AG’s Honors Program Travel
and Interview Information
Fall 2012 Attorney General's Honors Program Interview Candidates
Deana M. C. Willis
Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management
Travel and Interview Information - Attorney General’s Honors Program
If you are selected to interview for an Honors Program entry-level attorney position with the Department of Justice this fall, then we want your interview experience to be a positive one. Please read this memorandum carefully. It explains how to schedule your interview, provides information about travel costs and reimbursement, tells you where to find interview locations, and answers other important questions. The links below will take you directly to the subject listed.
A. Scheduling Your Interview
- Interviews will be scheduled between Monday, October 15, and Friday, November 2, 2012 (excluding weekends and holidays), and will be conducted at the offices of the interviewing component.
- Immediately after receiving notice of selection for an interview, you must complete and fax back the Travel Survey form linked from the Honors Program "Interviews" web page (www.justice.gov/careers/legal/hpinterview.html). Please take a look at this form now by selecting the link above - it is helpful in understanding some of these instructions. Submit only one Travel Survey, no matter how many interviews you have or where they will take place. We have a master list that the schedulers use to book all your interviews and travel, once they receive your Travel Survey. Submitting more than one Travel Survey causes significant problems and delay.
- Please list your name on the Travel Survey exactly as requested. If you listed your name differently on your Honors Program application, be sure to inform us.
- Be sure to list all dates that you are unavailable for travel or for interviews on your Travel Survey. The Department will not schedule you for any listed dates. Please note that some hiring offices have limited interview availability dates. We must meet those requirements when scheduling your interviews. If a component that selected you for an interview is only available during a period when you have an absolute conflict, we will contact you to discuss alternatives.
- Fax the Travel Survey to DOJ (as directed on the form) no later than three business days following notice of selection for an interview. Please fax the form one time only and retain a copy of the fax delivery report.
- All candidates must submit a Travel Survey in order to schedule their interviews, even those residing in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area and/or those who do not need commercial travel to get to their interview location. The fax will be delivered to the Department of Justice Conference and Contract Center Staff (CCS). Do not contact the Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management to try to confirm receipt of your Travel Survey; OARM is not located in the same building as CCS. OARM tracks receipt of Travel Surveys and, if we do not receive one, will follow up directly with the individual candidate.
- The CCS staff will schedule your interview(s) based on the information provided in your travel survey and the component's availability. Interviews will be scheduled to allow same-day travel (when possible). If the travel distance is extensive or travel time too long, we will likely schedule you to travel the day prior to your interview. The Department policy limits government-funded interview travel to one trip per candidate (with exceptions for candidates interviewing with the participating U.S. Attorneys' Offices and certain EOIR regional locations). If you are selected for more than one interview, expect to see the interviews scheduled on the same day unless there are exceptional circumstances (e.g., interviews in Washington, D.C., and another state).
- Please note that some hiring offices have limited interview availability dates. We must meet those requirements when scheduling your interviews. If you have an absolute conflict, please note it on the Travel Survey and contact me directly at Deana.Willis@usdoj.gov.
- The CCS staff will make every effort to consider the preferred week and day listed on your Travel Survey, but cannot guarantee your preferred schedule because of variables affecting Government-contracted travel (e.g., airline availability, timing of flights, etc.), and component availability. We regret that we cannot accommodate requests to fly in early or depart late to accommodate personal plans or weekend tourism. Please do not ask to change your interview schedule except in the case of a major emergency. If an emergency arises, please contact the assigned scheduler indicated on your itinerary. If you are unable to reach the designated scheduler, please call (202) 616-3803.
- After scheduling your interview, the CCS staff will fax your travel itinerary and/or interview schedule to you using the fax number you listed on your Travel Survey. Please be sure that you check your fax machine frequently and alert other people with access to the fax machine to notify you when your fax arrives. The fax cover sheet will list your interview date and time.
