Vingroup-Penn Alliance


COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

Due to COVID-19, travel guidelines have changed and unapproved travel is suspended. Please refer to the Center for Global Health COVID-19 travel page for updated travel information for Penn-affiliated travel.

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General Travel Information

Faculty/Staff Responsibilities and Use Restrictions

Faculty/staff must arrange all travel (airfare, lodging, and ground transportation) through World Travel/Concur or the Vingroup-Penn Operations Team. By booking travel through the Operations Team, we ensure that the arrangements are made in compliance with travel policies, volume discounts are leveraged, and security receives location information to support faculty in the event of a travel disruption. The Vingroup-Penn Operations Team and Finance Office will be reviewing expenses to ensure faculty are in compliance with travel policies set forth by the University and Vingroup.

Any faculty/staff business travel not booked through World Travel/Concur or the Operations Team requires prior approval from Quyen Tran, Director of Operations. An example of this situation would be if a faculty member traveled to Asia for an unrelated event. The faculty/staff member will then seek reimbursement for any expenses incurred for the Vingroup business-related travel upon their return.

Visas and Passports

Faculty/staff traveling internationally should check that their passport is current with at least six-month validity and three blank visa pages.

The Vingroup-Penn Operations team will assist with coordinating the appropriate visa for your visit. You must provide the following documents: (1) Completed visa application (this will be provided), (2) Copy of passport information page, and (3) Passport-style photo. It is your responsibility to retain your visa for future visits within the validity period of the visa.

Expenses associated with obtaining a visa for Vingroup-Penn business travel is covered/reimbursable.

Global Activities Registry 

The Global Activities Registry (GAR) is Penn’s central resource for collecting traveler information. This information is PennKey protected, and is used to:

  • Contact travelers in case of emergency
  • Pre-authorize travelers to use International SOS and traveler medical insurance
  • Assist individuals and groups, as needed, with pre-travel preparations

For group trips to Vietnam, the Operations team will register the trip on behalf of the group. If you are traveling alone, please register on your own.

  • Penn faculty and staff are encouraged to register their overseas travel through the Global Activities Registry (GAR)
  • Be sure to register 24 hours in advance of departure so travelers can “verify” the trip electronically beforehand
International SOS Travel Assistance Insurance

Faculty are covered for certain travel assistance services while on Penn-related travel, such as the following:

  • 24/7 medical and security consultation
  • Hospital referrals
  • Travel medical insurance
  • Emergency evacuation assistance

Detailed information can be found on the Penn Global site.

*In order to be pre-authorized to use International SOS, travelers must register their round-trip flight itinerary in Penn’s Global Activities Registry (GAR).

Air Transportation

In order to optimize cost savings for Penn and conform with Vingroup’s travel reimbursement policies, faculty should make travel arrangements to Vietnam as far in advance as possible, but at least 3-4 weeks minimum.

The Vingroup-Penn Operations Team will help you find itineraries based on the most direct routes and the lowest available fares at the time of booking, while trying to accommodate faculty preferences such as preferred carriers, when possible. Please note, however, that you are not guaranteed flights with a preferred carrier if it is above the allowable limit and if other conforming fares are available.

When booking through the Vingroup-Penn Operations Team, the process is as follows:

  • Provide your preferred travel dates.
  • Specify any travel requirements, such as flight arrival/departure times or conflicts.
  • Provide your frequent flyer numbers or any flight preferences (these will be accommodated when possible and are not guaranteed).
  • Options for flight itineraries will be sent to you for review/consideration.
  • If necessary, we may need information to create your travel profile in Concur.
  • Once the final itinerary is confirmed by you and approved by our Finance Office, we will forward the ticketed travel confirmation to you.

For any further service or requests related to your airline ticket, contact World Travel directly.

Air Mileage Programs: Managing the faculty member’s air miles accounts is the responsibility of the faculty member. Airline miles earned while traveling on Penn business are retained by the faculty member.

International Flights

Business class may be booked for international flights of more than five (5) hours actual airtime, including the domestic connecting flights.

Cancellation Policy

If you need to cancel an airfare reservation, you should do so through the Vingroup-Penn Operations Team at the earliest possible time to avoid additional penalties.

Ground Transportation

For the majority of group and individual visits, Vingroup can arrange a private car or van for local, business-related transit as well as airport transfers.

Contact the Vingroup-Penn Operations Team to coordinate your exact needs.


In cases where Vingroup’s car service is not available or you need transit to non-business related functions in Vietnam, please consider the following reliable and legitimate taxi companies: (1) Taxi Mai Linh – Local Number: 024 38 333333 and (2) Taxi Group – Local Number: 024 38 535353. In addition, your hotel may also assist with booking a reliable and legitimate taxi.     


The Vingroup-Penn Operations team will work with you to either secure a room at a contracted hotel or a Vingroup corporate apartment.

Lodging requests such as preferred location or changes to check-in/check-out can be accommodated when possible. The Operations team can advise you based on the purpose of your trip.

Depending on the nature of your visit, Vingroup may either direct pay for your hotel stay or you will be required to pay out-of-pocket and request reimbursement via Concur upon your return.

Combining Business and Personal Travel

Recognizing the active travel schedules of faculty, as a convenience benefit, faculty may add and pay for a personal leg to a business itinerary, while clearly distinguishing between foundation and personal expenses. The Operations team will accommodate the request provided it is sent to them at the same time as the original travel request and is well in advance of international travel.

