Visa Extensions

Information for Tier 4 visa holders wishing to extend their visa to complete their research studies

If you are a registered PhD Researcher, and you need more time to complete the PhD examination process or have had an Extension of Time approved, you may be eligible to apply for an extension to your current Student Route visa (formerly Tier 4).  If you decide to apply for an extension to your visa you will need a new CAS number as evidence of the University's continued sponsorship of your visa.

To request a new CAS number you should complete the Visa Extension Request Form and send the below to pgr@ulster.ac.uk:

  • a copy of your passport ID page and travel stamps,
  • A copy of the front and back of your BRP
  • Gantt chart/timeline

If you are undertaking a course that is subject to ATAS clearance, you will require a new ATAS certificate before a CAS can be issued.  This can be a lengthy process so it's important that you contact us well in advance of your visa expiring so that your ATAS can be approved before you apply for the visa extension.

What is a Student Route visa extension?

A Student Route visa extension is simply an extension to the Tier 4 visa that you were granted when you began your studies.

PhD Researchers may request a visa extension if they will not be able to submit their thesis by the time their current visa expires.

Who can apply for a visa under the Scheme?

Any PhD Researcher within the UK who has current leave to remain under a Student Route/Tier 4 visa and who requires further leave to remain in order to submit their thesis and attend their viva voce examination.

A Student Route visa extension will not be granted for the purposes of attending graduation.

When can I apply?

Applications must be made before your existing leave expires.  The ATAS application process can take around 6-8 weeks so you are encouraged to begin making initial enquiries with the Doctoral College at least three months in advance of your visa expiration date.

What do I need to do before applying for the visa?

You should express their interest in applying for the visa by contacting the Doctoral College.  You should also liaise with your supervisors to get their input into your estimated timeline to completion.

You may be asked to provide financial evidence by Ulster and/or the UKVI, so it's important that you have this to hand should either party request it and that you keep obtaining up-to-date copies of this until after you have submitted your full visa application.  This evidence usually takes the form of bank statements showing sufficient funds to cover both any fees and your maintenance for the remaining length of your course. This maintenance figure is currently £1,023/month for locations outside London.  You should read the Financial Requirements - Extensions for further information

Do I need ATAS clearance?

If your research falls under specific JACS codes then further ATAS clearance will be required.  If you had to get ATAS clearance when you applied for your initial visa then you will need a new ATAS certificate for your visa extension.

Can an application be made outside the UK?

No – all applications must be made from within the UK

What do I do after I apply?

Once you apply you will receive confirmation from the UKVI and may be be contacted by them requesting more information and/or inviting you to attend an interview and to supply your biometric information.

You should keep the Doctoral College updated with the progress of your application and, when you receive your new BRP, send a copy of the front and back to pgr@ulster.ac.uk within 7 days of receipt.