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IPAM Travel Policies and Reimbursement Guidelines

Please read this page if you are a speaker or funded participant for an IPAM program. Also please refer to your invitation letter for terms of your funding.

Our primary funding is from the National Science Foundation (NSF). We conform to University and Federal guidelines for the processing of payments and reimbursements. The following summarizes IPAM travel and reimbursement policies, which are based on Federal and UCLA Travel Regulations. These guidelines are for your information, and actual reimbursements will be based on the allowable amounts pre-approved by IPAM for each individual.

It is your responsibility to obtain the appropriate immigration status from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If you are receiving IPAM support, your visa type must allow reimbursement for travel expenses. Please email IPAM Visas for more information.

Reimbursable Expenses
Non-reimbursable Expenses
Purchasing your Airline Ticket
How to Claim Reimbursement: Short Workshops
How to Claim Reimbursement: Long Programs

Reimbursable Expenses

Reimbursements will be processed by IPAM staff upon the completion of the program. Reimbursements are based on written commitments from the Directors unless alternate arrangements have been made and prior approval has been granted. All reimbursements are subject to University and federal guidelines. Original receipts are required. You will find information on the UCLA policies on business travel on the web site of the UCLA Travel Department.

Expenses are reimbursed based on the amount actually incurred within the allowable amount stated in the invitation letter. Generally lodging is not reimbursable if the lodging site is within a 40-mile radius of the traveler's residence or office. For exceptions to this rule, approval must be granted based on appropriate justification.

Air Travel:
The Federal Travel Regulation requires U.S. carriers except as authorized under the Open Skies Agreement. For more information, go to Purchasing Your Airline Ticket.

Travelers must use air coach or equivalent fares and are encouraged to take advantage of discounts on air tickets purchased in advance. If a trip is extended to save money on airfare, the cost of additional lodging, car rental, meals and incident expenses are reimbursable, provided such expenses do not exceed the amount that would have paid if the trip had not been extended.

Ground Transportation:
For taxi, shuttle, train, bus, and all other ground transportation expenses, original receipts are required. Travelers are required to use the most economical mode of transportation by the most frequently traveled route.

Privately owned automobiles may be used if the driver has requisite insurance coverage. IPAM reimburses the lesser of round-trip air fare or mileage. When used on routes served by a common carrier, the amount of the actual mileage or the lowest available airfare, whichever is less, is allowed. The mileage reimbursement rate of $0.56/mile conforms to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidelines. This rate is effective as of January 01, 2014, and is subject to change according to IRS standard mileage rate. No additional reimbursement for automobile-related expenses, such as tolls, ferries, parking, gasoline, etc. are allowed.

Rental Car – IPAM does not reimburse for car rentals. The use of a rental car must be PRE-APPROVED by IPAM with appropriate justification.

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Non-Reimbursable Expenses

  • Airfare issued by non-U.S. carrier except as authorized under the Open Skies Agreement.
  • First class or business class airfare
  • Unauthorized extra class rail or airfare
  • Personal telephone calls
  • 3rd party (e.g., buying ticket and paying hotel/air fare and other expenses on behalf of others)
  • Per diem
  • Out-of-route costs involving personal business, leave or convenience. Where there is an interruption of travel or deviation from direct route, reimbursable expenses shall not exceed the cost of hotels, meals, and other expenses that would have been incurred on a direct route to the destination
  • Expenses incurred when not conducting IPAM business, such as extra days taken as leave before or after scheduled business
  • Any other costs determined to be unreasonable or which are disallowed by Federal Travel Regulations or University guidelines

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Purchasing Your Airline Ticket

*******Important Restriction for Reimbursement*******

In order to receive reimbursement for your airline ticket from IPAM funds, your flight must be in compliance with the Fly America Act and Open Skies Agreement: Your trip must be ticketed by a U.S. airline or authorized under the Open Skies Agreement or we cannot reimburse you for the flight!

Our funding from the United States National Science Foundation (NSF) has restrictions for travel with which we must comply:

"Any air transportation to, from, between, or within a country other than the U.S. of persons or property, the expense of which will be assisted by NSF funding, must be performed by or under a code-sharing arrangement with a U.S.-flag air carrier if service provided by such a carrier is available. Tickets (or documentation for electronic tickets) must identify the U.S. flag air carrier's designator code and flight number."

Code Sharing: Code sharing occurs when two or more airlines “code” the same flight as it was their own. For example, a U.S. airline may sell a seat on the plane of a foreign air carrier. The flight numbers must have the code from a U.S. airline (e.g., "UA" for United Airlines, "DL" for Delta, etc.). As long as the flight is ticketed by the U.S. carrier, it does not matter which airline operates the flight.

Open Skies Agreement: The biggest exception to the Fly America Act is the "Open Skies" Agreement between the U.S. and the European Union (“EU”). The current Agreement gives European Community airlines (airlines of Member States) the right to transport passengers and on flights funded by the U.S. government, when the transportation is between: (1) any two points outside the United States; or (2) a point in the United States and any point outside the United States that the EU airline is authorized to serve under the “Open Skies” Agreement. Additionally, EU airlines are now authorized to transport passengers between points in the United States. A list of member countries of the European Union is available at the Europa web site.

