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Travel and Reimbursement Information for Sponsored Visitors

For help and further information contact our event and travel coordinator:
Jennifer Spar,, 1-865-974-9317

What we provide

Expenses NIMBioS offers to cover during your visit will be specified in your invitation letter. Support for invited visitors to NIMBioS may include:

  • Coach class airfare to and from your home/work area purchased on a U.S. Carrier over 21 days in advance unless an exception is approved by NIMBioS
  • Accommodation in a designated hotel
  • Meals
  • Mileage or ground transportation to and from airports
  • Parking
  • Extra baggage charges

For reimbursement information for local participants (faculty, staff or area participants who are not in travel status), click here.

Travel support is subject to The University of Tennessee and NSF travel policy.

How to proceed

In order to reduce your out-of-pocket expense and ensure a smooth reimbursement process, we request that you coordinate your travel through NIMBioS. To initiate your travel arrangements, the first step is to complete and submit our DTR Form (DTR – Dietary, Travel, and Reimbursement Form). The DTR form provides us the information we need to accommodate your visit – minimally that is the specific dates of your visit and whether you have any dietary restrictions, but for those for whom we are arranging air travel or will be reimbursing some expenses, it also provides the information we need to set you up in the University of Tennessee system.

Most visitors are invited through NIMBioS’ administrative interface. You must accept the invitation and complete your profile before you will have access to the DTR form. The profile takes you through three screens but takes literally 1-2 minutes to complete. After you’ve completed your profile, on your main menu you will see a DTR button next to the event you are planning to attend. Click on the button to open the form, complete it, and hit submit.

When possible we will cover expenses such as airfare and lodging via a direct-bill, so you will not be out of pocket. When direct purchase of airfare is not possible (for example, if your air travel includes another destination not sponsored by NIMBioS) we will work with you to establish the portion that is reimbursable and obtain the documentation required.

If you plan to drive or purchase your own ticket we would like to know your travel schedule for our planning and to make sure you are registered in the hotel for the correct nights.

USDA/USGS or other Federal employees who cannot receive direct reimbursement, click here.

Air travel

In most cases, we will purchase a round-trip coach class ticket for your travel to NIMBioS through our travel agency, World Travel. You provide your schedule requirements on your DTR form; we need this no later than 21 days before travel to avoid incurring unnecessary costs. With a few exceptions, air travel must be economy or coach class on a U.S. carrier to be eligible for reimbursement.

Multi-destination travel requires special handling. If you plan to combine your trip to Knoxville with air travel to another destination, we will work with you to determine the amount reimbursable by NIMBioS (these situations are not direct-billable). It is important that you contact us before you purchase a ticket as our system requires obtaining a quote for comparison that must meet certain requirements including evidence that the quote was obtained on the same date as the ticket purchase from the same source. The easiest way to accomplish this is for us to arrange your flight through our travel agency just as we would on a direct bill and let you call in with your credit card. We can then be confident of having documentation that meets our institutional requirements for reimbursement. The maximum reimbursable amount is the lesser of the actual ticket purchased and the cost of a roundtrip flight to Knoxville to meet the schedule requirements of the meeting, as though your other trip didn't exist. (Both the actual ticket and the quote must be for coach class travel in the lower range of fare options, and must be obtained from the same source on the same date.) It may be appropriate to claim less if another institution is reimbursing part of the ticket. If you believe that the reimbursement policy results in a loss to you (in the rare event that a combined ticket costs more than the sum of separate tickets) please consult us before purchasing the ticket and we will see what can be done to address the gap.

Air travel from an airport that is not closest from your home may require supporting documentation to show that it is the more economical route. Contact us for assistance with this.


The cost of driving a private vehicle will be reimbursed at the University of Tennessee's standard mileage rate (currently $0.47/mile) provided it does not exceed the cost of air travel as established by an airfare quote that meets our institutional requirements, obtained over 21 days before travel. Please contact us to obtain a quote if you are driving from a distance of greater than 500 miles from Knoxville.

Rental cars

We recommend that you contact us before committing to a rental car. A car is not needed for local transportation in Knoxville (the hotel is a short walk from our meeting space). Travel to Knoxville from out of the area by rental car is reimbursable up to the cost of airfare supported by a quote that meets our institutional requirements along with an original, post-calculation receipt from the rental car agency. There are limits on what rental car coverages are reimbursable. We have contracts with National and Enterprise; contact us for the corporate number.

