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 Tier 4 or Short-Term Student visa.

This page explains who requires ATAS clearance and how to apply.

ATAS Explained

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 Tier 4 Student visa application
  • as part of the Short-Term Student visa application
  • to register on your course where you hold any limited leave to remain/immigration status

Eligibility

  • The requirement for an ATAS certificate applies to all students whose nationality is outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.
  • Whether your course requires ATAS depends on the JACS code that applies to your course.
  • Your CAS and University offer letter will outline whether your programme requires an ATAS certificate.

Check if you Need an ATAS Certificate

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 UKVI website for guidance on the online application.

Apply for ATAS Certificate

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 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 Tier 4 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.

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 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.