Routes after study

Information for routes after study including the Doctorate Extension scheme, Tier 2 visas and more.

Doctorate Extension Scheme

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 Student Visa sponsorship and your visa will be cancelled.

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

Am I eligible?

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

  • Must have current Student Visa leave to study a PhD at the University of Salford;
  • Must not have previously been granted leave under the Doctorate Extension Scheme;
  • Must have been through your Viva;
  • 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 (at the Postgraduate Research Award Board).

How do I apply for the scheme?

You must apply a maximum of 60 days before your expected end date and before your current Student 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 Section A and Section B of the Doctorate Extension Scheme assessment document;
  2. Apply for your CAS via Salford Advantage and submit the signed assessment document as part of this;
  3. If you are eligible for DES, we will check whether you are eligible for a CAS.  Please note your CAS can take five working days to be issued to you (or longer during peak times).  If you are eligible, we will contact you and advise that you now need to pay the £100 administration fee;
  4. Pay the £100 administration fee by visiting the online shop;
  5. Submit reciept as proof of payment via email so that your CAS can be issued;
  6. Once the CAS has been received, complete the Student Visa online application up to the declaration page but do not submit the declaration;
  7. Request a Check and Send appointment to submit your documents to the Home Office;
  8. 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 Student Visa 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.

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.

Tier 2 visa

The Tier 2 (General) category is for those who are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland and have been offered a skilled job in the UK with an employer who is registered with the UKVI as a Tier 2 sponsor.

To be eligible to work in the UK under a Tier 2 (General) visa you must be sponsored by an employer who has a Tier 2 sponsor license. The UKVI Register of Sponsors contains details on which employers are registered under Tier 2. In order to apply under Tier 2 (General) there are various requirements that must be met.

Unfortunately, our team are not able to advise on Tier 2 (General) visas. To find more information, we recommend you look at the Salford University careers website, the UKCISA website and the Home Office Tier 2 policy guidance.

Leaving the UK

When you have completed your programme we need to ensure your immigration record is up to date for your situation. This is to ensure that the Home Office has the most accurate understanding of your situation so that your immigration record will be ready for you to make new visa applications to the UK if you need to do so.

When do I need to leave the UK?

You must leave the UK on or before the expiry date of your current visa.  If you do not leave the UK before your visa expires you have overstayed.  Overstaying is a criminal offence.  You should start making the arrangements to return to your home country as early as possible.

If you have completed your programme much  earlier than was originally expected or have had your current visa curtailed or withdrawn, the Home Office will write to you to confirm a new expiry date for your visa which will replace your previous expiry date.

What do I need to provide to the University?

Once you have returned home, please supply your flight details to the University.  You must provide an e-ticket and either boarding card or passport stamp to

How do I return for Graduation?

If your Student Visa has expired, this cannot be extended or re-issued for the Graduation ceremony.

You can return to the UK to attend Graduation using the Standard Visitor Visa route (a visa for general/tourism purposes in the UK). You can read about and apply for the Standard Visitor Visa here.

The University can issue you with a letter to support your Standard Visitor Visa application. This letter can be requested here.