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 Department of State Standardized Regulations   - (Last updated 5/22/2011)
 

240 FOREIGN TRANSFER ALLOWANCE (Last updated 5/22/2011)

 

241 Description

 

241.1 Definitions

 

a. "Foreign transfer allowance" means an allowance under 5 U.S.C. 5924(2)(A) for extraordinary, necessary and reasonable expenses, not otherwise compensated for, incurred by an employee incident to establishing him or herself at any post of assignment in a foreign area, including costs incurred in the United States, its territories, possessions, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands prior to departure for such post.

 

b. "Transfer" in Section 240 means an appointment, assignment, reassignment, or transfer that involves travel on the part of an employee from one foreign post to another or from a place listed in Section 242.2b, to a post listed in Section 920.  (See Section. 242.6)

 

c. "United States", for the purposes of this section, means the several States of the United States of America, including Alaska and Hawaii, the District of Columbia, its territories or possessions, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

 

241.2 Scope (interim eff. 7/5/2009 TL:SR 711; final eff. 8/30/2009 TL:SR 715)

 

The foreign transfer allowance is composed of four elements:

 

a. a lump sum miscellaneous expense portion to assist with certain extraordinary costs.  The following and similar types of extraordinary costs may be reimbursed with this allowance provided they are deemed to be reasonable and necessary in the individual case:

 

(1) disconnecting and connecting appliances, equipment and utilities;

 

(2) converting household equipment and appliances for operation on available utilities (including necessary power transformers);

 

(3) cutting and fitting rugs, draperies and curtains moved from one residence to another---not cost of new rugs, etc.;

 

(4) utility fees or contract deposits that are not offset by eventual refunds;

 

(5) automobile registration, driver's license and similar fees;

 

(6) personal cable and telephone costs attributable to the relocation of the employee and his/her family exclusive of such costs relating to travel and hotel arrangements intended to be reimbursed by per diem to which the employee is entitled.

 

(7) shipment and/or required quarantine of pet(s);

 

(8) removal or re-installation of catalytic converter;

 

(9) required removal or installation by host country law of automobile parts (such as tinted windows or special lights);

 

(10) Agent fees incurred for living quarters in a foreign area that are not offset by an eventual refund provided the fees were not authorized as an allowable Living Quarters Allowance expense under Sections 113.3c and 131.2(4).

 

Types of costs not covered include the following:

 

(1) losses in selling or buying real and personal property and costs of items related to such transactions;

 

(2) costs which are reimbursed under other provisions of these regulations or under any other regulations or under provisions of any statute;

 

(3) additional costs of moving household goods caused by exceeding the maximum weight limitation for which the employee has eligibility as provided by law or in regulations;

 

(4) costs of newly acquired items such as the purchase or installation costs of new rugs or draperies;

 

(5) higher income, real estate, sales, or other taxes as the result of establishing residence in the new post;

 

(6) fines imposed for traffic infractions while en route to the new post;

 

(7) accident insurance premiums or liability costs incurred in connection with travel to the new post, or any other liability imposed upon the employee for uninsured damages caused by accidents for which the employee or a family member is held responsible (interim eff. 7/5/2009 TL:SR 711; final eff. 8/30/2009 TL:SR 715);

 

(8) losses as the result of the sales or disposal of items or personal property not considered convenient or practicable to move;

 

(9) damage or loss of clothing, luggage or other personal effects while traveling to the new post;

 

(10) subsistence, transportation or mileage expenses in excess of the amounts reimbursed as per diem or other allowances under pertinent regulations;

 

(11) medical expenses due to illness or injury of the employee or a member of family while en route to the new post;

 

(12) costs incurred in connection with structural alterations; remodeling or modernizing of living quarters, garages or other buildings, to accommodate privately owned automobiles, appliances or equipment or the cost of replacing or repairing worn-out or defective appliances or equipment shipped to the new post;

 

(13) additional insurance on household goods while in transit to the new post.

