Apply for a 12 month visa after your PhD Apply for a 12 month visa after your PhD


The Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) allows students who are nearing the completion of a PhD to apply for a 12 month visa under the Tier 4 rules to gain further experience in their chosen field, seek skilled work, or develop plans to set up as an entrepreneur. The DES and Tier 4 are administered and enforced by UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) which is part of the Home Office. As part of the DES, you will continue to be sponsored by the University during the 12 months, or until you apply for another visa. As a consequence you will need to engage with the University at regular intervals, as requested by the University to confirm that you continue to require our Tier 4 Sponsorship.

If you are interested and you need further information please make an appointment to see an International Student Adviser in the Student Support Centre. The application for the Doctorate Extension Scheme must be submitted through one of our Advisers in the Student Support Centre.

The CAS request form needs to be returned to PGR. Prior to the issue of a CAS you will need to meet with the UEA Visa Compliance Team. 

Doctorate Extension Scheme Guide for UEA Students

Brief Requirements

To be able to apply for the Doctorate Extension Scheme you:

  • Must meet all Tier 4 visa requirements as normal
  • Must have a valid Tier 4 visa
  • Must apply in the UK
  • Must be studying and will obtain a PhD qualification
  • Must have a new CAS statement for the Doctorate Extension Scheme
  • Need to inform the PGR Service BEFORE your viva that you are interested in the Doctorate Extension Scheme, or as soon as possible if after your viva
  • Must have an ATAS (if required) that covers you until the end of your course
  • Must apply before the end date stated on your new CAS, which will be your anticipated end date
  • Cannot apply more than 60 days before the end date on your new CAS
  • Must apply before you submit your final hardbound version of your thesis
  • Must maintain contact with UEA, as the University will be sponsoring your visa

** The Doctorate Extension Scheme is not a guaranteed visa progression and you must fit into the timescale/timeframe of your PhD and your current visa to be eligible.  

** Not all PhD students will be able to apply for the visa.  

* Depending on when your visa expires and how long you have for your corrections after your viva, will affect if you are eligible to apply.

* If you need to return on a visitor visa to complete viva or corrections, this will make you ineligible to apply for the Doctorate Extension Scheme.

Key Dates to Apply Before

  1. Your visa expiry date
  2. The end date on your new CAS
  3. Submitting your final hardbound version of your thesis

Application Process

1. Inform the PGR Office

Submit the CAS request form – Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme to PGR before your viva.

2. Know the outcome of your viva

If your viva outcome is a straight pass the PGR Service will be able to calculate an “expected end date” once the formal examiners’ report has been received. Where you have corrections an “expected end date” will be calculated from the date that you submit your corrections to the examiners. A full explanation can be found in the DES Guidance document.

3. Meet the Visa Compliance Team
If you satisfy all the requirements you will have a CAS assigned.

4. Applying
This is a Tier 4 Visa application, you need to meet the usual requirements. Make an appointment with one of our Advisers at the Student Support Centre to submit your application and check all required documents. The Student Support Service will send your application to the Home Office for you.

Find more information on applying for a Tier 4 visa online.