Per Diem

Per diem is a set allowance for lodging, meal and incidental costs incurred while on official government travel. Calculation of travel per diem rates within the Federal government is a shared responsibility of the General Services Administration (GSA), the Department of State (DoS), and the Defense Travel Management Office (DTMO).

DTMO publishes revised per diem rates in the Federal Register via a Civilian Personnel Per Diem Bulletin. Please see the Federal Register to access previously published Civilian Personnel Per Diem Bulletins.

First & Last Day of Travel

On the day of departure from the permanent duty station and on the day of return, a traveler receives 75 percent of the applicable M&IE rate regardless of departure or return time. Exemptions or waivers to this rule are not permitted.

The M&IE rate for the day of departure from the permanent duty station is the locality rate at the temporary duty location. The M&IE rate for the day of return to the permanent duty station is the M&IE rate at the last temporary duty location.

The 75 percent rule also applies to the day of departure from a previous permanent duty station and the day of arrival to a new permanent duty station in certain instances, depending on whether the traveler is a civilian employee or a Service member. See JTR Section 0503 for more information on per diem for Service members, and Section 0539 for more information on per diem for civilian employees.

The Government meal rate or proportional meal rate does not apply on the first and last days of travel.


If a traveler has a stopover when traveling to or returning from the temporary duty location, the traveler receives the M&IE rate for the stopover point. If return travel to the permanent duty station requires more than one day, and additional stopovers are required, per diem for the last day of travel is based on the M&IE rate at the last stopover location.

Rate Review

If the per diem rate for any non-foreign location OCONUS is too low, a traveler may request a per diem rate review. A rate review request should include a letter with the following information:

  • Location and description of insufficiency of the local per diem rate.
  • Number of Government employees or Uniformed Service personnel affected, if known.
  • Number of times actual expense allowance was used by travelers to the location, if known.
  • A complete Hotel and Restaurant Report (DS-2026) providing up-to-date price data from the location.
  • Documentation verifying all price data reported in the DS-2026.
  • A statement certifying that all cost data is current and correct at the time of submission.

The letter should be printed on agency letterhead and signed. Government travelers must submit a per diem rate review request in coordination with their agency or chain-of-command. Submit the rate review request via one of the following:

  • For the Uniformed Services, local commanders should forward a rate review request to the Service’s Military Advisory Panel representative.
  • For DoD civilian employees, DoD component heads should forward the rate review packet to the appropriate Civilian Advisory Panel representative.
  • For Department of State employees, the Office of Allowances, Department of State, is responsible for forwarding all non-foreign OCONUS rate review packets originating in the Department of State to DTMO for review.
  • For GSA employees, GSA's Office of Government-wide Policy is responsible for forwarding all non-foreign OCONUS rate review packets originating in GSA to DTMO for review.
  • For all other Government employees who are not employees of DoD, GSA, or State Department, the employee must submit the rate review request through the employee’s Federal Agency Travel Manager.  Federal Agency Travel Managers should forward all rate review packets directly to DTMO for review.

For more information, review further guidance on per diem reporting procedures and responsibilities [PDF, 4 pages]. You may also email the DTMO Policy and Regulations Team with additional questions on OCONUS per diem rate review.

Per diem rate reviews of CONUS and foreign locations are handled by the General Services Administration and the Department of State, respectively.

If an authorizing official (AO) knows that lodging or meal costs during travel will be lower than usual due to prearrangements, special discounts, or other reasons, the AO may request a reduced per diem rate. A reduced per diem rate must be authorized before travel begins.

Requests for reduced per diem are submitted to the appropriate Military Advisory Panel (MAP) or Civilian Advisory Panel (CAP) representative. Requests must include the established lodging and meal costs, the traveler’s name, travel dates, the TDY location, the point of contact’s name and phone number for the request, and the recommended reduced per diem rate.