Two students browse the shelves in a library.

UWTSD provides a comprehensive and expert support service for every step of your UK study visa application

The type of visa for which you need to apply will depend on your individual circumstances, including the length and level of your proposed course of study.

How to check if you need a visa

The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) Website will tell you if you need a visa to study in the UK with UWTSD.

Your course length, type and place of study will determine the visa for which you need to apply.

  • Standard Visitor visa lets you do a short course of study that lasts no longer than 6 months.
  • Short-term study visa lets you come to the UK to study an English language course that is over 6 months and up to 11 months.
  • Student visa is usually for a longer course. You must be sponsored by UWTSD and have a confirmed place. You may be able to do some work on this visa.


I need a visa to study at UWTSD, what should I do now?

Make sure that you have completed an application form and submitted it to the University.

There is more information available to help you with this in the How to Apply section.

Once your application is accepted, you will then be given detailed guidance and support for your visa application.

I already have a visa for entry to the UK, how do I amend this to study at UWTSD?

There are several different types of visa that permit you to enter the UK.

These are issued according to the purpose of your last visit, for example, for tourism, study, or work.

In almost all cases, to be able to study at UWTSD, you will be required to make a new Study Visa application from your home country.

However, if you require a Student Route visa for your studies (the most common visa type for students), you may be able to change (switch) to this visa if you’re in the UK already. For further information please contact 

How much do I have to pay for a UK study visa application?

You will need to pay a visa application fee and the prices for these are given on the UKVI's website for each type of visa. 

You will also need to pay a 'Health Surcharge' fee and the price of this will vary according to the duration of your requested visa. 

The University's immigration team will advise you on the exact costs that you must pay for your specific circumstances and will guide you through the payment process. There is no additional charge to you for the advice service provided by the University.

Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) Visa Process Guide

Policy Guide and Background

1. The DES was introduced by UKVI to allow Tier 4 and student visa sponsored students, studying towards a PhD award or a similar listed qualification (e.g. DBA) to stay in the UK after achieving their award and seek skilled work in a related field.

2. The terms of the UWTSD DES scheme are detailed below. To qualify for a DES CAS a student:

  • must have current Tier 4 or student visa leave to study a specified doctorate level degree at UWTSD in the UK (e.g. PhD or DBA)
  • must not have an outstanding leave to remain application awaiting a decision by the Home Office (including exceptional assurance leave)
  • must have submitted their doctoral level thesis
  • must be capable of completing their VIVA and receive the outcome of that VIVA within the terms of their current tier 4 or student visa
  • must be capable of applying for DES leave to remain a maximum of 60 days before the expected end date of a course leading to the doctorate level award (as stated on the DES CAS issued)
  • must meet all the other requirements for the DES scheme.

3. When a student demonstrates all of the above, the University may choose to issue a DES CAS. If the University decides to issue a DES CAS, it must do so before the student has successfully completed their doctoral award but when doing so must be confident the student will have the relevant award confirmed.

4. When issuing the CAS for a DES visa the University must state the anticipated date for completion. The University must then subsequently report to UKVI that the student has in fact successfully completed the award. Where a student has not successfully completed the award the University must report this fact to the UKVI who will then curtail any leave given under the DES / refuse any outstanding application for leave to remain.

5. When sponsoring a student under the DES scheme the University must ensure it remains in contact during the period of sponsorship (normally 12 months) and have a minimum of 2 expected contacts during this period. These contact points are not academically lead but are instead focused on the economic activities of the student – i.e. are they in skilled employment / self-employment or seeking employment and also to confirm residential address details held on file. Should a student not attend any scheduled attendance point without prior agreement then the University must report this to UKVI who will then curtail the leave of the sponsored student. The contacts must be face to face or by Skype and an appropriate record kept of the meeting and placed on the student’s file.  

Procedural Guide

6. In order to ensure all doctorate level students are dealt with in a fair and consistent manner the following procedure has been adopted by the University. This procedure applies to all SQF level 8 sponsored students across all campuses:

  • The doctoral level student is responsible for making an application for a DES CAS at the appropriate time and using the appropriate form. Should they fail to do so a DES CAS may not be issued.
  • The application for a DES CAS should be submitted to the University at no earlier than the submission of the relevant thesis and no later than a week before any related VIVA. Applications submitted outside of this timescale will be rejected.
  • At the point of requesting a DES CAS the student should also include evidence that they meet all other requirements of the DES visa category and the University requirements for issuing a DES CAS (see point 2 above).
  • On receipt of the DES CAS application form, the International Registry team will contact the Academic Office to confirm the submission of the thesis and the date of the VIVA. Once these have been confirmed they will ensure the student has sufficient Tier 4 or student visa leave to undertake such actions and if they do issue an acknowledgement email. Should the student not have sufficient Tier 4 or student visa leave to undertake the VIVA and receive the formal outcome then they will be advised that a DES CAS cannot be issued. Please note in such circumstances it may also not be possible to issue a student visa CAS either for a further period of study.
  • Once the VIVA has been completed the Academic Office will notify International Registry of the recommended outcome. This will be one of three scenarios:

a) Outcome A – Doctorate Level qualification to be awarded

  • If the VIVA panel recommendations are to award the doctorate level award (outcome A) then International Registry will issue a DES CAS with the course completion date of the next RDC meeting. The student may be asked to provide updated documentation to show they meet any remaining eligibility criteria of the DES route if applicable. The student will be advised they will need to submit their DES Leave to remain application before the date of the next RDC meeting and before their current Tier 4 or student route visa expiry date.
  • When the RDC meet and confirm the award the Academic Office will notify the International Registry team who will then report successful completion on the SMS.

 b) Outcome B – Doctorate level qualification to be awarded subject to undertaking and submitting corrections

  • If The VIVA panel recommends an award following corrections (outcome B) the student cannot be issued a DES CAS as the date if completion of the course is more than 60 days away. The student must contact the International Registry team at this point to discuss the possibility of a Student visa route extension application. Please note such extension requests are not automatic and are at the discretion of the University. Consideration of whether a further student route CAS can be issued will include confirmation that regular academic supervision will be undertaken in the period in question. 
  • Students may make a further DES application at the point of submission of their corrections. Should a student not apply at the point of submission of corrections but do so later it may not be possible to issue a DES CAS if the award of the qualification has already been made.

c) Outcome C – resubmission of DBA thesis in 12 months

  • If the VIVA panel’s recommendations is that the student should resubmit their thesis within 12 months, a DES CAS will not be issued and the DES CAS request will then be rejected.
  • Further sponsorship under the Student visa route may be sort but may not be granted by the University. Such applications are at the discretion of the University to grant in line with the immigration rules and it’s own CAS extension policy.

d) Doctorate level qualification is not to be awarded

  • If the VIVA panel’s recommendations is not to award the doctorate level qualification no DES CAS will be issued and the DES CAS request will then be rejected.

7. The above process is to be followed across all campuses and for all relevant Tier 4 sponsored SQF level 8 students who request a DES CAS. 

Where can I get further advice on visa issues?

We recommend you start by reading the information and guidance contained in these pages and also look at the website: UK Visa and Immigration and 

If you can’t find what you are looking for or need further personal advice, you can email the University team at

Immigration advice and services are regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) and we as an institution must abide by the Commissioner's Code of Standards.

The advisory team that provides support to you on behalf of the University holds OISC accreditation and in this context, they can only work with UWTSD applicants (and where appropriate, their dependents).

Will my visa fee be refunded?

No, the fee you have paid for your visa application is for it to be processed and a decision to be made, regardless of the decision itself. You will however be refunded the fee for the Immigration Health Surcharge if applicable.