Doctorate Extension Scheme (Tier 4)

If you are a PhD (or equivalent) student and are interested in gaining experience in the UK at the end of your degree, then extending your Tier 4 visa under the Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) may be a good option for you.

This 12 month visa extension allows students and their dependants to extend their Tier 4 visas to allow them to look for and start employment or set up as a business in the UK. There are fewer work restrictions and you do not need to have a job offer to apply for this visa. You will need a new CAS number issued by our office to submit with your visa application. Your DES visa will expire 12 months after your award date. 

  • You must be studying a programme at PhD level (including EdD, EngD, Doctor of Engineering, DClin, Doctor of Educational Psychology); 

  • You can apply no more than 60 days before your award date. You cannot apply after you have completed your programme; 

  • You must meet the financial requirements;  

  • You must have a Tier 4 (General) visa and  

  • You must apply from within the UK through our office.

  • You can work without restrictions after you have successfully completed your degree and submitted your DES visa extension application.
  • You still cannot work as a Doctor or Dentist in training, or as a sportsperson (including as a coach). 
Keeping in contact
  • You must respond to emails sent to you by the University within 2 weeks.  There will be a minimum of 2 emails during the year. 
  • You must notify the University if your contact details change or if you permanently leave the UK. 
The University will notify UKVI if you
  • fail your programme or are awarded a lower qualification; 
  • fail to respond to a University email; 
  • permanently leave the UK; 
  • are no longer participating in the scheme. 

During your appointment you will need to confirm that you understand and agree to the above conditions.

You can submit an application no more than 60 days before your award date which will be very shortly after you submit your final corrected thesis, you cannot apply for DES after your PhD has been awarded. We strongly advise that you book an appointment with us before you have your viva so that we can fully prepare you for an application.

We would strongly recommend that you use our service as we will check and submit your application and supporting documents.

For applications made from inside the UK (Leave to Remain), use this guide:


If you are having trouble viewing this guide, you can download it here: In-country application form guide

UK Visas and Immigration need to see that you have enough money to support yourself while studying in the UK. 

Tier 4 Money Calculation 

Living expenses £1,015 per month for 2 months = £2,030
Living expenses for dependants If you have any dependants applying with you they will need £1,360 each
= The total money you need

If you are applying with your family please see our section on dependants.

Evidence of money 

If you qualify under the UK Visas and Immigration differentiation arrangements you do not have to submit evidence of money. Check whether this applies to you in the differentiation section below.

Money in the bank 

The money must be cash funds in a current account or savings account in your name or that of your parent. Joint accounts are acceptable. You must hold the money in the account for 28 days before you submit your Tier 4 DES application. You can use your bank account during the 28 days but the balance must not fall below the required amount.  

Your bank document must show the transactions and balance during the 28 day period. The date on your bank document may be up to 31 days before the date of application but the money must remain in your account until the date of application. 

Date of application  

  • Applications made inside the UK: The date of submit your online form  
  • Applications made outside the UK: The date you pay the application fee (online or at a visa application centre) 

Bank Statements 

Your bank statement needs to meet the following rules: 

  • It must cover the whole 28 day period 
  • It must be dated within no more than 31 days before the date of application.  
  • It must include at least your name, account number, all transactions, and the logo of the bank 
  • It must be original – you cannot use a print-out or copy unless it has been certified by the bank 
  • It must be in English – you will need an official translation in addition to the original if it is not 
  • If the currency is not in British Pounds (GBP), you should check the conversion of the final balance on the Oanda website on the date of application and write this on the bank statement  

Print-outs and electronic bank statements:

If your statement has been printed at the bank or you have printed it yourself online, it must have the bank’s official stamp on every page in addition to all of the above requirements. We advise that there is not a gap of more than 3 days between the date of the last transaction and the date the statement is stamped.

Example Bank Statement

Parents' bank account 

If you use your parents’ bank statements, they must meet all of the above rules (you cannot submit payslips or proof of property instead, for example) and you must also include: 

  • Your birth certificate with an official translation if it is not in English 
  • A letter from your parents (in English) confirming that the funds in their bank account will be used to pay for your tuition fees and living expenses. 

Bank letters 

If your bank statement does not meet the above rules you can request a letter from the bank instead. A bank letter needs to meet the following rules: 

  • It must include your name and account number 
  • It must include the date of letter (no more than 1 month old) 
  • It must include the bank’s name and logo 
  • It must clearly state the amount of money in the account 
  • It must confirm that the required amount has been there for at least 28 days 

Application form printouts 

Once you submit and pay for your online application, you should save and print your application form, UKVI checklist and biometrics invitation letter. We will do this for you during your appointment. 

Passport(s) and visas

You must provide a current valid passport. 

If you have a current or previous UK visa issued on a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card, you must include it with your application.  

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) 

Your CAS statement lists your CAS number and other important information which you will need to include on your application form. Our office will agree the details with you and issue your CAS number prior to your final appointment with us. This will list your award date as your course end date which will be used to calculate the beginning of your 12 month DES visa. 

Evidence of money

Our money section details the financial requirements for a Tier 4 application. You will need either a bank statement or a bank letter. 

Sponsors permission letter

If you are currently financially sponsored by a government or an international scholarship agency or your financial sponsorship ended within the past 12 months, you will need your sponsor’s unconditional written permission to stay in or re-enter the UK. 

Evidence of English language level

For this type of application, unless you are a national of an English speaking country (full list), you are only required to provide evidence of your English language level as listed on your CAS statement.  


All documents must be originals and any documents not in English must also include a professional translation. Translations must include:  

  • confirmation that the translation is an accurate reflection of the original,  
  • translator’s name, signature and date of translation,  
  • translator’s contact details 
  • list of translator’s qualifications or credentials (for applications from inside the UK only)


People who want to study at advanced levels within certain subject areas must obtain clearance certificates under the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) before they make any immigration application to study, or extend their study period, in the UK. Further information about the scheme is available on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website. 
ATAS is only required for certain subject areas, including Computer Science, Physics, Medicine, Biosciences and Engineering.  All Masters and PhD students should check whether or not the ATAS requirement applies to them. It will be stated on your original offer letter. 
You must apply for your ATAS certificate (via the above website) at least 4-6 weeks before you plan to apply for your visa. The certificate will be emailed to you and must be printed and included with your visa application. Note that you will need to provide your ATAS certificate to our office before your CAS can be issued. 

Police Registration certificates

If you are required to register with the police, you must submit an up-to-date police registration certificate which including current visa status and address. 


Additional documents

The Home Office should not request any additional documents except in exceptional circumstances.

The application fee is £475 (inside the UK) per person, payable by credit or debit card online. There is also a premium application option (+£610) if you need a decision on your application quickly. 

In addition, you will required to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) of £300 per person, per year of visa granted. This must also be paid by credit or debit card during the online application process. Payment of the IHS is compulsory and entitles you to use the National Health Service (NHS).

If your original documents are not in English you will also need to provide a fully certified translation by a professional translator or translation company. 

Any translations you submit with your application must include the following: 

  • Confirmation that it is an accurate translation of the original document 
  • The date of the translation 
  • The full name and signature of the translator or an official from the translation company 
  • The contact details of the translator / translation company 
  • Translations for applications submitted in the UK must also include the translator’s credentials (translation qualification) 

Nationals of certain countries qualify for Tier 4 differentiation arrangements. If you qualify for differentiation arrangements, you do not need to submit evidence of previous qualifications or financial documents with your initial visa application. However, UK Visas and Immigration can request that you submit full documents at any point during the application process, so you must ensure you meet the financial and qualifications requirements on the date that you submit your online application.