When working abroad, PIs should undertake a risk assessment for any country the research team travels to, and be mindful of the following policies and procedures:

Travel FAQs

1) Offsite Working Policy

All offsite work must be organised so as to minimise the risks to the health and safety of staff and students, and includes any work undertaken away from College premises including international visits, fieldwork and expeditions.

Risks must be assessed before travel takes place and controlled to the same standard as would be required for work in College. PIs must liaise with their Head of Department to ensure that any off-site working is approved and that the person in charge of the off-site work can assess and manage any health and safety risks associated with the project.

Further details are available on the College’s Off-site Working Policy  page and the Off-site Working Code of Practice.

2) Travelling to Hazardous Countries

College has a duty of care to its staff and students and requires that risks must be assessed before travel and controlled to the same standard as would be required for work in College. For trips to especially hazardous locations, additional time must be spent on conducting a detailed risk assessment, which must be vetted by the Safety Department and approval by your Head of Department prior to departure.

Heads of Department will need to approval travel for Principal investigator and their teams to certain disturbed regions of the world. Further details are on the Staff Travel and Expenses website

Staff should consult Offsite working and Occupational Health for details including approvals required. Various risk assessment forms for staff on placements are available. 

Additionally, if travelling to any of the following countries:

  • Iran, Cuba, Syria, Sudan, North Korea, Russia or Crimea Region of Ukraine – complete the RSA (College's travel insurer) Sanctions (WORD) screening questionnaire and return in good time for the trip to be agreed to the Insurance Manager at insurance@imperial.ac.uk 
  • Colombia, Iraq, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Venezuela or Yemen – make an early referral to the Insurance Manager at insurance@imperial.ac.uk

3) Registering Overseas Travel for Insurance

College has a duty of care to its staff and students, and by knowing where they are travelling to it can ensure there are adequate measures are in place to maintain their safety and security. If you, or any members of your team, are travelling abroad as part of a GCRF-funded project, you are required to complete the travel insurance registration form to ensure you are appropriately insured when you travel.

Best practice is to complete the form at the same time as booking your travel with Egencia.

4) What Happens if I Don’t Register for Insurance?

Failure to register will mean that the personal luggage (including wallets and laptops) of travellers will not be insured by the College.

5) Booking Travel and Visas

You should always book your air travel in advance using Egencia. Using Egencia ensures the College can provide the required Duty of Care - by knowing where its staff and students are travelling and adequate measures are in place to maintain their safety and security. College Expenses Policy Page 20-21.

Visa and passport applications can be processed by Egencia on behalf of the traveller. However, only the cost of the application fee for a visa may be reimbursed.


6) Additional Baggage Allowance for Equipment

“If an airline charges for a first or second checked bag, the College will reimburse that charge if the bag is needed on a business trip (e.g. when travelling with heavy or bulky materials, or equipment that is required for business).” – College Expenses Policy, Page 21.

7) Accommodation and Subsistence Rates

For short-term visits overseas, the table of guideline accommodation and meal costs gives the permissible rate for the 20 most visited countries. Travellers are advised that breakfast should normally be included in their hotel booking.

If your destination is not listed, use the UK outside London rate of £105 per night including any taxes for accommodation, and up to £50 for your 24-hour meal rate, including tax and service. College Expenses Policy, Page 22-23

8) Accommodation for Extended Stays

If you are working away from home on a longer-term assignment - usually for six months or more – you may need to rent a property rather than stay in a hotel. You must consult with your Department Operations Manager for advice before entering into any long-term agreement for accommodation. College Expenses Policy, Page 25.

The amount you can claim will depend on your circumstances:

  • If you retain living accommodation near your normal place of work – for example if your family continues to live in London – then you can claim the full cost of the temporary living accommodation rented elsewhere (including bills and service charges).
  • If you do not retain living accommodation in London you are only entitled to claim the incremental living costs above those which you would normally have incurred (e.g. if your London rent would have been £800 pcm and the temporary accommodation costs £850 pcm, you will only be able to claim £50).
  • If you are working away from home and sharing a property with colleagues working on the same project, only one of you should claim expenses for the cost of the accommodation and associated bills.

9) Hospitality

The College Expenses Policy gives clear guidance on acceptable rates for entertaining on College business. Please refer to these restrictions on what expenditure is claimable: College Expenses Policy, Page 26-28

10) Telephone and Internet Charges

Please see the College Expenses Policy (page 29) for details on the definition of business calls and what can be claimed.