Thank you very much for visiting Columbia University. Please read the following guest travel reimbursement and honorarium guidelines and submit your original receipts and tax forms within 120 days of your visit.

Non-Reimbursable Expenses

Please refer to Columbia Unviersity's policy on non-reimbursable travel and business expenses.

Reimbursement Guidelines

Airfare / Rail / Bus:

Guests will only be reimbursed for airfare if their host offered to pay for their flight. If prior arrangements were not made in writing with the Columbia University host, the guest will be responsible for covering their flight. Please let your host know if you would like to have your flight booked by a Columbia University travel agent.

If you wish to book your own flight, please note the following:

  • Airfare, rail, and bus tickets should be purchased at the lowest available commercial or economy rate.
  • Please book air travel using U.S. air carriers (if possilbe) and keep the original itinerary, confirmation, or quote provided by the travel agency or carrier.
  • Travelers will not be reimbursed for airline tickets obtained, partially or completely, using frequent flier miles.

Please note: if you are submitting an airfare receipt which shows travel to multiple cities (for other business or personal travel), you will need to send a memo explaining your travel plans and you will need to provide a quote for how much a direct flight to/from your home institution/Columbia University would have cost. If the cost of the direct flight is less than the receipt you submitted, you will only be reimbursed for a the amount of the direct flight.

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Taxis / Car Services / Shuttles:

Taxis, private car services, and shuttle services will also be reimbursed.

For rental cars, you will need to select a compact or intermediate/mid-size car. All original tickets and receipts must include: dates and points of departure and arrival class of accommodation total amount of the fare proof of payment

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Mileage:

  • Columbia University will reimburse mileage (which covers fuel, maintenance, and insurance costs).
  • Tolls and reasonable parking charges are reimbursable in addition to mileage.
  • Gas, tickets, fines, and vehicle repairs are not reimbursable.
  • Mileage rates are as follows: $.575/miles for travel on or after January 1, 2020 or $.58/miles for travel on or after January 1, 2019
  • To requent reimbursement, please submit a record showing a route map (which shows the city, state of departure and arrival points, along with miles) and a total mileage calculation of reimbursement

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Hotel:

  • Guests will only be reimbursed for hotel bills if their host offered to pay for their accommodations. If prior arrangements were not made in writing with the Columbia University host, the guest will be responsible for covering their hotel bill.
  • If your host has agreed to cover your hotel bill, please respond to your email invitation and let us know your travel dates. We will book a room for you and have the room charges directly billed to Columbia University. Depending on the arrangements specified by your host this may, or may not, include room service. It will not cover other hotel amenities (such as minibar, spa services, and entertainment).
  • If you need to book a room yourself, please note that lodging expenses should not exceed $350 per night in the U.S. or $400 per night in international locations. The original itemized hotel bill must include: dates of departure and arrival detailed / itemized charges total amount of the lodging proof of payment.

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Meals:

  • Meal expenses for an individual should not exceed the following thresholds (not including tax or tip): $25 limit for breakfast, $35 limit for lunch, and $75 limit for dinner
  • Please note: a threshold is not a per diem. We can only reimburse you for the actual amount you spent on your meal up to, but not exceeding, these limits.
  • The original itemized restaurant or cash register receipts for personal meals must be obtained and submitted.
  • Itemized meal receipts must include the date, the type of meal (breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner), a complete list of food and drink items purchased, and proof of payment. If alcohol was purchased, please circle the drink on the itemized receipt.
  • You are not allowed to claim reimbursement for a guest who is traveling with you unless you have received prior authorization.
  • Coffee and snacks purchased apart from a meal may not considered reimburseable items.
  • Tips over 20% will not be reimbursed.
  • If you have lost meal receipts, you can not claim the full $25, $35, or $75 limit for each meal. You must estimate only what you remember spending on the meal.
  • Visiting students will not be reimbursed for alcohol. Only guest speakers and faculty candidates will be reimbursed for alcoholic beverages purchased with meals.
  • No guest will be reimbursed for alcohol purchased apart from a meal.

Travel Reimbursement Policies & Required Documents

Reimbursement Policies:

  • Columbia University can only reimburse you for expenses incurred on the date(s) of your visit, as well as one day before and one day after your visit.
  • Guests will only be reimbursed for the specific items outlined in their personalized invitation letter. If the guest chooses to purchase additional items, without receiving written permission from their host before their visit, the guest will be responsible for covering those expenses.
  • Before making any purchases, please read the Reimbursement Guidelines listed above.
  • Please also refer to the list of non-reimbureable expenses before submitting receipts.

