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.

On

COVID-19 update

The information on this webpage is affected by new temporary guidance that has been released by UKVI in light of the situation with COVID-19. 

See below for a summary of how this affects usual procedures: 


ATAS explained

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
  • As part of Visitor visa application
  • To register on your course where you have limited leave to remain/immigration status (this applies to almost all visa categories)

Eligibility

  • 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 you will need to get an ATAS clearance, or apply for a new ATAS clearance if your course details change if:

  • You are not a national of one of the following countries or groups of countries: UK, EU, EEA, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, USA.
  • You have limited leave to remain/immigration status in the UK in a category that requires ATAS clearance (nearly all visa categories require ATAS clearance).

If 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, you will still need to apply for ATAS clearance if your course details change. 

You will not need to apply for an ATAS clearance in order to apply for a visa to complete your course, or to apply for a visa for any new course that requires 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 which should be completed in full.
  • Visit the Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) website for guidance on the online application.

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.

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.