International travelers

U.S. carrier. NSF requires the use of a U.S. carrier whenever one is available.

If you are not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident we will need a copy of your passport and visa documents (visa, I-20, DS-2019) in order to process reimbursements. (Canadian citizens, only a passport is required.) If you do not reside in the U.S., you will need a B-1 or WB visa stamp. Please be aware that effective January 2009 you must apply online in advance for the WB visa. Unfortunately there are a number of other forms that are required for reimbursement of non-U.S. citizens: non-citizen payment form, W8BEN, and I-94.


If NIMBioS is arranging your accommodation it will nearly always be in a nearby hotel or in University housing. The cost of the room (but not meals and incidentals) is normally billed to us directly. Hotels we use include, but are not limited to, the Four Points Sheraton Cumberland House (1109 White Ave.) and the Holiday Inn Knoxville Downtown (525 Henley St.).


If NIMBioS offers meal support, meals will either be provided (please advise us of any special dietary needs or preferences) or reimbursed according to the University of Tennessee rate schedule. The reimbursement is $28 for dinner on meeting days when breakfast and lunch are provided. Travel meal per diem for the first and last day of a trip will be reimbursed at 75 percent of the daily reimbursement rate. The current full day per diem rate is the same as the Federal CONUS rate ($56 as of 10/1/18). Receipts for meals are not required if being reimbursed standard per diem rate.

Airport transportation

If specified in your invitation letter, we will reimburse the cost of parking and ground transportation to/from your home airport. In Knoxville, we will reimburse cab fare between the Tyson-McGee Airport and the hotel. Receipts are required.


If we are providing travel support, we will reimburse airport parking or hotel parking if you drove to Knoxville. Receipts are required.


High speed Internet is available at your hotel and at NIMBioS at no cost to you.

Baggage charges

If we are providing travel support, we will reimburse baggage charges. Receipts are required. .


Expense claim instructions:   .pdf
Expense claim worksheet:   .doc   .pdf

About airfare quotes and traveler-purchased tickets. (Review this if you will be arranging and purchasing your own airline ticket.)

In order to be valid for reimbursement an airline ticket receipt must include the traveler's name, complete itinerary, names of airlines, price and fare class (must be coach), and the date of purchase. Air travel must be on a U.S. carrier if one is available. (See information here about the U.S. carrier requirement and exceptions.) The receipt must show evidence that the ticket was purchased, not just reserved (such as a reference to a credit card payment). If the ticket will be submitted for reimbursement in advance of travel, the receipt must show that it is nonrefundable. (Advance reimbursement may not be available for international travelers, as an entry visa is required.) The most reliable way to ensure a smooth reimbursement is to use our designated travel agency, World Travel.

A quote for comparison must contain the complete itinerary, names of airlines, price and fare class, which must be coach, and must be dated the same date as the ticket actually used and be obtained from the same source. It should meet the schedule requirements of the hypothetical trip and be selected from the lower range of fare options. The normal schedule for a round-trip flight includes arrival the day before the meeting is to begin and departure the afternoon or evening the meeting ends or the next morning. Again, if you use our travel agency they can provide you with an acceptable quote.

Reimbursements for combined NIMBioS/non-NIMBioS travel based on comparisons are limited to the cost of the actual ticket used or the cost of the comparison quote, whichever is smaller. If another institution is reimbursing part of the ticket, you should not request more than the balance.


Expense claim instructions:   .pdf
Expense claim worksheet   .doc   .pdf
Institutional reimbursement instructions:   .pdf
Information for local participants:   .pdf
University of Tennessee travel site
Four Points Sheraton Cumberland House
Holiday Inn Knoxville Downtown
Crowne Plaza Hotel

NIMBioS Event and Travel Office:
Jennifer Spar
Claxton Bldg.
1122 Volunteer Blvd., Suite 106
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996-3410
Phone: 1-865-974-9317
Fax: 1-865-974-9300

1122 Volunteer Blvd., Suite 106
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996-3410
PH: (865) 974-9334
FAX: (865) 974-9461
Contact NIMBioS

From 2008 until early 2021, NIMBioS was supported by the National Science Foundation through NSF Award #DBI-1300426, with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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