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International Student Visa Advice Team

Student Services Centre

London School of Economics and Political Science




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International Student Visa Advice Team (ISVAT)

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Who are the International Student Visa Advice Team (ISVAT)?

The International Student Visa Advice Team are the only team at LSE designated to advise you on the student immigration rules for the UK. There are currently two members of staff on the team:

International Student Visa Advice Manager: Bethan Ovens
Senior International Student Visa Adviser: Laura Blenkiron

Our team are regulated to give immigration advice under the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) guidelines.  If you are given incorrect advice, there is a formal complaints procedure at LSE and also through the OISC.

LSE Complaints procedure

OISC Complaints procedure

Disclaimer:  The advice provided by our team is in accordance with the current Immigration Rules and Policy guidance which is subject to change at short notice. You are therefore strongly advised to check the guidance on our webpages or on the UK Visas and Immigration website before submitting a visa application or travelling to the UK. It is your responsibility to ensure that you meet the immigration rules and the conditions of your visa. We are unable to guarantee that your visa application will be successful.

E-mail advice

To get advice by email, please complete our online query form:  

Online query form

Our standard response time is three working days.  During the peak period this will increase to five working days, although we assess emails for priority on a daily basis. Your query will usually be managed by the same advisor unless:

  • they are unavailable due to the illness or annual leave;
  • your case has been escalated due to ifor management consideration.

As we are a team of two, we ask that you don't complete a web query form seeking alternate advice on the same question.  Both members of the team assess the emails daily so we are usually aware if a student has already been in contact regarding an issue.

Can you help me with my Tier 4 visa application?

Before requesting to get your application form checked, please read our guidance on applying for the Tier 4 visa.

Applications made outside the UK

We are unable to make detailed checks applications made outside the UK. If you have a question about a specfic part of the form, which is not answered in our guide, please send us a screenshot of the question, so that we can assist you.

The International Student Visa Advice Team will be hosting webinars on applying for your Tier 4 visa from overseas.  The webinar will cover frequently asked questions and common mistakes in the application process.  Unfortunately, there won’t be an opportunity to ask questions, due to the number of participants. However,  details on how you can contact the team with any questions or concerns will be provided.

Our webinar from the 21st June is now available to view on our Tier 4 application pages.

Applications made in the UK

A briefing has been arranged for students who are applying in the UK to start a new course at LSE.  This is aimed at:

  • Students joining LSE for a new programme;
  • Current LSE students who are starting a new programme e.g. BSc to Masters

Book a place here.

LSE does not send applications on behalf of students.

If you are attending the Summer School or a presssional English programme as a condition of your degree  you will be required to attend a briefing before registering for your main degree programme. You will be sent details of your briefing when you have registered.

During term-time, we may be able to meet you to check your application form before you submit it.  Contact us well in advance of the date you plan to apply, to ensure we are available.

Drop-in sessions for quick questions

If you have a quick question, which you would prefer to ask in person, you can attend one of our drop-in sessions.

Undergraduate, General Course and Masters students - Student Services Centre

Michaelmas term:

Monday to Friday 1:30 - 2:30

Lent term:

Monday to Friday 1:30 - 2:30

Summer term and vacations:

Tuesdays and Thursdays only 1:30 - 2:30

How does drop-in work?

  • Choose a five minute time-slot on the sign-up sheet at the Student Services Centre. You can sign up in advance with the General Advice team.
  • If you have multiple or complex questions, we may ask you to make an appointment or to complete our web query form.
  • Please arrive on time for your allocated time and take a seat until your name is called.
  • If there are no times available on the day,  you can book in advance for the next  session. 

Drop-in will be cancelled on Thursday 13 July 2017 for ceremonies.

PhD Students Only - PhD Academy

Michaelmas Term:

  • Mondays - 11:00 - 12:00
  • Thursdays - 3:00 - 4:00

Lent Term: 

  • Mondays - 11:00 - 12:00
  • Thursdays - 3:00 - 4:00

Summer Term:

  • Mondays - 11:00 - 12:00
  • Thursdays - 3:00 - 4:00

There is only drop-in on Thursdays during vacation.

How does drop-in work?

  • Choose a  time-slot on the sign-up sheet in the PhD Academy. 
  • If you have multiple or complex questions, we may ask you to make an appointment or to complete our online query form.
  • Please arrive on time for your allocated time-slot. 
  • If there are no times available on the day, you can book in advance for the next session.

Drop-in will be cancelled on Thursday 29 June 2017 for staff training.

Individual Appointments

Due to the number of international students at LSE, we are not able to offer all students with an appointment on request.  Appointments are only available for complex issues such as refusals, non-standard cases or Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme students dependant on the availability of staff.

Please complete an online query form to request an appointment explaining why you would like to speak to an advisor. Immediate appointments are usually only available for students whose visas have been refused or are at risk of becoming an overstayer.  

We may need to refer you for external immigration advice depending on your case.

Can you speak to my parents or a third party about my case?

We are only able to advise the student directly on their immigration issues.  The exception to speaking to third parties is if an embassy or the Home Office contacts us regarding your immigration application or if a Border Force Officer contacts us to verify your information when entering the UK.  We will always follow-up by emailing advising you what was discussed.

Where else can I get immigration advice?

Outside LSE, you can get information and advice from 

UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA)


Law Society

Community Legal Services