B-153103, JAN. 21, 1964

B-153103: Jan 21, 1964

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ARE REIMBURSABLE UNDER THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. IS SILENT AS TO ANY TRAVELING EXPENSES INCURRED IN PROCURING SUCH DOCUMENT. REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH THE AUTHORIZED TRAVEL OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES IS LIMITED TO THE EXPENSES SPECIFIED IN THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. WILL BE ALLOWED WHEN APPROVED.'. IS WHETHER TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO OBTAINING A VISA CAN BE CONSTRUED AS BEING EXPENSES NECESSARY TO THE TRANSACTION OF OFFICIAL BUSINESS. THE CLAIMANT WAS ORDERED TO TRAVEL FROM YOKOHAMA TO THE PHILIPPINES FOR THE PURPOSE OF CONDUCTING OFFICIAL BUSINESS. IN ORDER TO ENTER THE PHILIPPINES THE EMPLOYEE WAS REQUIRED TO HAVE A VISA.

B-153103, JAN. 21, 1964

TO MR. W. D. HEIMBROOK, DISBURSING OFFICER, MILITARY SEA TRANSPORTATION SERVICE, FAR EAST AREA, NAVY NO. 850:

ON DECEMBER 17, 1963, THE ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER, DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, FORWARDED TO US YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 5, 1963, SER: DO70 FE54, REQUESTING OUR ADVANCE DECISION WHETHER CERTAIN TRAVELING EXPENSES INCURRED BY MR. F. C. LIVESAY, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE MILITARY SEA TRANSPORTATION SERVICE, ARE REIMBURSABLE UNDER THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

THE CLAIMANT RECEIVED TEMPORARY ADDITIONAL DUTY ORDERS REQUIRING HIM TO TRAVEL FROM YOKOHAMA, JAPAN, TO SUBIC BAY, PHILIPPINE ISLANDS. PRIOR TO HIS DEPARTURE FROM YOKOHAMA, THE CLAIMANT TRAVELED VIA COMMERCIAL RAIL AND TAXI TO, FROM, AND WITHIN TOKYO, JAPAN, AT HIS OWN EXPENSE FOR THE PURPOSE OF OBTAINING THE NECESSARY VISA. THE CLAIMANT HAS REQUESTED REIMBURSEMENT OF THESE TRAVELING EXPENSES IN THE AMOUNT OF $3.27.

SECTION 10.4D OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AUTHORIZES REIMBURSEMENT OF VISA FEES, BUT IS SILENT AS TO ANY TRAVELING EXPENSES INCURRED IN PROCURING SUCH DOCUMENT.

IN MOST CASES, REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH THE AUTHORIZED TRAVEL OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES IS LIMITED TO THE EXPENSES SPECIFIED IN THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. HOWEVER, SECTION 10.5 PROVIDES THAT "MISCELLANEOUS EXPENDITURES, NOT ENUMERATED HEREIN, WHEN NECESSARILY INCURRED BY THE TRAVELER IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRANSACTION OF OFFICIAL BUSINESS, WILL BE ALLOWED WHEN APPROVED.' THE BASIC QUESTION, THEREFORE, IS WHETHER TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO OBTAINING A VISA CAN BE CONSTRUED AS BEING EXPENSES NECESSARY TO THE TRANSACTION OF OFFICIAL BUSINESS.

THE CLAIMANT WAS ORDERED TO TRAVEL FROM YOKOHAMA TO THE PHILIPPINES FOR THE PURPOSE OF CONDUCTING OFFICIAL BUSINESS. IN ORDER TO ENTER THE PHILIPPINES THE EMPLOYEE WAS REQUIRED TO HAVE A VISA. OBTAINING A VISA, THEREFORE, WAS A NECESSARY STEP TO THE PERFORMANCE OF THE EMPLOYEE'S OFFICIAL TRAVEL TO THE PHILIPPINES. IF IT WAS NECESSARY FOR THE CLAIMANT TO TRAVEL TO TOKYO TO OBTAIN THE VISA, IT IS REASONABLE TO CONCLUDE THAT SUCH TRAVEL AND THE EXPENSE RELATED THERETO WERE NECESSARY TO THE TRANSACTION OF OFFICIAL BUSINESS AND THEREFORE ALLOWABLE UNDER SECTION 10.5 OF THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS. HOWEVER, WE UNDERSTAND THAT IT IS NOT ALWAYS NECESSARY FOR ONE TO MAKE PERSONAL APPLICATION OR OTHERWISE APPEAR IN PERSON WHEN OBTAINING A VISA. THEREFORE, IT MUST BE ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT IT WAS NECESSARY FOR THE CLAIMANT IN THIS CASE TO APPEAR PERSONALLY BEFORE THE PHILIPPINE EMBASSY IN TOKYO IN ORDER TO OBTAIN HIS VISA AND THAT SAID VISA COULD NOT BE PROCURED THROUGH THE MAIL OR A MESSENGER SERVICE. IF SUCH A DETERMINATION CAN BE MADE, THE TRAVEL EXPENSES MAY BE ALLOWED, AND THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

THE COMPTROLLER OF THE NAVY HAS REQUESTED OUR DECISION WHETHER SECTION 4650.2-10 OF THE NAVY CIVILIAN PERSONNEL INSTRUCTIONS, WHICH CURRENTLY PROHIBITS REIMBURSEMENT FOR ANY TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED IN TRAVELING TO AND FROM A NAVAL INSTALLATION TO OBTAIN INOCULATIONS, MAY BE AMENDED TO AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT OF SUCH TRAVEL EXPENSES. SINCE THE ISSUE OF WHETHER TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO OBTAINING INOCULATIONS IS NOT INVOLVED IN THE PRESENT CASE, WE MAY NOT PROPERLY DECIDE SUCH A QUESTION AT THIS TIME.