I recently started doing a PhD and am soon going to my first conference as a PhD student. Its expenses (registration fee, accommodation and travel costs etc.) will be covered by my university.

I need to apply for a visa for the country the conference is in, which costs a significant amount of money (approximately 200$). Would it be appropriate to ask for a reimbursement also for this application fee?

Here is some more information that could be relevant:

  • Even though I wouldn't apply for this visa if I didn't go to the conference, the visa will be valid for 6 months, i.e. far beyond the dates of the conference, so I could theoretically use it also for private purposes.
  • There are some other PhD students who will go to the same conference and whose costs are also covered by the university, but I am the only one who needs a visa, so I am worried that this could sound like asking for "special treatment".
  • 2
    They may say "no", but it is not inappropriate to ask.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 21:50
  • 2
    Don't worry that it's "asking for special treatment", since the people previously "put you at a special disadvantage". Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 22:06

1 Answer 1


Most universities have detailed "travel policies" that describe their rules for allowable travel expenses. Try to find your university's policy; it may state explicitly whether or not visas are an allowable expense for reimbursement.

If you can't find the answer yourself, then it's certainly fine to ask whether this expense can be reimbursed. I don't think you need to worry about this being seen as "special treatment".

  • 1
    Thanks for the hint. My university seems to indeed have a guideline that clearly states that visa costs should be covered.
    – equ7eiS7
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 0:22

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