Required Documents:

  • Complete a Columbia University Non-employee Expense Worksheet (itemizing all expenses in the order they were purchased).
  • If applicable, please identify the amount of any expenses to be segregated (i.e., alcohol). Please note: students will not be reimbursed for alcohol. Only guest speakers and faculty candidates may request reimbursement for alcohol purchased with their meals. Alcohol purchased apart from meals will not be reimbursed.
  • Submit your current mailing address, email address, and phone number
  • Submit original receipts. Unfortunately, we can not accept scanned copies of receipts. Tape the receipts on a piece of paper in the order in which each item was purchased (by date - first purchase to last purchase). An original receipt may take many forms (i.e., cash register receipt, web receipt, or email receipt).

A receipt must include the following items.

  • the date of purchase
  • the vendor name
  • the itemized list and unit price of the purchased items (including itemized meal receipts showing the breakdown between food and drinks)
  • the total amount and proof of payment

Lost or incomplete receipts:

  • If you have lost any receipts, please submit a Missing Receipts Worksheet
  • In addition, if you are unable to obtain an original receipt which contains all the required information, documentation should be submitted to demonstrate as many of the required items as possible. A copy of your credit or debit card statement, clearly identifying the date, location and amount of the expense, may be submitted along with a description of the purchase. If applicable, please identify amount of any expenses to be segregated.
  • Currency Conversion: If your purchases were not made in USD, please use the OANDA Currency Converter. Along with your receipts, provide the printout of the OANDA rate page showing your expense in USD on the actual purchase date.

Mail all documents to:

Attn <insert name of administrative staff host>
Applied Physics & Applied Mathematics
Department Fu Foundation School of Engineering & Applied Science
Columbia University 200 S. W. Mudd Building, MC 4701
500 W. 120th Street
New York, NY 10027

Travel Reimbursements for Foreign Individuals

In addition to the items listed above, nonresident aliens must be eligible to receive a travel reimbursement based on immigration regulations. Non-U.S. citizens need to confirm their reimbursement eligibility here

If you are eligible to receive reimbursement, please submit the following documents and information:

  • Your current mailing address, email address, and phone number
  • Copy of Identification page of the passport if the lecture was given in the United States (clearly showing your name and visa type)
  • Copy of visa or ESTA application approval
  • Copy of the I-94 Departure Card (or electronic I-94 receipt number) if the lecture was given in the United States

Honoraria Payment for U.S. Citizens & Permanent Residents

U.S. Citizens and U.S. Permanent Residents must submit a W9 form (complete with current residential address, social security number, date and signature)

Honoraria Payment for Foreign Individuals

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In addition, non-U.S. citizen must also submit:

  • Current mailing address, email address, and phone number
  • Copy of identification page of the passport if the lecture was given in the United States (clearly showing your name and visa type)
  • Copy of visa or ESTA application approval
  • Copy of the I-94 Departure Card (or electronic I-94 receipt number) if the lecture was given in the United States
  • Certain non-immigrant statuses may require additional documentation. For example: if you are on a J1 or F1 visa, you must provide a copy of your work authorization and a letter from your place of work (on official letterhead) verifying your eligibility to work in the U.S. The letter should also state that you are allowed to receive payment from other institutions.

For information on honoraria for foreign individuals, see Administrative Policiy Library: Honoraria

Methods of Payment

Reimbursement by check is the preferred and fastest method of payment. The check will be mailed to your home address approximately 3-5 weeks after your visit.

Direct deposit (for American banks only) or wire transfer (for international banks) are also options, but these methods are more complex and you may experience a delay in payment. Please inform your administrative host as soon as possible if you wish you be paid by direct deposit or by wire transfer.

  • After you submit your receipts and supporting documents to the APAM Department, our business office will create a Columbia Vendor ID number for you and will email you instructions about how to request direct deposit or wire transfer through Columbia's Finance Gateway. Please note: You can not fill out this form until after you receive your Vendor ID number.
  • After you submit the online direct deposit request, Columbia University's Vendor Management office will email you a link to a website where you can input your Vendor ID and your banking information.
  • For direct deposits, Columbia University's Vendor Management office may follow up with a call to verify your banking information.
  • You must respond to Columbia University's Vendor Management's email and phone call (if applicable) and supply the required information in order to receive your payment. If you do not respond, the email link sent from Vendor Management will become inactive after a few days and you will have to contact the APAM office again to request an active link. Failure to respond to Columbia University's Vendor Management Office email will delay your payment.