Doctorate Extension Scheme

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Home Office - Doctorate Extension Scheme


On 06 April 2013 a new twelve month work scheme was introduced into Tier 4 for students completing a doctorate e.g. PhD in the UK. The Doctorate Extension Scheme is designed to allow PhD graduates a longer period to find work with a Tier 2 sponsor, set up a business in the UK or gain valuable work experience in their field. The application can only be made from within the UK; it cannot be an Entry Clearance application.

Successful applicants will remain under the sponsorship of the University during the twelve month period and therefore candidates must have a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from the University of Salford in order to apply under this scheme.  It will be necessary for holders of this visa to remain in touch with the University as we will have monitoring and reporting duties to fulfil for the UK Visa and Immigration Service (UKVI). If contact is not maintained and details not updated, Tier 4 sponsorship will be withdrawn and the visa cancelled.

Eligibility Requirements:

In order to be able to apply under this scheme:

  • Applicants must have current Tier 4 leave to study a PhD or other doctorate level degree at an HEI in the UK;
  • Must not have completed their course before 6 April 2013;
  • Must not have previously been granted leave under the doctoral extension scheme;
  • Must be following a course leading to the award of a PhD;
  • Must be sponsored by a sponsor that is a recognised body or a body in receipt of public funding as a higher education institution from the Department of Employment and Learning in England, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales or the Scottish Funding Council and that sponsor will be the sponsor awarding the PhD; and
  • Must apply a maximum of 60 days before the expected end date of a course leading to the award of a PhD. Candidates who expect to complete their PhD earlier than originally stated in their offer letter must apply a maximum of 60 days before their revised expected end date.
    The end date is the date that the PhD is awarded.

The Doctorate Extension Scheme is a sponsored scheme aimed a top students and HEIs[1]. As the Tier 4 sponsor, the University must agree to continue sponsoring the applicant whilst on the scheme. As such:

  • Tuition fees must have been paid in full and the applicant must have a satisfactory payment record;
  • Applicant must be anticipated to complete their PhD within a 4 year timescale;
  • Attendance whilst studying must have been 100%;
  • Applicant must have acted within the Immigration rules during the period of study;    


In order to be eligible for an extension under the DES an applicant must meet all the UKVI and University criteria.

The application must be made a maximum of 60 days before the expected end date and before the current Tier 4 visa expires. The 'expected end date' is calculated as the date given to submit any minor corrections, plus one month OR in the case the student passes the PhD straight away, the date of the viva plus two months.

Timing of the application is the responsibility of the applicant. It is not possible to apply after the PhD has been conferred.

  1. Applicants should obtain and complete a Doctorate Extension Scheme assessment document (Appendix 1) This provides a list of the supporting documents UKVI will require to be submitted with the application; captures basic information about the applicant and once signed, is the contract between the University and applicant
  2. The Tier 4 (General) application is an online application. More information can be found by clicking here. You should complete the online application up until the declaration page. Do not submit the declaration.
  3. Having obtained the Doctorate Extension Scheme assessment check list document the applicant should contact the PGR Support Office to arrange the "assessment appointment" to check they are eligible to participate in the Scheme.
    In assessing eligibility, the PGR Support Office will check
    • that the applicant is anticipated to complete within a 4 year timescale
    • that the applicant has 100% attendance record and;
    • If the applicant is aware that, because of extenuating circumstances, they have been unable to meet all the criteria then they should provide clear justification along with any supporting documentation.
    Please note: a retrospective doctor's note will not be accepted as evidence
  4. Once eligibility is confirmed the applicant will sign declaration “Section B – Your responsibilities” The applicant should then pay the £100 administration fee by visiting the online shop.
  5. The applicant should then apply for a CAS via Salford Advantage and submit the signed assessment form as part of this.
  6. Once the CAS has been received you should request a Check and Send appointment with our visa advisers to submit your documents to the Home Office. You can request your appointment here
  7. Once the adviser is satisfied that the applicant meets the criteria and has the necessary documentation the applicant should then make payment of the application fee to the UKVI.

Supporting documentation

The applicant will need to provide:

  • Evidence of maintenance funds. You will need to show £1015 for each month left on your course up to a maximum of two months (£2030). This needs to have been held in an account for a consecutive 28 day period on the date of application and the evidence must be dated within 31 days of the date of the application. You can find information on how much money you need to show to meet the Home Office’s requirements and how to demonstrate this on the UKCISA website and in the Home Office’s Tier 4 Policy Guidance.  
  • If an applicant has been fully sponsored by an international scholarship agency or organisation or Government they must obtain a letter of confirmation of consent to stay in the UK under this scheme.
  • 2 passport sized colour photos which meet the Home Office Photo Guidance requirements
  • Passport(s). This is any used to travel to and stay in the UK.
  • Biometric Residence Permit (if applicable)
  • Police Registration Certificate (if applicable)
  • A new ATAS certificate: if the PhD course required the applicant to have an ATAS certificate and your ATAS certificate has since expired, a new ATAS certificate will be required

Submission to Home Office

Submission to the Home Office will be done by the Universityvia the Check and Send scheme. Once the online application has been submitted online and the fees paid we have 15 days in which to submit the supporting documents to the Home Office.

The applicant will then receive a letter from the Home Office asking them to provide biometric details (fingerprints and a photo) at a designated Post Office. Once this is done the application will be processed by a Caseworker at the Home Office who will decide the outcome of your application.

Documents and new visa (which will be a Biometric Residence Permit - BRP) will be posted back to the University. We will then contact you to come and collect your documents from us.

Monitoring and Reporting

As a Tier 4 sponsor, the University has certain monitoring and reporting requirements.

  1. Once a CAS has been issued, the Student Life Adviser will inform PGR Administrator of the details of the student application.
  2. The PGR Administrator will set up, in the first instance, 4 contact dates with student during the course of the 12 months. It is the responsibility of the University and student to determine the most appropriate format for their contact points. Acceptable methods may include a meeting either in person or using Skype, telephone contact or contact by email. If the University finds the conditions of the visa are not being met or the student does not respond to the contact being made by the PGR Administrator this will be reported to the UKVI Compliance Team who will inform the Home Office.

[1] Doctorate Extension Scheme – Overview and Frequently Asked Questions Home Office 28 March 2013 


For more information, and links to the application form, see our Frequently Asked Questions page.