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Academic Technology Approval Scheme

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) is designed to provide additional security checks on students who study certain science and engineering courses. The scheme is managed by the ATAS Team based at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

All international students who require a visa and plan to study a programme that requires ATAS clearance must obtain an ATAS certificate regardless of which visa you have.

This is compulsory if your studies fall into specific postgraduate research areas, or if it is one of a number of taught master’s or four-year and five-year undergraduate master’s programmes. It is your responsibility to check with your academic School if your course requires ATAS clearance.

If you will be applying for a Tier 4 visa you must obtain an ATAS certificate before you apply for your visa (an ATAS application is free of charge).

You should submit an online ATAS application as soon as possible after receiving an offer from your School. You do not need to wait until your offer is unconditional to apply to ATAS. You must list all your course modules or a summary of your research in the application – you can obtain this information from your School.

Please note that late applications will result in a delay in obtaining your visa. If you do not obtain an ATAS certificate before you submit your Tier 4 visa application, your application will be refused.

If you already have a visa that permits study, you are still required to obtain ATAS clearance before starting your course. 

The ATAS team aims to process applications within 20 working days of the submission of a completed application. During busier periods the process can take longer than this, so please make sure you submit your ATAS application in good time.

You should be aware that any changes to your programme of study, including a change of modules or research focus, will require new ATAS clearance.

Further information

For information about ATAS, to check the list of courses and to access the online application form, go to the FCO website.

We receive many queries about how to complete sections of the ATAS application. Please refer to our guide to completing the application.