Traveling to a Foreign Country

How to determine which foreign-travel expenses are reimbursable to UW–Madison travelers and what preparations need to be made for a business trip overseas.

More information about international travel can be found on the UW–Madison Safety and Security website.

Passport and visa requirements

Travelers are responsible for determining passport and visa documentation requirements. Required travel visa fees are payable/reimbursable by UW–Madison. Passport origination and renewal fees are payable/reimbursable when the need to obtain/renew a passport arises as a result of UW business travel.

See information about UW Administration Passport Services to get help with visa and passport documentation requirements.

How to reserve

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Airfare must be booked through the Concur online booking tool or directly with an agent at the University’s contracted travel agency. It is recommended travelers contact a contracted travel agent for assistance with international reservations due to the complexity of international air travel. Use of a third party online travel booking site (e.g. Travelocity, Orbitz) or booking directly with an airline is prohibited.

When air travel is paid or reimbursed using federal sponsored funds (e.g. 144 funds), it is required to use US flag air carriers per the Fly America Act. The Open Skies Agreement provides a number of circumstances where foreign air carriers can be used.

For additional details, see Booking a flight.


Lodging must be booked through the Concur online booking tool, directly with an agent at the University’s contracted travel agency, or by booking directly with the lodging facility. Use of a third-party booking site (e.g., Travelocity) is prohibited. AirBnB is an allowable lodging option.

Travelers are limited to the daily rate for the location. Use the UW TravelWIse Lodging and Per Diem Calculator to see the daily rates for the dates and location of your trip.

Please note, lodging maximums for international locations in the TravelWIse calculator include taxes.

For additional details, see Reserving Lodging.

Vehicle rental

The University participates in the Big Ten Alliance contract with Enterprise and National Car Rental and the State of Wisconsin (WSCA/NASPO) contract with Hertz. Contract rentals may be reserved through Concur. Vehicle rentals are limited to midsize SUV vehicle classes and below unless a documented business need requires a larger class of vehicle.

If vehicles are not available through any of these three vendors, travelers can book a rental vehicle elsewhere and are not required to use Concur. Be sure to confirm any necessary auto insurance details if booking with a non-contracted vendor.

Rental vehicle insurance coverage options for international locations vary by country. Any and all rental vehicle insurance coverages for international locations are payable/reimbursable. Global insurance rate tables can be found on the Enterprise and National contract page.

For more information on vehicle rental insurance, see the Driver Authorization and Insurance page.

For more information on vehicle use while traveling, see the Using a vehicle during UW business travel page.

Additional travel considerations

Foreign currency

Foreign currency conversion and transaction fees are payable/reimbursable. Learn more about reimbursement

Travel insurance

For information regarding insurance while traveling internationally, see the International Medical, Travel, and Security Insurance page.


Travelers and departmental staff should contact their Divisional Business Office for policy or procedural questions.

Divisional Business Offices may e-mail with questions.