COVID-19 Travel Reimbursements and Advisories

By Bobbi McCracken (Associate Vice Chancellor for Business & Financial Services and Controller) |
Riverside, CA –

Dear Colleagues,

Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, the following information and guidance is provided regarding reimbursements and travel planning.  

Reimbursements for Cancelled Travel

If business travel has been cancelled as a result of the COVID-19, the traveler should seek to cancel all travel reservations. If the traveler is unable to obtain a full refund of some or all of their expenses, a request for reimbursement may be submitted per UC Business & Finance Bulletin G-28 per the policy requirements (see excerpts below).  Documentation supporting the cancellation of the event and the non-refundable portion of the trip must be included with the travel request.   See FAQs below.

Cancelled or Postponed Trips

A cash advance must be returned immediately if an authorized trip is cancelled or indefinitely postponed.

A nonrefundable ticket associated with a cancelled trip must be used for the employee's next business trip.


Cancellation of Reservations

Travelers who are unable to honor a reservation shall be responsible for canceling the reservation in compliance with the cancellation terms established by the hotel, airline, etc. The traveler must return any refundable deposits to the University.

Charges or lost refunds resulting from failure to cancel reservations shall not be reimbursed unless the traveler can show that such failure was the result of circumstances beyond the traveler's control.

The traveler shall be responsible for promptly returning for a refund any unused or partially used transportation tickets.

Registration for UC Travel Insurance

Although all non-essential domestic and international travel has been suspended until further notice, travelers that have received exceptional approval, must register immediately at UC Away (note: travel booked via the UC Travel Portal, Connexxus, is automatically registered).  The UC provided travel insurance program provides broad coverage including medical care and evacuation.  Please visit the UC Risk Service website for additional information.

UC Travel Webinar:  Coronavirus and Airline Cancellations/Waivers

The Central Travel Office and Risk Services will host a one-hour Q&A to share options available to UC travelers related to the Coronavirus and Airline Cancellations/Waivers, especially if the ticket was booked within UC contract at any one of UC’s preferred agencies. Register for this webinar on Wednesday, March 18th at 2PM.

Travel Advisories and Other Services 

As communicated in the 3/14 “Campus Closure announcement, please anticipate additional communications and guidance in response to the outbreak and campus closure, as the situation is rapidly changing. Major campus-wide updates will continue to be posted to the COVID-19 website.

Please ensure department travelers are aware of this guidance.  Questions can be directed to


Bobbi McCracken

Associate Vice Chancellor and Controller

Business & Financial Services




Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. What costs will I be reimbursed for if I need to cancel a trip due to the Coronavirus?

Answer:  All efforts should be made to get full refunds for all your costs

  • If you are unable to get a refund, document the steps you took to obtain a refund
  • You may request reimbursement for your unreimbursed travel expenses.  These costs may include:
    • Airline cancellation fees/penalties
    • Cost of airfare if you receive a credit towards future travel.
      • If possible please wait until after the future trip to submit your reimbursement request.
      • If you have a financial need or are unsure if you are going to travel on business before the credit expires, you can submit for reimbursement immediately
    • Hotel charges/cancellation fees
    • Conference registration fees
    • Other ordinary and necessary business expenses which have not been refunded
  1. What documentation do I need to provide to get reimbursed?


  • All travel receipts (e.g. airfare invoices, hotel folios, conference registration fee charges etc.)
  • Documentation of attempts to obtain refunds
  • Departments should keep track of travel credits that have been reimbursed to ensure the credits are used on future business travel. 


  1. Are the cost for cancelled travel chargeable to federal funds?



  • In general, the non-refundable costs associated with grant-related travel that has been cancelled due to COVID-19 may be charged if they would have otherwise been allowable on the award and this practice is consistent across all funding sources.  Departments are responsible for confirming allowability based on guidance issued from the specific granting agencies. 

Conference Registration Fees:

  • In general, non-refundable registration fees for conferences, symposiums or seminars that have been cancelled due to COVID19 may be charged to the award if they would have otherwise been allowable (e.g. necessary to accomplish program objectives). Departments are responsible for confirming allowability based on guidance issued from the specific granting agencies. 


  1. Will UC’s Travel Insurance program cover lost costs/penalties?


Some costs may be recoupable for international trip cancellations.

If the airline or travel provider refused to issue a refund or a travel credit or charges a penalty for changes for travel to international destinations, travelers should submit their claim through the UC Travel Insurance Program.


Travelers can submit a claim for airfare, hotel, cancellation fees, or conference registration for up to $2,000 for international trips (domestic trips are not covered).  Once a claim is submitted, a determination will be made by the UC Insurance Carrier, Chubb, regarding what is covered. Please note that it is the insurance company determines if a claim is accepted (not UC).  

  • Download and complete the claim form that is available on the UCOP website.  As part of the claim, please provide the following:
    • Documentation to show the traveler requested a refund and/or travel credit and denial from the service provider.
    • Information on whether the travel involved one of the CDC Warning - Level 3 - Travel Notice countries OR
    • A detailed explanation of how the business activity was actually impacted or resulted in an effective cancellation as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19). For example, the traveler was going to a symposium to a currently unaffected region and the organizer cancels the event because the key speakers from affected regions were unable to attend.