Doctorate Extension Scheme

The Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) is intended to enable students gaining a PhD to remain in the UK for an additional period.

Doctorate Extension Scheme

The Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) is intended to enable students gaining a doctorate to remain in the UK for an additional 12-month period (after being awarded the PhD) in which to seek work with a Tier 2 employer, to set up as an entrepreneur or to undertake some form of employment.

You can undertake any type of work but you are not permitted to work as a doctor or dentist in training, or as a professional sportsperson or sports coach.

You can only apply for the DES up to 60 days before the date you expect to be awarded your doctorate. You must apply after all corrections have been approved but before your current Tier 4 visa expires and before your award is confirmed at the final Research Degree Award Board (RDAB).

Before making an application

Before making an application under the Scheme, you should:

  • read our information regarding visas and immigration and check your eligibility
  • be sure that you can demonstrate that you hold maintenance funds for you and any dependants (£2,030 for you and £1,360 for each dependant) plus £300 per person for the Immigration Health Surcharge. Your financial evidence should show that you have the correct amount of money for the Tier 4 DES Visa application, available for 28 days prior to the application date, in a format acceptable to the UK Home Office
  • familiarise yourself with the DES eligibility details (see below); and
  • complete an expression of interest form and return to the Visa Hub in Room 2P04 (Frenchay Campus) or by email to the Immigration Advice Service at immigrationadvice@uwe.ac.uk
  • discuss your plans with the Immigration Advice Service. You can attend the drop-in service or email immigrationadvice@uwe.ac.uk
  • if you have any questions concerning eligibility under the scheme, please contact the Student Visa Support Service.

Please note: Unless you have completed these steps, we can't issue you a CAS which you will need to make an application under this scheme.

Applications for DES under the university’s sponsorship are required to be made under supervision of the Immigration Advice team.

If you are granted a visa under this Scheme, it will have a duration of 12 months from the expected PhD completion date. This period cannot be extended.

UWE Bristol DES sponsorship

If UWE Bristol sponsors you under the scheme, the following will apply:

  • you agree to comply with the conditions of the Scheme and with all conditions of your visa as set by the Home Office, including leaving the UK when the visa expires (unless you have obtained a different visa eg you are applying for a Tier 2 visa)
  • you agree to maintain contact with the Graduate School as required while your visa is valid
  • you agree to notify the University if you are no longer participating in the Scheme or intend to permanently leave the UK
  • you understand that you are not a registered student at the UWE Bristol once the award has been made and that you will not have access to student facilities under this Scheme.

In submitting an expression of interest form, you are agreeing to these conditions. If you have any questions, please email the Immigration Advice Service at immigrationadvice@uwe.ac.uk before doing so.

If you do not comply with these conditions throughout the 12-month period under this scheme, the Points Based System Team will withdraw sponsorship and inform the Home Office in accordance with its responsibilities.

Eligibility

In order to apply for a DES you will need to speak with an Immigration Adviser and submit an Expression of Interest form prior to your doctoral viva.

You must also submit a full application for DES prior to being awarded your doctorate degree. Here's an overview of what to expect.

Eligibility for the Doctorate Extension Scheme

  • You will need to read and understand about the Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) and believe you are able to apply.
  • You will need to submit a signed Expression of Interest form with additional evidence if necessary.
  • You are required to have maintenance for you and any dependants (£2,030 for you and £1,360 for each dependant), plus £300 per person for the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). Financial evidence must meet Tier requirements and be shown in your bank account for 28 consecutive days prior to the application being made.
  • You must not have completed and been awarded your research degree by the Research Degrees Award Board (RDAB).

Pre-viva

  • You can submit the Expression of Interest form up to three months before your viva. We recommend that you submit an Expression of Interest form to the Immigration Advice Team once you know the date for your viva.
  • If you have already had your viva, you may not be able to apply for a DES. Please check immediately with the Immigration Advice Team if this is the case.

Thesis submission and the Research Degrees Award Board

  • If you have had corrections following your viva you will need to wait until the Graduate School notifies you that the corrections are agreed by examiners before you are informed to submit the final version of your thesis to the UWE Bristol repository.
  • The Graduate School, Immigration Team and Points Based System (PBS) Team will work out an expected course end date and provide this on your DES CAS. You will have to submit your DES application prior to this end date (no more than 60 days before).
  • The time in which you can apply for the DES is worked out by the University to be the period between being instructed to submit your final thesis to UWE Bristol repository and the RDAB date where your research degree is awarded. You cannot apply for the DES if your thesis has gone live on the UWE Bristol repository.
  • The maximum number of days you can make a DES application is 60 days prior to the award being confirmed (RDAB date).

Visa application and conditions of sponsorship

  • Your Tier 4 DES application must be made with the supervision of the Immigration Advice Team.
  • If you make a Tier 4 DES application after your current visa expires or after the RDAB date, your Tier 4 DES CAS will be withdrawn and you will have to leave the UK.
  • Under Tier 4 DES sponsorship you will expected to adhere to the University’s and Home Office’s requirements for Tier 4 DES.
  • You are required to maintain contact with the University throughout your sponsorship.
  • The University takes no responsibility for visa applications refused by the Home Office.

You can also download your own copy of the Doctorate Extension Scheme eligibility details which contains all of the information listed above.