Doctorate Extension Scheme (Tier 4)

From April 2013 PhD students, or equivalent, holding a Tier 4 visa and successfully completing their degree at a UK University are eligible to apply for this new visa category. This category allows you to stay in the UK for a further 12 months, beyond the end of your programme, to find work or to set up as an entrepreneur. You do not need a job offer but you need to be issued with a new Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) by the University.  You will also be required to maintain contact with the University during this 12 months.

Please note: from 12 November 2015 students will need to show £1,015 per month (for 2 months) towards the Tier 4 visa’s maintenance requirement (living expenses).  Dependants will need to show £680 per month for 2 months as well. 

To be eligible for the scheme you must:

  • have a valid Student or Tier 4 visa;
  • be studying a programme at PhD level (including EdD, EngD, Doctor of Engineering, DClin, Doctor of Educational Psychology);
  • apply no more than 60 days before your award date.  You cannot apply after you have completed your programme;
  • meet the financial requirements;
  • you must apply from within the UK.

To apply for this scheme follow the steps below:

  1. Contact ISSO around the time you hand in your thesis for information and guidance.
  2. Complete a DES assessment form and bring it with you to your next meeting with ISSO.
  3. After your viva, meet with ISSO to discuss your likely programme award date.
  4. A CAS will be issued no more than 60 days before the agreed programme award date.
  5. Complete the online application, which is the same process as extending your Tier 4 visa from within the UK.
  6. Make sure you have all relevant documents from the Doctorate Extension Scheme checklist.
  7. Meet with ISSO to have the application checked and submitted on your behalf.

Conditions of the scheme

  • Your leave expires 12 months after programme completion date.
  • You can work without restrictions when you have successfully completed and made your new visa application. (NB you still cannot work as Doctors or Dentists in training and sportspersons (including coaches)).
  • 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 the Home Office:
    • If you fail your programme or are awarded a lower qualification;
    • If you fail to respond to a University email;
    • If you permanently leave the UK;
    • If you are no longer participating in the scheme.