Overview

Students due to successfully complete a PhD or Doctoral studies are able to apply for a one year post-study visa extension under the Doctorate Extension Scheme as an extension of your Tier 4 leave. As with a normal Tier 4 application, you will need to be issued a CAS from GCU, fill out the same application form, and pay the same fee (£475). You (and any dependants) will still need to meet the other requirements of Tier 4, including 2 months maintenance (£2,030 /£2,530 for GCU London).
There is an administration fee for the issue of the CAS of £80.
Our helpful leaflet can be downloaded as a guide and reminder Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme

The eligibility requirements are as follows:

  • You must apply no more than 60 days before the date your Award is confirmed. If your current Tier 4 leave does not allow you to complete your PhD/Doctorate, you are not eligible for the scheme and must apply for a normal Tier 4 extension to complete your studies. It may be possible to apply subsequently.
  • You cannot apply after your course has finished (this is the date that your PhD/Doctorate award is confirmed, after submissions, viva, corrections etc, this date will be stated on your CAS).
  • You must be in the UK and have current Tier 4 leave to apply.
  • If you have been sponsored within the last 12 months you must obtain written permission from your sponsor confirming their unconditional consent for you to remain in the UK and continue your Doctorate Extension Scheme studies. Please check with your sponsor that they will provide their written permission before beginning your initial application process.

Conditions of leave

A Tier 4 Doctorate Extension visa lasts for 12 months after the date of completion of your PhD/Doctorate. As it is a Tier 4 visa, GCU's obligations as a Tier 4 Sponsor continue throughout the duration of the visa. This means that you must maintain contact with us during your 12 months. For more information on this, please speak with an advisor.

Work Permitted

The scheme has been introduced by the UKVI to offer completing PhD/Doctoral students a chance to seek skilled work after their studies. However, it is not a condition of your leave, and there is no formal restriction on the type of work you can take or seek on this visa, except for:

  • Doctor/Dentist in-training
  • Professional sportsperson or coach

If you are granted leave under the scheme, you are no longer subject to the restrictions on working hours you have had on Tier 4 after your Award date; you are able to work full-time throughout the year. There is also the possibility of switching from this visa into other categories, including Tiers 1 and 2 (provided you meet the requirements under these categories).

Things to remember

  • The scheme is only open to students completing a PhD or Doctoral studies, and doing so on a Tier 4 visa.
  • Your visa will last for 12 months, from the date of completion of your PhD/Doctorate.
  • You do not need an ATAS clearance certificate to cover your time on the Doctorate Extension Scheme after you have finished your course.
  • You must not have previously been granted leave under the Doctorate Extension Scheme. It is not possible to extend this leave (however, as above, switching to another category may be possible).
  • There is no formal requirement for you to seek skilled work, so it is your choice what type of work (if any) you take during the 12 months.
  • GCU will be required to notify UKVI of any significant change in your circumstance (such as leaving the UK permanently, or making a visa application in a different category), or if you fail to keep in contact with us.

Further reading

You may wish to read the relevant points of the Tier 4 Policy Guidance. Additionally, UKCISA has some useful information about the scheme.

VISA Support:

  • Check and Send Service

VISA will check and send your application and documents as we do with Tier 4 General Student Visa Applications. Your CAS will be sent to VISA and when you meet with an advisor to check your online application and documents, this will be added to your application to submit online.