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Working in the UK after your studies

If you wish to stay in the UK to work after finishing your studies at UCL, unless you are an EEA or Swiss national, you will need to apply for a visa permission to do so. There are a number of different routes which may be available to you but you will need to read the information below to see if you qualify and which is the most appropriate for you.

Tier 4 Doctorate Extension scheme

From 6 April 2013, if you are completing a PhD or other doctorate level qualification at UCL, you will be able to apply to stay in the UK on a Tier 4 visa for 12 months after completing the qualification. This scheme is designed to allow full-time Tier 4 research students a longer period to gain practical work experience in their field.

Tier 4 Doctorate Extension scheme - further information

You need to meet certain conditions to qualify.


In order to qualify for the Doctorate Extension scheme you are required to meet the following requirements:

  • you need to already have current Tier 4 leave of study for a research degree programme leading to a PhD or other doctorate level qualification at UCL
  • you can only apply within the UK and if you have an existing Tier 4 leave, you are not eligible for this scheme if you are in the UK under any other immigration category (including Student Visitor)
  • you need to be studying for a UCL award, you are not eligible if you are studying for a University of London award
  • you have not yet completed your PhD or other doctorate level qualification at UCL


You should adhere to the normal Tier 4 limits on work until you have successfully received leave to remain under the Tier 4 Doctorate Extension scheme AND you have been awarded your degree. At that point, you will no longer be subject to any work restrictions (other than work as a doctor or dentist in training or professional sportsperson or coach).


You will need a new CAS number issued by UCL in support of your application. To obtain this, you will need to complete the DES CAS Request Form and send it to visacompliance@ucl.ac.uk. Please ensure the form has been approved by your Supervisor/Course tutor/Personal tutor before sending it.

Please allow five working days to receive an email confirming that your form has been received.

You need to ensure you meet the following conditions before submitting the CAS Doctorate Extension form:

  • you have reached the viva stage of your research programme
  • you have agreed an expected award date with your research supervisor

The earliest that you can apply for your Doctorate Extension is 60 days before your expected award* date.

*The UKVI Immigration Rules refer to the 'expected end date' of the doctoral study. The 'expected end date' for these purposes is the same as your PhD award date. 

The date of the PhD award is the 28th of each month. 

More information on the scheme and details on how to apply are available from the UK Visas and Immigration website

Tier 2 (General) route

From 6th April 2012, if you are a recent graduate with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, PhD, or a PGCE or PGDE, you may be able to apply under the new provision of the Tier 2 (General) route. You need to meet certain conditions to qualify.

Tier 2 (General) route - further information

In order to qualify for the Tier 2 (General) route you need to be in the UK with a current student visa and have a job offer from an employer who holds a Tier 2 Sponsor License with a salary of at least £20,300, or the minimum appropriate rate set out in the relevant Code of Practice, whichever is the higher.

If you are a PhD student you can switch into this route from Tier 4 if you have completed at least 12 months of study. All other students must have completed their studies and have been awarded their qualification.

Full information about switching to Tier 2 (General) and the other immigration routes available to you at the end of your studies can be found in the Working in the UK section of the UK Visas and Immigration website, which also outlines the requirements that will have to be met.

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route

UCL has been endorsed by the UK Border Agency to take part in the new Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route available from 6 April 2012. This route is for you, if you have completed a degree programme at UCL and have been identified by UCL as having developed genuine and credible business ideas and entrepreneurial skills which you now wish to use to establish one or more businesses in the UK.

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route - further information

For the purpose of the Immigration Rules ‘business’ means an enterprise as a:

  • sole trader
  • partnership or
  • company registered in the UK.

UCL will be able to endorse up to ten applicants on this route in one year. If your application is successful, you will be granted an initial leave of 12 months which then can be extended to a total of 24 months if UCL is satisfied with your progress. You will be allowed to take employment for up to 20 hours a week in addition to the time spent developing your business. At the end of the second year you will need to have funds of £50,000 if you wish to switch to Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category.

If you wish to apply for this route, you are asked to read carefully the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) guidance on the UK Visas and Immigration website.

The Business Advisers at UCL Advances will be responsible for assessing if you have a viable business plan and make a decision if you qualify to be endorsed by UCL under this immigration route. You can find further information and contact details on their Business Advice webpage.

Further advice

You can find further guidance on the visa routes available to you at the end of your studies on the Working in the UK section of the UK Border Agency website and on the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) Working in the UK after your studies website.

If you need help finding a job or researching further study, UCL GradClub can offer you help for up to two years after completing your programme. More information about this service, resources and vacancy listings are available on the UCL Careers Service website.

Page last modified on 25 jun 13 11:26