Student Immigration Service

Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme

If you are studying on a PhD or other doctorate level qualification you can apply for a one-year visa to work or look for work in the UK.

Can I apply for the Doctorate Extension Scheme visa?

In order to qualify for this visa you must:

  • Have a valid a Tier 4 (General) visa or a Student visa at the time of application
  • Be studying a PhD or other doctorate level qualification
  • Apply before completing your course (expected submission date of the final version of your thesis)
  • Apply in the 60 days prior to your hardbound thesis submission
  • Meet the financial requirement (maintenance)
  • Apply from inside the UK

Check our flowchart to see when you can apply:

What documents will I need?

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)

The CAS is an electronic document which is stored on the UKVI’s secure database.

The University will provide information about you to the UKVI, and they will provide us with a reference number, called the CAS number.

You can get a CAS number from our team by completing a CAS request form. The CAS cannot be issued more than 60 days before you submit your final, hardbound thesis. 

You can complete the form once you have had your viva and your final submission date has been agreed with your supervisor. The CAS request form will have to be approved and signed by your supervisor.

Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate (ATAS)

If you are studying a programme which requires an ATAS clearance certificate and your programme end date has been postponed by more than 3 months, you need to apply for ATAS to cover the remainder of your programme. Whilst you do not need to submit an ATAS certificate with your DES application, having a valid ATAS for the full duration of your course is one of the conditions attached to your Tier 4 visa.

Find out more about ATAS

Financial evidence

You will need to submit personal bank statements (or your parents’ or legal guardian’s bank statements) showing that you have held at least £2030 in your bank account for at least 28 days.

The statement must be in the format required for a Tier 4 application, and must not be more than 31 days old on the date that you apply.

You can find more information about what format the statement must take in the Tier 4 Policy Guidance.

Other documents

You will also need to submit:

  • Your original passport
  • Your Biometric Residence Permit (if you have one)
  • Two passport-sized photographs which are not more than 1 month old
  • Your up-to-date Police Registration Certificate (if you have one)
  • If you have been financially sponsored by your home government or an international organisation in the last 12 months, you will need to submit a letter of consent from them
    • Your sponsor will need to give you their unconditional consent to make a visa application and to remain in the UK for an unlimited period of time

What if your current visa expires before your expected date of award?

Once you had your visa, you will be notified of your expected date of award. If you have corrections and your current visa is not long enough to allow you to complete them, you will need to apply for a Tier 4 (General) visa extension.

Applying for a Tier 4 visa 

How do I apply?

The application process is the same as the Tier 4 (General) application.

Apply for a Tier 4 visa

Please note that we offer a visa application checking service - this is an optional service, and you can use it once you are ready to apply. If you would like to know more about this, contact us.

Contact us

What type of work can I do?

Once your award is confirmed, and the University has informed the Home Office, you will be able to work full time.

There are no restrictions on the kind of work you can do except:

  • You can’t work as a doctor or dentist in training;
  • You can’t work as a professional sportsperson or coach;
  • You can’t work as an entertainer. 


If you have dependants in the UK with you, they will be able to extend their stay by applying for a visa extension as a Tier 4 DES dependant.

If your dependants are in the UK, they will need to make their visa applications at the same time as you.

If your dependants are not currently in the UK, they will be able to join you by applying for a Tier 4 DES dependant entry clearance visa. More information and guidance can be found on the UK Visas & Immigration website.

Tier 4 DES dependant (UKVI website)

More information

If you have any queries about the Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme visa please do not hesitate to contact us.

Contact us

For more information on what happens at the end of your studies:

At the end of your studies

Useful Links

UKCISA website

UK Visas & Immigration website