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Doctorate Extension Scheme

The Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) is a Tier 4 visa scheme for PhD students who have completed a Doctoral level programme at a UK institution. The visa is valid for 1 year from the end of the PhD programme and allows eligible students to look for work in the UK.

Who is eligible to apply?

To be eligible to apply for DES, you must:

  • Hold a valid Tier 4 (General) student visa at the time of application;
  • Be studying for a PhD or doctorate level qualification;
  • Apply within 60 days prior to completion of the course;
  • Be in the UK at the time of visa application submission;
  • Meet the financial requirements;

If you were sponsored by your government or employer for your PhD, you must obtain written permission from your sponsors that they will allow you to apply for DES.

When should you apply?

You must apply 60 days prior to completing your doctorate programme but you cannot apply before you have done your viva voce exam and corrections (if required). Please note the end date of your programme is the date on which your award is confirmed. Once your doctorate award is confirmed you are no longer eligible to apply for DES.

Once you have had your viva please contact the Visa Support Team and we will work with you and the Research Team to manage the award date and visa application submission date.

What documents do you need to make a DES visa application?

  • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
    You can request a CAS number from the Visa Support Team.

  • Bank statements
    You must provide evidence that you have at least £2030 in your bank account for a minimum of 28 consecutive days. The bank statements you provide must end no more than 31 days before the date of your application.

  • Sponsor letter
    If you have had official financial sponsorship for your studies then you will need to provide written confirmation from your sponsor that they will allow you to apply for DES.

  • Current passport and visa
    You will need your current passport and visa along with any previous passports you have in your possession.

  • Photographs
    You will need 1 passport-size photo which meets the passport photo requirements of the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

  • Police registration certificate
    If your current visa requires you to register with the police then you must send your Police Registration certificate with your application.

Details of the full visa application process can be found by attending a visa information session.

Monitoring of the Tier 4 (DES) Students

The University will be your sponsor for your Tier 4 (DES) visa so you must stay in contact with the University throughout. We will invite you to attend our international checkpoint events. However, we appreciate that you may no longer be working in the area and we ask to keep us informed of your status via email. You should also keep us informed if you change your address, email address, phone number or if you change your visa category and therefore no longer require sponsorship from the University under this visa category.

Additional Reporting Requirements for (DES) Students

The University still has a requirement to report students who have undertaken the Doctorate Extension Scheme.

We would make a report to the UKVI under the following circumstances:

  • You have successfully completed your course and we would confirm to the UKVI that you have completed the PhD to the standard required for the award of PhD.
  • If you have finished your course without successfully completing the PhD, or is awarded a lower qualification, we will need to report this and, if appropriate, the date of completion.
  • If you miss a scheduled contact with us without a reasonable explanation and we are unable to make contact with you.
  • If you tell us  you are permanently leaving the UK.
  • If we have reason to believe that you are breaching your conditions of leave either during and after completion of your course.
  • If for any reason we stop sponsoring you after completion of your course.

We will be required to withdraw sponsorship under the following circumstances:

  • You finish your course without successfully completing your PhD, or is awarded a lower qualification.
  • You have a missed a scheduled contact with us without reasonable explanation and we have been unable to make contact with you.
  • You notify us that you are permanently leaving the UK.
  • We are aware you are breaching the conditions of your leave.