Here you will find information on the 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?

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) applies to all international students and researchers (apart from exempt nationalities) who are subject to UK immigration control and are intending to study or research at postgraduate level in certain sensitive subjects.

Students and researchers who are nationals of EU countries, the European Economic Area (EEA), Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland or the United States of America do not need an ATAS certificate.

Researchers and students of all other nationalities must apply for an ATAS certificate. You must apply if you are undertaking a postgraduate course or research in certain sensitive subjects in the UK. If you are applying to study an undergraduate course with an integrated masters year you may also need ATAS clearance.

How to apply

Please check the Government Guidance for information on how to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate, what's involved in the application process and how long it takes.

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)
COVID-19 Information

Between 6 April and 1 June, it was not possible to apply for clearance, and you were advised to contact the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre if you needed a certificate in order to start a new course. The Home Office advised some Tier 4 sponsors that you could apply without a certificate and your application would be processed when you could supply one. 

The ATAS team resumed work on 1 June 2020 so it is very important that you now submit your application for a certificate if this was previously impossible for you, and let the VISA Team know.