Travel outside the UK during your programme
If your Tier 4 visa is still valid, you can travel into and out of the UK as often as you like, as long as it does not affect your studies. When you ask to re-enter the UK, a Border Force Officer (BFO) may check that you are still registered and studying at LSE. You should carry a recent certificate of registration in your hand luggage. You can print a certificate of registration at the Student Services Centre.
If you need to travel during term time and you will miss classes, you will need to inform your academic department. If you have to leave the UK in an emergency, you should contact your department from overseas.
Schengen Visa for European travel
Certain nationalities need a Schengen visa to travel in Europe. The Schengen visa is a single visa for travel in a number of countries in Europe (the UK has not signed the agreement). Different countries have different rules for applying so the easiest way to find out if you need a Schengen visa and how to apply for one, is to look on the embassy website of the country where you plan to travel.
Most countries ask for:
evidence of travel plans
evidence of accommodation arrangements
evidence of travel insurance
evidence of your studies in the UK*
Most embassies advise you not to actually pay for your trip until you have obtained your Schengen visa, but some will require evidence of a booked flight)
*Some embassies may require a copy of your Certificate of Registration as part of your application and may specify that it be printed on LSE headed paper addressed directly to the embassy in question. See the Certificate of Registration webpage for details and make sure you plan ahead to avoid delays to your application.
If you intend to travel in Europe, apply for a Schengen visa as early as you can. Please note, that it can be difficult to travel at the end of your studies as many countries require you to have between 3-6 months remaining on your student visa for the UK or be a registered student.
For a trip to several different countries, apply at the Embassy of the country where you will spend the most time. If you are staying an equal amount of time in each country, apply for a Schengen visa at the embassy of the first country that you plan to visit.
Travel to the USA
If you are a non-US national and you want to visit the USA, the US State Department has provided a guide for visitors
US State Department > Temporary Visitors to the USA
Security when travelling, lost and stolen passports
Most students travel with no problems, but every year we have to advise LSE students whose passports have been lost or stolen when travelling outside the UK. To make things easier we advise:
Make copies of the personal details page and your visa sticker if you have one. We advise making paper copies and phone photos. Keep any paper copies in your luggage separate from your passport.
If your visa is on a Biometric Residence Permit, make copies and take photos of the front and back.
Understand if your travel destination or your personal demographics may make you vulnerable to theft. For example, our experience (which is not a scientific survey) shows that it can be an issue for female Chinese students visiting major western European cities.
Know before you go
If your passport is lost or stolen when you travel, read our web pages to find out what to do.
Lost or stolen passport
Can I return to the UK on my Tier 4 after my official programme end date has passed?
Once the official programme end date on your CAS has passed and you have no future studies in the UK, we advise you to avoid travelling out of the UK and planning to re-enter on your Tier 4 visa during the extra time on your visa.
While the visa itself has not expired, the main intention of your Tier 4 visa (studying at LSE) has now ended. Every time you enter the UK, a Border Force Official (BFO) is required to check that you have the correct visa for your purpose.
If your programme has formally ended, a BFO may correctly refuse to allow you to re-enter the UK on a Tier 4 visa because your circumstances have changed.
A BFO may accept that you are indeed returning for reasons connected to your studies, for example if you have not yet received your exam results or you are returning to attend your graduation ceremony. Many students have re-entered successfully on their Tier 4 visa. However, this is at your own risk and you must be honest about your intentions in the UK at the border.
If you are returning to the UK before your graduation, we advise you to carry a graduation letter as evidence of this.
Request a letter for your graduation ceremony
If you do decide to travel and to re-enter the UK, you could be refused entry. If you are a 'non-visa national' you may be granted entry as a Standard Visitor. (Visa nationals must apply for a Standard Visitor visa outside the UK before travelling back to the UK so cannot obtain this at the airport).
A Standard Visitor cannot switch to any other status in the UK. If you are planning an immigration application in the UK, for example a Tier 4 extension or a switch to Tier 2, you would not be able to do this in the UK if you are admitted as a Standard Visitor.
If you are a non-visa national (you can enter as a visitor at the airport), it is a risk to re-enter the UK as a visitor immediately after the expiry date of your Tier 4 visa. A Border Force Officer may have concerns that you are not a genuine visitor.
Can I return to the UK on my Tier 4 if I have been reported to the UKVI?
If the Registry have reported to the UKVI that we are no longer sponsoring you under Tier 4 e.g. you have deferred assessments, you should not plan to attempt to re-enter the UK on your Tier 4 visa. A Border Force Officer will be able to see that the LSE have reported we are no longer sponsoring your Tier 4 visa and you have no studies at the LSE at that time.