 

b. a lump sum wardrobe expense portion.  For this portion, posts are grouped into three zones according to climate, and employees into three family sizes.  The flat rates provided for in this portion are intended to offset a part of the wardrobe cost of two zone transfers only, from zones 1 to 3 or 3 to 1.

 

c. a predeparture subsistence expense portion applicable to lodging, meals (including tips), laundry, cleaning and pressing expenses in temporary quarters for employee and each member of family for up to 10 days before final departure from a post in the United States to a post in a foreign area, beginning not more than 30 days after they have vacated residence quarters.  Expense of local transportation is not allowable.

 

d. a lease penalty expense portion to assist employees departing either the U.S. or foreign area to help offset the expense of unavoidable lease penalties in the U.S. or a foreign area for the early termination of a residence quarters lease due to transfer required by a Federal agency.

 

242 Amounts (eff. 5/22/2011 TL:SR 760)

 

242.1 Miscellaneous Expense Portion

 

a. The following amounts may be granted without receipts or itemizing required:

 

*(1) for an employee without family - $650 or the equivalent of one week's pay, whichever is the lesser amount;

 

*(2) for an employee with family - $1,300 or the equivalent of two weeks' pay, whichever is the lesser amount.

 

b. The following amounts, based on the employee's salary at the time of entrance on duty at the new post, may be granted in lieu of the amounts provided in Section 242.1a, if supported by either paid bills or other acceptable evidence justifying the amounts claimed:

 

(1) for an employee without family - an amount based on actual allowable itemized expenditures not to exceed one week's salary for the employee or one week's salary for an employee at GS-13, step 10, whichever is the lesser amount;

 

(2) for an employee with family - an amount based on actual allowable itemized expenditures not to exceed two week's salary for the employee or two weeks' salary for an employee at GS-13, step 10, whichever is the lesser amount.

 

242.2 Wardrobe Portion

 

a. Transfer Between Foreign Posts

 

The amount of the wardrobe portion of the foreign transfer allowance granted to an employee shall be determined by the zone classification of the respective posts to which and from which the employee is transferred that are in effect on the date of arrival at the new post and by family size.  Receipts for wardrobe expenses are not required and such receipts may not be submitted to support any claim for miscellaneous expenses.

 

b. Transfer Between the United States or Other Specified Places and Foreign Areas

 

Places listed below shall be considered to be classified as indicated for the purpose of determining the amount of the wardrobe portion of the transfer allowance payable to an employee who is transferred from one of these places to a post listed in Section 920.

 

ALASKA..........................................ZONE 1

COMMONWEALTH OF PUERTO RICO.....................ZONE 3

COMMONWEALTH OF THE NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS....ZONE 3

CONTERMINOUS UNITED STATES......................ZONE 2

HAWAII..........................................ZONE 2

PACIFIC ISLAND POSSESSIONS OF THE UNITED STATES.ZONE 3

VIRGIN ISLANDS OF THE UNITED STATES.............ZONE 3

 

*

Size of Family

 

Two Zone Transfer

 

Zone 1 to 3 or 3 to 1

 

 Employee without family

 

 Employee and one member of family

 

 Employee and more than one member of family

$600

 

$1000

 

$1300

 

242.3 Predeparture Subsistence Expense Portion (interim eff. 7/5/2009 TL:SR 711; final eff. 8/30/2009 TL:SR 715)

 

The amount of predeparture subsistence expense granted to an employee for expenses in departing a post in the United States for a post in a foreign area shall be determined according to the maximum per diem rate for the U.S. locality from which transferred and according to family status, except that lodging tax incurred as predeparture lodging expense shall not be included in the amount of lodging expense subject to the maximum per diem rate cap but may be reimbursed separately.  Agencies may choose either the Partial Flat Rate Method described at “a.” or the Total Actual Subsistence Method of reimbursement to employees at “b.”.

