The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) was introduced on 1 November 2007 and some subject areas for MSci/MEng undergraduate courses, PhDs or Masters degrees will require ATAS clearance. All non-EEA nationals who require immigration permission to be in the UK and intend to study on one of these courses will be required to apply for ATAS clearance. Full details of the courses that are part of this scheme can be found on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.
Tier 4 (General) students
The majority of students will be applying to study under a Tier 4 (General) student visa and if ATAS is required for your course then this will be a condition of your offer for study. A CAS number will not be issued until all conditions of your offer have been met.
Studying under a non-Tier 4 visa
If you are in the UK under a non-student visa, and that immigration permission allows you to study in the UK, and ATAS clearance is required for your course this will be a condition of your offer for study.
Students extending their visa in the UK
Any students already in the UK who need to apply for a new Tier 4 (General) visa to commence or continue on one of the relevant courses will also need to get ATAS clearance before making another Tier 4 (General) visa application. Any Tier 4 (General) visa application without the ATAS clearance certificate (if required) will result in a refusal.
The ATAS application
PLEASE NOTE that an ATAS certificate is only valid for 6 months from the date of issue. You must make sure that you submit your visa application before the ATAS expires!
If your course requires ATAS clearance you can make your application online.
You should apply for ATAS clearance well in advance (at least one month) of your student visa application as the processing time for ATAS can be as long as 20 working days.
NB: In addition to the above, during the months of June, July, August and September, ATAS is extremely busy and so the processing time for ATAS applications can be as long as 30 working days.
ATAS application frequently asked questions
We receive many queries about how to complete sections of the ATAS application. Please refer to our ATAS FAQ [pdf] and FCO examples of proposed research [pdf] in the first instance as your query may easily be resolved If the FAQs do not answer your query then please contact us or contact the ATAS team directly.