Business travel

***New guidelines and forms starting 01.01.2018 ***

The information on this page has not been adapted yet. Please refer to our German pages.

All new forms (available in English as well) can be found here.





The standard process of travelling on business is as follows:


Before the trip:

1. Consultation with supervisor

2. Informal inquiry at the Geschäftsstelle to check whether sufficient funding is available.

3. Submitting of the completed form „Application for business travel“ to the Geschäftsstelle.

The respective form can be found here and a filled out example here.

4. In some exceptions you may apply for an advance. If you think you may qualify, please contact us. The respective form (German only) can be found here.


After the trip:

5. Submitting of the form „Travel expense statement“ within the deadline of 6 months.

The respective form can be found here, a filled out example here and further interesting information here.

We want to make sure that, in case of an audit, all documents are without a doubt complete, and therefore ask for bank statements for all payments not paid in cash.

We check the documents and then pass them on to the FU travel department, where final calculations are made. The process can take a few weeks, please be patient.


Additional information can be found in the FAQs below:

Attention: Official information can only be given by the travel department. These FAQs are only meant as guidelines.

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The reimbursement claim (the form „ Travel expense statement” and all receipts) have to be handed in within 6 months of the end of the trip. It is, however, very helpful if you submit everything as soon as possible.

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The application form as well as the expense report have to be filled in completely. This is especially the case for dates of the trip and information regarding accomodation and meals. Missing information results in significant extra time and effort needed to process your documents.

You can find filled out example of both forms here and here.

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All payments have to be attested through original receipts, order confirmation or invoices. The only exception are meals: those are included in the lump sum of the “Tagegeld” and don’t have to be shown individually.

We want to make sure that, in case of an audit, all documents are without a doubt complete, and therefore ask for bank statements for all payments not paid in cash.

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Yes. However, payments like "abstract fees", "submission fees", "poster fees" or other, can't be processed as business travel. You have do them separately as a Auslagenerstattung.

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You need to pay attention to three things:

1. Do you have vacation days left?

Your supervisor decides whether you may take vacation days and checks if you have enough left. After your application for business travel has been signed by your supervisor, the number of vacation days is only relevant for the calculation of your reimbursement. 

2. Price comparison

Whenever you combine private vacation with business travel, to calculate the reimbursement first a hypothetical travel itenerary is established (how would the trip have been carried out if no vacation were involved). Only the costs of the hypothecical trip can be reimbursed, unless the actual costs were even lower.

Therefore, it is mandatory to carry out a price comparison on the days the actual tickets were booked and attach it to the reimbursement application (e.g Screenshots, quote from a travel agency, etc.).

Example: Travel to X from Berlin - Conference at X - Travel to Y - vacation in Y - travel from Y to Berliin

The hypothetical itenary would have shown a travel back to Berlin directly after the end of the conference from place X. The price comparison needs to be carried out for that day and that route. 

3. Limit of 5 working days

If (days actually away) minus (days hypothetically away) is greater than 5 working days, it is assumed that the trip was mainly in private, not in business, interest. In that case, the costs of travelling to and from the location will not be reimbursed. Especially for long routes (e.g. flight overseas), this can mean significant financial disadvantages.

Attention: If you are in any way unsure whether your vacation is longer than 5 days, please contact the travel department directly and ask them for written approval of your travel plans.

More information can be found in this memo from the travel department: hier (official German) and here (unofficial translation).

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Starting with the 15th day staying in the same location, the daily allowance is being reduced by 50% for trips within Germany, and 10% for trips abroad. Travel days (there and back) don’t count towards the 14 days. Hotel costs will be reimbursed even after 14 days, but you have to show proper receipts. Attention: regulations may change depending on the financing of your travel!

There are special regulations regarding trips longer than 4 weeks.

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For trips not to the Berlin area (public transportation areas ABC and counties adjacent to Berlin), a lump sum for meals and other extra costs is paid in most cases. For trips within Germany, that is currently (2017) 12€ each for the days travelling there and back, and 24€ a day for each full day spent on business travel. This lump sum is intended as a compensation for extra costs occurring while away on business.

The amounts that are reimbursed for trips outside of Germany can be found in the ARVVwV, for 2017 here.

If meals are being provided for free or are, for example, included in the hotel cost, the lump sum is being reduced by 20% of sum for a whole day for breakfasts and by 40% for lunches and dinners.

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The maximum rate that’ll be reimbursed within Germany is 60€/night. For trips outside of Germany there are different rates which you can look up on the internet, for example here. If you book a more expensive hotel, you have to justify this.

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Costs for taxis can only be reimbursed if there are compelling reasons. These reasons could particularly be: urgent business reasons, severe personal reasons, non-existing or no regular public transportation, trips between 11PM and 6 AM. If in doubt, please check with us.

No local knowledge or bad weather are not compelling reasons.

Please make sure that the taxi receipt has the date and time of the fare.

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It is generally allowed to travel by car, but only reimbursed in special cases.

If special circumstances (such as the non-existence of public transportation options or a transport of heavy objects that are necessary for business) exist, a lump sum of 0,20/km is reimbursed, but only up to 130€ for the whole trip. The intention to travel by car has to be indicated and justified on the application for business travel and will be acknowledged as "business-related interest" on the approval notice.

If there is no business-related interest in travelling by car, the reimbursement is limited to the cost of the lowest class of a regularly schuduled mode of transportation (with a maximum of 130€). In both cases, the Freie Universität assumes no liability in the event of damage or loss.

When travelling by car, you're asked to provide information on the kilometers travelled. 

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Only second class trips are reimbursed. Also, if you are employed by the FU, you have to use their corporate discount. However, the discount is only applicable for trips with the “Normalpreis”, not trips on “Sparpreis” or those where you use your private BahnCard.

Also, be aware that potential markups on tickets bought at ticket machines cannot be reimbursed, unless you can show the necessity.

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If you are employed with the FU, you can use their corporate discount. For bookings at the counter, you need the BMIS (bank management info system) account number of the FU, it is 3101593. To book online, you can apply (in German) for access, using this form.

The corporate discount only applies to the “Normalpreis”, not to “Sparpreis” or bookings with a discount through a privately owned BahnCard. If you’d like to combine the corporate discount with a BahnCard discount, you can apply for the BahnCard Business, information (in German) on that here.

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The FU published a “Rundschreiben” explaining the business travel regulations, German only, here.

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Last updated on 01.08.17