- Please be patient during the scheduling process. The CCS staff will schedule interviews as quickly as possible; however, the process for booking travel is complex and can take some time. You should receive your travel itinerary / interview schedule no later than the Wednesday prior to the week during which your interview is scheduled, which may not be the week you requested. If you are traveling outside the local commuting area, you will receive a travel itinerary (commercial travel) by e-mail from SATO/CWT Travel. You will also receive a fax from the Department’s CCS Staff with your interview schedule and a second copy of your travel itinerary. Local travelers will receive only the fax from the CCS staff with their interview schedule. If you do not receive a fax with your interview schedule from the Department by Wednesday, October 26th, then contact the CCS Staff schedulers at (202) 616-3803 for immediate assistance.
- You are NOT AUTHORIZED to change your travel schedule or modify your flights. You are NOT authorized to contact airlines directly to make changes to your flights. Air travel is booked through government contracts. Only authorized DOJ personnel can make changes, and changes incur additional administrative costs and may incur increased fares, so are limited to emergencies. If you cancel the first leg of government-scheduled travel, the carrier may cancel all further legs of travel. If you modify your travel arrangements, you may be disqualified from further consideration and be held personally liable for all travel costs.
B. Reasonable Accommodations
If you have special needs (e.g., American sign interpreter, wheelchair access, etc.) and require a reasonable accommodation for travel or for your interview, please do the following:
- List your specific needs on the Travel Survey.
- Send an e-mail message to Deana Willis listing your needs in advance of travel and/or your interview so that appropriate arrangements can be made.
C. Interview Sites and Security
- Security: You will need two forms of photo identification to clear security at Department buildings. We recommend that you arrive at least 20 minutes prior to your interview to get through the security procedures and to find your interview room, unless otherwise instructed in the information provided by the component on the interview locations website.
- Interview Sites: The CCS staff will fax you specific information about your interview(s), including the date(s), time(s), and where to find information about your interview location. Due to the number of interview locations, more detailed information, including building numbers, room numbers, directions, and component contacts, is available from the Honors Program Interviews web page at http://www.justice.gov/careers/legal/interview-locations.html.
D. Canceling or Rescheduling Your Interview/Unexpected Extensions of Travel
- Pre-Interview Cancellation or Rescheduling: Once you’ve been scheduled, please do not ask to change your interview schedule except in the case of a major emergency. We are unable to accommodate personal plans.
- If an emergency requires you to cancel or reschedule your travel prior to your departure, or arises while you are in transit during regular business hours, please contact the assigned scheduler indicated on your itinerary. If you are unable to reach the designated scheduler, please call (202) 616-3803. If you cannot reach anyone these numbers, default to the emergency contact number for CWT/SATO Travel listed on your itinerary. The afterhours emergency line for a travel emergency within 24 hours of departure or while in transit is 1-877-905-9644 (PRESS OPTION 1).
- Once travel arrangements have been made, you are responsible for canceling them. If you are authorized lodging or your travel included an overnight stay, and you made a hotel reservation, be sure to cancel that reservation as well. You must also notify the CCS staff during normal business hours (8:30 am to 5:00 pm EDT) at 202-616-3803 so that they can reschedule your interview and provide further guidance. You are not authorized to seek a refund for the prearranged ticket or to make new travel arrangements based on the redemption or exchange of the prearranged ticket without prior approval from the CCS staff. If you exchange a pre-arranged ticket for a new ticket that is more expensive, you are responsible for the additional charges. (Authorization is not required if you are rerouted by the airline during your travel.)
- Unexpected Circumstances: If unexpected or exigent circumstances (e.g., flight cancellation, weather delay, airport closures) require you to remain overnight or delay your arrival en route or precludes you from starting your return travel, you can be reimbursed for unauthorized overnight lodging up to the maximum government per diem rate for that location.
- You must contact CCS at 202-616-3803 during regular business hours for guidance on how to proceed. If it is after business hours, contact the 24 hour emergency number on your travel itinerary (CWT/Sato Travel) or1-877-905-9644 (PRESS OPTION 1),and request that they book lodging, if possible for a traveler in your status (e.g., without a government employee ID card) and, if necessary, make alternative travel arrangements. You must follow up with CCS as soon as possible during regular business hours for further instructions regarding submitting your request for reimbursement to include the new lodging costs.
