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International Students

PhD visa options

Tier 4 visa options for students nearing the end of their PhD registration

This information applies to students who initially enrolled in or after September 2007.

Students who are sponsored for a Tier 4 visa by SOAS will normally be sponsored until their submission deadline. We expect students to be granted four additional months additional Tier 4 leave by the Home Office after this deadline. If you have not been granted this additional leave please contact our International Student and Welfare Advisor for advice.

The School can sponsor students for an additional period in the following scenarios. Students will need to make the relevant CAS and visa applications and pay relevant fees.

Under Examination Status

Students who submit on or before their submission deadline can be apply for a CAS for a six month period from the date of submission to allow for the examination procedures to be completed. The standard CAS application form can be found on this Postgraduate Research Section web page. 

This is only available for students who are remaining in the UK and preparing for examination while based at SOAS in London for the period leading up to the examination.

Doctorate Extension Scheme

The Home Office now offers PhD students the opportunity to remain in the UK for an additional year following award of the PhD in order to work. Any type of employment is permitted under the scheme except working as a professional sports person/coach or a doctor or dentist in training. Please see the Home Office website for more details.

The Doctorate Extension Scheme is available to students with current Tier 4 leave (sponsored by SOAS) and currently residing in the UK.

Please be aware that there is a very tight time schedule when making an application to the scheme.

Students must apply using the Doctorate Extension Scheme CAS Application Form (located on this PG Research Section web page) at the same time as they submit their final hard copy and e-thesis following examination. When submitting your hard copy and e-thesis you must make sure that the Postgraduate Research Section has your application for the Doctorate Extension Scheme as this cannot be processed after the final award has been made. Failure to do this will mean that you will not be eligible for the Doctorate Extension Scheme.

The Postgraduate Research Section will provide you with a CAS and you must apply to the Home Office for a Tier 4 (General) student visa extension using this CAS before your award date (you may have a very limited amount of time to make this application). Failure to do this will mean that you will not be eligible for the Doctorate Extension Scheme.

Please see our guidance about making a Tier 4 (General) student visa application.

Please note that this information is subject to change. You must ensure you check the information relevant at the time of submission and be sure that you meet the financial requirements of the visa application.

Requirements for Doctorate Extension Scheme
To qualify for the scheme you must:

• be a research student who has who has current Tier 4 leave to remain in the UK*;

• have completed the requirements for the research degree and are due to be awarded the degree;

• be fully aware of the responsibilities to abide by the conditions of Tier 4 (General) student visa leave, including that they must leave the UK once the visa expires (unless they have made a valid application for, or been granted further leave to remain in the UK);

• report to the Postgraduate Research Section with your passport and Doctorate Extension Scheme visa as soon as it is granted;

• keep the Postgraduate Research Section informed of your contact details;

• inform the Postgraduate Research Section if you leave the UK and do not intend to return before your visa expires; and

• respond to reasonable requests for information from the Postgraduate Research Section during your period of DES sponsorship.

Please note be aware that failure to comply with the above requirements may result in sponsorship being withdrawn and your visa being curtailed.

Applications to scheme cannot be accepted if:

• your Tier 4 (General) student leave has already expired;

• the results of your viva are not yet known;

• your viva result is minor or major corrections;

• the research degree award date has passed; or

• you are currently not in the UK.


*If you are studying on a visa type other than Tier 4 please contact the International Student and Welfare Advisor for advice.