EC Traineeship – Claiming the travel expenses



Claiming the travel expenses is a serious thing that all trainees should settle with the Traineeship Office once they’re in Brussels. It’s money that you spent on travelling to come to Brussels (either by plane, train, car or anything else) and which you are entitled to get back (if not entirely, at least partially).



I noticed that in the past the Traineeship Office amended a few times the rules about the reimbursement of the travel expenses, probably in an attempt to show a bit more flexibility towards a generation that is constantly travelling abroad for studies, internships, finding a new meaning of life, etc.


So, before you book your plane/train ticket to Brussels, make sure you have read the rules on claiming the travel expenses, make sure you understand them and if not contact your File Manager for further guidance. These rules come with the placement offer.


However, there’s a few basic rules that each of you should know before even starting to calculate how much you’re entitled to be reimbursed for the travel expenses.


1. You can claim the travel expenses even if you come to Brussels from a different location than what you declared on your online application form.
» For example, you will still be reimbursed if you declared your home town is Lisbon, but you actually come to Brussels from London  because you did your Master’s in London.


2. There are deadlines set by the Traineeship Office for claiming the travel expenses. If you don’t claim them within the deadlines, you will not be reimbursed.
» Make sure you put a reminder in your calendar! The sooner you hand out your claim papers, the smaller the risk to misplace any important piece in the puzzle.


3. There are ceilings applied to each and every trainee, which are calculated based on the distance to Brussels from the place they come from.
» Calculating the ceiling is the trickiest of things. You can do that yourselves, but if you have any doubts at all contact your File Manager.


4. Bear in mind that sometimes, for various reasons, the price of a plane ticket may be higher than the ceiling. Because you have no choice but to buy the ticket, you’ll only be reimbursed the ceiling and not the entire amount you spent on it.


5. You need to show proof for the amounts you spent on your travelling (e.g. flight reservation or e-ticket or the ticket itself or a bank statement, etc.).
» So, make sure you don’t misplace anything. If you do misplace, you can contact the airline by e-mail and ask them to confirm in written that you were aboard a specific flight on a given date.


6. Plan ahead and try to buy your plane ticket in advance so that you can get a good deal and avoid extra costs that you might not be reimbursed (see the ceiling issue).
» Only economy tickets are reimbursed. NO business and NO first class.


7. If you decide to come to Brussels by car, be aware that the rules for reimbursement are somewhat different.


8. Train tickets or bus tickets from Brussels or Charleroi airports into the city of Brussels are also reimbursed. Keep them together with the other proof! Don’t throw them away in the nearest trash bin.


9. Check with your File Manager to see when you will actually be reimbursed. There will be a separate payment from the monthly allowance on your bank account.
» In the past the reimbursement of travel expenses was done towards the end of the traineeship, but now with all the changes, it may be different.


10. If at any time you realise there has been a mistake in calculating your entitlement for the travel expenses, contact immediately your File Manager.


Although I mainly referred to plane tickets above, the same thing applies to any type of tickets, whether train or coach or bus, you name it.


Also, although I mainly referred to trainees coming to Brussels, the same rules apply to the trainees going to Luxembourg or any other city where the European Commission has representations or delegations. When reading the text above, simply replace Brussels with the name of the city you’ll be in.


Well, this is all I could think of for the time being, but I hope it’s been helpful either way.


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