- When making a hotel reservation, be sure to explain that you are on government-funded invitational travel and request government rates and tax exemption when you check into the hotel. The hotel is not obligated to honor this rate without presentation of a government identification card, but many will. In order to be reimbursed, you must retain and submit the original hotel receipt.
- We recommend you notify the interviewing component of your circumstances. A list of Attorney Recruitment Coordinators is posted at http://www.justice.gov/careers/legal/attorneyrecruitmentcoords.html.
- Please note: Your travel schedule cannot be adjusted to accommodate invitations from component interviewers to join them in a meal, social event, or to return at a later time to meet other individuals, etc. Component interviewers are not authorized to modify your travel reservations or to contact CCS to request such a modification. All additional costs associated with accepting such an invitation, no matter how well intentioned, will not be paid by the Department.
E. Travel and Reimbursable Expenses
After interviewing, candidates may request reimbursement for certain travel costs by submitting the reimbursement form located at www.justice.gov/careers/legal/reimbursementform.pdf within two weeks of the interview. Please retain copies of your reimbursement request until your claim is settled.
1.Covered Costs: All candidates should note that claims less than $1.00 cannot be reimbursed.
- TRAVEL: If your travel to Washington (or another authorized location) is booked on a commercial carrier (air or train), the Department will pay directly for your travel and issue an e-ticket to minimize your out-of-pocket expenses.
- Baggage fees: Interview candidates should check with the airline in advance regarding baggage fees. The Department will NOT reimburse candidates for costs associated with checking baggage. Most airlines permit travelers to carry on one bag at no additional cost.
- Restrictions on liquids: Interview candidates should contact airlines directly to ascertain current restrictions on the type and amount of liquids (e.g., shampoo, mouth wash, medications, etc.) that can be carried on an aircraft.
- E-Tickets: Candidates should check in using "e-ticket" kiosks at airports. Some airlines now assess additional charges for counter check- in. Please note that the Department will not reimburse candidates for costs associated with check-in.
- Public transportation: Candidates who travel by air or train are required to use public transportation (e.g., airport shuttles, Metrorail, Metrobus) while in Washington, D.C. and all other locations where public transportation is available (e.g., New York city).
- Courtesy shuttles: Candidates authorized for overnight lodging should also use hotel shuttles to and from the airport, if available. Candidates may request reimbursement for the cost of round trip public transportation to and from the interview site.
- Taxi fare will not be reimbursed except under limited circumstances (e.g., a reasonable accommodation) or in pre-approved locations where a specific sum for cab fare is authorized (e.g., certain candidates arriving at Dulles Airport, and candidates interviewing with U.S. Attorney’s Offices or EOIR Immigration Courts in cities not serviced by rail or regularly scheduled airport shuttles will be authorized cab fare to and from the airport.)
- Special Rules for Travel by Personal Car: Individuals within driving distance of their interview site who wish to drive their personal car should indicate that preference on the Travel Survey. If CCS determines that the cost is less than government rate commercial travel costs - or if you are willing to accept reimbursement of government rate commercial travel costs in lieu of actual cost to you - you may drive to your interview. Please note that approval to drive must be received in advance. You will be reimbursed at the current government mileage rate (see www.gsa.gov) plus road tolls. Repair costs, gasoline, towing and alternate means of transportation expenses in the event of a breakdown are not reimbursable. Also note that election to drive does not entitle you to per diem or lodging at Government expense if same-day travel by commercial carrier is available unless it is more cost effective to the government.
