Funded user travel

This section describes the travel regulations for the Funded Users who will come to do beamtime experiments at the European X-Ray Free-Electron Laser Facility (European XFEL). You can find the details of the regulations in the document below.

Before the Funded Users start travelling to European XFEL, they must read and follow the procedures and rules set out by European XFEL in order to be able to receive reimbursement for their travel expenses.

Application for travel funding is only possible by submitting an A-form in UPEX by the Main Proposer at least four weeks before the start of the experiment, with one application for each approved beam schedule.

All participants listed in the A-form receive an email containing the link to an electronic form in UPEX, the Personal Arrival Form. This form must be submitted at least 10 days before the start of the experiment. For more details please refer to the section on Registration of Experiment team (A-form) and Personal Arrival Form (PAF).

Depending on the need of the experiment, deviation from approved start and end dates for travel arrangements and accommodation can be granted subject to User Office (UO) approval. A total of four additional days before/after beamtime per each Funded User can be proposed.

Eligibility and number of Funded Users per proposal

Up to six users can be funded per proposal, selected among users affiliated with institutions located in shareholders and associate countries of European XFEL. The date of signature of the Convention concerning the Construction and Operation of a European X-Ray Free-Electron Laser Facility marks the start of user funding eligibility. Revisions in the number of Funded Users per proposal may be possible for budgetary reasons in the future.

Users affiliated to organizations in the Hamburg/Schenefeld area are not eligible for funding.

Funded Users' travel arrangements

Travel bookings

The European XFEL Travel Office (TO) supports bookings for airfare, train fare, and rental car (only with prior approval by TO).

Only in exceptional cases self-booking by the Funded Users can be made after prior approval by UO. Reimbursement can only be made if the invoices are issued to European XFEL, especially for hotel and rental car.

The invoice address is as follows:

European X-Ray Free-Electron Laser Facility GmbH
Holzkoppel 4
22869 Schenefeld


Accommodation arrangements

Funded Users' accommodation arrangements

UO books the accommodation of the Funded Users as soon as their travel funding is approved by UO for the number of nights of the approved beamtime schedule (with some flexibility concerning preparations and experiment follow-up).

Non-funded Users' accommodation arrangements

UO will reserve rooms for eligible and approved users. Priority is given to the Funded Users if available rooms are limited.


Reimbursable expenses

Subsistence costs

Each Funded User will receive a daily allowance of 30 € per day (including travel days), up to the maximum number of days of the approved beamtime schedule (from preparation until follow-up).

No daily allowance is paid for extended stay due to private reasons.

European XFEL does not reimburse individual meals per receipt.

European XFEL will pay out the daily allowance per bank transfer in euro (€) to Funded Users after they submit their travel reimbursement requests. This means the Funded Users have to pay their subsistence costs first.

Accommodation costs

UO provides support for reservation and booking of accommodation. Accommodation bookings for the Funded Users will be invoiced to and settled directly by European XFEL.

No funding is granted for accommodation for extended stay due to private reason.

Only in exceptional cases and after prior approval by the UO can the Funded Users self-book their hotel accommodations. In such cases, the maximum reimbursable limit is 80 € per night and without breakfast. The same limit shall apply if the accommodation is booked with compulsory breakfast. If self-booking is allowed by the UO, the Funded Users can get reimbursed only if the accommodation invoice is issued to European XFEL.

Funded Users staying at private residences will receive a lump sum of 20 € per night, without receipt.

Travel costs

European XFEL covers economy-class airline tickets only. The reservations and reimbursement are based on the cheapest available fare. Depending on the needs of the experiment, deviation from the approved start and end dates can be granted subject to UO approval.

The use of air transport for inland travel is justified only if one of the following is true:

  • If the price of a plane ticket is more economical than other means of transport and either flying reduces the travel time by one business day or traveling with train will take more than six hours each way.
  • The cost-effectiveness can be demonstrated by other financial considerations (e.g. cost savings compared to alternative means of transport or voidance of additional daily and overnight allowances). A comparative calculation can be prepared by the contracted travel agency.

If a private stay/extension is included, European XFEL covers only up to the maximum price of the airfare for the period of the approved beamtime schedule (including preparation and/or follow-up). A price comparison must be provided to the TO.

Train fare
European XFEL covers second-class train tickets only. In general, a regular fare is the maximum allowed. The booking of the next available class is permitted only with prior approval by the TO.

If a private stay/extension is included, European XFEL covers only the maximum price of the train fare for the period of the approved beamtime schedule (including preparation and/or follow-up). A price comparison must be provided to the TO.

BahnCard reimbursement

The TO does not subsidize BahnCard purchases.

If a Funded User has and can use a BahnCard for the train booking, the BahnCard data must be provided to the TO for booking purpose.

Private car or rental car
Use of a private car or a rental car is only eligible for reimbursement with prior written justification, including a detailed explanation, and must be approved by the TO in advance.

If a private car is used, the car mileage is reimbursed at 0.20 € per driven km, without damage coverage.

