Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

New Students Applying From Overseas

If you are a Non-EU/EEA student coming to the UK to study a Taught Masters programme or a research degree you may require ATAS clearance BEFORE applying for a Tier 4 (General) Student visa.

The areas affected will generally be science and engineering and will be identified by JACs codes. If ATAS applies to you, the information you require (JACs code and description of programme) will be included in your offer letter.

If you will study with a non-Tier 4 visa you must still obtain ATAS clearance before you can start your studies. You will need to answer ‘Yes’ to the question ‘Are you ready to apply for your UK student visa or extension?’ when you apply for your new ATAS certificate.

  • ATAS applications will take at least twenty working days.
  • ATAS may also apply if you are changing the area of your research to one of those listed below. Students apply online.
  • Apply for ATAS clearance as soon as possible if you need it.
  • An ATAS certificate is valid for 6 months from the date of issue for the purpose of applying for a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa.
  • Your Tier 4 (General) Student visa application will be refused if you do not have ATAS clearance.

If ATAS applies to you, the JACS code for your course will be noted on your offer acceptance letter. The letter will also include either a paragraph describing your research or the module list that you will need to apply.

Research degrees - PhD, MRes, MPhil etc:

Medicine Biological Sciences Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture Physical Sciences
B1 – Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology C1 – Biology. D3 – Animal Science F1 – Chemistry
B2 – Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmacy C2 – Botany D9 – Others in Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects. F2 – Materials Science
B9 – Others in Subjects allied to Medicine C4 – Genetics   F3 – Physics
  C5 – Microbiology   F5 – Astronomy
  C7 – Molecular Biology, Biophysics and Biochemistry   F8 – Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
  C9 – Others in Biological Sciences   F9 – Others in Physical Sciences

Mathematical and Computer Sciences Engineering Technologies
G0 – Mathematical and Computer Sciences H1 – General Engineering I1 – Computer Science *
G1 – Mathematics H2 – Civil Engineering I4 – Artificial Intelligence *
G2 – Operational Research H3 – Mechanical Engineering I9 – Others in computer Sciences
G4 – Computer Science * H4 – Aerospace Engineering J2 – Metallurgy
G7 – Artificial Intelligence* H5 – Naval Architecture J4 – Polymers and Textiles
 G9 – Others in Mathematical & Computing Sciences. H6 – Electronic and Electrical Engineering  J5 – Materials Technology not otherwise specified
  H7 – Production and Manufacturing Engineering  J7 – Industrial Biotechnology
  H8 – Chemical, Process and Energy Engineering  J9 – Others in Technology
  H9 – Others in Engineering.  

Taught Masters (e.g. MSc, MEng etc):

F2 – Materials Science F3 – Physics (including Nuclear Physics) H3 – Mechanical Engineering
H4 – Aerospace Engineering H8 - Chemical Process and Energy Engineering  J5 – Materials Technology not otherwise specified

* ATAS Update March 2015 - A new ATAS application system was introduced and  JACS codes G4 and G7 were discontinued in 2011 and replaced by I1 and I4. The new ATAS application system will only allow codes I1 and I4 to be entered for Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence courses.

Continuing Students Extending Your Visa

If your existing ATAS certificate was issued more than 6 months before the date on which you will submit your Tier 4 extension application, either in the UK or overseas, you will need to apply for new ATAS clearance. An ATAS certificate is valid for 6 months from the date of issue for the purpose of applying for a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa

You can obtain your JACS code from SSiD. MPhil/PhD students use the same paragraph describing your research that was provided on your offer acceptance letter. UG/PGT students please list the core and elective modules of your programme. If you don't have this information, please contact your academic department.

If you have changed candidature and your research topic has therefore changed, please contact International Student Support for further advice.

Continuing Postgraduate Research Students:

If you have not yet had your viva, your ATAS clearance needs to cover your viva date.

If you apply to extend your Tier 4 visa, your new CAS will confirm a course end date that is your thesis submission date + 10 weeks. If your new CAS has been issued before you submit your ATAS application, you should use this date as the course end date on your ATAS application.

If you are applying for your ATAS clearance before your new CAS is issued (or if you are applying for new ATAS for another reason, such as a time limit extension that delays your course end date by more than 3 months), please check the thesis submission date on your student record. You can then add 10 weeks to this date to calculate an expected viva date. This is the date that you should enter as your course end date on the ATAS application.

If you are applying for a time limit extension, you should apply for ATAS to cover the date you have requested an extension to + 10 weeks.

Updating ATAS After Your Visa Has Been Issued

You will need to apply for a new ATAS clearance certificate if your course details change or if you take a leave of absence that extends your course end date by more than 3 months.

Important update for students who submitted their most recent visa application on or after 6th November 2014 ONLY- Tier 4 students subject to ATAS, need to apply for a new ATAS clearance certificate within 28 calendar days if their course end date (as stated on your CAS) is postponed for a period of more than three calendar months. You also need a new ATAS certificate if there are any changes to the course content or the research proposal.

All Students

If you have any questions about ATAS please check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's website before sending an email to the ATAS team.

For more information on how to make your ATAS application, please see the following link, Foreign Commonwealth Office website

Follow the advice below closely to help ensure there are no unnecessary delays to your application.

•Information entered by an individual at the application process is what is printed on the certificate. When you have completed your application, please read through your entries carefully before hitting the ‘submit’ key. The vast majority of mistakes on ATAS certificates, causing delays to students’ registration processes, are due to accidental errors made when entering data at the time of application.

Update June 2016-

The ATAS team are currently receiving large amounts of applications and currently estimate a turnaround time of 30 working days (6 calendar weeks) for an application to be decided.