Reimbursement Policies & Procedures

Harvard University reimburses for necessary and reasonable travel expenses incurred while conducting University business.

It is very important for all travelers to be familiar with all University travel and reimbursement policies prior to traveling.

Reimbursable Expenses

Reimbursements will be paid by the University if they are reasonable, appropriately documented, properly authorized and in accordance with the Harvard University Travel & Reimbursement Policy.   Individuals should not benefit financially, or incur financial losses, as a result of traveling on behalf of the University.

All travel reimbursement requests must:

  • be supported by a detailed business purpose and by original receipts
  • be charged to the appropriate general ledger account coding based on the business purpose of the expense
  • be approved in the University’s Web Voucher Reimbursement application
  • be received by University Financial Services (UFS) no later than sixty (60) days after the date of completion of a trip

Non-Reimbursable Expenses

University Policy specifies that the following items are considered non-reimbursable travel related expenses:

  • Airline seating upgrades to first class
  • Hotel recreational activities (e.g. spas, athletic facilities)
  • Hotel room video rentals
  • Laundry (if away less than 5 days)
  • Expenses related to vacation or personal days taken before, during, or after a business trip
  • Commuting (employee travel to/from work on a daily basis)
  • Any personal purchases
  • Celebratory events and gifts to honor an individual for personal reasons (including wedding, baby shower, housewarming etc.)

Personal Funds

The Harvard Travel and Entertainment Card is the preferred method of payment for travel expenses, those without access to a Travel and Entertainment Card (students, non-employees) may use cash or a personal credit card to pay for travel expenses.  Note:  Prepaid travel expenses (such as airline tickets) purchased with personal funds will not be reimbursed until after the trip or event has taken place.

How To Get Reimbursed 

The following information applies to SEAS employees.

  • An individual (SEAS employee) incurs reimbursable expenses on a personal credit card while on University business and submits the receipts for reimbursement to a faculty/staff assistant or whoever is responsible for processing the reimbursement.
  • The preparer, in most cases a faculty/staff assistant, creates a web voucher reimbursement request, which includes a detailed business purpose  (substantiation of business travel)  and submits the signed (signed by card holder) wv reimbursement expense form and all receipts to his or her approver. 
  • The approver checks the receipts and the reimbursement request to ensure everything is in compliance with University policy.  If the reimbursement request passes the approver's audit, the reimbursement along with the receipts is submitted to the Travel Office.
  • The Travel Office will audit the expenses on the reimbursement request against policy requirements and tax regulations.  If the reimbursement request passes the Travel Office's audit, payment will be sent to the reimbursee in a form of a check or a direct deposit.

Quick Guide on how to reimburse a non-employee Non-Employee Reimbursement.