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.

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, RSA takes the view that it is reasonable to extend a business trip, before or after such trip for a number of days relative to the business trip duration – for example it would be acceptable to arrive the day before presenting at a conference or to stop off en-route either to or from a trip e.g. a stop off in Bali en-route from Australia.   The 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

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 Overseas Risk Assessment. The completed risk assessments should be authorised by the Head of Department or Service (or equivalent).

You can check the risk profile and find country advice by registering on the insurer's travel assistance websites provided by Drum Cussac and Healix

For travel security provided by Drum Cussac please click here to register. You will be required to enter your full LSE email address, you will be sent an email with a verification link to complete the registration process.

Travel Reports and health information are also available via the Healix Travel Oracle Mobile app.

To download the Travel Oracle App go to the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and search for Healix Travel Oracle.

Once downloaded please register using the following access number: RTT306251.

The insurers need to review the risk assessments to the following locations before they will agree to insure the trips: Afghanistan, Colombia. Iraq (including Iraqi Kurdistan), Mexico, Nigeria (including Niger Delta), Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. In order for the insurers to consider the application, and for any additional 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 and budget.

Sanctioned Areas
A number of countries, organisations and individuals are subject to 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.  Travellers are also expected to carry out their own checks prior to committing to travel. 

Our insurers have provided guidance on this. Screening takes approximately 3 weeks, so please ensure that you give the Health and Safety team enough notice to process your application for insurance.  Sanctioned areas include but are not limited to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, Russia, Ukraine (Crimea and Sebastopol region).

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


 [B1]Link to form

 [B2]Link to Travel Oracle PDF

 [B3]Link to PDF

 [B4]Hyperlink to the ‘a guide to travel oracle’ doc

 [B5]Link to guidance 

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.