Doctorate Extension Scheme

If you are completing a PhD or a course at level NQF8/CQF8/SCQF12 at the University of Westminster, you may be eligible to apply for the Doctorate Extension Scheme. This allows you to stay in the UK and work for 12 months after you have completed your course. However, you must make a visa application before you have finished your PhD.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You can only apply up to 60 days before your course end date, which is stated on the confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) you are using to apply for the Doctorate Extension Scheme. You cannot apply earlier
  • You must not have completed your course. Please check the official course completion date with the Graduate School Registry Office (please note that your course completion date is not the same as your course end date)
  • You must get a CAS from the University of Westminster, as we will be sponsoring your visa while you remain in the UK on the Doctorate Extension Scheme
  • You must have a student visa or a Tier 4 visa and your visa must not have expired
  • You must be applying in the UK
  • You must have a minimum balance of £2,530 (from 12/11/2015) in your bank account for your maintenance. This money must be in your account when you make your visa application and must have been held for at least 28 consecutive days
  • Your bank statement cannot be more than one month old at the time of application
  • If you were sponsored by an official financial sponsor for your degree and they will continue to sponsor you for your Doctorate Extension, you will need a letter from them confirming this
  • In some cases, if you were previously sponsored by an official financial sponsor, you must have a letter of consent for making this visa application. This is because some scholarships/sponsorships are dependent on you returning home immediately after completing your studies. Please check with Student Advice
  • If you required an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate for your previous visa application, you may need to apply for a new ATAS certificate. You will need a new ATAS if you will be studying beyond the expected course end date on your previous CAS

How to apply

To apply you will need to:

  1. Discuss your course end date with the Graduate School Registry Office
  2. Request your CAS by completing the Doctorate Extension Scheme CAS request form and emailing it to [email protected] with accompanying documents
  3. Apply online via the Home Office website Tier 4 Online application form. There is not a separate Doctorate Extension application form

You can only start working full-time when you have made a successful application for leave to remain as a Tier 4 (General) student on the Doctorate Extension Scheme and the University of Westminster has formally confirmed that your PhD is completed to the standard required for the award of a PhD. If you have made a Tier 4 visa application for a Doctorate Extension and you complete your course while you are waiting for the outcome of your visa application, you should contact Student Advice to find out whether you can start work.

When you have received your visa for the Doctorate Extension Scheme

Your new visa will be sponsored by the University of Westminster, just like the Tier 4 visa you had for your PhD. As your sponsor, we need to stay in contact with you while you remain in the UK under the Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme.

You will need to make sure that:

  • You come in person to present your new Biometric Residence Permit as soon as you have received it
  • You let us know immediately if your contact details change
  • You respond promptly when we contact you. The University will be your sponsor while here on the Doctorate Extension, so we will be checking in with you by email at least twice during the period of your leave. If you fail to respond to these contacts, we are required to report this to the Home Office, which may act to curtail your leave
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