Tier 4 - Doctorate Extension Scheme

Doctorate Extension Scheme CAS request form

What is the Doctorate Extension Scheme?

The Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) allows students who are nearing completion of a PhD to apply for a 12 month extended visa period to look for work, set up as an entrepreneur or gain practical work experience in their field. The Scheme operates within Tier 4 of the points based system and, during the 12 months, the University of Lincoln will sponsor your visa.

Am I eligible for the Doctorate Extension Scheme?

To qualify for the Doctorate Extension Scheme you must meet the following criteria:

  • Hold a valid Tier 4 (General) student visa to study a programme that leads to a PhD qualification.
  • Have not yet completed your PhD programme. *
  • You must be in the UK and be able to make your application from within the UK.
  • You must be able to make your application no more than 60 days before the completion date on your CAS*

*For the purposes of the Doctorate Extension Scheme, completed/completion date refers to the date your award is conferred at the College Research Degrees Board.

Please note that these are general eligibility criteria and all CAS Requests for the Doctorate Extension Scheme are subject to a full assessment by the Tier 4 Compliance team. The University reserves the right to refuse a CAS.

When can I apply?

You must make your visa application no more than 60 days before the completion date on your CAS.

For example, if your award is due to be conferred at the College Research Degrees Board on 1st August 2017, you must make your visa application between 2nd June 2017 and 31st July 2017. These timeframes will be specified in an email from the Tier 4 Compliance team along with your CAS.

How do I apply?

  • Once you have completed your viva, and have been advised of what, if any, amendments you have to make, you should complete the DES CAS Request form
  • Once you have submitted your CAS Request the Tier 4 Compliance team will contact you within 5 working days to confirm whether you are eligible to receive a CAS. If you are eligible, you will be sent a timeline that you will need to adhere to as well as a DES declaration that you will be required to read, sign and return.
  • Attend a free visa workshop with the International Advice team for advice and guidance when making your DES application. Details of the free visa workshops can be found below.

Is there support available to help me make my application?

The International Advice team hold a visa workshop to support you when making your DES application. They are able to give you advice on the documents required, the maintenance amount you are required to demonstrate and how to complete the application form.

These workshops are free to attend and take place every Tuesday at 5.30pm in the University Library, Room UL101.

Working on the Doctorate Extension Scheme

The Home Office guidance states that ‘Students on the Doctorate Extension Scheme have new work conditions when they successfully complete their course’. This is the date that your PhD award is conferred at the College Research Degrees Board.

You should not undertake any full time work, and should continue to adhere to your restricted Tier 4 working conditions, until your PhD has been awarded, even if you have received the Doctorate Extension Scheme Visa.

Your Doctorate Extension Scheme Responsibilities

Once you have obtained your new Tier 4 DES visa you will be subject to the following:

  • Once you have received it, you must take your DES visa to the Student Support Centre, Minerva Building, for the University to take copies as required by the Home Office.
  • You must complete the online DES contact form approximately every three months. A link to the form will be sent to you by email. Failure to maintain contact using the online form will result in the University withdrawing sponsorship of your DES visa.
  • You must notify the Tier 4 Compliance team if you permanently leave the UK. You can contact us by email at desvisa@lincoln.ac.uk
  • If after you have applied for the DES visa you fail to complete your PhD the University must report this to the Home Office and your visa will be cancelled
  • The University may withdraw sponsorship of your DES visa should it be made aware that you are in breach of the conditions of the scheme.