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Doctorate Extension Scheme

Step 1 - What is the Doctorate Extension Scheme?


Are you graduating with a PhD soon?  The Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) is designed to allow PhD graduates a longer period to find work with a Tier 2 sponsor, set up a business in the UK or gain valuable work experience in your field.  If your Doctorate Extension Scheme application is approved, there will be no restrictions on the type of employment you may take except for a doctor or dentist in training or a sportsperson (including working as a coach).  

If you make a successful application, you will continue to be sponsored by the University of Salford during the 12 month period.  You must stay in contact with the University as we will have monitoring and reporting duties to fulfil for the Home Office.  If contact is not maintained and details not updated, we will withdraw your Tier 4 sponsorship and your visa will be cancelled.

For further information about the scheme, please see the Home Office guidance.

Step 2 - Am I eligible?


In order to be able to apply under this scheme you:

  • Must have current Tier 4 leave to study a PhD or other doctorate level degree at the University of Salford
  • Must not have previously been granted leave under the Doctorate Extension Scheme
  • Must apply a maximum of 60 days before the expected end date of your course; if you expect to complete your PhD earlier than originally stated in your offer letter then you must apply a maximum of 60 days before your revised expected end date
  • Remember - the end date is the date your PhD is awarded

Step 3 - How do I apply for the scheme?

You must apply a maximum of 60 days before your expected end date and before your current Tier 4 visa expires.  The expected end date is the date your PhD is awarded.

Timing of the application is your responsibility and it is not possible to apply after your PhD has been awarded.

  1. Complete a Doctorate Extension Scheme assessment document
  2. Once we have confirmed that you are eligible for the DES, sign declaration "Section B - Your Responsibilities"
  3. Pay the £100 administration fee by visiting the online shop
  4. Apply for your CAS via Salford Advantage and submit the signed assessment document as part of this; please note your CAS can take five working days to be issued to you (or longer during peak times)
  5. Once the CAS has been received, complete the Tier 4 (General) online application up to the declaration page but do not submit the declaration
  6. Request a Check and Send appointment to submit your documents to the Home Office
  7. Make payment of the application fee to UKVI

Supporting Documentation

  • Evidence of maintenance funds:
    • You will need to show a balance of at least two months maintenance in your bank account
    • This needs to have been held in an account for a consecutive 28 day period on the date of application and the evidence must be dated within 31 days of the application
    • More information about this can be found on the UKCISA website and in the Home Office's Tier 4 Policy Guidance
  • A letter of confirmation of consent to stay in the UK under this scheme if you have been fully sponsored by an international scholarship agency/organisation or government
  • Two passport sized colour photographs which meet the Home Office Photo Guidance requirements
  • Passport(s) i.e. any used to travel to and stay in the UK
  • Biometric Residence Permit (if applicable)
  • Police Registration Certificate (if applicable)
  • A new ATAS certificate (if your PhD course required you to have an ATAS certificate and this has expired, a new one will be required)

What happens next?

Once the online application has been submitted and the fee paid, we have 15 days in which to submit the supporting documents to the Home Office.

You will then receive a letter from the Home Office asking you to provide biometric details at a designated Post Office.  Once this is done, your application will be processed by a caseworker at the Home Office who will decide the outcome.

Documents and a new visa (a Biometric Residence Permit) will be posted back to the University.  We will contact you to come and collect these from us.

Step 4 - Your responsibilities


The Doctorate Extension Scheme is a sponsored scheme and therefore the University has certain monitoring and reporting requirements.  

Once a CAS has been issued, the Home Office Compliance Team will set up two contact dates during the course of the 12 months.  It is the responsibility of the University and you to determine the most appropriate format for your contact points.  Acceptable methods may include  a meeting either in person or using Skype, telephone or email contact.  If the University finds the conditions of the visa are not being met or you do not respond to the contact being made by the Home Office Compliance Team, this will be reported to the Home Office.