Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)
Students studying subjects where the knowledge gained may have application in the development or delivery of weapons of mass destruction may be required to apply for an ATAS certificate.
ATAS is a certificate issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) giving you the security clearance to study subject areas where the knowledge gained may have application in the development or delivery of weapons of mass destruction (e.g. certain science subjects, mathematics, engineering, technology or medicine).
ATAS clearance is required:
- As part of the Student visa application
- To register on your course where you have limited leave to remain/immigration status (this applies to almost all visa categories)
- If your course details change
- If your course end date is being extended by more than 3 months (for example, because you have a study or time limit extension)
- Whether your course requires ATAS depends on the CAH3 code that applies to your course.
- Your CAS and University offer letter will outline whether your programme requires an ATAS certificate.
If your course does require ATAS clearance and if you have a UK visa or permission in a category that requires ATAS clearance (nearly all visa categories require ATAS clearance), you will need to get an ATAS clearance in order to study that course, or apply for a new ATAS clearance if your course details change during study, except where stated below.
If you are a national of the UK, EU, EEA, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea or the USA, you are exempt from ATAS, except where:
- you are a national of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea or the USA; and
- you applied for your current visa or immigration status before the 5th of October 2020.
If this applies to you, you will still need to apply for ATAS clearance if your course details change, or if you wish to change your programme of study to a course that requires ATAS. This is because ATAS is still a condition of the visa or permission that you have been granted.
You will not need to apply for an ATAS clearance in order to apply for a Student visa to complete your course, or to apply for a visa for any new course that requires ATAS.
Where you are a national of one of these countries, if you are granted a visa after 5 October 2020, you will no longer be subject to any conditions that require you to apply for ATAS
Check if you need an ATAS certificate
Please note that if you are a national of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea or the USA, the checking tool will advise you that you do not need an ATAS certificate. This is not correct if you submitted the application for the UK visa you currently have before 5 October 2020.
You will still be able to choose the 'Sign In' option and submit an ATAS application despite this.
Sign in to the Academic Technology Approval Scheme
How to apply
1. Complete the online form to apply for an ATAS certificate.
The application has ten sections that should be completed in full.
Use the guide that you can download at the bottom of this page to help you.
Visit the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) website for guidance on the online application.
It is vital that you check to ensure that you have not made any mistakes before you submit your ATAS application. You should ensure that you have entered the information given to you by the University exactly as it appears on your offer letter. The FCDO have advised that they will not correct errors they are told about after the ATAS certificate is issued, and that a new application must be submitted instead. This means that submitting an application with mistakes could lead to delays in getting your certificate and you not being able to register on your course on time.
Apply for an ATAS certificateFCO ATAS application guidance
2. When you are on the 'Check if you need an ATAS certificate' and the 'Apply for an ATAS certificate' screens, if you are a student, please confirm that you are a 'Taught/Research Student' and not a 'Researcher'.
When you choose this, you will also be asked a further question and will need to choose whether you are a taught or research student.
3. During the application, you must complete the “proposed course of study” section.
- Where you are an MPhil/PhD student, please use the paragraph describing your research that was provided on your University acceptance letter.
- Where you are an Undergraduate/Postgraduate Taught student, please list the core and elective modules of your programme. The module information is available here.
- You will need to ensure to remove any special characters in your answer under this section, such as brackets, as it may prevent you from submitting the application.
Your ATAS certificate is valid for six months from the date of issue for the purpose of applying for a Student Visa.
Changes to your study
You must apply for a new ATAS certificate within 28 days if:
- Your course content changes
- Your research proposal changes
- Your course end date is postponed for more than three months
To continue studying, you must provide evidence of your application.
Student Visa extensions and ATAS
If you are a continuing student, you will need to apply for a new ATAS clearance if:
- Your course end date is moved back by more than three months
- You are applying to extend your Student visa more than six months after your existing ATAS certificate was issued.
If you are a continuing postgraduate research student applying to extend your visa before your viva, your ATAS clearance must cover your predicted viva date.
- Your new CAS will confirm that your end date is ten weeks after your thesis submission date. You should use this as the course end date on your ATAS application.
- If you are applying for ATAS clearance before your new CAS is issued, check the thesis submission date on your student record and add ten weeks to calculate an expected viva date.
- If you are applying for ATAS clearance to cover a time limit extension, you should add ten weeks to your requested extension date.
- ATAS application guide (PDF, 1.48MB)