NIH Policy for Foreign Travel on NIH Grants

Foreign travel is defined as any travel outside of Canada and the United States (U.S.) and its territories and possessions. However, for an organization located outside Canada and the U.S. and its territories and possessions, foreign travel means travel outside that country.

Please note: While Fogarty does not provide grants specifically for foreign travel, it may be possible to use grant funds to travel abroad as part of a larger NIH-funded research or training project.

What is U.S. flag air carrier service?

U.S. flag air carrier service is service provided on an air carrier that holds a certificate under 49 U.S.C. 41102, and is authorized either by the carrier's certificate, or by exemption or regulation. U.S. flag air carrier service also includes service provided under a code share agreement with a foreign air carrier in accordance with Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations when the ticket, or documentation for an electronic ticket, identifies the U.S. flag air carrier's designator code and flight number.

Grantees must comply with the requirement that U.S.-flag air carriers be used to the maximum extent possible when commercial air transportation is the means of travel between the U.S. and a foreign country, or between foreign countries. This requirement shall not be influenced by factors of cost, convenience, or personal travel preference.

In all cases, travel costs are limited to those allowed by formal organizational policy and, in the case of air travel, the lowest reasonable commercial airfares must be used. If the recipient organization has no formal travel policy, the Federal Travel Regulations issued by the U.S. General Services Administration, including maximum per diem and subsistence rates prescribed in those regulations, shall be used to determine the amount that may be charged for travel costs. For-profit grantees' allowable travel costs may not exceed those established by the Federal Travel Regulations. What exceptions apply to the Fly America Act requirements when I travel between the U.S. and another country?

The exceptions are: (a) If a U.S. flag air carrier offers nonstop or direct service (no aircraft change) from your origin to your destination, you must use the U.S. flag air carrier service unless such use would extend your travel time, including delay at origin, by 24 hours or more. (b) If a U.S. flag air carrier does not offer nonstop or direct service (no aircraft change) between your origin and your destination, you must use a U.S. flag air carrier on every portion of the route where it provides service unless, when compared to using a foreign air carrier, such use would:

  1. Increase the number of aircraft changes you must make outside of the U.S. by two or more; or
  2. Extend your travel time by at least six hours or more; or
  3. Require a connecting time of four hours or more at an overseas interchange point.

What exceptions apply to the Fly America Act requirements when I travel solely outside the U.S., and a U.S. flag air carrier provides service between my origin and my destination?


You must always use a U.S. flag carrier for such travel, unless, when compared to using a foreign air carrier, such use would:

  1. Increase the number of aircraft changes you must make en route by two or more; or
  2. Extend your travel time by six hours or more; or
  3. Require a connecting time of four hours or more at an overseas interchange point.

General Information

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