Fieldwork, overseas travel and off site activities

Fieldwork and other off-campus academic related activities

Travel and fieldwork are critical to the success of the School, from research to student recruitment, from attending conferences to work with alumni. 

Most travel will take place without incident, but conditions can change rapidly, with little or no warning. We therefore ask all those travelling on School business to notify the Health and Safety Team before every trip, giving the following information:

  • Dates of travel
  • Dates of conferences, workshops, etc (if different from dates of travel)
  • Purpose of travel
  • Destination (country and city/cities or other locations within a country)

If there are no concerns arising from this information, the Health and Safety Team will issue the travel insurance cover note. Written risk assessments are not normally required for travel where the risks are no greater than the traveller would experience in their day-to-day life, such as travel to other established academic institutions in the UK, Western Europe or North America.

You may be interested to read a short document (PDF) which outlines some additional services provided through the insurer's company TravelGuard as part of the insurance policy.

Leisure days

There are strict Financial Conduct Authority rules around adding incidental or leisure travel onto business trips. The business element of any trip must significantly outweigh the leisure element. Our insurer uses the table below to calculate how much leisure travel is permitted; this is in addition to the business element of the trip.

 Length of business trip Leisure time permitted
 Less than 5 days business travel  0
 5-12  days business travel  2
 13-21 days business travel  5
 22-35 days business travel  8
 36-50 days business travel  12
 51-65 days business travel  16
 66-80 days business travel  20
 81-100 days business travel  23
 101-364 days business travel  25

Special considerations

Where the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has a warning against non-essential travel, or the School's insurer classes the country as a high or extreme threat destination, staff and students will be required to complete the Travel Outline and Risk Assessment form (DOC). You can check the risk profile and read the country advice by registering on the insurer's travel assistance website, Travel Guard. To register, use your LSE email address and the insurance policy number 0015865132. (Be Aware: the number does not mean that your trip is insured). You will be given further instructions to complete registration. The completed risk assessments should be authorised by the Head of Department or Service (or equivalent).

The insurers need to review the risk assessments to the following locations before they will agree to insure the trips: Afghanistan, Algeria, Chechnya, Iraq (including Iraqi Kurdistan), Libya, Mali, Nigeria (including Niger Delta), North Korea, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. In order for the insurers to consider the application, and for any additional required safety measures to be put in place before the start of the trip, staff must send the completed form to Health and Safety at least 3 weeks before they are due to travel. The insurers may charge additional premiums for trips to these countries - this should be factored into your planning.

A number of countries, organisations and individuals are subjects of sanctions. Sanctions and embargoes are political trade restrictions put in place against target countries with the aim of maintaining or restoring international peace and security.  If you are planning on travelling to a sanctioned area and you wish to use the School's travel insurance, your trip may have to go through the insurer's screening process to ensure the School and the insurer remain compliant with the imposed sanctions. There may be an additional form for the traveller to fill in. Screening takes approximately 4 weeks, so please ensure that you give the Health and Safety team enough notice to precess your application for insurance.

Further information on sanctions can be found on the web pages.

Travel risk training

LSE provides two specialist travel risk training workshops for all staff and post-graduate students. One is for those travelling to complex risk areas (e.g. those with poor infrastructure, civil/political unrest, or where there is a high threat of kidnapping). Anyone planning to travel to such areas will be expected to attend this training as part of their pre-travel planning and preparation.

The second course is for lone females travelling to any part of the world.

Both courses can be booked on the Training System

MPhil and PhD students

All students carrying out research abroad are required to complete the risk assessment part of the Application to undertake fieldwork document before being sent the travel insurance cover note. 

Any fieldwork where a student remains outside the United Kingdom continuously for over 12 months is regarded by the insurers as a Secondment. This means that exclusions will apply to the medical cover provided. Contact the Health and Safety Team for details of these exclusions. 

Travel to the USA on an F1 or J1 Visa

LSE's travel insurance does not meet the requirements for medical insurance for those travelling on F1 or J1 Visas to the USA. Travellers must make their own arrangements for such insurance. The School cannot advise on the suitability of any insurance products.

Useful links (external)

Foreign and Commonwealth Office - The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides travel advice for every country, including information on the political situation, security, medical, cultural and other matters. This is a useful reference point when planning a trip abroad. You can sign up for their email Travel Advice for the country or countries you are planning to visit, and you will then receive an email every time the FCO advice changes. 

NHS - Healthcare abroad - Travellers should check the medical advice for the country and areas to which they will travel. This must be done in sufficient time so the appropriate vaccination regime can be completed before the trip.

Code of practice for Social Researchers - The Social Research Association has produces a Code of Practice for the safety of social researchers. It focuses on staying safe when interviewing or observing people in private settings, and is also relevant to working in unfamiliar situations generally.