Find out if you need an ATAS certificate
Find out if you need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate to study in the UK.
If you’re a UK, EEA or Swiss national you don’t need to apply for an ATAS certificate.
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:
- as an undergraduate student
- a taught masters
- a research masters
- at PhD/doctoral level
- and applying for an extension to stay for the sole purpose of writing up your thesis (if your visa was issued after 30 November 2007)
- as a visiting research student
- an enhanced MEng undergraduate degree
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
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.