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Durham University


Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES)

The University of Durham makes every effort to ensure that the information published on this page is accurate. However, the University cannot guarantee the information may not be altered owing to circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) change in Government policy, or change of law. Any changes will be incorporated into the University’s website as early as possible.

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 can meet all the requirements (see below)
  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.

Requirements & evidence

In order for your application to be successful, you will need meet a number of requirements and provide evidence to demonstrate it.

Students from certain countries may qualify under the 'Differentiation arrangements' meaning that only certain mandatory documents are required in support of your application.

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

Living costs (maintenance)

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

Academic 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 meet the financial requirements
  4. Find out whether you qualify under the Differentiation Arrangements (see below)
  5. Check that you meet all the requirements and can provide any evidence required to support your application
  6. Calculate the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS) (paid online as part of your application)
  7. 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

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

          Collecting your new Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) and documents

          During your application you can choose to have mail, including your new BRP and any supporting documents sent to either your home address or a different correspondence address.

          If you are continuing your study at Durham University, you can have your new BRP and documents delivered to the Student Immigration Office if you choose, by entering the following correspondence address:

          Student Immigration Office,
          Palatine Centre, Durham University,
          Stockton Road,
          DH1 3LE

          We will contact you as soon as your BRP arrives. Contact us if you would like to discuss this further.

          Please note: If collecting your BRP from a local Post Office, you must collect your it within 10 days of arriving in the UK or before your 30 day entry visa expires, whichever is later

          Submit your application, biometric details & supporting documents

          When you apply online, you can choose between two new service options (from 29.11.18):

          Standard service:

          • The Standard Service application fee is £494.20 (£475 plus £19.20 biometric registration fee)
          • Pay for and complete your application and book an appointment at one of the service points across the UK (Glasgow / Manchester being nearest locations to Durham)
          • Appointments at one of the 6 main Service Points in the UK have no extra charge. If it is more convenient you can choose an Enhanced Service Point location at a more convenient location more locally for an additional fee of between £55 and £125 (depending on time of appointment).
          • Newcastle Central Library is the nearest Enhanced Service Point to Durham.
          • Upload your supporting documents online before your appointment (alternatively you can take these with you and have them scanned when you attend)
          • Attend your appointment and register your biometric details
          • You can expect to receive a decision within 8 weeks of registering your biometric details at your appointment
          • Once you receive a decision, you should receive your new BRP by post up to 10 working days later

          Priority service:

          • Same procedure as above
          • Priority Service application fee is £971.20 (£952 plus £19.20 biometric registration fee)
          • You can expect to receive a decision & your new BRP within 10 working days of your appointment

          Super Priority service:

          • Same procedure as above
          • Super Priority Service application fee is £1104.20 (£1085 plus £19.20 biometric registration fee)
          • You can expect to receive a decision at your appointment & your new BRP within 10 working days later

          Further information

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