Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

What is ATAS?

ATAS stands for Academic Technology Approval Scheme, which has been in place since 1st November 2007 to prevent knowledge used in WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction). An ATAS certificate is a special clearance granted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), authorising study at postgraduate level in some science, technology and engineering subjects.

Who requires an ATAS certificate?

ATAS clearance is only required by some students who are applying for a visa. You do not need to apply if you are

  • studying at undergraduate level
  • UK national, a national of the EEA (European Economic Area) or Switzerland and studying at any level
  • studying PGCE or PgD
  • academic visitor

If you are not an EEA or Swiss national, and are studying at postgraduate level (eg. Masters or PhD), then you may need to apply for ATAS clearance, depending on the JACS code for your course of study (if you are unsure what your JACS code is, you should contact your School). Visit the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website to find out if an ATAS clearance certificate is required for your course.

Once the certificate is issued, the only time a student should need to submit a new application will be to support a new visa application, the student changes their studies or research during the study period, or extends their studies by a period of more than three months.

How to Apply

Once you have received your offer from Admissions and Enquiry Team you can apply for your ATAS certificate.

You must apply for an ATAS certificate online. There is no charge to make this application. It should take around 30 minutes to complete, and the FCO aims to process applications within 20 working days, but this may take longer during busy periods. You will receive your certificate by email - you should print this to include with your visa application.

Click here to access the online application form.

You will need to have the following information to hand to complete the online application:

  • Course details
  • JACS code
  • Module details
  • Use exact text from your offer letter
  • Brief description of research
  • Passport
  • Application form used to apply for GCU course
Further information
  • If you are applying for a visa, a print-out of your ATAS certificate must be included with your application. Remember to apply in good time, allowing at least four weeks (20 working days) so that you can get your ATAS before you need to make your visa application.
  • If you are making a new visa application (eg. extending your current visa on the same course of study), you will need to apply for an ATAS certificate again, even if you have already received one previously.
  • If you require more information on ATAS, visit a drop-in session or email us: or GCU London:
  • If you require an ATAS certificate and fail to include this with your application, your visa will be refused.
  • It is advisable not to book travel plans until your ATAS certificate is received.
  • The certificate covers the duration of the CAS (course start and end dates)