How to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate
How to complete your ATAS application form, what you need to prepare and what to do if your application is delayed or refused.
An overview of the application process
- Check your offer letter from the University to see if you need ATAS clearance for your programme.
- Get the CAH3 code from your offer letter.
- Create an account on the ATAS website with your email address. We recommend you use an internationally recognised email server, for example Outlook, Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail or similar (ATAS have experienced difficulties with firewalls for local servers).
- Complete and submit the online application form on the ATAS website.
- Wait for a decision.
- Receive an email about your application (If your ATAS application is successful, you will receive a PDF file with your ATAS certificate in the email).
If you need to apply for a visa or a visa extension, you must get your ATAS certificate before you start your visa application.
If you are a new student you can apply for ATAS after you have received a conditional offer from us. You can find the details you need to complete your ATAS application in your offer letter.
Do not wait to get your CAS number before you start your ATAS application.
You must get your ATAS certificate before your CAS number is issued.
Normally, it takes at least 20 working days (4 full weeks) to receive an ATAS certificate, but there can be delays so it is important that you apply as soon as possible.
You should aim to apply for your ATAS certificate at least 3 months before you intend to apply for your visa. ATAS certificates are valid for 6 months. They must be used in a visa application in this timeframe.
Processing times will increase between April and September, and this means it could take 30 working days or more to receive your certificate.
How to apply for your ATAS certificate
To apply for an ATAS certificate, you need to complete and submit an online application form on the ATAS website.
You do not need to pay for the ATAS application.
You should read our guidance for the application process before you start your ATAS application. Further guidance is also available on the UK government website.
Our guidance on the application process
This section is about the programme you want to study or are currently studying.
If applying for a research-led degree
The ATAS information in your offer letter will include a short abstract of the area of your studies.
You must use the text in your offer letter when completing this section of the application.
Your proposal must include the details of your research, including any methodologies and research technologies you will be using.
If you are studying a taught programme
You will need details of the optional modules (electives) you intend to study. You can either find these on the degree finder section of the Univeristy's website or by contacting your school directly.
This section asks for your personal details.
Make sure the information matches the details in your passport.
You will need to state your marital status. You must select:
If you select ‘civil partnership’ or ‘married’ and your spouse (husband, wife or civil partner) is coming to the UK with you, then you will need to answer additional questions about your spouse.
If you are a new student and live overseas, use your overseas address.
If you are in the UK, use your UK address.
You must also make sure your email address is up to date, as this is where your ATAS certificate will be sent.
This section asks about your previous studies at a university either overseas or in the UK.
You must provide as much detail as possible about all undergraduate or postgraduate studies you have undertaken.
This section is for any studies to date that didn’t take place at university (for example, professional training).
Only complete this section if you have ever had any work published in an academic or professional context.
This section asks about your employment history.
Approximate dates are fine for the start and end date of employment but try to be as accurate as possible.
You should include any long-term unpaid or paid and voluntary work you have done.
You need two referees, who have known you for at least 3 years.
At least one of the referees must be from the academic sector. If you have work experience, you should include a referee from your employment.
A referee from your home country would be preferable, but it is not essential if you have studied and/or worked in another country.
Family members are not accepted as referees.
This section refers to who is funding your studies.
This could be:
a government or international organisation
you or a family member
a student or educational loan scheme
If you are waiting for a decision from your scholarship provider, then you must include that the decision is pending.
If you are receiving a financial scholarship from the University of Edinburgh, include the University’s contact details.
If there are any conditions attached to your funding, then you must include these details in your application.
If you or a family member is funding your studies, then enter your name or family member’s name and contact details.
Delays in the ATAS application process
If you have been waiting more than 12 weeks, then contact us.
We can ask for an update about your ATAS application.
If your ATAS application is refused
If your ATAS application is refused, then contact us.
You will need to provide:
your reference number
the date of your application
Once you have received your ATAS certificate and you have your CAS number, then you can start the visa application process.