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 before starting their course or applying for a Student or Visitor Visa (where you are visiting in order to study a course).
This page explains who requires ATAS clearance and how to apply.
- COVID-19 Update
- ATAS Explained
- How to Apply
- Changes to Your Study
- Visa Extensions and ATAS
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. There is a summary of how this affects usual procedures here.
ATAS is a certificate issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) giving you 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 a Visitor visa application
- to register on your course where you hold limited leave to remain/immigration status (this applies to almost all visa categories)
- 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 be need get ATAS clearance and apply for 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 USA and you applied for your current visa or immigration status before 5 October 2020, you will still need to apply for ATAS clearance if your course details change. You will not need to apply for 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.
Please note that if you are national of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea or USA, the checking tool will advise you that you do not need an ATAS certificate. This is not correct if you submitted the the visa applciation 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.
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 detail.
- Visit the Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) website for guidance on the online application.
2. 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 where:
- your course content changes
- your research proposal changes
- your course end date is postponed for more than three months
In order to continue studying you must provide evidence of your application.
Student Visa Extensions and ATAS
Where you are a continuing student, you will need to apply for new ATAS clearance where:
- 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
Where 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.
- Where 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.
- Where you are applying for ATAS clearance to cover a time limit extension, you should add ten weeks to your requested extension date.