Pre-Trip Approvals

If the potential benefits of a trip justify the time, expense, and environmental impact after considering cost-effective and low-carbon alternatives, such as video conferencing, and you’re ready to travel, be sure you’re familiar with a few rules before making reservations.

Sponsored travel: If you’re traveling on sponsored funds, make sure you’re familiar with the sponsor’s requirements, which may be more restrictive than Cornell’s policy. Cornell’s policy and procedures also apply to sponsored travel. See Sponsored Travel for more information.




What Needs Pre-Approval

Your college or unit might require pre-approval for travel or certain expenses before you make any plans, so check with your department’s administrative office for guidelines.

How-To Guide: Creating a Request to Travel (video 2:15 min.)

International travel to destinations designated as elevated risk requires pre-approval from Cornell’s International Travel Advisory and Response Team (ITART). See International Travel.

Expenses while on sabbatical and similar leaves: Before Cornell can reimburse sabbatical expenses, the dean’s office and the department chair must approve in advance the fully justified expenses in a sabbatical plan.

Business entertainment must be pre-approved by your college or unit. See Reimbursable Expenses.

Private aircraft (personally owned, rented, or borrowed) must meet certain requirements and you must provide documentation before traveling to Risk Management and Insurance. See Private and Charter Aircraft.

Chartered transportation of any kind requires a purchase order. See Charter Bus and Limousine Rentals.

The following expenses require written approval before travel begins from the dean, vice provost, vice president, provost, or president or a direct designee:

  • Long-term travel: When you require exceptions to long-term travel reimbursement limits. See Long-Term Travel.
  • Premium airfare (e.g., business class, first class, etc.): When extenuating circumstances require the use of premium class, except in specific circumstances. See Premium Airfare.
  • Car services (e.g., limousines or black-car services): When it is the most efficient and cost-effective method. See Charter Bus and Limousine Rentals.
  • Family, spouse, or companion travel: Unless you provide a documented and bona fide business purpose directly benefiting the university, you will not be reimbursed for travel or meal expenses incurred by your family member, spouse, or companion. To qualify for an exception, you must provide a documented and bona fide business purpose directly benefitting the university, and before traveling, you must obtain written approval from the dean, vice provost, vice president, provost, or president or a direct designee, and attach that documentation to your expense report.

Except under exceedingly rare circumstances, reimbursements of a family member’s travel will be considered taxable income to you. Family, spouse, or companion travel reimbursements that do not have a bona fide business purpose must be reported to payroll for taxation through the job-related allowance process. These reimbursements are subject to benefit charges as applicable.