Travel Guidelines

Information and guidelines for arranging your travel and getting reimbursed when you have been invited to attend a GBIF event.

Copenhagen III by Hannes Flo via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

These guidelines come into effect after a traveler has been deemed eligible for reimbursement for travel costs by the GBIF Secretariat. Eligibility for reimbursement is covered elsewhere. In general, GBIF may fully or partially compensate for airplane or train ticket, hotel costs, per diem.

The travel invitation from the GBIF Secretariat details which expenses are eligible for reimbursement and implementing mechanisms. The signed travel authorization is a contract between GBIF and the traveler and must be followed for reimbursement. This documents general travel guidelines which are detailed in, or superseded by, the travel invitation.

  1. GBIF compensates travelers after travel is completed as outlined below; however, if permitted and described in the travel invitation, the traveler may request that GBIF or its designated travel agency book and pay the airfare and/or accommodation expenses directly. This request must be made at the time of travel booking and be detailed in the signed travel authorization.

  2. GBIF may put parameters, such as booking time window, travel destination constraints, or partial reimbursement on GBIF supported travel. This will be detailed in the invitation letter and included in a signed travel authorization which is the binding documentation.

    General Travel Rules for all Travel Types

  3. In all cases, individuals will either have received a letter (or e-mail) of invitation, or a notification for a meeting from the GBIF Secretariat. All individuals must also submit electronically a GBIF travel authorization and agreement form, and have received an electronic confirmation of authorization back from the Secretariat in order to be eligible for reimbursement. The form may be specific to a GBIF event.

  4. GBIF generally pays per diem and hotel for invited participants to arrive on the day before the event and leave on the day following the event, if it is not convenient to start the return trip the same day as the training/meeting ends. Per diem will be calculated on the basis of the number of bed-nights. If no overnight stay is involved in the travel, the participant will be reimbursed as per receipt for direct expenses incurred, e.g. local transportation, as well as for any meals. Reimbursement for meals is limited to the percentages (see 6. below) of per diem rate for the relevant country. No general per diem is therefore claimable on one-day trips.

  5. If detailed in the invitation letter participants wish to extend their stays (for example, to include a Saturday evening) in order to get a cheaper airline ticket, GBIF will refund the extra hotel costs and per diem only if the total cost is cheaper than a travel arrangement limited to the duration of the event. Such longer stays require prior approval from GBIF and can only be covered if the participant can prove that the extra per diem and hotel costs were saved elsewhere, such as a cheaper flight fare.

  6. GBIF follows the official per diem rates announced by the Danish State and followed by the University of Copenhagen. The rates (dependent on the country in which the meeting/event takes place) are listed on the GBIF travel reimbursement form. The form entitled “Travel Reimbursement Form for Visitors” can be downloaded below.

  7. If any meal is included in the hotel price or provided for free as part of the event, the per diem rate will be reduced by 15% for breakfast, 30% for lunch and 30% for dinner.

  8. The Secretariat cannot pay for visa, vaccinations and travel insurance, and it highly recommends participants purchase travel insurance to cover sickness, loss of baggage, etc. If meetings are convened in a Schengen agreement area country (for more information on countries signed up to the Schengen agreement, see here), participants must ensure to have a valid travel health insurance for the period of traveling. Without a valid travel health insurance, travelers may be denied entry into the Schengen agreement area by the authorities. GBIF will assess on a case-by-case basis travel requests to travel international to obtain a Visa to enter the destination country. Requests must be made in response to the travel invitation.

  9. Normally each participant will make his/her own hotel and travel reservations for a training event, meeting etc. and pay the hotel bill as usual. If the Secretariat is not providing a specific hotel for the event, participants will be informed beforehand on the maximum hotel cost per day that the Secretariat will refund. Any amount over the announced rate will not be refunded.

  10. GBIF will only refund flight tickets at the level of economy class non-refundable fares (apex). If more expensive tickets are used, the participant may receive only a partial refund.

