If you're planning to undertake a postgraduate course and are from outside the European Economic Area you may need an ATAS certificate. Please note that from 6 July 2018 the ATAS condition will apply to courses with a duration of less than six months alongside courses over six months.
The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) applies to all students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who plan to undertake postgraduate study in certain subject areas. Whether an applicant falls under ATAS is determined by the course or programme's Joint Academic Coding System (JACS) code. Please note than from January 2019 JACS codes will be replaced by HECoS codes.
The JACS 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 JACS code is, please contact either:
If you are going to study a course which requires ATAS clearance, you must obtain your ATAS certificate before applying for your Tier 4 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 you studies if you are a non-EEA national with any type of immigration permission other than Tier 4.
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.
From 6th July 2018, if your course requires ATAS clearance and it has been extended by 3 months or more, you are required to apply for a new ATAS certificate, even if you do not need to make a new Tier 4 application at that time. When you do need to make a new Tier 4 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 Tier 4 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 again.
If your course of study require an ATAS certificate, do not make your Tier 4 application before your ATAS certificate has been issued to you, as your application will be refused.