Survey Manual

205.2 - Travel Delegations


OPR: Office of Accounting and Financial Management

Date: 07/16/19

Instruction: This Survey Manual (SM) chapter and Appendix A replace the May 6, 2016 issuance of this policy.


1.  Purpose. This SM chapter redelegates authority necessary to carry out travel delegations at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Appendix A to this SM chapter redelegates the USGS Director’s travel authority to other officials at various levels within the bureau. 


2.  Scope. This SM chapter applies to USGS employees, volunteers, invitational travelers and student services contractors.


3.  Authority

A.  205 Departmental Manual (DM) 15. The Secretary, Department of the Interior (DOI), delegates travel management authority to the Assistant Secretary, Water and Science.

B.  220 DM 10. Travel management authority is redelegated by the Assistant Secretary, Water and Science to the USGS Director. 


4.  Policy. Authorization for travel will be limited to travel essential to the transaction of the USGS mission in the most effective and economical manner. Authorizing officials must take into consideration the need for travel and use of travel substitutes (e.g., audio- and video-conferencing, cyber seminars, etc.). The authorities included in this SM chapter are being delegated to the lowest common level practicable and may not be redelegated. Managers and supervisors do not relinquish the power to exercise the authority being delegated to their subordinates. General provisions regarding policy and limitations on delegations are established in SM 200.1, Delegations, and general provisions regarding policy and guidelines on redelegations are established in SM 200.2, Redelegations.


5.  Definitions.

A.  Authorizing Official. Unless otherwise specified in Appendix A, the authorizing official is generally the supervisor.

B.  Temporary Duty Travel (TDT) Authorization. Issue trip-by-trip TDT authorizations for travel within the United States for the travel of employees, experts, consultants, student services contractors (authorized in the DOI appropriations language), interviewees, and persons serving without compensation [205 DM 15.5A(1)]. 

(1)  A TDT authorization must be used for all international, training, and conference travel.

C.  Temporary Duty Limited (TDL) Open Authorization. Issue TDL open travel authorizations to employees who are required to perform frequent and repeated travel within a geographic area within the continental United States [205 DM 15.5A(3)].


6.  Responsibilities.

A.  Authorizing Officials.

(1)  Ensure the travel authorization shows all the required expenses needed for the trip.

(2)  Approve the travel authorization prior to the trip start date of the traveler. 

(3)  Ensure all amounts and claims on each travel voucher they approve are correct and valid before approving the voucher. Travel arrangers nor reviewers will be held responsible for invalid claims.

(4)  Log in to the travel system to stamp their employee’s travel authorizations and vouchers as Approved. It is not acceptable for approvers to give out their username and password to administrative staff or secretaries, to stamp documents approved for them.

B.  Travelers (including volunteers, invitational, and student services contractors).

(1)  Ensure their travel authorization is electronically approved in the travel system prior to leaving for the trip, regardless if they use a travel arranger to book their trip and do their travel authorization. 

(2)  Ensure the voucher is submitted within 5 days and all information and claims are true and correct before signing their travel voucher.

(3)  Travelers are required to log in to the travel system, review their voucher for accuracy and stamp their own vouchers as signed.


7.  General Procedures. Internal guidance is available to USGS employees. Contact the Office of Accounting and Financial Management.


8.  Expiration Date. This SM chapter must be reviewed biennially, or more frequently, as needed.


For additional assistance with this file, contact:



/s/ Katherine M. McCulloch                                                           July 17, 2019

_____________________________________                            ___________

Katherine M. McCulloch                                                                Date

Associate Director for Administration