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Reimbursable Travel Under the GSA Travel Regulations
 

I have been invited to an event and the company has offered to pay. What do I need to do?

Create a package for approval with the following items:

Offer letter from the non-Federal source. Email, fax, or letter is sufficient.

NF 1167 -- signature level is the Association Administrator for your Office Travel Orders

Helpful Resources in completing the above items:

Instructions for Completing the NF 1167

NASA Financial Management Chapter 12, Section 304

Reimbursable Travel Presentation by Travel Office

Non-Federal sources may offer to pay all or a portion of your travel expenses. There are several authorities under which travel costs of NASA employees may be paid by a non-Federal source. The most commonly used is 31 U.S.C. § 1353, authorizing NASA to accept travel expenses from non-Federal sources for employees attending meetings or similar functions. Other authorities not covered here include the Government Employees Training Act, the Widely Attended Gathering exception to the Standards of Conduct, 5 U.S.C. § 7342 dealing with foreign gifts and decorations, and the Space Act. 

31 U.S.C. § 1353 permits non-Federal sources, such as organizations, associations, or businesses, to pay the Government for the expenses of transportation, accommodations, and meals for Government employees officially attending meetings and similar functions such as conferences and symposia.  31 U.S.C. § 1353 is implemented in GSA's regulations at 41 CFR § 304.1, Payment from a Non-Federal Source for Travel Expenses. 

The authority in 31 U.S.C. § 1353 must be used to accept travel expenses for attendance at a meeting or similar function.  Examples include conferences, seminars, speaking engagements, and training courses.  It does not include travel required to carry out an agency's statutory and regulatory functions, such as inspections, audits, site visits, or negotiations; nor does it include promotional vendor training or other meetings for the primary purpose of marketing the non-Federal source's products or services.  The event need not be "widely attended." 

Under 31 U.S.C. § 1353, the travel authorizing official must determine, in advance of the travel, that payment is:
1) for travel related to the employee's official duties;
2) for attendance at a meeting or similar function, and
3) from a non-Federal source that is not disqualified on conflict of interest grounds. Local Counsel reviews the arrangement, and, where foreign travel is involved, so does the Office of External Relations at Headquarters.  NASA Form 1167 is used to request approval. 

Reimbursement may be either by check or in-kind.  In-kind reimbursement (e.g., plane tickets, prepaid hotel reservations) is the most common method. Checks must be made out to NASA, not to the employee. Cash may not be accepted by NASA employees. NASA reports reimbursements under 31 U.S.C. § 1353 semiannually to the Office of Government Ethics.