 

Agencies may offer either method under “a.” or “b.” as follow:

 

a. Partial Flat Rate Method.  Agencies may allow employees to be reimbursed an actual lodging amount (excluding lodging tax) up to the lodging portion of the per diem of the locality from which transferred and a flat amount equal to the meal and incidental expense (M&IE) portion of the per diem according to the formula below.  In addition to this amount, agencies may allow for employees to be reimbursed separately for taxes imposed on actual lodging expenses.  Receipts are required for only lodging if this method is followed.

 

For the initial occupant, whether employee or family member age 12 or over, a daily lodging amount not in excess of the published lodging portion of the per diem rate for the locality from which transferred and a flat amount equal to the meal and incidental expense portion of the referenced per diem rate to defray costs for meals, laundry and dry cleaning.

 

For each additional occupant, whether employee or family member age 12 or over, a daily lodging amount not in excess of 75% of the published lodging portion of the per diem rate for the locality from which transferred and a flat amount equal to 75% of the meal and incidental expense portion of the referenced per diem rate to defray costs for meals, laundry and dry cleaning.

 

For each family member occupant under age 12, a daily lodging amount not in excess of 50% of the published lodging portion of the per diem rate for the locality from which transferred and a flat amount equal to 50% of the meal and incidental expense portion of the referenced per diem rate to defray costs for meals, laundry and dry cleaning. 


 

Example of the Partial Flat Rate Method:  If Per diem for U.S. post of assignment is $204 (Lodging portion $153; M&IE portion $51), allowable amounts for employee and each family member are as follow:

 

                                                    Lodging              Flat Rate

                                                    Maximum              Portion

       Initial Occupant (Empl. or Fam. Member 12 & over)

         (100% of each portion)                     $153.00              $51.00

       Each Add’l Occupant (12 & over)

         (75% of each portion)                      $114.75              $38.25

       Each Add’l Occupant (under 12)

         (50% of each portion)                      $ 76.50              $25.50

 

If family consists of employee, spouse or domestic partner, one child 15 and one child 10, maximum up to the lodging limit would be $459 per day.  Flat rate for family per day would be $153.  Tax on lodging is reimbursed separately.

 

b. Total Actual Subsistence Method.  Agencies may also allow only reimbursement for documented costs based on the maximum per diem (no breakdown between commercial lodging and meal and incidental expense portions for this type of calculation) according to the formula below.  Receipts are required for commercial lodging and a certified statement (without receipts) is required for daily meals, laundry and dry cleaning.  Lodging tax may be reimbursed separately.  No reimbursement is allowed for non-commercial lodging other than for daily meals, laundry and dry cleaning. (See Section 960 FTA Worksheet)

 

For the initial occupant, whether employee or family member age 12 or over, a daily amount not in excess of the published maximum per diem rate for the locality from which transferred.

 

For each additional occupant, whether employee or family member age 12 or over, a daily amount not in excess of 75% of the published per diem rate for the locality from which transferred.

 

For each family member occupant under age 12, a daily amount not in excess of 50% of the published per diem rate for the locality from which transferred.

 

Example of the Total Actual Subsistence Method:  If per diem for U.S. post of assignment is $204 (no breakdown between Lodging and M&IE for this calculation), maximum allowances for employee and each family member are as follow:

 

                                             Maximum rate based on U.S. post

                                             of assignment rate

 

       Initial occupant (Empl. or Fam. Member 12 & over)

          (100% of per diem)                               $204.00

       Each Add’l occupant (12 and over)

          (75% of per diem)                                $153.00

       Each Add’l occupant (under 12)

          (50% of per diem)                                $102.00

 

If family consists of employee, spouse or domestic partner, one child 15 and one child 10, reimbursement will be totally on actual documented expenses up to a maximum of $612 per day.  Tax on lodging is reimbursed separately.

