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ATAS clearance

What is ATAS?

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) is designed primarily for students applying for postgraduate study in the UK in certain sensitive subject areas. These include some Engineering, Medicine and Science subjects. 

If your offer is for a course requiring ATAS, you will need to obtain the certificate before submitting your visa application. For this reason, we request that you have the certificate before we issue your CAS to make sure it meets the necessary requirements.

The requirement for a student to obtain an ATAS certificate is established by the code which represents their subject area; this is called a Common Aggragate Hierarchy (CAH) code. The CAH code will confirm your area of study and it will determine if you need to obtain an ATAS certificate. 

Your offer letter will tell you if you need ATAS clearance and it will include the CAH code for the course you will be coming to study. 

You can also check if your CAH code is subject to ATAS clearance on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website.

Please note: under the new student route certain countries are exempt from obtaining an ATAS certificate. Please double check your country's exemption here before applying for your visa.

Changes in circumstances

You will also need to apply for new ATAS clearance if:

  • There are any changes to course content or your research proposal. If you are studying a research PhD course, this includes changes other than minor modifications to the area of research or the use of new research techniques
  • you apply for an extension of leave in order to continue on your course
  • you start a new course that requires ATAS clearance
  • your course end date is extended for a period of more than 3 months, you must apply for a new certificate within 28 days of being notified of the change of course end date.

Apply for an ATAS certificate

Once you know your CAH code you can apply for your ATAS clearance online.

To apply online you will need both:

  • your conditional offer letter from your Higher Education Institution (HEI)
  • information about your programme of study/research including the relevant CAH code.

You will also need to provide information on:

  • previous studies
  • previous and current employment (if applicable)
  • all published papers
  • optional modules you anticipate taking in a taught Masters (if applicable)
  • your area of research and a description (for research degrees)
  • full names and contact details of 2 referees
  • how you will be funding your studies

Your course title should exactly match the title as stated in your offer letter. Taught students should list the modules as detailed on the course website.

The Visa Support Team will only issue you with a CAS once the ATAS certificate has been issued and you will be required to send a email version of this to the Visa Support team. 

The ATAS certificate is only valid for a six month period, if you defer your studies, you will be required to make a new ATAS application.