Learn about Per Diem Rates

The Commonwealth has established basic and city-specific maximum per diem rates for meals and incidental expenses. Generally, a traveler will be reimbursed for meals and incidental expenses based on the location per diem and does not need to submit receipts for meals purchases out of pocket (except for previously approved Business Meals described below). Because the per diem rate is intended to cover the items listed below, they will not be reimbursed separately. Travelers are advised to budget their travel expenses accordingly.

Per Diem Rates Include:
  • Meals, including taxes and tips
  • Transportation to where meals are taken
  • Personal telephone calls
  • Laundry expenses
  • Tips to baggage handlers

Per Diem Rate Breakdown

Foreign Per Diem Rates

To View Foreign Per Diem Rates

  1. Go to U.S. Department of Sate site
  2. Select the desired country
  3. The data table will include foreign lodging and per diem rates

Contact the Travel Office for assistance with rates that apply to locations outside the United States.


Reimbursement requests for foreign lodging, meals and incidental expenses must be accompanied by documentation of the maximum allowable rates during the period of travel for the applicable foreign location(s). The documentation may be in the form of a printout of the applicable page(s) from the online rate tables.

The rates are updated monthly.

Travel Departure and Return Dates

On travel departure and return days, travelers automatically receive 75% of the per diem meal allowance plus the $5 incidental allowance, regardless of the time of departure or return. The return day allowance is based on the rate at the location where the traveler spent the night prior to returning to the home base.

No-Cost Meals

No-cost meals are those included in event registration fees. No-cost meals should be listed on the Travel Reimbursement Voucher. All “no-cost” meals, meals paid by others and meals included in the conference registration fee must be deducted from the Travel Reimbursement.

No – Cost Meals and Per Diem Rates

If a continental breakfast or reception is offered as part of the travel event and the food/timing is sufficient to serve as a meal, the traveler must deduct the per diem by the appropriate allowance amount.
Use individual meal components on the Meals & Incidental Expense (M+IE) Breakdown to assist you in calculating the deduction for these free meals.

Traveler with Medical Restrictions

If a meal is offered as part of a conference and the traveler has medical restrictions, the traveler should make every effort to have the conference facilitate his/her need by the deadline specified by the conference.

If the conference does not honor the request, the traveler is not required to deduct the applicable meal allowance for the per diem. However, the traveler must include a note or other documentation with the Travel Reimbursement Voucher documenting this information. This note may be entered in the comments section in the Travel Request System (TRS).

Business Meals in the Local Area

Generally, meal expenses must involve an overnight stay to qualify for reimbursement. An individual who is not in a travel status may be eligible for meal reimbursement if he/she participates in a business meal.

Business meals occurring in the local area or during overnight travel may be reimbursed if the conditions for business meals established in University Policy Number 2102, Food and Beverages Expenditures are satisfied.

Non-Mason guests must be present at the meal and bona fide business discussions must take place. A Food and Beverage Authorization must be approved prior to the meal expense and the orginal itemized receipt must be submitted when seeking reimbursement. For additional information on Business Meals please review the Food and Beverage Manual

Local Area Per Diem Maximums

Maximum rates are per person and include tax and tip

October 1, 2018 - September 30, 2019BreakfastLunchDinner
Washington Metro (Arlington, Fairfax)$27.00$28.50$51.00
Prince William County (SciTech)$19.50$21.00$34.50
Loudoun County$21.00$24.00$39
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