 

 

c.  The ten days may be anywhere in the U.S. (calculated using the per diem rate of the U.S. post of assignment) as long as employee or family members have not begun travel on orders and final departure is from the U.S. post of assignment.  If in an agency’s judgment unusual circumstances cause an employee or family member to be unable to travel to the foreign post of assignment within the ten day limit, the agency may permit additional days beyond the ten allowed.  (One example of a reason to approve beyond the ten days may be if employee submitted application for passport/visa in a timely manner and still did not receive documents in time to proceed to the foreign area.)

 

Rates of per diem are published in the following regulations:

 

1. Conterminous/Continental United States (CONUS) (48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia):  Appendix A to Chapter 301 of the Federal Travel Regulation. Internet site: http://www.gsa.gov/perdiem2. Non-foreign areas (Alaska, Hawaii, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and territories and possessions of the United States): Department of Defense Joint Travel Regulations, Volume II, Appendix A.  These rates are also included in Civilian Personnel Per Diem Bulletins issued by the Department of Defense and published in Section 925 of these regulations. Internet site: http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/perdiem.cfm

 

242.4 Lease Penalty Expense Portion

 

This portion is to help offset the expense of a residence quarters lease penalty unavoidably incurred by an employee.  The amount of reimbursement shall not exceed the amount required by the specific terms of a rental contract signed by the employee as a prior condition of obtaining the lease, or the equivalent of three months’ rent, whichever is less.

 

Amounts as indicated above may be reimbursed only after an appropriate authorizing official of the employing agency certifies in writing that:

 

a. the employee's transfer to a foreign post of assignment was due solely to actions by the employing agency and to unusual conditions fully beyond the control of the employee; and

 

b. the termination of the lease and departure of the employee did not result from any specific actions by the employee to seek a curtailment of the assignment for transfer or promotion; and

 

c. the employee was not negligent in promptly notifying the landlord of the intent to terminate the lease after receiving an official notice of transfer; and

 

d. all reasonable steps were taken by the employee to dispose of the residence quarters by sublease or assignment to others; and

 

e. both the employee and employing agency made reasonable efforts to avoid the full lease penalty by delaying the employee's transfer to a foreign post of assignment.

 

Note: The above statements “a” through “e” are included on Section 960 Foreign Transfer Allowance Worksheet.

 

242.5 Payment

 

A foreign transfer allowance granted under these regulations may be paid as a single payment at any time following the employee's arrival at post.  Should the employee arrive at the post in advance of the family, he/she may be paid the miscellaneous expense portion, the wardrobe portion, if applicable, and the subsistence expense portion, if applicable, provided for an employee without family.  The employee may, upon the arrival of his/her family, be paid the difference between the amount already paid and the allowance to which he/she is eligible by reason of family status.

 

242.6 Prohibitions

 

a. Regardless of other provisions in Section 240, an employee who is transferred from one post to another post for briefing, orientation, consultation, or other similar purpose, to be followed by further transfer to a third post within the area, may, upon arrival at the third post, be granted the allowance prescribed for a transfer between the first post and the third post only.

 

b. Employees eligible under their agencies' regulations for either a subsistence expense allowance or a miscellaneous allowance authorized by 5 U.S.C. 5724a (under the Federal Travel Regulation) are not eligible for a comparable subsistence expense portion or a comparable miscellaneous expense portion of the foreign transfer allowance as authorized by these regulations.

 

242.7 Transfer Allowance Payable to an Employee Whose Family is on Separate Maintenance Allowance

 

Where an employee arrives at a new foreign post, having been granted separate maintenance allowance on behalf of one or more family members, or arrives at the next subsequent post after termination of separate maintenance, the employee may be paid the applicable Foreign Transfer Allowance on behalf of self and/or family as shown below:

 

a. for the miscellaneous expense portion:

 

(1) at the "employee-with-family" rate when one or more family members move to the foreign post incident to the employee's official travel orders;

 

(2) at the "employee-without-family" rate when no family members move to the foreign post incident to the employee's official travel orders;

 

b. for the wardrobe expense portion:

 

(1)  the "employee-without-family" rate if the employee alone changes two zones and family members do not change zones;

 

(2) the "employee-without-family" rate if the employee does not change zones and only one of the employee's family members changes two zones;

 

(3) the "employee-and-one-family-member" rate if the employee changes two zones and only one of the employee's family members changes two zones;

 

(4) the "employee-and-one-family-member" rate if the employee does not change two zones and two or more family members change two zones;

 

(5) the "employee-and-more-than-one-family-member" rate if both the employee and two or more family members change two zones.

