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Business travel

 --- The following information is only valid for travelers from projects managed by the Geschäftsstelle für Verbundprojekte, FB Mathematik. ---

For applications related to Math+ please note the information on funding for travel


The standard process of travelling on business is as follows:


Before the trip:

1. Consultation with supervisor

Attention: If you want to add a private stay, please be aware of the regulations!

2. Informal inquiry at the Geschäftsstelle (bettina.junkes@fu-berlin.de) to check whether sufficient funding is available.

3. Submitting of the form „Application for business travel“ with attachements (invitation, program, etc.) via the Elsa-Portal (see above, digital management of business travel).

4. In some exceptions you may apply for an advance. If you think you may qualify, please contact us.


After the trip:

7. Submitting of the completed form „Travel expense statement“ with all necessary attachments within the deadline of 6 months. 

The respective form can be found here. In case you stayed at more than one location, please use Anlage 1.

Please submit the form to us.

8. You will receive an email from the travel department, confirming the receipt. For the 6-month-deadline, what counts is the arrival at the travel department. 

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.


***Virtual business travel***

Not only with regard to the pandemic, but sustainablitly aspects as well, please consider if your business could be conducted virtually.

Costs for virtual confenrences/workshops can be reimbursed, the steps for reimbursement are similar to the steps for business travel listed below. However, reimbursement will take place after the event has taken place (please ask for a proof of attendance) via a "Antrag auf Auslagenerstattung". Please contact bettina.junkes@fu-berlin.de for details.


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.

You can find the current "Guidelines for business travel" here. In general, a lot of information can be found here.

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.

In some projects, different regulations apply.

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.

Please fill the forms out digitally, and not by hand!

Guide: Forms for (business) travel: Which boxes should I choose?

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.

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.

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).

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 6 weeks.

Yes, you may combine your business trips with private vacation. However, in order to get fully reimbursed for the business trip, your vacation may not be longer than 5 working days. If you stay longer, only the transportation costs from your vacation location to the business location will be reimbursed.

Example: You fly to Paris, take the train to Marseille, where your conference is. You take the train back to Paris and stay there for a vacation of 6 days, then fly back. The flights will not be reimbursed, only the train rides to/from the business location in Marseille.

Days that are needed for travelling to/from the place of business do not count towards your vacation days. More information can be found here (German only).

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.

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 (2022) 14€ each for the days travelling there and back, and 28€ 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 2022 e.g.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.

The maximum rate that’ll be reimbursed within Germany is (as of May 2019) 70€/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. However, we are a public institution, spending tax payer's money, therefore you may only book the cheapest agreeable option.

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 10 PM 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.

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. 

On approved business trips, the mandatory accident insurance (gesetzliche Unfallversicherung) covers workplace accidents. For sickness, however, your personal health insurance is responsible. Please make sure you are also covered abroad. Additional costs for this unfortunately can't be reimbursed, according to German travel law.

Due to European social security regulations, Freie Universität Berlin employees who are conducting business travel must carry with them a so-called A1 certificate (the official German name is “Bescheinigung über die anzuwendenden Rechtsvorschriften – A1”), regardless of how long the business trip lasts. This applies for business travel outside Germany to countries who are members of the European Union and also Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway (EEA countries) and Switzerland.

Please read more here.

Last updated: March 2023