Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme
The Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) is a post study work option for PhD students who are enrolled on campus. It is designed to give students who have almost finished their UK PhD or other doctorate qualification an additional 12 months of Tier 4 (General) immigration permission in which to look for and start work in the UK. The visa allows you to work full time in the UK without the need for sponsorship by an employer.
Information about this scheme is available in the Tier 4 policy guidance document.
Can I apply?
You can apply for this visa if you are studying a PhD course or other Doctorate programme on campus. You can only apply from within the UK and you must have current Tier 4 immigration permission in order to be eligible.
What should I do if I want to apply for this visa?
Please visit the Student Centre for a drop in session with one of the advisers or email email@example.com to book an appointment to see an adviser. It is important that you start to prepare for your application before your viva and speak with the Doctoral College registry team to discuss your intentions.
When should I apply?
We cannot assign you a CAS until you are within 60 days of the expected end date of your course, which will be the date stated on your award letter. We also can only assign you a CAS if you have not yet been awarded your PhD and whilst you still have Tier 4 leave. In most cases you will only know the expected end date of your course once you have completed your viva voce.
Please note that you can only apply from within the UK. If you apply but fail to achieve your PhD/Doctorate, the University will be required to notify the Home Office and your visa (if already issued) will be curtailed/cancelled at the point at which your Tier 4 visa for study would have expired.
Will I need ATAS?
This depends if your research area needs an ATAS certificate. If you do, then you may need one for your DES application if your research time frame exceeds 3 months further than your original end date. Please discuss this in your appointment with an adviser who will be able to advise you further.
How much money will I need?
You will need to have a minimum of £2,030 (£1,015 per month, max. 2 months) in your bank account that has been maintained for 28 consecutive days. This must be evidenced in an original bank statement and dated no later than 31 days before the application is submitted. You can also use a parent’s bank statement or an official sponsorship letter to evidence funds held. If you received official financial sponsorship during your studies then you need a letter from your official financial sponsor confirming they give you unconditional permission for you to extend your visa from within the UK.
How much will it cost?
Your application will cost the same as a standard Tier 4 application.
If your application is successful, you will be granted Tier 4 immigration permission for a period of 12 months from the expected end date on your CAS. Your permission to work full time will be stated on your Biometric Residence Permit.
When you are granted Tier 4 leave under this scheme and you have received confirmation of your award (this can be before or after your expected end date on the CAS), you can work almost without restriction in any skilled or unskilled profession. The only restrictions are that you cannot work as a doctor or dentist in training, or as a professional sportsperson or sports coach.
If you later find sponsorship under Tier 2 you should ‘switch’/apply for a new visa under this category. The International Student Support Team can assist you with Tier 2 visa advice and application.
Responsibilities during your DES year
As a part of your responsibilities you will need to remain in contact with the University whilst you are in the UK under the DES. We will contact you by either email or telephone at two points in the year. If we are unable to maintain contact with you we may have to report this loss of contact to the Home Office. This could result in a curtailment (cancellation) of your visa. You should contact the University at firstname.lastname@example.org if you intend to leave the UK for a short break at any time of the year.
You should also contact us and the Home Office with any change of address details. You can inform the Home Office of this by updating them using these contact details.
Please also inform email@example.com by email.
You will be required to sign an agreement to confirm that you are happy with these arrangements prior to your CAS being issued.
Your family can apply as dependents under the Doctorate Extension Scheme
Work options after DES
You may be able to seek work as a Tier 2 sponsored employee.
For further information and for any questions you have, please contact the International Student Support Team.