ATAS Academic Technology Approval Scheme

If you are planning to take a postgraduate course and are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) you may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate.

What is ATAS?

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme applies to all students from outside the EEA who plan to undertake postgraduate study in certain subject areas. 

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

Do I need an ATAS certificate?

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

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

How to apply for an ATAS certificate

If you are going to study a course that requires ATAS clearance, you must obtain your ATAS certificate before applying for your Student visa (whether you are applying 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 are a non-EEA national with any type of immigration permission other than the Student visa.  

If you are joining a pre-sessional course prior to studying a course that 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 need 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 need to apply for a new certificate again to include with your visa application.  

You must apply for your ATAS certificate on the UK government website. It can take up to 30 working days 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.

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