Travelling in a public institution as CSIC involves a number of procedures that have to be followed, both for guaranteeing your security (for instance insurance), as well as the proper reimbursement of the travel expenses. This document clarifies the protocol as of the date in which it was written. Please follow it as carefully as possible.
The algorithm is as follows. We will detail the steps below
Write down and submit the travel authorization form
Request a travel ticket (plane, train, etc) and accommodation through the official travel agency. If this step fails, book these items yourself and include them in the final reimbursement form.
Pay registration costs and other expenses in advance throught the appropriate protocol
Travel to your destination and collect justification of expenses.
Fill out the travel reimbursement form, adjoining all justifications.
Step 1: Travel authorization form
This is the form that you have to fill in to make any scientific trip, even if the expenses are covered by the host or institution you are travelling to. Details to fill:
A description of the trip, with tentative dates and hours.
Expenses that will be covered by CSIC.
A brief scientific justification of the trip.
Signature of yourself and your supervisor (more precisely, the PI who will fund the expenses).
Remeber that signing this document is only an authorization for a work-related trip. Unfortunately, CSIC does not provide an insurance for such trips. Use the travel agency or your institute's channels to seek insurance in regions where you are not covered by standard Spanish medical insurance. This includes:
Non-european regions, such as USA, Asia, etc.
European regions if you are not a Spanish citizen. In these regions, non-Spanish citizens are not covered by the EU medical card that is issued by Spanish Social Security.
Step 2: Travel tickets and accommodation
Any trip that is charged to projects and funds from CSIC must be requested through the Halcón Viajes travel agency page. You have to request from our managers to be activated in this page. Once this is done, it is strongly suggested that you open two requests: one for the travel tickets and a different one for the accommodation.
In the petition page, you have to first enter the information of the person who is going to travel. After that, enter details about the trip you are going to make. It is strongly suggested that in the comment box you clarify information such as
One or more suggestions of plane tickets that you know exist, as well as ideas of possible connecting airports, if needed.
Precise information about the duration of transfers. Remember that transfers in USA take a very long time. Plan for 3 hours.
Precise information about arrival and departure times. Make sure that you will have transportation to and from the airport.
Make a separate petition for the accommodation. Here you have to specify the location of the event you will be attending to, but it is strongly recommended to include, in the comments box, suggestions for hotels that you know are available and from which you can travel to the event (public means of transport). I recommend using Halcón Viajes' own search engine for that.
Acceping the offer
Both in the case of travel tickets as in the accommodation requests, the travel agency will provide a few offers. Make sure whether they are in accordance to the specifications and accept the offer. In this case, the manager office from your institute has to confirm the acceptance: send them an email or phone them, because they might or might not receive a notification from Halcón Viajes for this step.
Rejection and best offer
If they do not satisfy you, these are the reasons to reject the offer:
You have found a cheaper plane ticket or accommodation that satisfies the requirements.
The travel ticket imposes landing or departure times that are unrealistic (i.e., you cannot reach the airport in time).
The accommodation is far from the event you attend to. Maximum distance is 30 minutes through public transportation.
You cannot reach the accommodation through public transports.
In all these cases you can once reject the offer explaining the cause of rejection and requesting a new offer. In this case, it is recommended that you supply information about alternative tickets, hotels, etc.
If Halcón Viajes is incapable of producing a valid alternative offer, you can book the plane ticket or hotel by yourself, taking into account the limits imposed by maximum accommodation expenses and per-diem.
Step 3: Other expenses
Typical work related trips include attendance to schools, workshops and conferences with additional expenses. If you need to pay a registration fee for these events, you have to do it following this procedure:
Register to the event.
Request a formal invoice from the event organizers, detailing the concept that has to be paid ("Registration to workshop ... for Mr./Ms. ...") as well as the amount and an account for the money transfer.
Fill out an expenses form and get it signed by your PI. This is really institute dependent. Ours is here.
If the organizers cannot provide such invoice or they impose means of payment such as credit card, collect that information and inform your manager. In this case you will have to pay for the expenses yourself, but you can ask the institute to provide some money in advance ("Anticipo").
There may be other expenses that will occur in this case. These include printing posters or buying medical insurance. In all these cases the protocol will be similar: request invoice, process authorization for payment, collect object.
Step 4: Actual travel
Here you should observe the usual admonishments. In case you are spaniard, register with the Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, providing information about your trip. Make sure you have all the documentation, including passport as a redundant means of identification within Europe, etc, etc.
From our point of view of bureaucracy, you should observe the following points.
Collect original printed versions of all your boarding cards and tickets.
Collect a certificate of attendance for the event or institution you visit. This should include all dates as well as your contribution in the case of scientific meetings.
Collect proof that you spend the nights there. This can be a letter from the hotel, a copy of the bill with your arrival and departure dates, etc.
You do not need to collect food tickets or other expenses, as you will be paid a flat rate. However, you do need all papers above as you have to provide them with your justification below.
Step 5: Final justification
You have to fill in the justification form, including precise information about your travel, departure and return times, means of transport, summary of expenses, etc. You have to provide
The original tickets, boarding cards, etc.
The original bills for any expenses related to travel and accommodation if you did not use the travel agency (See above for when this can be done).
Copy of the certificate of attendance and contribution.
Original of whatever physical proof of residence in the hotel or apartment you provide.
If you used the travel agency for some of the expense, please detail it in the document and pass this document for signature to your supervisor / PI.
Note that you have to specify the project that will be used for paying the expenses. No matter the project, provide your supervisor with a compressed file including scans of all the bills, tickets, and whatever documentation you supplied to your manager, as this may be needed for later audits of the project.
As you see from here, this is a rather complicated process. We just offer some final considerations that you have to take into account:
Make sure that accommodation expenses do not exceed the official rates, which are listed in this document.
If accommodation rates exceed the fixed amounts, you can use the per-diem ("manutención") to compensate for that.
Per-diem's in some country are very large. Discuss the total amount that you request for a given travel with your supervisor, or apply some common sense.
As an example, in Spain, the maximum accommodation allowance for a typical scientist (pemanent or postdoc) is 65.97 euros per day, and the flat-rate per-diem is 37.40 euros per day. These figures have been frozen since 2008.