California Department of Transportation
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Clark Paulsen, Division Chief

Out-of-State Travel

References: California Code of Regulations, Administration, Title 2, Sections 599.619 and 599.621; SAM Sections 0710 and 0760; Department of Finance Budget Letter 14-03; PML 2016-010 ; and TB 17-03


Out-of-state travel is defined as any travel outside the State of California for the purpose of conducting business outside the State of California. It does not include trips through or stopovers in bordering states incidental to travel within points in California.

An approved form STD0257, "Request for Approval of Out-of-State Travel" is required to reimburse a travel expense claim (TEC). The total expenditures claimed on the TEC, plus transportation costs, may not exceed the total amount approved on the STD0257.

State time authorized for out-of-state travel is limited to the time necessary to transact business plus actual travel time. The travel time cannot exceed rail time.

Non-state employees (witnesses, contract consultants, and others) traveling out-of-state and from other states to California to conduct business on behalf of the department are typically not considered part of the out-of-state travel plan.

AB 1887 prohibits a state agency and the Legislature from requiring any of its employees, officers, or members to travel to, or approving a request for state-funded or state-sponsored travel to, any state that, after June 26, 2015, has enacted a law that voids or repeals, or has the effect of voiding or repealing, existing state or local protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression or has enacted a law that authorizes or requires discrimination against same-sex couples or their families or on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, as specified, subject to certain exceptions. State of Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas are subject to AB 1887 travel restrictions.

The Office of Resource Planning and Policy<> is responsible for administering the approval process for out-of-state travel. Employees with questions regarding the approval process should contact their division's out-of-state travel coordinator.


Third Party Vendors

For third party (Priceline, Expedia, etc.) reimbursement requirements, see Third Party Vendors.

Lodging, Meals, and Incidentals

Out-of-State and Out-of-Country Lodging

For short-term out-of-state and out-of-country travel (less than 31 days) employees will be reimbursed for actual lodging expenses that are supported by a receipt. Failure to furnish lodging receipts will limit reimbursement to meals only. For additional information on lodging such as specific receipt requirements and lodging resources, see Lodging Rates and Requirements and Third Party Vendors.

For short-term out-of-state travel for employees in Bargaining Unit 2, 7, and Excluded Employees, if lodging costs exceed ninety dollars ($90) per night, employees must first obtain and submit three lodging quotes to their supervisor for approval in an effort to obtain lodging at reasonable, moderately priced lodging establishments. Employees may choose any of the three establishments; however reimbursement will be limited to the lowest of the three quotes. The three quotes must be submitted with the Travel Expense Claim. Failure to furnish quotes with the Travel Expense Claim will limit reimbursement to the actual receipt amount up to a maximum of $90.

The short-term per diem rate will be discontinued after the 30th consecutive day assigned to a "single location" unless an extension has been previously documented and approved by the appointing power. A "single location" is defined as a major metropolitan area, cities in vicinity to one another, and any locations that straddle county or state lines within a 50-mile radius. For information on the extension of short-term travel rates, see Chapter 6 Travel Exceptions, Short-Term Subsistence Beyond 30 Days.

For information on out-of-state travel assignments exceeding 30 days, see Long-Term Assignments.

Out-of-State Meals and Incidentals

For short-term out-of-state travel, employees will be reimbursed actual meal and incidental expenses, up to the maximum rates for in-state travel. For maximum reimbursement rates, and departure and return time requirements, see Meal and Incidental Rates and Requirements.

Out-of-Country Meals and Incidentals

For short-term out-of-country travel, employees will be reimbursed for actual meal and incidental expenses up to the maximum rates in accordance with the published Government meal and incidental rates for foreign travel for the specific dates of travel.

The maximum rates for meals and incidentals are available by country and travel date on the U.S. Department of State's website. Go to the Foreign Per Diem Rates to find the combined maximum daily rate for meals and incidentals (M&I), and then to Appendix B to locate the corresponding breakdown of the combined maximum rate to the specific maximum for each meal and incidental.

Receipts are required for meals and incidentals claimed in excess of $24.99 (US).

Employees should review the long-term assignment policies within this guide if it is anticipated that an out-of-state or out-of-country assignment will exceed 30 days in one geographic area (50-mile radius).

Long-term out-of-state and out-of-country travel will be reimbursed in accordance with Department of Personnel Administration Rule 599.619 (a) through (c). For more information, see Long-Term Assignments.

Foreign Currency

Valid documentation for foreign currency exchange rates must be submitted with the TEC to substantiate expenses claimed. If unavailable, the FXConverter (Foreign Exchange Currency Converter) may be used as adequate documentation.

Business Expenses

The reimbursement policy for business expenses is the same as that for in-state travel. For more information, see Business Expenses.

Weekend Travel

Reimbursement for Saturday and Sunday travel is allowed if pre-approved on the Form STD0257.

Weekend travelers are expected to stay in the vicinity of the official state business. Rental cars paid for by the State are only to be used to obtain meals and commute between the lodging location and the official business site. Separate arrangements must be made for sightseeing, visits with friends and family, etc.

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