The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) was introduced on 1 November 2007. Under this scheme, all non-EEA students who need a student visa to study in the UK on certain MSci/MEng undergraduate courses, PhDs or Masters degrees in certain subject areas, will be required to apply for ATAS clearance before applying for a Tier 4 (General) student visa. Full details of the courses that are part of this scheme can be found on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.
Any students already in the UK who need to extend their student visa to commence or continue on one of the relevant courses, will also need to get ATAS clearance before making a student visa extension application. Any student visa application without the ATAS clearance certificate (if required) will result in a refusal.
If the course (or subject area) that you intend to study is listed as part of ATAS, then you must make an application for an ATAS Clearance Certificate. When you have your College offer, you can make your application online.
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!
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.