Request Form and contact the Business Office to book airfare with the UCLA Travel Center. The UCLA Travel Center can pay your airfare in advance via the direct billing system.
  • UCLA will pay for the least expensive business class ticket for those travelers with a pre-approved justification to travel in business class. UCLA will pay for the least costly first-class ticket if the aircraft does not have business class. Health requirements must be documented by a licensed physician, acknowledged by the unit’s CAO/CFO, updated annually, and maintained securely in the Travel Accounting Office. Please refer to the following link for more information. 
  • Employees who wish to purchase an upgradable business class ticket (i.e., a ticket that provides the option to upgrade from business class to first class) must pay any increase in price from a non-upgradeable business class ticket. Documentation of ticket prices from the date of purchase must be attached to the travel reimbursement form. 
  • For airfare reimbursement, the original ticket receipt is required. If traveling with an e-ticket, the email receipt/confirmation with proof of payment is acceptable. All flight receipts/documentation must include the form of payment. (i.e., if the airfare was paid with a credit card, it may include VISA xxxxxxxx1234)
  • Travel packages that are not itemized typically will not be reimbursed (i.e., Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity) as they do not provide itemized receipts/folios as required by IRS regulations.  

Lodging/Hotel Expenses 

Reimbursement of lodging expenses is based on the amount actually incurred and is subject to a maximum dollar limit. Effective for travel occurring on or after October 15, 2017, daily hotel rates will be capped at $275 per night for trips within the lower 48 states, before taxes and other hotel fees. 

  • If the traveler is unable to secure lodging at $275 per night or less, the traveler must submit additional documentation, such as price comparisons within reasonable proximity of the meeting location. The price comparisons should be performed at the time of booking.
  • A traveler who is required to attend a conference where the prearranged conference lodging rate (conference room block) exceeds the $275 per night cap may stay at the conference hotel without exceptional approval.
  • Original, itemized receipts for all lodging expenses and any entertainment expenditures included in the lodging claim are required for reimbursement. 
  • As per policy G-28, Lodging is generally not reimbursable if the lodging site is within a 40-mile radius of the traveler's residence or office.
  • Original, itemized receipts for all lodging expenses are required for reimbursement.

Conference Registration

  • Direct payment of conference registration fees with department PCard (highly recommended). Please contact Stephanie Varela or Willie Dawson for assistance. 
  • Direct payment of conference registration fees via check/direct deposit to registered UCLA vendors to minimize employee out-of-pocket expenses. (minimum 3–4-week advance notice)
  • Pay with your funds (such as a credit card or check). Receipts must have the individual's name, the conference's name, the amount paid, and the payment method. If not, please submit a redacted credit card statement showing all the items.
    • *Registration expenses paid with personal funds cannot be reimbursed in advance of the conference.
  • Pay with T&E Card (you can inquire with the Business Office to discuss the T&E Card)

Car Rentals 

The University of California has a system-wide car rental program with Enterprise, Hertz, National, Dollar, and Thrifty. The contracts offer business travelers the most economical pricing, including comprehensive insurance for rentals in the United States through car rental companies. Any additional insurance purchased is not reimbursable and will be at the cost of the traveler. Please refer to the UCLA Travel Center website for information on special rates and services available to UCLA travelers.

Travelers renting outside the USA may have to purchase additional insurance where coverage is not included in the UC rates. 

UC requires that an economy, compact or intermediate model be requested. These models should be used unless a no-cost upgrade is provided. Justification will be required for cars larger than midsize when requesting reimbursements. Please use UCLA's preferred car rental companies (currently Hertz, National, and Enterprise) according to University policy. For additional information, please refer to the University’s Car Rental Contract Rates page.  

Ground Transportation

Travelers are required to use the most economical mode (e.g., taxi, shuttle, train, bus, app-based rideshare) of transportation by the most frequently traveled route. Tips should not exceed 20% of the transportation costs. The traveler may be asked to pay the difference between a 20% and larger tip.

Private Car Mileage 

Use of a private vehicle for University business travel is allowed if the traveler has requisite insurance coverage. Mileage expenses incurred on or after January 1, 2023, will be reimbursed at 65.5 cents per mile. Please note that these rates are periodically adjusted to reflect increases/decreases in the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) standard mileage rate. When submitting a mileage reimbursement request, please complete the SON-Mileage Reimbursement Request Form

Please note the following:

  • Privately owned automobiles may be used if the driver has requisite insurance coverage. 
  • The costs of fuel and wear-and-tear on the vehicle are incorporated into the mileage rates. No additional reimbursement for automobile-related expenses such as gasoline will be allowed.
  • Mileage shall ordinarily be computed between the traveler's headquarters and the common carrier or destination.
  • Expenses for travel between the traveler's residence and headquarters (commuting expense) shall not be allowed. However, mileage expenses between the traveler's residence and the common carrier or destination may be allowed if University business travel originates or terminates during a regularly scheduled day off.
  • Your mileage expenses request should reflect the shortest distance to the site. (UCLA to site or Home to site)

Mileage Example:
For example, suppose an employee lives in Long Beach and does a visit to the VA West Los Angeles Medical Center. In that case, they should only claim the mileage from UCLA to the VA and back.

