Business Services

Travel Authorization

This step should be completed before any financial commitments are made for travel.

A Travel Authorization (TA) is a document that includes your business need, your itinerary, and estimated expenses. When approved, it places you in official “Travel Status” covered by University travel policies and eligible for potential reimbursement. Expenses listed as “Reimbursable” (Paid by Traveler) will encumbered in the budget.

Please use US Currencies on your TA!

When do I need a TA (Travel Authorization)?

  • All Travel needing reimbursement, even local travel, requires a Travel Authorization.
  • For local official business travel that will not result in a reimbursement, divisions and/or departments should implement their own approval requirements that should include, at a minimum, verbal pre-approval of the travel by a traveler’s supervisor. For official university travel leaving the state of Washington a TEM Travel Authorization is required regardless expenditure, funding, or reimbursement needs.
  • Travelers who do not obtain prior approval as required may be responsible for any unauthorized expenses and may jeopardize other support provided by the state for travelers in official travel status.

What if there are no estimated expenses?

If you will not need reimbursement you may not need a Travel Authorization in TEM. Please refer to “When do I Need a TA (Travel Authorization)?

If you are filing a TEM TA and may need reimbursement but you aren’t sure—or if you are filing a blanket TA and you don’t want to encumber funds— please include a $0 Miscellaneous Expense with funding and note in the description that there are no expected expenses. This prevents TEM errors and ensures that you can be reimbursed in the event that an unexpected expense occurs.

What is a Blanket TA?

A Blanket TA Form may be used for frequent regular travel, such as travel from Bellingham to Everett for frequent meetings. One-time travel incidents, such as a conference, will require a separate Travel Authorization. Multiple reimbursements can be filed against a blanket TA, making this option perfect for travelers who will have frequent, planned or unplanned trips.

  • Blanket TA’s may still cover up to one calendar year of travel
  • TEM requires at least one $0 reimbursable expense with funding
  • When reimbursements are generated, the report name, itinerary and expenses will be updated with correct details for each trip.
  • To create a Blanket TA in TEM:
    1. Clearly title the Report Name as “Blanket”
      Recommended: Include the time period covered in the report name for easier tracking.
    2. Indicate the purpose for the repeated travel in the description.
      Spell out acronyms
    3. List an itinerary that is the length of time needed. If the travel will be to different locations, enter “Various” in the “To” field.
    4. Enter at least one $0 reimbursable (Paid by Traveler) expense with funding.
      Some departments enter the total available funding to encumber the maximum travel budget. This is optional.

Approval Process

Approvals flow automatically from one approver to the next.

TA's go through three stages of approval:

  1. Travel Services: Ensures no violations of travel policy
  2. Supervisory: Approves the purpose and business need
  3. Budget Authority: Approves estimated expenses. Grant or Foundation Funds require an additional approval step

Approver/Proxy listings are available here

Make Sure Your Travel Authorization is APPROVED!

How to check the Status (Who Has your Document?)

  • Log into TEM
  • Find your submitted document in the Authorization Reports
  • Open your TA and click the Status History tab

  • Clock on the Workflow Approvals tab to see where your document is in the process (and where it may be stalled).
  • Contact Travel Services if your document is delayed or has an immediate need to push through approvals.

What if I don't need to be reimbursed after my TA is approved (trip canceled, expenses paid directly instead of out-of-pocket, etc.)?

Please release your encumbrance in TEM. A note about what happened, receipts for anything paid directly (non-reimbursable expenses) or credits, and any additional information may be attached in Nolijweb under the TA.
To release an encumbrance in TEM you can click on the “More Actions” button then “Release Budget” from the Authorization Report List:

This will pop up “Are you sure?”
and when you click “Yes” it will give you a JV number.
Occasionally it’s past the accounting period and will give you an error instead. In that case you can file an Encumbrance Liquidation Request eSign form.

How to pay back a travel expense

If you need to pay back a travel expense, please ensure you have the correct budget information and make your payment for free by electronic check or by credit card with a small fee here: Travel Expense Repayment Site.

If you have questions please contact