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STEP 1 Travel Approval (before the travel)

After the trip has been confirmed by your supervisor, you can apply for travel approval. 

If you are an employee, you will always need confirmation from your supervisor. If you want to make use of the travel budget, please submit an application form for travel approval.  Please apply formally for travel approval at the university at least 6 weeks in advance - to make sure that all departments can sign off. Travel approval is not possible after the travel has taken place.

The travel needs to be approved by two people:

1. the person responsible for the budget (*see below) and

2. the head of the respective department or the central travel department.

For approval, please download the form "Antrag auf Genehmigung einer Dienstreise", fill out page 1 as well as include your GEAS address on page 2: https://www.fu-berlin.de/sites/abt-1/formulare/05dienstreisen/index.html

Please be advised to

  •  fill out the form online
  • sign it (generated pdf signature will sometimes be declined)
  •  submit the form including the invitation and the conference program to the office of the person responsible for the budget.
  • If you travel with Erasmus or go to fieldwork, include travel insurance
  1. GEAS: the person responsible for the budget is the GEAS Director. Apply for travel approval at GEAS Office.
  2.  DAAD subsidies: the person responsible for the budget is your supervisor. Apply at GEAS or with your supervisor directly.
  3. Erasmus(+): the person responsible for the budget is the International Office - they will send you the prefilled paperwork.
It is recommended to take out travel health insurance (Auslandsversicherung/Reisekrankenversicherung) for your trips - the EU health insurance(s) usually does not cover accidents or health issues during travel abroad, and you are not covered by the university.

The insurance can be short-term (about 10 EUR per year for short travel) or long-term (about 30 EUR per month) for fieldwork, if you are not insured by a national scheme in the host country. These insurances are helpful if you have any trouble or accident in other countries and need to have quick transport home (which the university may not pay).

This is a short walkthrough.

Page 1:

1. Personal details

  • If you receive a salary, please tick application for approval of "business trip".
  • If you receive a scholarship, please tick "no-employee" (Externe) and choose employed as "Stipendiat/In". 
  • Fill out the entire place of employment with name and address. Also indicate your home address and mobile phone no if you are not employed at GEAS.

2. Travel details

  • Note that the travel details may differ from the details you need to fill in the section "Work at business location". You have to fill out both details. Travel details are the dates of dearture and arrival. "Work at business location" is the start date/time and end date/time of the conference/event/fieldwork start.
  • You are allowed by the Federal Travel Expense Act to combine your stay with a private stay of 5 work days (weekends not included). These have to be indicated in the "private stay" field.
  • Please specify the "reason for traveling" with the reason (paper presentation/panel organization/fieldwork) and the name of the event/conference or summer school, or fieldwork site.

3. Means of transportation

Please use the cheapest means possible (train, bus, shared car), but also help save the environment. You are of course allowed to use an airplane if you are travelling within Europe or abroad, but please note that FU has declared a climate emergency, and essential travels within 1000km should be conducted by other means than airplane, if possible. You will always need to state a reason for plane use, i.e. "overseas travel/long-distance flight".

4.Travel expenses

  • In general, please tick the field X travel allowance. If the conference or workshop organizer provides for your accommodation or travel, indicate this in the field X third party funding
  • For fieldwork flights, please tick the field "travel costs are partially waived" for  X daily allowance. Daily allowances (living costs) are usually not granted for no-employees on fieldwork with scholarships or if they are living on site. Salaried employees on secondment with full salary may also not receive allowances. You can always waive the daily allowances for conference travel in case you want to save the money.
  • You can choose to waive other costs as well, if you want to use your budget carefully and would like to waive expenses for X accommodation or  X travel if you are not applying for the reimbursement of either position.
  • Caution: If a conference or workshop organizer provides for your accommodation or travel, do not tick the waiver of respective travel or accommodation costs. You are not waiving the costs, someone else just pays for them.
  • Please also indicate the estimated costs in the last field below.

5. Teaching

Please tick the left box for non-teaching obligations. Or the right box in case you have teaching obligations.

Below part left:

Please do not forget to sign the sheet after printing it out or use digital handwriting.

