Guidance

Find out if you need an ATAS certificate

Find out if you need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate to study in the UK.

Prospective students should read the guidance for their course to find out if they need an ATAS certificate.

When you need an ATAS certificate

You may need to apply for an ATAS certificate if you’re studying:

Taught or research masters

Contact your proposed Higher Education Institution (HEI) to confirm whether they define your course as taught or research. Please be aware this varies from course to course and from institution to institution. Please make sure you know this before you apply. Master of Research (MRes) courses can be classified as taught or research - contact your HEI to confirm which.

When you don’t need an ATAS certificate

If you’re a UK, EEA or Swiss national you don’t need to apply for an ATAS certificate.

You don’t need an ATAS certificate if you’re:

  • coming to the UK as an academic visitor
  • coming to the UK to do research that is not linked to any studies
  • doing a postgraduate diploma or PGCE: continue with your visa application as necessary. You should not be asked for any further documentation with regards to ATAS, as long as your offer letter clearly states that you’re studying a postgraduate Diploma or PGCE
  • applying for an extension to stay for the sole purpose of writing up your thesis and your previous visa did not require ATAS clearance as it was issued before 30 November 2007
  • already on a valid visa unless you need to apply for an extension to stay in the UK in one of the above categories

Joint Academic Coding System (JACS)

All subject areas studied at UK Higher Education Institutions are identified by a JACS (Joint Academic Coding System) code. You will need ATAS clearance for all courses which:

  • have a JACS code listed on the links above.
  • start on or after 1 January 2012

If you have offers from different HEIs

An ATAS certificate shows details of the course and Higher Education Institution (HEI) you have applied to for clearance. If you have more than 1 offer from different HEIs you’ll need to apply for separate ATAS clearance certificates for each HEI and programme of study.

You’ll need a new ATAS certificate if you change courses or if you want to extend leave to remain as a student.

Find out how to apply

Read the guidance on how to apply for an ATAS certificate

Apply for an ATAS certificate

Published 17 February 2015
Last updated 6 February 2018 + show all updates
  1. ATAS information updated for study/research of less than 6 months.
  2. Find out if you need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate to study in the UK amended.
  3. First published.