If a combined business/personal itinerary is equal to or less than the cost of a business-only airfare, there is no cost to the faculty.

If a combined business/personal itinerary is greater than the cost of a business-only airfare, the business portion of the ticket will be charged to Penn and the personal portion will be charged to the faculty’s personal credit card. Two ticketing fees will be charged; one to the Penn account for the business portion and one to the personal card for the personal portion.

The Operations team will advise the faculty member via email of the fare differential at time of booking, and will request a personal credit card from the employee to pay for the added cost.


Lodging may be shared with non-business guests. Additional lodging costs of non-business guests are not reimbursable and should be clearly delineated and paid with a personal credit card upon checkout.

Business Meals

Business Meals: Any meal consumed by faculty or other invited attendees when project-related business is discussed during the meal. A business meal can also be defined as any meal consumed by the faculty while traveling on Penn business.

Group Meals

Group Meals: When more than one employee is present at a business meal, the employee with the highest-ranking position or a member of the Vingroup-Penn Operations team should pay the bill. This reduces the burden of multiple people at a group meal filing for reimbursements.

Non-Business Meals

Non-Business Meals: Meals for non-business guests are considered personal expenses.

Travel and Business Expense Reimbursement Process

Penn and Penn-affiliated faculty

Penn and Penn-affiliated faculty must submit their travel and business expense reimbursement report via the Concur Travel and Expense Management System. A detailed business purpose or justification is required for each itemized expense along with proof of payment (e.g. receipt). If you need additional assistance with completing your expense report, please contact Quyen Tran ( or Rachael Todt ( They can assist with completing your expense report as a delegate in Concur, if necessary. However, it is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the University’s and Vingroup’s travel reimbursement policies and submit the expense report with supporting documentation in Concur.

It is good business practice to submit your requests for reimbursement within 2 weeks of the trip end date or expense transaction date to ensure timely reimbursements. 

All paperwork should be submitted to Quyen Tran ( or Rachael Todt ( who will work with the Finance Officers to process your reimbursement.

Non Penn-affiliated faculty or guests

U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents:

  • A completed and signed W-9 form
  • Guest travel reimbursement worksheet
  • Proper documentation that demonstrate proof of payment (receipts, credit card statements, etc.)

Foreign Nationals:

  • W8BEN Form
  • Foreign National Information Form (FNIF)
  • Guest travel reimbursement worksheet
  • Proper documentation that demonstrate proof of payment (receipts, credit card statements, etc.)
  • Foreign Currency Wire Payment Form, if applicable

It is good business practice to submit your requests for reimbursement within 2 weeks of the trip end date or expense transaction date to ensure timely reimbursements. 

All paperwork should be submitted to Quyen Tran ( or Rachael Todt ( who will work with the Finance Officers to process your reimbursement.

Other Travel and Expense Policy Information
Cost Savings

In general, Penn does not support a substitution or exchange philosophy with regard to travel expenditures. If a faculty member chooses a less expensive option, it would not be appropriate to utilize this “cost savings” somewhere else, particularly if it is personal in nature. All expenses must have a substantiated, project-related business purpose and cannot be perceived as project-funded personal expenses.

Example: If you choose to fly economy to Vietnam, thus saving Penn on flight costs, you may not reallocate this cost savings to cover any personal expenses.


Tips are a reimbursable expense and should be appropriate to the location, service level, local protocol, and should not exceed 20% of the total bill. Tips should be itemized when reconciling expenses. If tips are entered as a single line item on an expense report, a log noting the dates, times, and purposes of the tips must be submitted as documentation with the expense report.

Foreign Currency

The currency in Vietnam is the đồng. Depending on the daily currency rate, $1USD converts to approximately 23,000 VND. There are ATMs in Vietnam; however, it is recommended that you bring cash to convert into VND for incidental expenses, if necessary. For travel in larger groups, a member of the Operations Team will have petty cash available.

Employees having more than the equivalent of $20 USD in foreign currency should exchange the currency prior to arriving in Vietnam. Currency can also be exchanged at major airports.

Vietnam Travel Tips

  • What to pack:
    • Passport with loose-leaf visa
    • Computer and/or Notebook
    • White coat (if you’d like your name on it)
    • Business cards
    • Plug converter (recommend universal; C and F are the most common)
    • Mosquito repellant 
    • Wet wipes/hand sanitizer
    • Hat or sun protection for Hanoi city tour
    • Download the Whatsapp app to your phone for group communication in country

Staying Healthy

  • Vaccinations – Hep A and Typhoid recommended
  • Hep A can be obtained through PCP.
  • Typhoid – oral or injection to be administered 1-2 weeks in advance of departure. Recommend using CVS/retail pharmacy instead of Penn Travel Med, if possible. The cost of the visit can be billed to insurance and we will reimburse the cost of the vaccination itself.

Recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Travel to Vietnam:

  • Eat and drink safely
  • Prevent bug bites
  • Stay safe outdoors
  • Keep away from animals
  • Reduce your exposure to germs
  • Avoid sharing body fluids
  • Know how to get medical care while traveling
  • Select safe transportation
  • Maintain personal security


  • We will be in the relatively safe bubble of Times City with our hosts throughout most of the visit.
  • Hanoi is generally a safe city to explore, and serious crimes against tourists are extremely rare, but it's pertinent to exercise some caution
  • Avoid dark small streets after 10pm
  • Watch for pickpockets in market areas
  • Avoid con artists near Hoan Kiem Lake
  • Air pollution is a major irritant.