Australia: IPAM travelers can use an Australian airline only if a point of origin/destination is either the US or Australia and there is no city-pair contract flight between the two points (origin and destination).
Japan: IPAM travelers can use a Japanese airline only if a point of origin/destination is either the US or Japan and there is no city-pair contract flight between the two points (origin and destination).
Switzerland: IPAM travelers can use a Swiss airline only if a point of origin/destination is either the US or Switzerland and there is no city-pair contract flight between the two points (origin and destination).

If you have any questions please email the IPAM Finance Department.

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How to Claim Reimbursement: Workshops

You will be required to complete 2 forms to provide information regarding reimbursement check distribution (full name and mailing address) and Visa status. The finance staff will provide these forms during your visit.

Reimbursable expenses are based on actual costs. All travel and lodging receipts musts be submitted after the expense has been incurred. During your visit to IPAM, please submit all the necessary paperwork to the finance staff along with any travel receipts.

When we have all the relevant documentation and receipts, the expense report is submitted to the University Travel Accounting for payment. The reimbursement check is then mailed to the address you provided. The process can be delayed if the documentation does not pass the audit based on the University and Federal Guidelines. Please anticipate receiving payment approximately three weeks AFTER we have received all receipts.

Air Travel
IPAM will reimburse a direct, round-trip, economy class flight from your home institution to IPAM. Our maximum contribution towards travel expenses is stated in your invitation letter. Generally, it is $350.00 for flights within California, $600.00 for flights within the continental United States, and $1,200.00 for international flights. All flights must be booked and/or ticketed through an American carrier except as authorized under the Open Skies Agreement. Also, please be sure not to book a travel package through an internet vendor or travel agent which includes airfare plus hotel. To accommodate travelers on multi-leg trips, IPAM will reimburse up to the equivalent round-trip economy airfare, with a 3-week advance purchase, from the nearest airport to your home institution. All stipulated limits and terms addressed in your invitation letter apply.

To reimburse for airfare, we need the original receipt for the ticket. If traveling with an e-ticket, the e-mail receipt/confirmation with proof of payment will suffice. A paper receipt may also be requested at the airline check-in counter. All flight receipts/documentation must include the form of payment. (For example, if the airfare was paid with a credit card, it may include VISA xxxxxxxxx1234).

Should you obtain airfare below IPAM’s allotted limits, we will cover ground transportation to the upper limit of your travel allowance. For example, if a participant is from Chicago, and his/her airfare is $500.00, the remaining $100.00 may be used for ground transportation. Receipts are required for all ground transportation reimbursements. A taxi ride to IPAM from the Los Angeles Airport will cost approximately $45 and $10.00 for a shuttle bus. For all taxi, shuttle, train, bus and all ground transportation expenses, original receipts are requested.

IPAM has negotiated discounted rates at several area hotels for participants in our programs. We reimburse for room and tax charges only. Per university policy, hotel reimbursements are offered only to participants outside of a 40-mile radius from IPAM.

For a list of participating hotels and their rates, please visit: IPAM Participating Hotels

For participants not electing to stay at one of our designated hotels, IPAM covers up to $145.00 per night for room and tax charges. IPAM generally offers six nights of hotel expenses for domestic participants, and seven nights for international participants. For international participants, staying in Los Angeles on a Saturday night will often reduce airfares. If this is the case, simply send an email to the IPAM Finance Department before your visit and explain the situation.

To claim reimbursement for your hotel expenses, submit the itemized hotel folio and ensure it displays a zero balance. You may submit this information to the finance staff before you leave IPAM, or you may mail/e-mail/fax it upon completion of the program.

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How to Claim Reimbursement: Long Programs

The Finance Staff will meet with each CORE participant. Upon arrival at IPAM, you will be asked to sign up for a finance appointment. You will then receive an e-mail confirmation for your scheduled meeting, along with a PDF file with forms for you to fill out and submit to the Finance Office. Please complete the forms and bring them with you to your appointment.

After we receive all of the relevant documents, it will be reviewed and processed for submission to the University Central Offices (Travel Accounting/Accounts Payable). Once received by the Central Offices, it will take approximately 14-21 business days for processing. The process can be delayed if the documentation does not pass the audit based on the University and Federal Guidelines.

Air Travel
Please refer to Air Travel section above.

Most CORE participants arrange for long-term monthly housing. (If you will stay in a hotel, please refer to the reimbursement guidelines for workshops above.) We cannot process the reimbursement until after the first 30 days has elapsed; allow approximately 14 business days for processing AFTER we receive all receipts. You can expect payment approximately 6 weeks after the day you arrive at IPAM. The final payment will be mailed to the address you provide.

For housing reimbursement, you must submit a copy of your rental agreement, along with a copy of your rental check or credit card statement. You must also include documentation of proof of payment – that is, proof that your rental check has been cashed. If you are given a paper receipt, the issuer should indicate the form of payment. A copy of the front and back of the check will suffice.

If you will be receiving a stipend, the paperwork will be processed once you arrive at IPAM. You can expect the first payment from 25-30 days after the paperwork is submitted to accounting. It is important that you have either a social security number or a tax ID number. Otherwise, an automatic 30% will be withheld from your stipends.

If you are a non U.S. citizen, your taxes will be processed through a software program called Glacier, a nonresident tax compliance system that was adopted by UCLA.

Other Expenses
This page includes general information about common expenses; individual cases may include other reimbursable expenditures. Please contact the IPAM Finance Department with any questions or special circumstances.

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