Employee Travel Frequently Asked Questions

Electronic Travel Voucher

If someone travels daily, to multiple locations, can multiple locations be added, and can a voucher include trips from multiple dates?

Generally, a travel voucher should only contain charges and reimbursements related to one specific travel event (e.g., all travel items related to one conference). A separate travel voucher is required for a separate travel event. An exception exists for mileage reimbursement only requests. For a mileage only reimbursement, multiple locations and multiple dates can be added on one travel voucher, including any miscellaneous expenses related to the mileage reimbursement (e.g., tolls etc.). Please use first and last date of all the travel dates included or first and last date of the month for which mileage reimbursement is submitted in the Details of Travel Section. In the Mileage Details and Miscellaneous Expense sections would list each date of travel as may be traveling to different locations. If departing/returning to same location on same day, you may include the total miles roundtrip in one travel date, but please put in a mileage clarifying comment to inform reviewers/approvers of travel.

Can a completed Electronic Travel Voucher be saved after it's been submitted or approved?

Yes, an Electronic Travel Voucher can be saved to a local workstation as a PDF. There is a ‘Print' button provided on the top and bottom of the travel voucher that allows for the voucher to be saved to a local workstation. We highly recommend using the ‘Print to PDF' option to save the PDF version of the voucher and avoid printing it unless absolutely required.

Are student travelers considered employees or non-employees?

If the student travelers are employed by the university, then they are considered employee. If not, then they are considered non-employee.

Is a PDF copy of a traveler's name in a conference program work for conference documentation?

Yes, that would work, so would a copy of the registration or copy of the website with the conference information, etc.

Can the voucher be saved and resumed later while in progress prior to submission?

A traveler should complete a travel voucher submission in one sitting before the OnBase system times out in about an hour from starting. Unfortunately, there is no option for the traveler to save and come back to the voucher at a later point in time. But preparers can edit a submitted travel voucher before the traveler signs it after which, the travel voucher is locked from editing.

If a preparer (non-traveler) wants to save the voucher to return to later for updating, the preparer may leave the preparer information blank at bottom of travel voucher form (do not sign), then click on submit. You will then receive an email notification with the link to the voucher. You can click on this link at any time to make updates to the travel voucher as needed. Once the voucher is complete and ready to go to the traveler for signature, the preparer can click on the "preparer sign" task button and enter their ID. Once you click ok, a message will appear stating that the voucher is being sent to the traveler, and the voucher will no longer be available in the preparer's queue.

What should be done if someone expected to approve an Electronic Travel Voucher doesn't receive the email notification?

If a notification is missing from the inbox of someone who is expected to approve a travel voucher, it is recommended to first check spam and junk folders. If notification is found in these folders, mark them as safe so that from next time they will be directed to the user's inbox. If the email is not found in those folders, please submit a ticket with the service desk and the OnBase team will be able to investigate the issue. Please note that sometimes the notifications might take up to 15 minutes to be sent after an action is taken.

What is the difference between the travel voucher types: New Travel Voucher, Additional Pay Travel Voucher and Supporting Documents Update?

A "New Travel Voucher" type will be used when a traveler is requesting reimbursement for a travel event that has not been previously submitted for reimbursement. An "Additional Pay Travel Voucher" is used when a traveler is requesting reimbursement for a previously submitted travel voucher that was only partially reimbursed. The original travel voucher and documentation should be resubmitted, noting the original travel voucher ID and request for remaining reimbursement for an "Addt'l Pay" voucher listed in the Business Purpose of Travel. A "Supporting Document Update" type is used when a travel voucher has been returned to the Traveler/Preparer by the approver or APS requesting additional supporting documentation. Before returning the travel voucher, the traveler would click on the "Supporting Documents Update" making appropriate comments on the form as needed.

How do I return an electronic travel voucher to traveler/preparer for revision?

Click on approve/deny task button. You will get an option to approve or deny the travel voucher.

If approve the travel voucher, the voucher proceeds for additional approval if needed and then sends to Accounts Payable for review upon approval completion. If deny the travel voucher, you will be given the option to add a comment and then will return the form to the traveler/preparer for editing.

Note: Denying the travel voucher does not cancel it. Rather, it only returns the form to the traveler. Only the traveler or travel voucher preparer can cancel it.

Why do I not see any task buttons to sign or route the travel voucher?

Make sure you are in OnBase workflow when viewing the travel voucher and not document retrieval. To access a travel voucher you may click on the link received in the email notification or login into onbase.niu.edu. The form will open after you log in.

If you are accustomed to working in OnBase, you can also navigate to the form without using the link in a notification. Once logged into the OnBase Web Client, click on the menu icon (the "hamburger" icon) in the upper left corner of the screen, next to Document Retrieval, then click on "Open Workflow" to see vouchers in your queue. Click on a travel voucher form within workflow and you should now be able to see the task buttons.

Why am I unable to upload documents to my travel voucher?

