2361 Travel and Entertainment

International Travel

Document purpose

To provide travel and procurement guidelines with regard to international travel on behalf of the University.


April, 2015


April, 2016


May, 2024

Responsible Office

Procurement Services


Procurement Services


This policy applies to the procurement of international travel by and for all faculty, staff, students and postdocs traveling and entertaining on behalf of the University and seeking reimbursement for related expenses from the University regardless of the funding source. 

Faculty, Staff, Student, PostDoc Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of Penn travelers to know the entry requirements of their destination and to obtain the necessary passports, visas and travel advisories in order to travel safely and prudently.

Full responsibilities of the faculty, staff, student or postdoc can be found in Policy #2352 

Approver Responsibilites

Approvers perform a critical control function for the University. Collectively, approvers ensure that expense reports processed for payment are complete, appropriately funded, compliant with policy, and are associated with activities that have a valid and necessary business purpose. Designated approvers should assist the employee or student as necessary with understanding applicable policies and compliance requirements.

Full responsibilities of approvers can be found in Policy #2352 

Definition of International Travel

International travel includes destinations outside the United States and its possessions and territories.  


The mode of air travel is expected to be the least costly option consistent with the itinerary and particular University business involved. 

  1. For information on airline class of service, please refer to the Policy #2354.
  2. When traveling internationally on federally sponsored projects, a United States flag carrier must be used. For specific federal guidelines on this issue, please refer to the Fly America Act (Federal Travel Regulations, §Part 301-10) for details. Some federal sponsors require approval for foreign travel 90 days in advance of the trip, even if the travel was approved in the proposal. Principal Investigators may review all of their award notices carefully to determine if such prior approval is required 
  3. When renting a car internationally, University employees are authorized to accept the loss damage waiver (LDW) and the supplemental liability coverage. These costs are considered legitimate and reimbursable expenses when traveling in Canada and other foreign countries.  Any purchase of a vehicle internationally in conjunction with a long-term project requires immediate notification to the Office of Risk Management. 
  4. When entertaining on behalf of the University, Penn employees must be mindful of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and other Anti-Bribery Laws.  The FCPA prohibits the offer, payment or promise of “anything of value” to a foreign official with the corrupt intent of obtaining or retaining business. Penn faculty and staff should understand that employees of foreign state-owned institutions are considered foreign government officials. Other countries’ anti-bribery laws may also apply to Penn activities and may cover a broader range of activity than the FCPA. Contact Global Support Services at 215-898-1640 or the Office of Research Services for guidance. Solicitations of bribes or other gifts must be reported to the Office of Research Services (ORS) at 215-898-7293. 
  5. Travelers are responsible for obtaining necessary visas for international travel in a timely manner. The University offers assistance for such services. Details can be found on the Penn Global website.
  6. When traveling internationally, Penn faculty, staff, students, and postdocs are expected to register their trip in Penn’s travel registry system, MyTrips. Registration in MyTrips is mandatory for all University-sponsored/affiliated student programs that include international travel. The registry enables Penn to provide assistance as needed when situations arise.
  7. Penn travelers must be familiar with the latest travel advisories issued by the U.S. Department of State for the destinations to which they anticipate traveling. U.S. Travel Advisories are made available through the University’s preferred agencies, and can be obtained from the State Department’s home page. 
  8. Similar health advisories can be obtained by contacting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at 404.332.4559 or refer to CDC’s home page. 
  9. Penn provides international travel health insurance, evacuation and repatriation assistance through International SOS to Penn travelers on Penn-affiliated trips. 
    1. In the event that Penn travelers require assistance in securing medical attention, medical evacuation, a hospital deposit or payment guarantee, please call International SOS for assistance at 800.523.6586 or 215.942.8478 or access online ISOS Penn Portal. 
    2. Travelers must identify themselves as faculty, staff, students, or postdocs of the University of Pennsylvania and advise International SOS that the Scholastic Group Membership is 11BSGC000012.  
    3. International SOS Assistance cards can be obtained by visiting the ISOS Penn Portal.
  10. Penn Travel Medicine serves people traveling abroad by providing one-on-one counseling and immunizations. For information contact: Penn Travel Medicine at the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, South Pavilion, 4th floor, 3400 Civic Center Blvd., Philadelphia, PA  19104, 215-615-2584.  More information and locations can be found on the Penn Travel Medicine website.