UK Tier 1 post-study work visa approval?
August 17, 2011 8:55 AM   Subscribe

Can I apply for a UK post-study work visa before I have officially graduated but after I've completed academic work and been approved for the degree?

The UK university where I did my PhD has a long delay between when you are "approved" for your degree (i.e. the university sends you a letter saying that you've completed all the requirements, passed the examination, etc.) and when you have the actual graduation ceremony. I want to apply for a post-study work visa for which I am otherwise eligible, but it isn't clear to me whether "approved for the degree" is going to fly with them. They have a stipulation saying that if you don't yet have your degree certificate you can get a letter from the institution explaining why instead, but I don't know if to-be-awarded will count. Does anyone have any experience with this?

Bonus question: after my student visa expired I went back to the UK on a tourist visa, during which time I was still technically enrolled as a student (since my thesis corrections were ongoing). Is that going to be a problem for this application? I didn't overstay on either visa or anything like that.

(NB: I'm aware that I can call the consulate and ask, but their visa help line charges $3.00 a minute, and then they put you on hold, and then they try to tell you that everything you need to know is on the website, which it isn't. So I don't want to do that if I can find out what I need to know some other way.)
posted by SymphonyNumberNine to Grab Bag (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Best answer: Applying for the work visa should be fine as long as you have the official paperwork in lieu of the award certificate (mine didn't arrive until about a year after the viva; that wasn't really a problem. I didn't eve submit my corrections until about 3 months into the new job).

Are you on the tourist visa and in the UK now? You'd need confirmation on this but I think the Home Office have stopped allowing US citizens to do tourist-to-work visa conversions. I might be wrong though.

As an aside, why didn't you apply for a student visa extension during the writing-up time? You shouldn't have had to leave and re-enter as a tourist in order to do that, most doctoral candidates are eligible for an extra year during writing up and viva if they haven't overstayed their original visa. It shouldn't affect your eligibility for a work visa that you did, though if it does come up, I'd probably emphasise that it was for the purposes of your viva or moving out of student accommodation, rather than the writing up itself.
posted by Cuppatea at 9:16 AM on August 17, 2011


Best answer: I'm a US expat finishing my MA, and I've been told I can apply for the visa as soon as I receive my document saying I've fulfilled the requirements.
posted by canadia at 9:20 AM on August 17, 2011


Response by poster: Awesome, thank you both! Cuppatea, I'm in the US now - it's true that tourist-to-work conversions are not allowed.

Basically the only reason I didn't extend my student visa was due to me making a stupid mistake. That would have been a much simpler path, indeed.
posted by SymphonyNumberNine at 9:39 AM on August 17, 2011


Best answer: You would be ok with the letter confirming qualification, I just wrote a couple of letters for undergrads in a similar situation, its the exam board that really decides, or in the case of a PhD, whoeer gets official responsbility for signing off corrections following the viva. However, cuppatea's experience that he didn't get his until a year after the viva was because he hadn't submitted the corrections, you're not official until the corrections have been accepted, they won't send the letter until that has happened.
posted by biffa at 10:12 AM on August 17, 2011


However, cuppatea's experience that he didn't get his until a year after the viva was because he hadn't submitted the corrections, you're not official until the corrections have been accepted, they won't send the letter until that has happened.

I'm a she :-)

Sorry, should have made it clearer - I was accepted for a job and a Tier 2 work visa organised via the employer, so I started straightaway. I didn't apply for Tier 1 until after starting that job and corrections submitted. I didn't make enough to qualify for Tier 1 on points until I'd been working a couple of years.
posted by Cuppatea at 11:05 AM on August 17, 2011


Yes, this is possible (and I did it). There is *very* specific wording that needs to go into the letter from your University if you don't yet have your degree certificate - they should know what this wording is meant to be but be sure to check that they're aware of this. it'd be awful to have your application rejected on a technicality!
posted by lumiere at 2:27 PM on August 17, 2011


« Older I'm buying my first used car from a person in my...   |   Find a published citation source for Chesterton's... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.