OpenMRS Travel and Expense Reimbursement Policy

OpenMRS Inc recognizes that its consultants, vendors and community members may travel from time to time to further its mission especially when less expensive alternatives, such as participation by telephone or video conferencing, are not feasible. 

There are two main categories of travel in OpenMRS: 

  • Community-Sponsored Travel (CST)
  • Community Technical Assistance and Support Service Travel (CTA)

Community-sponsored travel is meant to help those that would like to attend events (ie: conferences, hackathons) but are unable to do so for financial reasons. 

Community technical assistance and support service travel are those occasions when the community is asked to provide technical assistance and support for grant-funded activities and meetings.

Whether the travel is sponsored or support service in nature, it is OpenMRS’ policy to reimburse travelers for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred during the approved travel as long as they comply with existing policies. Occasionally, there may be exceptions to this travel policy. This will however be at the discretion of Inc’s Management.

OpenMRS Inc. will however not reimburse, compensate or indemnify any risk, expense or liability not explicitly identified and pre-approved. Any additional costs incurred or damages suffered, even unforeseen ones, will not be borne by OpenMRS Inc. Travelers are not covered by any insurance policy held by  OpenMRS Inc. 


  1. Review the event you want to attend and see which travel category it falls under: CST or CTA.
  2. If CST, complete a copy of the  Travel Grant Application Form and a copy of the Travel Information Form at least four weeks prior to travel date.
  3. If CTA,  complete a Statement of Work (SOW). Please use this template OpenMRS Travel Statement of Work. However, if you are traveling under TAP funding, please use this one. You will also need to fill in the Travel Information Form at least four weeks prior to the travel date.
  4. Send the completed forms to 
  5. Wait for a response from an OpenMRS Inc. representative. You will either be:
    1. Offered the travel opportunity
    2. Asked for more details, or
    3. Be informed  that your application was declined.
  6. Accept the offer by replying in the same email thread that informed you of the travel verdict.
  7. Plan your travel based on the information on the Travel Information Form.

Please note that the following content is under revision and subject to change


  1. Send the following documents as PDFs to preferably two (2) weeks after the event.
    1. Duly signed Travel Information Form
    2. Trip report
    3. Travel expense report
    4. Relevant original receipts
    5. Bank transfer information if OpenMRS does not already have  it on file.

Receipts are required for all allowable expenses. Scans and photos need to be cropped to show only the receipt. 

Travel reimbursement documents not submitted within the quarter will require exception approval from the Director of Operations or designee.

If you received a cash advance, you must repay OpenMRS for any advances in excess of the approved allowable expenses. 

Reimbursement Guidelines

Per Diem


  • Actual cost of lodging will be reimbursed when accompanied by a receipt. When the hotel is the conference or meeting site, reimbursement will be limited to the conference rate upon submission of valid receipts.  In other cases of hotel stays beyond approved rates, approval from the OpenMRS Director of Community will be needed  before booking the hotel. 


  • If a meal is included in a conference or meeting, the M&IE allowance for that meal may not be claimed.

Cash advances: These can be authorized for situations that might cause undue financial hardship for OpenMRS travelers. A maximum of 80 percent of the total estimated cost can be advanced. Travel advances are processed after submission and approval of relevant travel forms.





Economy tickets must be purchased for domestic or international flights. Book flights as early as possible in advance to avoid premium airfare pricing. 

Rail transportation

OpenMRS will prepay rail transportation provided that the cost does not exceed the cost of the least expensive airfare. 

Personal vehicles

A valid driver's license and personal automobile insurance are required for expenses to be reimbursed. Reimbursement for use of a personal automobile is based on the United States Government Service Administration (GSA) mileage rate.

A guide to the reimbursement rates is shown in the table below.

Mode of Transportation

Rate per Mile

Privately owned automobile

$0.655 USD


$0.635 USD


Rate per Mile

Standard mileage rates for moving purposes

$0.22 USD

Miscellaneous transportation

Original receipts are required for taxi, bus, subway, metro, ferry and other modes of transportation in the course of the OpenMRS travel.  Many hotels have courtesy cars, which can take you to and from the airport at no charge. Travelers should take advantage of this free service whenever possible. Another alternative may be a shuttle or bus.


Other expenses, including faxes, photocopies, internet charges, data ports and official telephone calls incurred while on travel status, can be reimbursed. Original itemized receipts are required. 

Visa, Passport Fees And Immunizations

If these items are required for international travel, their reimbursement is left to the discretion of the approver. If approved by the designated authority, original itemized receipts are required. 


Parking and toll expenses, including charges for hotel parking, incurred while traveling on Inc’s business will be reimbursed within limit. 

Vacation In Conjunction With Travel

In cases in which vacation time is added to an OpenMRS trip, any cost variance in airfare, car rental or lodging must be clearly identified on the Travel Information Form. OpenMRS Inc will not prepay any personal expenses with the intention of being "repaid" at a later time, nor will any personal expenses be reimbursed.

Travel For Family Members

Additional costs for travel, lodging, meal or other travel expenses for spouses or other family members will not be reimbursed unless the individual has an OpenMRS bona fide  purpose for engaging in the travel or attending the event. Such travel should occur infrequently.

Organization Credit Cards

Travel expenses incurred with Corporate Credit Card follow the same travel reimbursement guidelines with the exception of actually receiving the reimbursement. Once the approved travel form showing all purchases has been sent to, the Corporate Credit Card will be paid for those amounts. Failure to meet the expense report requirements, or making of inappropriate charges will result in loss of the credit card. 

If you are traveling on federally funded grants, additional restrictions may apply.  For more information, please see 14 FAM 560.


Expenses that are not allowable  include, but are not limited to:

  • Club memberships including spa or exercise charges.
  • Airline upgrades. 
  • Business class for domestic flights or first class for all flights. 
  • Child care, babysitting, house-sitting or pet-sitting/kennel charges. 
  • Costs incurred by traveler's failure to cancel travel or hotel reservations in a timely fashion. 
  • Evening or formal wear expenses. 
  • Haircuts and personal grooming. 
  • Laundry and dry cleaning.
  • Personal entertainment expenses, including in-flight movies, headsets, health club facilities, hotel pay-per-view movies, in-theater movies, social activities and related incidental costs. 
  • Travel accident insurance premiums or purchase of additional travel insurance. 
  • Conferences and entertainment which are not approved by the Director of  Operations or designee.
  • Other expenses not directly related to OpenMRS travel.

Overview of the Approval Process