If someone living in Long Beach does a visit to Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, they should only claim the mileage from their residence in Long Beach to Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and back.

*Parking and mileage expenses for employees traveling between the UCLA campus and UCLA locations where free shuttle service is available (e.g., UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica) are generally not reimbursable. 

The UCLA Health System operates a shuttle service for those who need transportation from UCLA's main campus to the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica. The shuttle normally runs Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. Call 310-267-9485 to make a reservation for the shuttle to pick you up. Please allow yourself enough time to get to an appointment — the shuttle can take 10 to 30 minutes to arrive.  

Active Bruin ePermit Holders (Faculty & Staff) can request a “Transfer Permit” to cross-park in an alternate lot or structure on campus at no additional cost according to the privileges of your permit type. Check the Parking Permit Privileges for details.

  • You can obtain a 1-Day cross-parking permit through the Bruin ePermit Portal, excluding Night and Weekend permit holders. The 1-Day cross parking permit is valid for same-day use only.
  • Faculty and staff may receive a maximum of five (5) cross-parking permits per quarter.
  • Please note, Cross Parking (Transfer) Permits will vary depending on parking space availability.
  • To request a “Transfer Permit” please follow these instructions.

Meals and Incidentals for UC Business Travel Within the Continental U.S.

Meals and incidentals for UC Business travel within the continental US are reimbursed based on the following terms:  

  • The amount the traveler actually paid while on University business and is subject to a limit for each full day on travel status. The meal and incidental expense maximum are currently $79/day.
  • Best practices require original receipts for all expenses because reimbursements are based on actual expenses. Please note maximum meal rate is not a per diem, and there is no exception to the cap. If meal receipts are lost or unavailable, the traveler may provide their best estimate of the actual meal expense.
  • When the entire length of a trip is less than 24 hours, meals for single-day travel will not be reimbursed unless the travel includes an overnight stay that is verified by a lodging receipt.

Hosted Business Meals and Entertainment Expenses

Expenses for meals incurred by employees who entertain while traveling on University business are reimbursable in accordance with the University's Business and Finance Bulletin BUS-79 entitled Expenditures for Business Meetings, Entertainment and other Occasions Business. UCOP has announced the new entertainment business meeting meal rates below effective July 1, 2022. 

When submitting a reimbursement request, please complete the SON- Hosted Business Meals Reimbursement Request Form and provide a business justification for the expense. In all instances, business meals and entertainment expenditures must clearly identify the benefit to the University even when unrestricted funds are being used. 

*Alcohol and/or tobacco purchases are NOT allowed on State or Federal funds
Please refer to the Guidelines for Meals & Entertainment.  

Current Entertainment Business Meeting Meal Rates:
Light Refreshments – $22 per person 
Breakfast – $31 per person
Lunch – $54 per person 
Dinner – $94 per person 

Required Documentation/Information for Reimbursement of Business Meals/Entertainment Expenses:

  • Type of Expense (breakfast, lunch, dinner, light refreshments)
  • Type of Meeting/Event (research, donor cultivation/stewardship, collaborations, faculty recruitment, etc.)
  • The business purpose of the meeting and main agenda topic
  • Attendee list to include name, title, and affiliations of each participant
  • Date and location of the event
  • Name of the official host
  • An exception to policy justification is required if the per-person maximum allowable is exceeded, alcohol is included, and/or spouse/partner/child was in attendance.

Under IRS regulations, an employer’s reimbursement of an employee business meal or entertainment expense will be considered taxable income to the employee if:

  • The activity is not directly related to the employee's job.
  • The expense is lavish or extravagant under the circumstances.
  • The expense is not substantiated with supporting documentation.

When planning an entertainment event, keep in mind the following:

  • Depending on the time of day it is held, a buffet reception is reimbursed at the applicable meal rate. Brunch is reimbursed at the lunch rate.
  • The per-person rates include the cost of the food and beverages, labor, sales tax, delivery charges and other service fees. If a reception before a meal includes beverages and hors d’oeuvres, the reception and the meal should be treated as a single event when calculating costs.
  • The costs of room rental, room setup fees, media rental, decorations, etc., are not included in the per-person rates.
  • UCLA will not approve full reimbursement for meals that exceed 200% of the University’s per‐meal allowance. 
  • Exceptions for amounts over the limits will not be granted for employee-only events.
  • Tips should not exceed 20% of the meal costs. 
  • Large quantities of alcoholic beverages or alcoholic beverages in excess of food costs should be avoided.


All other related business expenses made during the trip, such as baggage fees, internet fees, books, printing of research posters, parking, and tolls/roads charges, are reimbursable with receipts. Expanded business justification(s) may be required for certain requests. If unsure, please contact Stephanie Varela (svarela@sonnet.ucla.edu) or Willie Dawson (wdawson@sonnet.ucla.edu). 


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