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Doctorate extension scheme

RH Grad 2010_069

If you're a PhD student who will soon complete your course you may wish to apply for the Tier 4 Doctorate Extension scheme.

This scheme came into force on 6 April 2013 designed to give students who have almost finished their UK PhD or other doctorate qualification an additional 12 months of Tier 4 (General) immigration permission in which to look for and start work in the UK.  

The timing of a Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) application is key. Please consult the International Student Support Office well in advance so that we can help you time your application correctly. The best time to start thinking about a DES application is when you're ready to submit your initial thesis. This will give us time to plan ahead based on your likely viva date and visa expiry.  


Who can apply for sponsorship from Royal Holloway under the Doctorate Extension scheme (DES)? 

  • You must be a PhD student whose current Tier 4 visa is being sponsored by Royal Holloway

  • You must be in the UK 
  • You must apply before your current Tier 4 visa expires, but before you are formally awarded your PhD

  • You must be able to provide proof that you have funds of £2,530 available for a period of at least 28 days before you apply for the scheme (additional funds will be required if you are applying with dependants)

If you are interested in applying for a DES please read and complete the following forms:

Application to be sponsored under the Doctorate Extension scheme

Guidance for the application to be sponsored under the Doctorate Extension scheme

If you meet all of the eligibility requirements above and have all of the supporting documents required under the DES, you must apply using the Tier 4 (General) Student visa application.

More details on the current requirements can also be found on the UKVI website (specifically in paragraphs 87-96 of the current Tier 4 Policy Guidance). There is also useful information on the UKCISA website. 


*Award date

  • The Immigration Rules refer to the "expected end date" of the doctoral study. The end date is defined as "the date the PhD is formally confirmed, by the sponsor, as completed to the standard required for the award of a PhD". In other words, the end date for these purposes is the same as your PhD award date

  • The date of the PhD award is the 1st of the month following the Faculty Dean’s approval of your award (e.g. if your minor corrections have been signed off by your examiner mid-June, and the confirmation of your award is then approved by the Faculty Dean by the end of June, your award date will be 1 July)



Contact us

We're located in IN009 in the International Building 

We're open:

Mon-Fri, 10.00am to 4.00pm 

Email: internationaladvice@royalholloway.ac.uk


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