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Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES)

The Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) allows the University to sponsor completing PhD students to remain in the UK for up to 12 months in order to work in either paid employment or on a self employed basis or look for suitable employment.


You may be eligible to apply under this scheme if you meet all of the following criteria:

  1. You currently have a valid Tier 4 (General) visa
  2. You will be able to submit a valid Tier 4 (DES) application online from within the UK no more than 60 days before the expected date of your pass list*
  3. You can apply online before your current Tier 4 visa expires
  4. You have all the appropriate supporting documents
  5. You have been issued with a valid CAS specifically for the DES (see below)

*Pass lists are issued by the Academic Support Office normally 2-3 days after you have uploaded your e-thesis (after your viva and any corrections neccesary).

How & when to apply

You can only apply for the Tier 4 DES visa once you have completed your viva and you have been given permission to upload your final e-thesis.

Follow the timeline below which explains the process:

  • Pass your Viva exam
  • Submit Tier 4 DES Request Form (so that a CAS statement can be prepared for you)
  • Forward your 'Pass Forthwith' email to us (you will receive this following the completion of any corrections required and / or confirming that you are in a position to upload your final e-thesis
  • Receive your CAS statement by email from Student Immigration Office
  • Start to complete your Tier 4 (DES) application
  • Submit Tier 4 (DES) visa application (meet with Immigration Advisor if you would like to have your application checked first)
  • Upload your final e-thesis
  • Forward copy of official pass-list to Student Immigration Office
  • Wait for your Tier 4 (DES) visa to be issued
  • Forward copy of your Tier 4 (DES) to Student Immigration Office visa when it arrives

Please note: The Student Immigration Office will contact all potentially eligible students 5 months before their expected submission date with details about how to register your interest in applying and how the process will work.


In order to be granted the Tier 4 (DES) visa you must make sure you can meet the application requirements.


You will to show that you have enough money (£1015) to live on (maintenance) for each month of the DES visa up to a maximum of 2 months. Therefore you will need to provide a bank statement demonstrating that you have held at least £2030 in your bank account for at least 28 consecutive days up to the closing balance.

  • The bank statement must show that the required amount has been held for a minimum of 28 consecutive days
  • The closing balance must be dated before the date you submit your visa application online, but not more than 31 days

Further details on financial requirements and evidence

Government sponsored students

If you have received financial support towards your course fees and / or living costs from an 'official financial sponsor' during your studies (within the last 12 months) you must provide an original letter from them confirming that they give consent for your application to remain in the UK following your study.

Further details on financial requirements and evidence

Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

If you required ATAS clearance to study on your current programme, while ATAS clearance is not required for the time you spend on the DES, you may be required to apply for a new ATAS certificate if:

" are currently studying a course (or period of research) that requires an ATAS Clearance Certificate, and your course end date given on the CAS is postponed for a period of more than 3 calendar months, you must apply for a new ATAS Clearance Certificate to cover the rest of your time on that course." (Tier 4 Policy Guidance)

Therefore, you will need to apply for an ATAS Clearance Certificate if the end date stated on your DES CAS is more than 3 months after the end date that was stated on the CAS you used for your Tier 4 Student visa.

Prepare your application

Start preparing your application at least 8 weeks before your current visa expires by following the steps below:

  1. Make sure you have a valid Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from the University
  2. Apply for Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance (if required)
  3. Make sure you have the required financial evidence
  4. Gather together any documents you may need to support your application
  5. Calculate the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS) (paid online as part of your application)
  6. Meet with an Advisor to check and submit your application when ready to apply (optional)

Use the Tier 4 Policy Guidance to help you prepare

Please note:

  • Check that you meet all the requirements before you apply (your application will be refused if you do not)
  • Evidence must be exactly as stated in the Tier 4 Policy Guidance (your application will be refused if it is not)
  • Allow plenty of time to gather supporting documents and submit your application

Differentiation arrangements for applicants from certain countries (updated 06.07.18)

If you are from one of the countries listed below, you are only required to provide mandatory documents as part of your application. You should not provide documents such as financial evidence, unless specifically asked to do so. However, you must still meet all the requirements, including having sufficient money in your account when you apply:

Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Botswana, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, The Dominican Republic, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, The Maldives, Mexico, New Zealand, Qatar, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, United States of America.

In addition, holders of a passport from the following authorities will also be considered under the differentiation arrangements:

British National (Overseas), Hong Kong, Macau SAR, Taiwan (those who hold a passport issued by Taiwan that includes the number of the identification card issued by the competent authority in Taiwan)

This information is stated in the Immigration Rules

Apply online

  1. Go to the UKVI website and follow the instructions to apply online
  2. Pay the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS) during your application
  3. Choose the service you require and pay the application fee online (see below)

Use the Tier 4 Policy Guidance to help you apply

Please note:

          • You must complete your online application before your visa expires.
          • The date of application is the date you pay for and complete your application online
          • You can stay in the UK under the conditions of your previous visa, until your new visa is granted.
          • It is important not to make any travel plans until you receive your passport and new BRP

          Submit your application, supporting documents & biometric details

          When you apply online, you can choose between three service options:

          Standard service: Apply online and then:

          • Send your supporting documents by post within 15 working days
          • Use Special Delivery from the Post Office (ensures the safety of documents and allows tracking online)
          • Give your biometric details at Durham Post Office, WHSmith, Market Square or nearest participating Post Office (once you have received a letter requesting you to do this)
          • Receive decision, passport, supporting documents and Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) within 8 weeks (or longer if it is complex)
          • The application fee is £475

          Priority service: You must complete a Tier 4 priority request form and email it to UKVI (only first 60 requests received each day after 8:30am, Monday to Friday, are accepted)

          • Once accepted for priority service, apply online within 24 hours using reference number provided
          • Send your supporting documents by Special Delivery from the Post Office to the address given in the email (to reach the address within 2 days after applying)
          • Give your biometric details at Durham Post Office, WHSmith, Market Square, or nearest participating Post Office (once you have received a letter requesting you to do this)
          • Receive your Passport and BRP within 10 days
          • The application fee is £952
          Premium service: Apply online and book an appointment at a Premium Service Centre (the nearest are Sheffield and Glasgow)
          • You have 45 days from the date you apply online to attend an appointment

          At your appointment:

          • Provide your supporting documents
          • Give your biometric details
          • Get your documents back and a decision in up to 4 hours (may take longer if complicated)
          • Receive your BRP by post within 10 working days
          • The application fee is £1085

          Urgent applications / upgrading your Standard Service application

          Further information

          For guidance on the eligibility requirements please refer to the Tier 4 Policy Guidance