There may be several reasons:

  • Your session has timed out. OnBase form sessions time out after three hours, and at that point you will need to start your travel voucher again. Working on the travel voucher does not refresh the timer, and timeout will occur without alert, so plan to finish within three hours. 
  • You are encountering browser issues.
    1. First ensure you are using one of the following browsers supported by OnBase system.
      • Chrome: version 80+
      • Edge on Chromium: versions 79+
      • Firefox: version 68+, 68 ESR
      • Safari: versions 13+ (macOS)
    2. Next clear your browser history and cache. To clear your browser history for Edge, Chrome and Firefox, launch your browser and press CTRL+SHIFT+Delete. This brings up the History screen. You can keep the defaults and clear the history.
    3. Try a different web browser. Chrome and Firefox have been the most consistent performers with OnBase.
    4. If still unable to upload documents, use the go link directly, http://go.niu.edu/APTravelVoucher instead of the link on the travel web page.


Can the lodging rate exceed the state lodging limit if staying at a recommended hotel?

Yes, lodging rates can exceed the state lodging limit when staying at a recommended hotel. Documentation from the event should be provided listing the established recommended hotel.

If the recommended hotel is full of if I stay at a different hotel which is less expensive than the recommended hotel, but more than the state lodging limit can I be reimbursed?

Lodging can be reimbursed up to the established recommended hotel rate. Documentation listing the established hotel rate at the recommended hotel must be provided.

If there was no recommended hotel and the room rate was more than the state lodging limit can I be reimbursed?

The lodging overage can be submitted to the Illinois Higher Education Travel Control Board as an exception for review. This would not delay your reimbursement. The board meets quarterly. They may require additional information from you to make a ruling on your request, such as confirmation you contacted several hotels and chose the most economical available. If the overage is denied by the travel control board the overage plus taxes would be to be refunded to NIU by making a deposit at the Bursar Office. A copy of the deposit slip to be provided to APS.


When are receipts required?

Original detailed receipts are required for all expenses over $10.00. The receipt should show the expense has been paid in full. Below are examples of what must be included on required detailed receipts:

  • Lodging Receipts – must clearly show daily room rates as well as any separate incidental charges, taxes and fees
  • Meal Receipts – must clearly show individual items purchases
I lost my receipt; can I be reimbursed?

A Missing Receipt Affidavit can be submitted if a receipt was lost or not provided. Proof of payment such as a credit card statement or transaction detail should be submitted the affidavit.

Can a credit card statement or transaction detail from the bank be submitted instead of an original receipt?

A credit card statement or transaction detail from the bank does not take the place of an original receipt. If the original receipt is not available a Missing Receipt Affidavit can be submitted along with the credit card statement or transaction detail.

Rental Car

Is a rental car reimbursable when traveling?

A rental car is allowed if it is the most economical mode of transportation. An explanation and clarification that the rental car was most economical method should be included in the business purpose on the voucher.

Can I be reimbursed for the purchase of optional insurance or a car upgrade?

Optional expenses are not reimbursable.


Is business or first-class airfare an allowable expense?

State travel regulation require the most economical mode of transportation be used so economy airfare should be chosen.

Can I be reimbursed for travel insurance?

Travel insurance is not a reimbursable expense.

How many bags can I check per flight?

One checked bag per flight is reimbursable. An exception can be made if excess baggage is required to transport items needed for a presentation or equipment for research, etc. The business purpose for the excess baggage should be included on the travel voucher.

Can I be reimbursed for seat fee or early check-in?

State travel regulations require the most economical mode of transportation be used. Optional seat fees and early check-in, etc., are not reimbursable expenses.

Per Diem vs Meal Reimbursement

When can per diem be claimed? Are receipts required?

Per diem can be requested when in travel status for 18 hours or includes an overnight stay. Receipts are not required to claim per diem.

Do I need to deduct the meal allowance from per diem if a meal was provided by the conference?

Yes, if a meal was provided the meal allowance should be deducted from the requested per diem.

Why do I have to provide the departure and return times on travel days.

The allowable per diem on travel days is based on time of travel. Please list the departure and return times on your voucher so the requested per diem can be verified.

I am traveling to and from the conference daily to save money on a hotel. Can I receive per diem or a meal?

Per diem is not reimbursable on a day trip. To be eligible for a meal you must be in travel status and working for a minimum of 10 hours, travel time is not considered work time. Lunch is not reimbursable on a day trip. To be eligible for breakfast you must leave two hours prior to your normal start time. To be eligible for dinner you must return more than two hours after your normal workday ends. Original detailed receipts are required. Reimburse cannot be more than the allowance for the meal.

Commercial Card Travel

If a Commercial Card was used for my travel expenses do I still need to submit a Travel Voucher?

Yes, travel is reportable to the State of Illinois and therefore all travel, whether reimbursable or not, should be submitted on a travel voucher.

Should I submit my original receipts if a Commercial Card was used for my travel expenses?

No, copies of the receipts should be submitted with the travel voucher. Original receipts should be maintained in the department to support the Commercial Card expense.

Can I use my Commercial Card for every travel expense?

No, per the Commercial Card Policy, while conference registration fees, airfare and lodging are all allowable purchases, some expenses such as meals are currently not an allowable commercial card purchase. See the Travel Expense Payment Grid for more information.