For exceptional cases, if a private car is needed for transportation of heavy or sensitive experiment equipment from inland or abroad, provided the TO has approved the use, a car mileage of 0.20 € per km, without limit for the total driven kilometres and without damage coverage, is reimbursable, but not more than the equivalent train fare or airfare for a similar trip. The incurred toll fees, gasoline, and parking fees will also be reimbursed. A price comparison of the equivalent train fare or airfare for a similar trip, including the associated expenses, must be provided before the trip to the TO for approval.

If a private car is used, it is recommended that the Funded Users clarify and obtain approval from their home institute concerning the insurance coverage (damage and liabilities) as well as safety and security aspects due to transportation of sensitive equipment, chemicals, and hazardous materials prior to the trip. Funded Users are responsible for the provision of the delivery note and the transportation documents accompanying the equipment being transported from the home country to Germany and back as well as for the import/export procedures, in particular with respect to customs. The same applies if a rental car is used. All consumables and materials to be brought on site need prior approval by European XFEL in the framework of a proposal.

If a rental car is approved by the TO, European XFEL covers the actual cost of a compact, intermediate, or standard rental car, including gasoline for a round trip, for the portion of the trip that is for official business. There is no reimbursement for extra expenses due to usage on site.

Local transport
European XFEL covers local transportation expenses in second/economy-class (i.e. metro, bus, or tram/train tickets in departure city/country and in Hamburg/Schenefeld).

European XFEL reimburses a lump-sum HVV (Hamburger Verkehrsverbund, the network of local public transportation companies) daily ticket fare for local transports in Hamburg/Schenefeld during the period of the approved beamtime schedule (including preparation until follow-up). The current applicable rate is 7.80 € for the metropolitan Hamburg public transport system (including Rings A–B or Rings 1–2). The applicable rate will be adjusted following the updated new fares (usually on a yearly basis) by HVV.


European XFEL covers taxi expenses in departure, origin city, country and/or in Hamburg/Schenefeld only with justification. Reimbursement can be made only if taxi receipt is provided in original.

Examples for justification of the taxi use could be as follows:

  • The taxi is needed outside the operating hours of the public transportation
  • Carrying bulky/heavy luggage (i.e. more than 25kg) for experiment needs
  • Health reason

Carpooling/taxi share during the operating hours of the public transportation is not a valid justification.

All other travel-related expenses associated with the booking of travel itineraries for a business trip to conduct a beamtime experiment at European XFEL are subject to justification and can be reimbursed only if approved by TO and the original invoice/receipt is provided.

Funded Users' travel reimbursement

Submission of the reimbursement request

The settlement of the reimbursement is made subsequently for the expenses, which are not pre-paid by European XFEL after the trip took place. The settlement will be made as soon as possible by TO, provided that all the relevant receipts/invoices, needed justifications, bank data for payment purpose, etc. are available and conform to our applicable User travel regulations.

All reimbursements are settled and paid by bank transfer in Euro provided that full bank details have been supplied by the Funded Users. European XFEL is responsible for any bank charges incurred in relation to such transfers.

Cash payment is not possible.

In order to qualify for receiving the funding for User trip, following requirements must be fulfilled:

  • Beamtime proposal is accepted and beamtime is scheduled.
  • Request for travel funding is submitted and approved by UO.
  • All check-out procedures at European XFEL are completed; site entrance badge is returned, guest house key/card is returned transponder is returned , etc.
  • Submit signed Visitor Allowance form electronically at earliest convenience, and no later than three months after the visit to TO. Claims sent back after this time limit will not be processed.
    Note: due to year-end closing, claims for reimbursement of Funded Users’ trips completed in previous year must be sent at latest by the end of January of the following year.
  • Each Funded User submits his/her own travel reimbursement request to TO.
  • No acceptance of collective invoices/receipts. Each user must submit his or her own invoices/receipts.
  • All relevant receipts/requested data or needed justifications must be provided along with the claim, especially for self-paid invoices/receipts (e.g. DESY hostel/hotel, train fare, rental car, local transport tickets, boarding passes).
  • If car mileage is claimed, a pdf print out of google maps indicating the claimed distance must be sent along with the claim.
  • If foreign currencies are used, European XFEL approved online currency converter is available at Conversion is made on the date of payment.


Attaching documents (invoices/receipts)

The European XFEL Visitor Allowance Form will be used for claiming for the reimbursement.

Subsequent claims of travel reimbursement for an already settled trip by Funded Users shall be avoided as much as possible.

In case this will occur, the respective Funded User must indicate and inform TO in advance and provide justification why there will be a subsequent claim.

If subsequent claim will be approved by TO, the deadline for such claim is also no later than three months after the visit of the claimed trip. Subsequent claims sent back after this time limit will not be processed.

Funded Users can submit their signed Visitor Allowance and attach their original receipts/invoices per scanned copy.

CAUTION: All parts of the receipts and invoices need to be scanned, including the back side, unless the page is blank.

Support for German entry visa process

For more details please refer to the section on visa regulations and documentation.

Insurance: Health, accident, and private third-party liability

For more details, please contact us at