Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme

Please note from 9am on 1 July 2021, DES will merge into the new Graduate route under which a PhD graduate can apply for permission to stay in the UK to work for 3 years. You can find out more about this on our Graduate Route FAQ webpage on our website. If you have been granted a DES visa, you will not be eligible to apply under the Graduate Route.

A Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme is an 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 to be eligible to make a visa application under this category - for example, you cannot apply while you have major corrections
  • You must also hold a valid Tier 4 (General) Student or Student Route visa
  • Please note: You can only apply for an extension of stay into this category from within the UK

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?

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.

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?

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

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

You will be able to apply to switch to Tier 2. The main purpose of the 12 month leave under this category is to enable you to progress to the Tier 2 categories should you wish.

Find out more about switching your visa to a Tier 2 Visa

Not completed your studies 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 Student Route 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 Student Route 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 UKVI under 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 the University of Birmingham to update them on your circumstances. This will occur at least three times 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.



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