Important information for PhD offer holders, and postgraduate research visiting students

If you are coming under the Student Route to study at Imperial College, please ensure you apply under the 'Student' category on the ATAS application website and not as a 'Researcher'. The Researcher category is only for people who are being employed by the College. 


The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) was introduced on 1 November 2007 and students studying certain subject areas at MSci/MEng undergraduate level, PhD or Masters level will require ATAS clearance. Most 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.


Nationals from the UK, EU, EEA, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the USA are NOT required to have ATAS clearance (as of 5th October 2020).

Student Route students

The majority of students will be applying to study under a Student Route visa and if ATAS is required for your course / nationality 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-Student Route 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 / nationality 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.

Students extending their visa in the UK

Any students (unless from an exempt nationality) already in the UK who need to apply for a new visa to commence or continue on one of the relevant courses will also need to get ATAS clearance before making a Student Route visa application. A CAS number will not be issued until you hold the relevant ATAS clearance (if required).

Find your CAH Code

To apply for ATAS you will need to know the CAH for your course. 


Refer to the UG Course page or PG Course page to find your course. Scroll down the page to the 'Entry Requirements' section and select the 'Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)'  option from the list.


If you are planning to extend your Student Visa, and need to obtain ATAS, please check with your department or email international@imperial.ac.uk to request the CAH code for your course. 

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.

The 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.