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, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

You will need to apply for an ATAS clearance certificate if you:

  • are not an EU/EEA national or a national of another exempt country, and;
  • you have limited leave to remain in the UK, for example as a dependant, a short term student, a Tier 1, 2, 4 or 5 visa holder, or you are an asylum seeker or refugee, and;
  • you are studying certain science and technology subjects at a postgraduate level (including most integrated master's courses such as MEng, MPhys, MSci).

If you have indefinite leave to remain in the UK or you are a family member of an EEA national you do not require ATAS clearance.

You must apply for your ATAS certificate before you can begin your programme. If you need to apply for a visa or an extension of stay, you must obtain your ATAS certificate before you can make your visa application.

Processing times of ATAS applications can vary but you should expect to wait at least 4–6 weeks to receive clearance. You must take care when completing the ATAS application form as errors or omissions will slow down the processing time and may delay your visa application.

If you are a new student, you can apply for ATAS after you have received your offer from us, using the information in your offer letter. You do not need to wait for your CAS before applying for ATAS clearance.

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

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 whether you need to apply for ATAS clearance and to access the online application form, go to the FCDO website.

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