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NPR 9710.1
Effective Date: June 20, 2018
Expiration Date: June 20, 2024
Printable Format (PDF)

Subject: General Travel Requirements (Updated with Change 2 June 28, 2021)

Responsible Office: Office of the Chief Financial Officer

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Chapter 2. Official and Local Travel; Travel Authorization and Approval

2.1 Local Travel

2.1.1 NASA defines the local travel area as the region within 35 miles (by the most direct route) of both the employee's official duty station and the residence from which the employee commutes to the official duty station. A reduced local travel area, within 25 miles of the employee's official duty station and residence, is defined for official duty stations within the congested metropolitan areas, including the Washington, DC, Los Angeles, San Jose, and Houston metropolitan statistical areas. The official duty station is defined by the boundaries of the Center or Facility. Similarly, for invitational travelers, their local travel area is defined by their home and regular place of work (their duty station if a Government employee).

2.1.2 An employee shall be reimbursed for necessary and reasonable expenditures required for transportation to transact approved official Government business within or nearby the local travel area. However, no lodging or subsistence will be authorized for travel within an employee's local travel area, or for travel outside the local travel area that is 12 hours or less in duration. Formal travel authorizations are not generally required for local travel; however, prior authorization is required when using air transportation or a Government vehicle for local travel.

2.1.3 When an employee is directed to report to an alternate work site away from her/his official duty station, only the travel costs exceeding his/her daily normal commuting costs will be reimbursed, not to exceed travel costs from the official duty station to the alternate work site. Examples include local transportation expenses (metro, bus, and taxi fare), Privately Owned Vehicle (POV) mileage, parking, and tolls. When authorized, NASA will reimburse the full amount of transportation costs (mileage) for local travel.

2.2 Official Travel; Arranging for Travel Services

2.2.1 All NASA employees traveling on official business outside the local travel area and in travel status more than 12 hours are on official travel.

2.2.2 All NASA employees will use the E-Gov Travel Service (ETS) or Travel Management Center (TMC) to arrange for common carrier transportation, lodging, and rental cars for Official Travel. Absent an approved exception under 41 CFR §301-50.4, § 301-73.102, or § 301-73.104, the employee is responsible for any additional costs incurred as a result of failing to use the ETS or TMC, and reimbursement amounts cannot exceed the total transportation costs authorized by NASA.

2.3 Authorization Requirements

2.3.1 NASA employees shall have an approved Travel Authorization (TA) prior to travel. In addition to the information required by 41 CFR §301-71.103, the TA for all foreign travel will include an Advance Notice Form as an attachment to the TA.

2.3.2 NASA employees shall have specific authorization or prior approval for the following travel arrangements:

a. Use of first-class or business-class service for common carrier transportation.

b. Use of reduced fares for group or charter arrangements.

c. Use of extra-fare train service.

d. Travel by ship.

e. Use of rental car.

f. Use of foreign air carrier.

g. Use of a Government aircraft.

h. Use of cash to pay for common carrier transportation.

i. Payment of a reduced per diem rate.

j. Payment of actual expense (designated approvers will review actual expense to ensure they are not above the 300 percent of the rate that is published by GSA).

k. Travel expenses related to emergency travel.

l. Travel expenses related to travel to a foreign area.

m. Acceptance of payment from a non-Federal source for travel expenses.

n. Travel expenses related to attendance at a conference.

Note: Paragraphs (c), (i), (m), and (n) of this section require a written or electronic advance authorization.

2.3.3 For travel under paragraphs 2.3.2. (a) through (d), NASA employees shall have approval from their Center Directors, OICs, or their designees.

2.4 Amendments to Travel Authorization

2.4.1 When Temporary Travel Duty (TDY) travel dates differ from the approved itinerary as specified on the authorization, an amended TA will be issued. Employees shall ensure that the approved TA and itinerary dates match in the automated travel system prior to submitting a voucher. An employee should request and the Agency issue an amended TA when the authority contained in the original authorization is insufficient for performance of official business. An amended document should also be issued to permit the traveler to incur, and be reimbursed for, additional allowable expenses. TAs will be amended for changes from the approved TA when:

a. The TDY travel dates are changed.

b. The TDY location has been changed or another TDY location is added.

c. A rental car is being added to the TA.

d. Online booking reservation changes (e.g., when a trip is un-ticketed and the TA has been approved).

2.5 Cancellation of Authorizations

In the event that an employee's trip is cancelled, the authorization should be promptly cancelled in the automated travel management system, within the time limit specified by the carrier. If the employee's trip ends short before reaching a destination specified on the then-current authorization, the Government may be due a refund. The employee shall report these facts and account for his/her actions on the travel voucher showing prudent efforts in order to minimize any resulting losses to the Government. Failure to do so may subject the employee to liability for any unreasonable losses.

2.6 Approval of Authorizations

The delegation of authority to authorize and approve TDY travel is contained in NPD 9710.1 and 41 CFR §301-71.104. No traveler can "self-approve" their authorization, except as set forth in NPD 9710.1.

2.7 Post-Travel Authorizations Travel should be authorized in writing before travel begins or any travel expenses are incurred. During unusual circumstances, when this is not practicable, travel may be subsequently approved in writing.

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This document does not bind the public, except as authorized by law or as incorporated into a contract. This document is uncontrolled when printed. Check the NASA Online Directives Information System (NODIS) Library to verify that this is the correct version before use: https://nodis3.gsfc.nasa.gov.