- HOTELS: If your travel schedule requires it, you will be authorized an overnight stay. Lodging costs will be reimbursed based on the current Government per diem rate. The Department cannot prepay lodging. If your approved schedule requires an overnight stay, you must make appropriate hotel reservations for your stay. Absent extreme circumstances, the Department will reimburse for one night's lodging only unless your interview schedule and travel, as scheduled by DOJ, requires more than one night’s lodging. Current government per diem rates for Washington, D.C. and other cities is available at www.gsa.gov. We recommend that you ask the hotel if it will honor the Government rate at the time you make your reservation. Please discuss their documentation requirements when making the reservation.
- MEALS AND INCIDENTAL EXPENSES (M&IE): You are eligible for reimbursement of M&IE if and only if your interview schedule, including travel, exceeds 12 hours. The current per diem M&IE rate for Washington, D.C. and other major cities is available at www.gsa.gov. Travelers are reimbursed at 75% of the M&IE rate on travel days.
- SPECIAL NEEDS / REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS:
Costs associated with reasonable accommodations based on a disability or special need that affects your travel may be authorized. Contact the CCS staff at (202) 616-3803 for a case-by-case determination before you travel.
- PLEASE NOTE: Travel Authorizations contain estimated costs. Estimates are generally higher than actual reimbursable costs. You will not receive reimbursements that exceed your actual costs, and the government per diem rates are the reimbursement ceiling.
2. Costs Not Covered
- The Department will not pay for costs associated with unauthorized schedule changes or individual rebooking of flights.
- The Department will not pay for excess costs resulting from unnecessary delays. It will not pay for lodging in excess of the per diem rate or for unnecessary or unjustified services.
- When same-day travel is possible, the Department will not authorize an overnight stay. It will not reimburse you for lodging should you elect to stay overnight. If you travel by car for personal convenience when commercial travel is less costly, reimbursement is limited to the constructive cost of commercial travel. You must have requested travel by personal vehicle on your Travel Survey.
- The Department will not pay for ground transportation other than by Metrorail/ Metrobus between Washington, D.C. interview sites except as a reasonable accommodation for candidates with disabilities or special needs.
- The Department will not reimburse checked baggage fees, airline check-in fees, tips, telephone calls, laundry, fax, or other special services.
F. Requesting Reimbursement
- In order to be reimbursed for expenses incurred during your interview, you must complete a Reimbursement Form (located at http://www.justice.gov/careers/legal/reimbursementform.pdf ) and fax it with copies of required receipts to the CCS staff at 202-307-0862, within two weeks of travel. Check the Reimbursement Form for accuracy, especially in addresses. Reimbursement processing generally takes two to three weeks from the date the voucher is received. Please retain a copy of your reimbursement request until your claim is settled.
- When filing for reimbursement, be very careful to list the exact address you want the check mailed to. If the check is mailed to the address you list, but you move and the check is not forwarded, there will be an extensive delay associated with locating and cancelling the first check before a second check can be reissued.
- Notice of Criminal Penalty If you knowingly present false, fictitious, or fraudulent travel claims, you may be subject to criminal penalties under Title 18, U.S. Code §§ 287, 1001.
G. Miscellaneous Travel Information
- Carrier Selection and Frequent Flier Miles The Department selects airlines based on contract cost to the Government. CCS will not accommodate requests for specific airlines; however, should you happen to accrue frequent flyer miles or other promotional credit based on your travel, you may retain it for your personal use.
- Routing: CCS will route travel based on the terms of Government contracts with the carriers. This may result in early morning departures, intermittent stops, indirect flights, or routing through a carrier hub. Regrettably, you may not alter the route of travel. You are not authorized to contact the airlines directly to rearrange your schedule. You are responsible for excess costs and any additional expenses that you incur for personal preference or convenience (e.g., seat upgrades, unauthorized rescheduling, etc.).
- Timing Your Arrival at the Airport: Due to time constraints in scheduling and costs associated with paper tickets, the Department uses "E-Tickets". You should arrive at the airport at least 90 to 120 minutes before your departure time, and bring two forms of photo identification with you to allow sufficient time to get your e-ticket and clear security prior to boarding. Contact your departure airport in advance to determine whether additional time is required.