Academic Technology Approval Scheme
Certain science and technology programmes in the UK require you to have Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance. You must apply for this before starting your studies.
If you need to apply for a Tier 4 visa or a short-term student visa, you will need to obtain your ATAS certificate before you can make your visa application.
What is ATAS?
ATAS is one of the UK government’s measures to prevent the spread of knowledge and skills used to develop weapons of mass destruction and associated technology.
Do I need an ATAS certificate?
Please note, from 05 October 2020 at 9.00, the following nationalities will be exempt from having to apply for an ATAS certificate:
- New Zealand
- United States of America
- Republic of Korea
You will need to apply for an ATAS certificate if you are studying certain science and technology subjects. Whether or not you need ATAS will depend on the classification of your academic subject within the UK Higher Education system – this is known as a CAH3 code. Your offer letter for your programme will tell you if your programme requires an ATAS certificate.
Please not that the UK system for classifying academic subjects changed on 01 January 2019. If you have only been provided with a JACS code, this refers to the previous system, and you should contact you School to obtain the new CAH3 code for your programme.
It is your responsibility to check if you require ATAS clearance.
When should I apply?
You must apply for your ATAS certificate before you can begin your programme. If you need to apply for a visa or extension of stay, you must obtain your ATAS certificate before you can make your visa application.
Processing times vary but it can take up to 4-6 weeks for an ATAS certificate application to be considered and approved.
If you are a new student you can apply for ATAS after you have received an official offer from us - you do not need to wait to get your CAS.
You must use the details provided in your offer letter to complete your application.
How do I apply?
To apply for an ATAS certificate you need to complete and submit an online application form on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website. There is no charge for the application.
We have produced a guide to the application process which you should read before you apply. Further guidance is also available from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Please be aware the ATAS clearance certificate itself does not guarantee that your visa application will be approved.
You will also need to produce the same supporting documents to apply for your visa as any other Tier 4 applicant.
We recommend you use an internationally recognised email server such as Outlook, Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail or similar as ATAS have experienced difficulties with firewalls for local servers.