Global Travel Hero Image

CUNYfirst Travel & Expense



The Office of the State Comptroller sets rules and regulations for when employees travel on official State business; and provides instructions regarding reimbursement for expenses while in travel status.  When an employee travels on official state business, only actual, necessary and reasonable business expenses will be reimbursed.  

Travelers and supervisors are responsible for knowing these rules and regulations as outlined in the CUNY Travel Policy and State of New York Office of the State Comptroller Travel Manual.

Determining Travel Status

When employees are on assignment at a work location more than 35 miles from both their official work station and their home, they are considered in travel status and are eligible for reimbursement of travel expenses in accordance with State rules and regulations.

Employees must obtain appropriate approvals prior to traveling for an assignment.  (Refer to the CUNY Travel Policy and State of New York Office of the State Comptroller Travel Manual for rules regarding local travel or travel in proximity of official work station or home - i.e. under 35 miles).  



Gain Access to the CUNYfirst Travel & Expense Center

Use the CUNYfirst Travel & Expenses User Access Request form to gain and/or change access to the CUNYfirst Travel and Expense Center; where employees can create and submit Travel Authorizations and Travel & Expense (T&E) reimbursement requests.

Proxies/Delegates must submit their own SEPARATE CUNYfirst Travel & Expenses User Access Request forms to gain access to the CUNYfirst Travel and Expense Center.

Supervisors/Department Budget Approvers MUST also submit the CUNYfirst Travel & Expenses User Access Request form to gain access to the CUNYfirst Travel & Expense Center; in order to review and approve Travel Authorizaions and T&E reimbursement requests, submitted by employees.

Security access is a one-time request.

Forward completed forms to Accounts Payable, located in Wingate Hall, Room 112.

Apply for CUNY Travel Card

CUNY participates in the New York State procurement card program and issues Travel cards (T-cards) to cover employee travel related expenses, such as conference registration fees, local transportation, airfares, lodging (up to the GSA maximum per diem).

Tax levy employees who wish to obtain a travel card may only use the card for their OWN tax levy expenses related to travel.

After gaining access to the CUNYfirst Travel & Expense Center, complete the NYS Citibank Procurement Card Acknowledgement/Application to apply for a CUNY Travel Card.

Forward completed applications to Accounts Payable located in Wingate Hall, Room 112.

Possession of a state issued travel card is a requirement to gain access to CONCUR, the NYS approved online travel reservation system.

Register with CONCUR

CONCUR is the Online Travel Reservation System offered by Direct Travel, the NYS approved travel agent. CONCUR ensures an easy booking process for all NYS travelers; including government rates, when available, for flights, hotels and car rentals, as well as agent-assisted reservations.

Additionally, you can use CONCUR to obtain accurate estimates when preparing CUNYfirst Travel Authorizations.

To set up your account visit:

Please refer to the following resource:


Per Diem Lodging & Meal Allowance

Refer to the following resources to determine per diem allowances for lodging (excluding taxes), meals and incidental expenses, when completing CUNYfirst travel authorizations and expense reports:

Per NYS Travel guidelines, lodging costs that exceed the stated per diem rates must be requested in writing and approved by the Fiscal Officer.

It is strongly recommended, for the sake of simplicity, that employees DO NOT charge meals to the Travel Card. Employees are entitled to established per diem meal and incidentals allowances during overnight trips, based on travel location.

Use the above referenced federal government links to search national and international travel locations for meals and incidentals allowances to determine and claim "per diems" on travel authorizations and expense reports. Travelers may claim 80% of these amounts for dinner and 20% for breakfast; (lunch is not reimbursable under State policy). Receipts for meals are not required when using this method to claim reimbursement.

Create a CUNYfirst Travel Authorization

ALL travel must be approved in advance of purchasing any tickets and/or making travel arrangements. Travel Authorizations ensure that travel requests meet a business purpose and that budget is available and set aside for the trip.

Use CONCUR to provide accurate estimates when preparing CUNYfirst Travel Authorizations.

If you have a travel card, upon approval of the travel authorization, email Accounts Payable with the travel authorization number to inform card administrators to appropriately fund your travel card according to the travel dates and approved amounts.

Refer to the following resources for CUNYfirst navigation:

CUNYfirst has a feature that allows users to "copy" travel authorizations when creating CUNYfirst expense reports. Thus, the preparation that is put into creating a CUNYfirst travel authorization will save time and work when creating an expense report, upon your return.

Make Travel Arrangements

University policy requires that all business travel must be booked through CUNY CONCUR using a New York State issued Travel or NET card. CONCUR is the online travel reservation system approved for use by NYS. Employees are prompted to enter their CUNYfirst Travel Authorization ID in CONCUR prior to booking travel arrangements:


Transaction Fees for Airline and Rail Reservations/ Fee Amount per Ticket
CONCUR Airline Transaction Fee $4.95
CONCUR Rail Transaction Fee $4.95
Agent Assisted Airline Transaction Fee $14.95
Agent Assisted Rail Transaction Fee $14.95
Emergency/After Hours Call Transaction Fee FREE


Employees must bear in mind their responsibility to secure the most economical method of travel in the best interest of the State.



Review My Wallet Transactions

My Wallet is a feature of the Travel & Expense module in CUNYfirst available to all Travel Card holders enabling travel card transactions received from Citibank to be loaded directly into the CUNYfirst Travel and Expense module.

Review and change My Wallet Expense Type entries from "VISA transaction" to the appropriate Expense Type for the transaction (e.g. PSC Taxi/Car Service, Non-PSC Train Ticket, etc.) by selecting from a drop-down menu; and then use the "Expenses from My Wallet" selection to move the transactions when completing your CUNYfirst expense report:

Create a CUNYfirst Travel & Expense Report

Upon return employees are required to submit CUNYfirst expense reports within 5 days of the end of the travel event.  Expense reports must be submitted for all charges whether or not out-of-pocket expenses were incurred, including Travel Card transactions, employee reimbursable and non-reimbursable expenses.  

Travel and Expense Reports should be created by using the CUNYfirst feature to "copy" from an approved Travel Authorization in CUNYfirst.  When Travel Authorizations are copied to an Expense Report in CUNYfirst make sure that the estimated "TCard" entries from the Travel Authorization are deleted from the Expense Report; and replaced with the actual transactions from "My Wallet."

Only actual, reasonable and necessary business-related expenses will be reimbursed and such expenses must be properly documented and justified on the Expense Report:

The NYS Office of the State Comptroller necessitates a “complete picture” of each employee travel event and requires documentation of every aspect and component of a trip, regardless as to whether the employee is seeking reimbursement:

Five Components of Travel:
  1. Conference registration fees
  2. Ground transportation (conveyance to/from the carrier (e.g. taxi))
  3. Mode of transportation (e.g. airfare)
  4. Per diem for lodging
  5. Per diem for meals


Use the “Comments” area of the CUNYfirst Travel and Expense report to address and explain these various components of your travel event, including explanations of components for which you are not seeking reimbursement.



Travel Authorizations: 
Travel & Expense Reports:


Last Updated: 12/12/2022 10:07