Doctorate Extension Scheme eligibility

In order to apply for a DES you will need to speak with an Immigration Adviser and submit an Expression of Interest form prior to your doctoral viva.

You must also submit a full application for DES prior to being awarded your doctorate degree. The following guidance explains the process.

Eligibility for the Doctorate Extension Scheme

  • You will need to read and understand about the Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) and believe you are able to apply.
  • You will need to submit a signed Expression of Interest form with additional evidence if necessary.
  • You are required to have maintenance for you and any dependants (£2,030 for you and £1,360 for each dependant), plus £300 per person for the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). Financial evidence must meet Tier requirements and be shown in your bank account for 28 consecutive days prior to the application being made.
  • You must not have completed and been awarded your research degree by the Research Degrees Award Board (RDAB).


  • You can submit the Expression of Interest form up to 3 months before your viva. We recommend that you submit an Expression of Interest form to the Immigration Advice Team once you know the date for your viva.
  • If you have already had your viva, you may not be able to apply for a DES. Please check immediately with the Immigration Advice Team if this is the case.

Thesis submission and the Research Degrees Award Board

  • If you have had corrections following your viva you will need to wait until the Graduate School notifies you that the corrections are agreed by examiners before you are informed to submit the final version of your thesis to the UWE Bristol repository.
  • The Graduate School, Immigration Team and Points Based System (PBS) Team will work out an expected course end date and provide this on your DES CAS. You will have to submit your DES application prior to this end date (no more than 60 days before).
  • The time in which you can apply for the DES is worked out by the University to be the period between being instructed to submit your final thesis to UWE Bristol repository and the RDAB date where your research degree is awarded. You cannot apply for the DES if your thesis has gone live on the UWE Bristol repository.
  • The maximum number of days you can make a DES application is 60 days prior to the award being confirmed (RDAB date).

Visa application and conditions of sponsorship

  • Your Tier 4 DES application must be made with the supervision of the Immigration Advice Team.
  • If you make a Tier 4 DES application after your current visa expires or after the RDAB date, your Tier 4 DES CAS will be withdrawn and you will have to leave the UK.
  • Under Tier 4 DES sponsorship you will expected to adhere to the University’s and Home Office’s requirements for Tier 4 DES.
  • You are required to maintain contact with the University throughout your sponsorship.
  • The University takes no responsibility for visa applications refused by the Home Office.

Further information

Find out more about the Doctorate Extension Scheme, or speak with a UWE Bristol Immigration Adviser by attending a drop-in session ran by the Student Visa Support Service.

You can also download your own copy of the Doctorate Extension Scheme eligibility details which contains all of the information listed above.

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