 

c. for the predeparture subsistence expense portion (only applicable when the employee was transferred from a post in the U.S.):

 

(1) at the "initial occupant" rate if the family remains in the U.S.;

 

(2) at the applicable "family" rate if the family moves to a location outside the U.S., having incurred subsistence expenses in the U.S. in the process (applicable only when a foreign area has been officially designated for Involuntary SMA).

 

242.8 Special Rules - Married Couple Employee or Domestic Partnership Employee (interim eff. 7/5/2009 TL:SR 711; final eff. 8/30/2009 TL:SR 715)

 

The miscellaneous expense portion "with family" rate may be granted to either eligible married couple employee or domestic partnership employee (both civilian employees of the U.S. Government) or each may be granted the employee "without family" rate.  If there are additional members of family, one employee may be granted the "with family" rate and the other the "without family" rate.  However, for grants above the non-receipt amounts, the same expenditures may not be utilized by both employees.

 

For the wardrobe portion, (if applicable), the "employee and more than one member of family" rate or the "employee and one member of family" rate may be granted to either employee where one or more members of family exist, as appropriate.  In this instance, neither employee is considered to be a "member of family" (Section 040m).  The employee, not granted a family rate, may be granted the "employee without family" rate.

 

For the predeparture subsistence expense portion, each employee may be granted the "initial occupant" rate.  One of the employees may be granted applicable amounts for any additional family members (excluding spouse or domestic partner).  Alternatively, the employees may agree to consider one spouse or domestic partner as a family member only.

 

For the lease penalty expense portion, only one of the employees at the same post may be reimbursed for an unavoidable lease penalty under section 242.4.

 

 

243 Advance of Funds for Foreign Transfer Allowance

 

An advance of funds may be made for the foreign transfer allowance through the authorized disbursing officer.  The amount of such advance shall not exceed the maximum rate of the wardrobe portion, (if applicable), the non-receipt amounts of the miscellaneous expense portion, the amount of unavoidable residence quarters lease penalty authorized, and the maximum rate of the predeparture subsistence expense portion (if applicable) of the foreign transfer allowance authorized in accordance with Section 242.

 

244 Condition Requiring Refund

 

An advance of funds not subsequently covered by a grant of the foreign transfer allowance shall be refunded by the employee to the agency.

 

245 Employees Assigned to a Post Which is Under Ordered/Authorized Departure Order

 

Unless otherwise directed by the head of agency, employees or family members unable to proceed to a post due to ordered or authorized departure status of the post qualify for benefits equivalent to those provided by Chapter 600 of the Standardized Regulations when the following criteria are met:

 

(1) transfer orders have been issued, and

 

(2) one of the following applies:

 

(a) HHE have been packed out and residence quarters have been vacated; or

 

(b) employee transferring from a post in the U.S. has an irrevocable contractual agreement for lease or sale of residence quarters; or

 

(c) employee transferring from a foreign post with direct transfer orders (i.e. no home leave, or equivalent, prior to reporting to new foreign post) is required by post to vacate residence quarters, and

 

(3) on the date of the ordered/authorized departure order the employee is within 60 days of scheduled departure directly to the new post of assignment.

 

245.1 Limitations

 

Limitations of benefits provided in Chapter 600 of the Standardized Regulations also apply.

 

245.2 Processing Claims

 

Each agency may establish procedures for processing claims and payments without respect to requirements elsewhere to use SF-1190.