Advice for the Bewildered CPC Traveler: International

Advice for the CPC traveler traveling outside the U.S. from Garrett Desorcie, CPC's Travel Coordinator.

This information on international travel issues supplements "Advice for the Bewildered CPC Traveler," whose rules still apply unless specifically mentioned here.

What does UNC require of me before I leave the US?

All members of the UNC community MUST register their business-related foreign travel on the UNC Global Travel Registry before departing the United States.  The registry is used to collect information about trips abroad so that UNC can contact travelers in an emergency and assist them as needed.  Personal recreational travel may be registered, but is not required.

Do I need to purchase international travel insurance?

If you notify or request a travel advance before your international trip, HTH Health & MEDEVAC insurance (medical, evacuation and repatriation) will be provided by CPC. In case of injury or sudden illness, this insurance will pay the medically necessary expenses incurred (up to the policy limits) for a medical evacuation to the nearest hospital or appropriate medical facility.  In addition, in the event of untimely death while abroad, this insurance will pay for transportation of the remains back to the United States.  If you are not requesting a foreign travel advance, notify Garrett of your dates of travel and destinations. He will issue a MEDEVAC insurance card for you to carry during your trip.  For more information about HTH coverage, visit the insurance page of the UNC Global Travel Registry.

How much can I spend for international lodging expenses?

You may not claim lodging reimbursements in excess of the maximum allowance set by the U.S. State Department. If the hotel rates are much higher than the government rate, it is possible to be reimbursed for the entire hotel cost but food reimbursements are then limited to out of state rates (see the FAQ on meals below). Please save all lodging receipts and submit them with your travel reimbursement request. In the event you lose your lodging receipts, a signed memo justifying the hotel expense must be submitted.  There is no guarantee of reimbursement for expenses without receipts.

What will be my meal allowance on an international trip?

The per diem allowed for your international trip depends on your source of funding.

  • Grant funds:   When traveling internationally you are subject to Department of State per diem rates
  • Trust funds:  Travelers on trust funds generally use the out-of-state rate for foreign trips. There is another option, but it is tricky and it may be difficult for you to be reimbursed at the level you want.  For this option, you can be reimbursed up to the Dept of State per diem rate provided you bring back receipts for every single meal and that those receipts do not go over the per diem for any single day. If you do not get a receipt or are missing a receipt, you cannot claim the per diem.  You either bring back the receipts for every meal you wish to claim or get the out-of-state per diem.
  • Overhead or state funds:  You are subject to out-of-state rates.  This means you cannot exceed those rates per day no matter where you are outside of the United States.  Since there is often a large difference between the Department of State’s international per diem and the out-of-state per diem, you'll want to keep this in mind when making your dining decisions.

Will I be reimbursed for international phone calls?

Yes, all business calls are reimbursable. For personal calls, only calls on the second day of travel and every other day thereafter are reimbursable. UNC suggests keeping the amount of personal calls to a minimum. While connection fees from some countries can be exorbitant, please remember to limit the call so that it’s comparable, in terms of time, to a $5 call within the U.S.  In addition, UNC will not reimburse personal calls in excess of 10 minutes or $75 USD.  As more and more travelers opt  to use mobile phones in international locations, keep in mind that you must provided proof of purchase for any SIM cards, phone credits, data credits, etc.  No reimbursement will be made without proof of purchase (scratch off cards and email receipts are acceptable).

Can I get an advance for an international trip?

Yes, travel advances are available to all travelers going abroad, even to those with a University sponsored Diner's Club card. Complete the Travel Advance form to obtain an advance. See "Advice for the Bewildered CPC Traveler" for more details.

How do I get a visa?

CPC provides assistance to CPC Fellows or staff who need visas to visit foreign locales on CPC business.   Please contact the administrative assistant or project manager for your project or .  Plan ahead because you are at the mercy of the country's consular office.

Generally speaking, visa fees can be charged to a grant.  The National Science Foundation is an exception, so there may be an issue of available funds.  CPC may be able to pay the fees directly; otherwise you may seek reimbursement.  If your family is traveling with you, we can reimburse you only for your visa. 

Is my foreign destination safe?

Safety while traveling can be compromised by either security or health threats.  Before you make travel plans, review 'UNC's Policy Concerning Student, Travel and Research in Countries Under U.S. State Department Travel Warnings'.  Travel by UNC students, staff and faculty to countries under US State Department travel warnings is restricted. 

Proceeding with travel plans to a country listed under the U.S. State Department's Travel Warnings list, requires the following:

  1. Completion of the Foreign Travel Release Statement.
  2. Copies of UNC's Policy and the US State Department's warning must be printed and initialed by the traveler after review.

Parental consent is required for traveler's under 18 years of age.

All signed and initialed items must be submitted to the CPC Travel Coordinator prior to making travel arrangements. 

In addition, members of the UNC community should use the UNC Global Travel Registry  (see requirement above) to provide information about trips abroad so that UNC can contact them and assist them as needed.  Faculty, Staff, &Students on formal university-related travel, including study abroad, exchange programs, internships, service programs and research projects must enter their travel information in the registry

For health issues, you may also want to consult websites for CDC, WHO and

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