317 International Travel Policy

UW-Madison Administrative Policy
Policy # 317

Effective Date: Oct 1, 2015
Last Updated: July 1, 2020
Last Reviewed: July 1, 2020
Next Review: December 31, 2020

Functional Owner: Associate Vice Chancellor, Division of Business Services, Dan Langer
Executive Sponsor: Associate Vice Chancellor, Division of Business Services, Dan Langer
Policy Contact: Travelers and departmental staff should contact their respective Divisional Business Office for policy questions. Divisional Business Offices may e-mail uwtravel@bussvc.wisc.edu with questions.

Policy Summary

International travel requires additional considerations not applicable to domestic travel. This policy outlines the University’s policies in regards to these considerations.  Additional information and policy requirements are found on the UW Madison International Safety and Security website at https://internationaltravel.wisc.edu/.

Note: NCAA funded travel has specific requirements, some of which may be less restrictive than University policies or rates. NCAA funded travel will be governed by NCAA policy.

Note: Sponsored projects (e.g. fund 144 or 133) are subject to the terms and conditions of the specific award, as well as applicable program guidelines, which may restrict use of funds for certain types of expenses. Please contact the RSP accountant for your award with any questions.

Who This Policy Applies To

Faculty, staff, students and non-employees traveling internationally or using funds and/or resources administered by the University.


This travel policy is designed to ensure the safety and security of the University’s international travelers, as well as to ensure prudent usage of University resources while minimizing the administrative burden for travelers and support staff.

Policy Detail

I. Fly America Act and Open Skies Agreement: In accordance with the Fly America Act, commercial air travel and movement of cargo on federally funded grants must comply with the requirement that US flag air carriers be used to the maximum extent possible when traveling between the US and a foreign country or between foreign countries. The Open Skies Agreement, however, allows for the use of foreign air carriers under certain circumstances.  All travelers must comply with the Fly America Act unless exceptions in the Open Skies Agreement pertain.

II. Travel Visas. Visa fees are payable/reimbursable by the University when required for University business travel.  For information about obtaining travel visas and passports for University business, see the UWTravelWIse Passport Services webpage.

III. Passports. Passport origination and renewal fees are payable/reimbursable when the need for a passport or renewal arises as a result of scheduled UW business travel.  Travelers will not be reimbursed for passport or renewal fees incurred prior to planning UW business travel.

IV. Additional Documentation Requirements. The following documentation requirements are specifically related to international travel:

  1. Foreign Currency: When a payment is made using a foreign currency, the receipt must be converted to US Dollars.  Documentation supporting the exchange rate used must be attached to the expense report or other payment mechanism.
  2. Foreign Language: Vendor documentation printed in a foreign language must be translated to English before submitting for reimbursement or reconciliation.  A tool that may be helpful for doing so is Google Translate.

IV. Registering Equipment prior to Departure. U.S. Customs requires that all equipment and personal effects of an unusual nature are registered prior to export.  Further information and the Certificates of Registration can be found on the International Travel Carry-on Guide.

V. Travel Insurance. Europ Assistance is provided to employees while traveling in the course and scope of their employment.  The Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) program is also available to faculty and staff who are involved in educational programs abroad on a voluntary basis. Please contact Risk Management for further information.

Consequences for Noncompliance

The University will not pay or reimburse for any travel cost that is non-compliant with this policy.  Failure to comply with UW-Madison Travel Policy or Procedures may result in disciplinary steps, up to and including dismissal.

Supporting Tools 

UW TravelWIse

Lodging & Per Diem Calculatorv


  1. CISI – International travel insurance available for University employees.
  2. Concur – online travel booking tool approved for use by UW-System and customized for the University by Fox World Travel.
  3. Fly American Act and Open Skies Agreement – Federal legislation mandating the use of US flag air carriers for federally-funded travel.
  4. Travel Incorporated and Fox World Travel – the University designated travel management companies.
  5. Europ Assistance – International travel insurance available to University employees which provides coverage for medical evacuation and repatriation.


Traveler/Travel Arranger – responsible for understanding and complying with University travel policies.

UW-Madison International Safety and Security Director – responsible for providing University travelers with information about international travel, include safety and security requirements.

UW Madison Risk Management – responsible for providing University travelers with information about international travel insurance, including procedures for purchasing.

Link to Related Guide

Traveling to a Foreign Country

Link to Related Policies


Policy Number: 317
Date Approved:
Revision Dates:


Updated travel insurance vendor from MEDEX to Europ Assistance.


Updated links to GSA site, TravelWIse and Lodging and Per Diem Calculator 


  • Passport origination and renewal fees are allowable in some circumstances.
  • Updated links, definitions, supporting tools.