Higher education – guidance

Academic Technology Approval Scheme

Apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate in order to study certain subjects in the UK.

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

Students applying for postgraduate study in certain sensitive subjects, knowledge of which could be used in programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) or their means of delivery, will need to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate before they can study in the UK.

The requirement for an ATAS certificate only applies to students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland and if you are a prospective student you should:

If you require an ATAS certificate you will need to apply for this before applying for your visa or extension of stay, allowing at least 20 working days in order to obtain it.

To apply online, you will need:

  • Your offer letter from your Higher Education Institution.
  • Information about your programme of study/research including the relevant JACS code.

We will need information on:

  • full details of all previous studies
  • full details of all previous/current employment (if applicable)
  • full details of published papers (if applicable)
  • previous ATAS applications (if applicable)
  • optional modules you anticipate taking in a taught Masters
  • 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

Original documents will be checked by the Entry Clearance Officer when you apply for your visa or extension of stay.

Apply for your ATAS certificate

Application tips

Following this advice closely will help ensure there are no unnecessary delays to your application:

  • Please provide the full names for the names of your referees, employers and sponsors (please provide a first name and last name and do not provide an initial instead of first names)
  • Please provide the details for two referees you have ideally known for over three years, one of whom should be from your home country
  • If you have not been employed, please indicate ‘not applicable / never employed’
  • Ensure your passport details are provided in full and are accurate
  • Please provide (where applicable) research statements as specifically agreed with your university and an adequate personal statement
  • If you are extending studies, please ensure your application features the new length of your course, not the original length
  • Please ensure there are no long gaps in your employment / education history; if you were unemployed or, for example, a full time parent please indicate this on the form
  • Please ensure you enter the correct JACS code for your course before you submit your application as if you do not you may have to re-apply