Travel Authorization

Travel System Note

Western employee travel processing has moved from TEM to Concur as of June 30, 2020. Please see our Travel Updates page for more information.

Make Sure Your Travel Authorization is APPROVED!

This step should be completed before any financial commitments are made for travel.

A Travel Authorization (TA) Request includes the trip itinerary, the business purpose and estimated travel expenses. When approved, it places a traveler in official travel status covered by university travel policies and eligible for potential reimbursement.

University travelers are required to choose the travel alternatives that are most economical and advantageous to the state.

When do I need a Travel Authorization Request?

  • All travel needing reimbursement, even local travel, requires a Travel Authorization/Request.
  • For local official business travel that will not result in a reimbursement, a Travel Authorization is not required to be submitted to Travel Services. 
    • Divisions and/or departments should implement their own approval requirements for these trips, that should include, at a minimum, verbal pre-approval of the travel by a traveler’s supervisor.
  • For official University travel leaving the state of Washington a Travel Authorization Request is required regardless of expenditure, funding, or reimbursement needs.

Travelers who do not obtain prior approval as required may be responsible for any unauthorized expenses.

Mixing Business and Personal Travel

If a traveler would like to add vacation or other personal use onto a legitimate business trip, it is allowed when all of the following conditions are met:

  • The primary purpose of the trip is official state business;
  • The traveler uses, where necessary, his or her approved leave for the vacation or personal part of the trip; and
  • The state agency does not incur any extra expenses beyond what it would normally incur had the trip occurred without any personal use coupled to the trip.

Personal days should be noted in the authorization and reimbursement documents.  

  • Flight quotes must be provided reflecting the business travel itinerary and must be obtained on the date of purchase for the actual flight. 
  • Enterprise car rentals must be split.  The state contract rates may only be used for business dates.
  • Parking and other expenses must be prorated

Approval Process

Approvals flow automatically from one approver to the next.

  • Travel Services: Ensures no violations of travel policy
  • Supervisory: Approves the purpose and business need
  • Budget Authority: Approves estimated expenses (Grant or Foundation Funds require an additional approval step)

Approver/Proxy listings are available here.

What if there are no estimated expenses?

If you will not need reimbursement you may not need a Travel Authorization submitted to Travel Services. 

If you are filing a TA and may need reimbursement but you aren’t sure, or filing a blanked TA, please include a $0 Miscellaneous Expense with funding. This prevents errors and ensures that you can be reimbursed in the event that an unexpected expense occurs.

What if I don't need to be reimbursed after all?

Please add a note about what happened, receipts for anything paid directly (non-reimbursable expenses) or credits, and any additional information may be attached to the TA/Request.

How to pay back a travel expense

If you need to pay back a travel expense, please ensure you have the correct budget information and make your payment for free by electronic check or by credit card with a small fee here: Travel Expense Repayment Site.

If you have questions please contact