  11. If a participant wishes to combine the travel with other visits to other destinations, the Secretariat will have to be consulted as to the amount that the Secretariat can provide as a subsidy to the travel (typically the price of cheapest direct flight).

  12. GBIF does not reimburse extra costs that arise later from changing the flight schedule on behalf of the participant.

  13. If a participant has ordered a ticket but later for various reasons wishes to cancel participation in the meeting, GBIF will not refund the tickets. If the ticket was purchased directly by the Secretariat or its designated travel agency and we are unable to get a refund for the ticket, the traveler is responsible for reimbursing the Secretariat. GBIF highly recommends participants purchase travel insurance to unexpected events.

  14. Only in case of documented sickness (i.e. certified by a physician) that prevents participation will the Secretariat refund the cost of the ticket. The traveler must explain why travel insurance was not purchased.

  15. In the travel invitation letter GBIF will describe which costs are eligible for reimbursement. These may or may not include - dependent on the venue, size of the meeting etc. - either set a fixed lump-sum payment or will refund the cost of public transport or taxi between the participant’s lodging and the airport, and between the airport and the venue hotel. Other transportation expenses while at the training event, meeting etc. will not be covered (i.e., these are in principle included in the per diem).

  16. Instead of flying, travel by train or boat will be covered in 2nd class or similar. Instead of any of these, travel by passenger car may be covered at the rate announced by the Danish State and followed by the University of Copenhagen, but only if this is cheaper than other means of transportation, and if approved in advance by the Secretariat.

  17. Reimbursement should be claimed within one month, and no later than 2 months after returning from the GBIF event. As stated in paragraph 2 above, all visitors, observers, delegates, committee members and other participants at GBIF meetings and events must sign a GBIF travel authorization and agreement form, and receive authorization from GBIF before making travel arrangements. Please note that any claims submitted after two months after returning from the GBIF event will not be reimbursed by GBIF. When several people are traveling to the same event, GBIF will provide an Excel spreadsheet with the relevant per diem and other rates already entered. If no such spreadsheet is provided, then the reimbursement request form that is available from the GBIF web site should be used. Visitors should complete the form entitled “Travel Reimbursement Form for Visitors” which can be found below. The following items must accompany the reimbursement form:

    • Scanned or electronic version of the original flight ticket and receipt on which the total price of ticket is listed,
    • Scanned or electronic version of the stubs of boarding passes (if available),
    • Scanned or electronic version of the tickets or receipts for transportation between residence and airport and between airport and hotel (unless GBIF is providing a lump-sum payment for this amount),
    • Scanned or electronic version of the hotel bill,
    • Scanned or electronic copy of the letter of invitation and a scanned or electronic copy of the electronic travel authorization confirmation from the Secretariat (see point 2 above).
  18. Visitors are asked to carefully complete the form with full and correct banking information to facilitate the reimbursement from GBIF. Incomplete banking information may delay reimbursement and result in additional bank charges. GBIF reserves the right to deduct such charges from the final reimbursement made to visitors.

  19. The documents listed in paragraph 16 must be submitted to GBIF for reimbursement by e-mail to, according to the time-line given in paragraph 16.

  20. If the home organization/university of the participant has paid for the travel expenses, and not the participant himself/herself personally, please contact the GBIF Secretariat for procedures on reimbursement.

  21. For training events, GBIF will normally refund costs for only one trainee per Voting or Associate Participant.

  • The Head of Delegation or Node Manager should designate the person for the training, taking into account the prerequisites.
  • The designated person should register on the web site at least 3 weeks in advance. Be aware of the time needed to process a visa application.
  • If several sessions of a training event are offered in different parts of the world, trainees should in principle choose the event closest to their region or language, which results in the lowest cost/benefit ratio.
  • After registering, the trainee will receive an invitation letter via email.

All participants at GBIF events must adhere to the GBIF code of conduct for GBIF conferences, meetings and events.

Important files

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