Tier 4 - Doctorate Extension Scheme

What is the Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES)?

  • The Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) allows PhD students to extend their Tier 4 visa for additional time in the UK
  • This scheme is only available to PhD students who will soon complete their course
  • It allows a PhD student up to an additional 12 months in the UK to look for, and engage in employment or be self-employed
  • During this additional 12 months, the PhD student will still be sponsored by the University of Lincoln. This means that any successful application under the DES must maintain contact at least three times in the 12 months and continue to update the Tier 4 Compliance team of any contact details
  • If contact is not maintained and details are not updated, the University of Lincoln will withdraw DES sponsorship; the student’s Tier 4 visa will be reported and cancelled by the Home Office.

Am I eligible?

  • To apply, you must be a PhD student coming to the end of your course but must not have completed your course (please see ‘When can I apply?’ below)
  • You must hold a valid Tier 4 visa which allows study in the UK and sponsored by the University of Lincoln
  • You must have sufficient funds available and be able to demonstrate this
  • You must apply inside the UK.

When can I apply?

  • You will only be eligible to apply after your viva has taken place, a ‘completion date’ has been established by the Tier 4 Compliance Team and all supporting documents have been reviewed by the International Advice Team
  • The ‘completion date’ will be based on the outcome of the viva as follows:
    • If following the viva there are no corrections, the ‘completion date’ will be the 1st of the month after the viva date (e.g. if the viva is on 16th May, the ‘completion date’ will be 1st June)
    • If following the viva there are minor amendments, the completion date will be the 1st date of the month 3 months after the viva date (e.g. if the viva is on the 16th May and minor corrections are needed, the completion date will be 1st September as this is the 1st day of the month 3 months later).
  • If the viva is completed and you have major amendments or have to resubmit your thesis, you will not be eligible for the Doctorate Extension Scheme until you are near completion
  • Applications for Tier 4 under the Doctorate Extension Scheme must be made within 60 days prior to your course completion date.

How to apply?

  • Once you have completed your viva and have been advised that you have either no or minor amendments you will need to complete the DES CAS request form
  • Once you have submitted your DES CAS request form, you will be contacted by the Tier 4 Compliance Officer with a decision within 10 working days on whether you are eligible for the Doctorate Extension Scheme
  • If you are eligible for Doctorate Extension Scheme, the Tier 4 Compliance Office will confirm your ‘completion date’ and provide you with a CAS for your Tier 4 visa application for DES
  • The International Advice Team will be available to help you with your Tier 4 DES visa application. The team will be able to check your application and post it to UKVI Batch team on your behalf.