ATAS - Academic Technology Approval Scheme

If you are planning to take a postgraduate course you may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate.

What is ATAS?

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) applies to all students applies to all students (apart from exempt nationalities) who plan to undertake postgraduate study or research in certain subject areas. 

The ATAS condition applies irrespective of the length of the course.

Do I need an ATAS certificate?

Nationals of EU countries, the European Economic Area (EEA), Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland or the United States of America do not need an ATAS certificate. All other nationalities must apply for an ATAS certificate before undertaking a postgraduate course in certain sensitive subjects in the UK.

Whether or not you fall under ATAS depends on your course or programme's Common Aggregate Hierarchy (CAH3) code.

The CAH3 code visible on your offer letter which you will need to be able to identify if you require ATAS clearance, which is demonstrated through an ATAS certificate. Please check your offer letter carefully to see whether your subject area is included.

If you're joining an undergraduate programme with integrated Masters you may also need ATAS clearance. If you're not sure, please contact the School where you will be studying for clarification.

If you think your course requires ATAS clearance and you've not received this information, or you aren't sure what your CAH3 code is, please contact either:

· Taught Postgraduate Admissions Office (for taught Masters or integrated Masters students):

· Postgraduate Research and Operations (for research students):

When and how to apply for an ATAS certificate

If you are going to study a course which requires ATAS clearance, you must obtain your ATAS certificate before applying for your visa (whether you are apply to study in the UK for the first time or extending your stay).

You must also obtain an ATAS certificate before you begin your studies if you have any type of time-limited visa or immigration permission other than a Student visa (unless your nationality is exempt).

If you are joining a pre-sessional course prior to studying a course which requires ATAS clearance, you must obtain your ATAS certificate before applying for the visa for your pre-sessional course.

If your course requires ATAS clearance and it has been extended by three months or more, you are required to apply for a new ATAS certificate, even if you do not need to make a new visa application at that time. When you do need to make a new visa application, if the ATAS certificate you previously received following your course extension is more than six months old, you are required to apply for a new ATAS certificate again to include with your visa application.  

You must apply for your ATAS certificate on the UK government website. It can take at least 30 working days (6 full weeks) for your application to be processed.

When your application is granted your certificate will be e-mailed to you. There is no charge for this process.

Your certificate will be valid for six months. If you change your course of study, research area, University or need to extend your studies, you will need to apply for another ATAS certificate again.

If your course of study requires an ATAS certificate, do not make your visa application before your ATAS certificate has been issued to you, as your application will be refused.

Find more guidance on how to apply for an ATAS certificate here.