Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme

What is it?

This is a new immigration visa category which applies to all PhD students who have a valid Tier 4 (General) visa. This category may allow you to work in the UK for an additional 12 months after you have completed your PhD. 

Can I apply?

You must be in a position of completing your degree at the University of Birmingham after April 2013 to be eligible to consider making a visa application for this category.

You must also hold a valid Tier 4 (General) visa.

Main benefit of applying for the Scheme?

The PhD Doctorate Extension Scheme allows you to remain in the UK for a period of 12 months after your course has ended to enable you to obtain skilled work or set up a business in the UK.

Do I need to have a job offer?

No – this route does not require a job offer. This route allows PhD students who are completing their studies an additional 12 months to remain in the UK for the purposes of finding work.

Can I apply from outside of the UK?

No – you can only apply for an extension of stay into this category from within the UK.

When can I apply?

You must apply for this extension within the 60 day period before your current course end date to be eligible for this Scheme.

Can my dependants apply?

Yes – you are permitted to bring dependants to the UK should your course be longer than 12 months and extend under this category.

Can I apply to switch to Tier 1 or Tier 2?

Yes – the main purpose of the 12 month leave under this category is to enable you to progress to the Tier 2 and Tier 1 categories should you wish.

What will happen if I do not complete my course within the original predicted course end date?

Should you not complete your studies within the original predicted course end date, you can:

  1. Apply for a new CAS and Tier 4 (General) extension visa. You can then later apply for the new Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme once you complete your current course; or
  2. Take legal advice about extending your stay in another immigration category; or
  3. Make arrangements to leave the UK.

What conditions will I be required to meet?

Whilst you are studying, the standard Tier 4 conditions will apply including the limitations on permitted hours of work.

However, once your course has been completed and the extension application sent to the UKVI, you can work without restrictions other than you will not be permitted to work as a doctor or dentist in training or a sportsperson (including sports coach).

Should you be successful with your application to the UKVIunder the Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme, you will be issued with further leave to remain for a period of 12 months. You are then permitted to work full time.

The 12 months will start from the date of course completion, not the date of visa issue.

For the duration of your visa you will be prohibited from studying at any other institution.

You will also be required to remain in contact with your Sponsoring institution to update them on your circumstances. This will occur at least twice a year. You will be given details of your contact points which you will agree following the successful receipt of your Doctorate Extension Scheme BRP.

How do I apply?

You can download a copy of the Doctorate Extension Scheme CAS form by clicking here: DES CAS Form. You should complete and return to the ISAS, once you are aware of your viva date.

Where can I get more information?

The UKVI have published further guidance at the following web pages:

UKVI Studying in the UK web pages

UKVI News and updates web pages  

Students talking

Questions about Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme?

Contact the International Student Advisory Service