Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES)
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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:
- You currently have a valid Tier 4 (General) visa
- 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*
- You can apply online before your current Tier 4 visa expires
- You can meet all the requirements (see below)
- 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.
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.
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:
"...you 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:
Use the Tier 4 Policy Guidance to help you prepare
Use the Tier 4 Policy Guidance to help you apply
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,
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):
Super Priority service:
For guidance on the eligibility requirements please refer to the Tier 4 Policy Guidance