Below part right:

This part will be filled out by GEAS or the person responsible for funding, as well as the head of department. 

Page 2:

Please do not forget to fill in your name and GEAS (office) address (not your home address). 

The rest of the sheet will be filled out by the head of department. 

Please always try to book accommodation or tickets with a flexible or at least partly refundable/rebooking option (with fees). The university is unlikely to pay for travels that have not taken place, but supports the fees for rebooking/refunds if the travel was considered necessary.

To make sure you are safe, it is best to take out travel insurance for travels before the travels. The insurance provider will pay most of the expenses if you get sick and will also ensure your safe transport back home.

If you want to be sure to get your money back when cancelling non-refundable things, take out cancellation insurance (Reiserücktrittskostenversicherung). Some travel insurance packages come with this as well.

The respective department (in most cases the Department of History and Cultural Studies) will fill out the rest of page 2 of your application form and send it back to your address here at GEAS. If you have filled out page 1 correctly, your travel will be approved. You will find it in your mailbox in the post room or receive a mail from the office. Keep the approval for later reimbursement.

If approved, you can go on and travel in the form you have applied for.

Please keep all invoices, boarding cards, train tickets, bills (except for food and drinks). Please ask for receipts if necessary.

It is possible to apply for an advance payment of your travel expenses of up to 80% before traveling. This includes travel expenses and conference fees and other expenses. Accommodation cannot be included in the prepayment.

We recommend applying any time for advance payment if your travel exceeds EUR 200 (!)

The application is in German only. Please submit the form with a copy of your travel approval to the GEAS office.

If you are invited to travel with Erasmus, please make sure to take out health insurance (Reisekrankenversicherung) in advance.

In addition, with Erasmus travels, you should only book your travel after the travel has been approved by the department. If you book after approval, Erasmus may be able to take over the cancellation costs. If you have booked the trip before approval and it cannot take place or will be cancelled, you will not receive any reimbursement.

Also note that Erasmus is liable to taxes: if you are a salaried fellow, the travel has to be filed in your income tax.

If you receive a salary and are an employee, your travel is covered by the university accident insurance.

This is not the case for other insurances, in particular travel and health insurances

When travelling within the European Union, your EU insurance card is not enough to prove your social security if an accident occurs. For travels to Europe, and all other EEA countries and Switzerland, Freie Universität Berlin employees who are conducting business travel must apply and carry with them the A1 certificate (the official German name is “Bescheinigung über die anzuwendenden Rechtsvorschriften – A1”), regardless of how long the business trip lasts.

This means that immediately after your travel is approved, please request the A1 certificate at the Personnel Division. Download the A1 info sheet or ask our office for more info.

Salaried employees who want to travel or do research stays for more than 6 weeks need approval for secondment from the travel department and personnel office. You will need to sign a secondment contract before the travel if you want to travel while still receiving your salary. Should you want to pause your salary, please also indicate this in the paperwork.

First step: Please prepare the following papers at least 2 months before the research trip:

  1. A letter indicating why the research stay is necessary, a research proposal and a time schedule for your research stay
  2. A copy of the invitation letter by the partner university including the length of the research stay
  3. A letter of support by the project supervisor ("Fachvorgesetzter")
  4. Application form for travel approval for the research stay
  5. Take out (health) travel insurance for the entire stay (this can sometimes be submitted later)

Second step: Please let your office manager/secretary check all papers, and submit them (or a copy of all these papers) to your Home Department (HR officer/ Fachbereich). The Head of Department (Verwaltungsleitung) has to issue an approving statement.

(Sometimes it is better to inform both your Home Department and Central Personnel Division at the same time (by phone or mail) that you are going to apply for secondment. Let us know if you need help in German)

After receiving the approval statement from the Head of Department, please submit all aforementioned documents (and the Department's approval) to the Travel Department (IA RK) for travel approval.

The travel department and personnel division will then screen the application and prepare a secondment contract. This can take about 4-6 weeks. You will need to sign the secondment contract personally before travel - please do not travel before having signed the secondment contract and receiving travel approval.