Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) requires all international students subject to existing UK immigration permissions, who are applying to study for a postgraduate qualification in certain sensitive subjects, knowledge of which could be used in programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) or their means of delivery, to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate before they can study in the UK. ATAS is granted by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO).

Your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) will indicate whether or not you require ATAS clearance. Your Faculty/School will also let you know prior to, or at the point of making an offer whether you need ATAS clearance.

Who is required to apply for ATAS:

  • If you are applying for a Tier 4 student visa or a Short-term study visa to study in the UK on a course requiring ATAS, you will need to have an ATAS clearance certificate before you can make your visa application and in order to register on your course on arrival at the University
  • If you are a non-EEA national applying to come to the UK on a non-Tier 4 visa* (e.g. Tier 4 dependant, Tier 2 dependant, Tier 2), you will need to have an ATAS clearance certificate to show on arrival at the University. You will not require it as part of your visa application to come to the UK
  • If you are a non-EEA national already in the UK, you will require an ATAS clearance certificate if your visa application was decided on or after 6th April 2015 and you do not hold settled status*.

Who is not required to apply for ATAS:

  • If you are a non-EEA national with settled status* in the UK (e.g. indefinite leave to remain), you do not need an ATAS clearance certificate
  • If you are a UK, EEA or Swiss national, you do not need an ATAS clearance certificate.

*If you are unsure if your visa requires you to obtain an ATAS clearance certificate, please contact Student Visa Services.

Please be advised that it is your responsibility to obtain an ATAS clearance certificate if it is required. If you hold immigration permission that requires ATAS, you will not be permitted to register at the University without showing a valid ATAS clearance certificate.

To apply

  • Once you have received a conditional or unconditional offer, complete and submit an ATAS form online, following the guidance provided
  • You will require a CAH3 code which is a code that is specific to your course of study
    • If you are a new undergraduate student, the Undergraduate Admissions team will inform you of the specific CAH3 code for your course
    • If you are a new postgraduate student, your offer letter will tell you the specific CAH3 code for your course
    • If you are a continuing student, your Faculty Office will be able to look up the specific CAH3 code for your course on the University system. See the Immigration Rules Appendix 6 for the list of academic subjects that need an ATAS certificate – please still contact your Faculty Office for the exact code for your course.
  • Application is free and will ask for details of your previous studies/employment and your proposed research/taught modules.
  • ATAS applications take around 20 working days to process, after which the Foreign & Commonwealth Office will confirm whether you have been cleared or refused.
  • ATAS certificates are valid for six months.
  • You will need a new ATAS certificate prior to registering on a new programme, or if you change programmes, or if you wish to extend leave to remain as a student.
  • If you switch to a programme that requires ATAS clearance, you must obtain a certificate before you can transfer (eg if you are switching to an undergraduate course that leads to a postgraduate exit qualification covered by ATAS).
  • If your area of research or programme requires an ATAS certificate, and is likely to change to another which also requires an ATAS certificate, then you should wait until you have applied for and received your new ATAS certificate before you register on the new course or start the new area of research.

If you currently have an ATAS for your studies, and want to change to another area of research or programme requiring an ATAS:

  • Apply for a new ATAS certificate
  • Wait until you have received it before you register on your new programme or start the new area of research
  • Check with a visa adviser if you require a new visa for the new course

Guidance on how to apply for ATAS

See the information provided by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office about What you need to apply and Guidance on how to apply for an ATAS certificate

If you wish to study at another University/Higher Education Institution, change your course/area of research or extend your course by more than three months, you will need to apply for another (new) ATAS certificate.

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