You must complete certain authorization procedures in order to get reimbursed for university-related business travel. Depending on the situation, you’ll need to complete one of the following during the early stages of the travel-planning process.
Request for Travel Authorization (RTA)
When to complete an RTA: for all employee, prospective employee, and student travel
Completing a Request for Travel Authorization (RTA) is the first thing you should do when you start planning a trip for employees, prospective employees, or students using a centrally billed airfare or requesting reimbursement for travel on university business. Note: Your department should also complete an RTA for non-employees who are being reimbursed for travel expenses only and are not being compensated in any other way.
Complete the following:
- Automated RTA — You can complete the electronic VE5 document using DEFINE. RTA numbers are automatically assigned once the document receives initial approval. Travel Management Services recommends using the automated RTA whenever possible.
Authorization for Professional Services (APS)
When to complete an APS: for all non-employees traveling to the university to perform compensated services
Departments must complete an APS form for all non-employees traveling to the university for the purpose of providing compensated services (such as, honorarium or independent contractor services). The APS form is an acceptable form of travel authorization in lieu of a RTA when a department is arranging travel to be centrally billed.
- Download APS form from the Accounting website)
Letter of Authorization
When to write a Letter of Authorization: if you need to authorize centrally billed student travel and cannot complete a VE5/RTA
You may use a departmental letter or memo to authorize centrally billed student travel on behalf of the university. Print the document on letterhead and address it to the Office of Accounting. The letter should contain the following information (the same information you would give on a VE5/RTA):
- Identity of the person traveling (i.e., “Jane Doe, a student….”)
- The purpose of travel, and the benefit to the university and the State of Texas
- The destination (where the person is traveling to)
- Dates when the travel will take place
- The department account number that will support the travel, and the signature of an individual authorized to release funds from that account
Contact Office of Accounting experts on rules relating to all types of travel authorizations.