If you wish to stay in the UK to work when you have finished your studies you will need to apply for visa permission to do so. Here you will find out the requirements you will need to meet as well as the application support available from the University.
For information on helping guests to get their visas for your degree ceremony, see visitors.
Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme - for DPhil students approaching completion
The Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme is open for applications from students who are close to finishing their DPhil. The scheme is part of Tier 4 meaning applicants need sponsorship in the form of a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from their department to apply for a visa extension.
The visa will be granted for 12 months from the expected completion date on the CAS and allows holders to seek and take work in the UK without needing advance sponsorship from an employer, or set up in business.
You can use the year simply for work experience or, if you found qualifying work with a licensed employer, you may be able to progress to Tier 2. If you are setting up a business you may be able to go on to apply under the entrepreneur or graduate entrepreneur categories. During the year you will need to keep in contact with the University as your sponsor for the scheme.
As it is not possible to apply once you have completed your DPhil, you should speak to the Graduate Studies Assistant for your department and request a CAS shortly before your viva to allow yourself time to make the visa application before you are granted 'leave to supplicate'. Some funded students may need their financial sponsor's permission to apply. Information is available from the Home Office.
Other visa categories
Post study work scheme: A new two year post study work scheme was announced by the UK Government on 11 September 2019. This will be a visa students can apply for after completing a degree and whilst still in the UK with a current Tier 4 visa and it will allow unrestricted work in the UK. We are awaiting further details but it seems this may only come into effect for those completing their course in or after the summer of 2021. UK Council for International Student Affairs has some further information.
Start-up visa (replaces the previous Graduate Entrepreneur scheme): for applicants to stay in the UK for up to two years to set-up a business. You will need to be endorsed by an authorised body which includes the University of Oxford. Each year 30 endorsements are offered by the Careers Service which includes an interview process where you will be asked to present your business plan. For further information about the requirements, see the Careers website above and the Home Office guidance.
For students who currently/previously held a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa, see the Home Office guidance for switching rules.
Innovator visa (replaces the previous Entrepreneur scheme): applicants proposing to set-up or actively run a business in the UK, you will need £50,000 investment funding if it is a new business. You do not need any evidence of investment funding if your business is already established and you have been endorsed for an earlier visa. You will need to be endorsed by an authorising body as explained on the Home Office website.
Exceptional talent: 2,000 visas are available to be granted annually to exceptionally talented migrants who are recognised as leaders or are emerging as leaders in the fields of science, humanities, engineering, medicine, the arts and digital technology. Applicants have to be endorsed by a 'designated Competent Body'. For details, see the Home Office information on Tier 1 (Exceptional talent).
Investors: these visas are available to applicants with £2million to invest in the UK.
Tier 2 (General) - you have a job offer
For a Tier 2 application, the salary offered must be appropriate to the type of work and be at least £20,800. Although an employer would normally need to advertise the job as required by the Home Office (the Resident Labour Market Test) they are exempt from this requirement if you are applying in the UK under the special arrangements for student visa holders.
In order to apply for Tier 2 from within the UK, if your last visa granted was as a student or a Tier 4 student, you will have to show that you have completed, during the period of that visa, or a previous visa which you have now extended, a degree or at least one year of your DPhil. If you have finished your course at the University you can include a Degree Certificate, Final Academic Transcript or a Degree Confirmation Letter to prove that that you meet this requirement. You will also need to meet maintenance and English language requirements as set out in the Home Office's Tier 2 guidance.
The number of Tier 2 (General) applications made outside the UK is limited by a quota system which may slow down your application or make it more difficult for you to apply. For this reason it is usually better to apply under Tier 2 from within the UK if you are eligible to do so.
Holders of Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme visas can also benefit from the Tier 2 switching arrangements for students.
Information on other routes for working in the UK
Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme): is available to nationals of Australia, Canada, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Taiwan or South Korea. The Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) is for young people from participating countries who would like to experience life and work in the UK. There are specific requirements to be met, visas are issued under a quota system and you have to apply from your home country. You can also apply if you are a British Overseas citizen, a British Overseas Territories citizen or a British National Overseas citizen (there is no limit on these visas).
UK ancestry: If you are a Commonwealth citizen with a grandparent born in the UK, you may be able to apply from outside the UK for a visa to come to the UK for five years to look for a job and work, on the basis of UK ancestry.
Turkish citizens: If you are a Turkish citizen you may benefit from a European agreement with Turkey if you want to set up in business in the UK, or to obtain the right to stay longer to work if you have already been legally working in the UK.
Tier 5 Temporary Worker: If you are already in the UK, it is now possible to remain here to undertake an internship directly related to the studies you have taken during your time in the UK, for up to 12 months under the Tier 5 Temporary Worker (Government Authorised Exchange) scheme.