Doctorate Extension Scheme

Current PhD students wishing to extend their Tier 4 Visa can apply for the Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES). This allows you to stay in the UK for a further 12 months upon completion of your PhD.


Where you have already been awarded your PhD you cannot apply for the DES. You must apply via a different route if you wish to work in the UK.

Where you wish to extend your visa for after your PhD end date you must:

  • apply inside the UK
  • hold a valid Tier 4 visa at the time of application
  • be a current student within 60 days of expected completion
  • meet all other requirements of the Tier 4 Visa application stated on the page below

How to Apply

Visit an International Student Adviser at the Advice Centre as soon as possible to establish if the DES is the best option for you.

1. Where it has been established that DES is the best option for you, request a DES CAS application form from International Student Support before you intend to submit your thesis.

Contact International Student Support

2. Once you receive the outcome of your viva, take your DES CAS application to your supervisor to confirm the expected date that your final e-copy will be submitted.

3. Return your completed form to International Student Support.

4. Where you are deemed eligible for a DES CAS your information will be submitted to the Home Office and you will be booked onto a Visa Extension Scheme appointment.

5. You will then receive an email confirming your new CAS number to include in your visa application.

6. Complete the relevant sections of your visa application and attend your Visa Extension Scheme appointment before submitting. Visit the page below for guidance.