Do you need to apply for an ATAS certificate?

Migrants who wish to study in the UK might need to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate depending on their studies.

What is an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate?

ATAS requires all non-EU students who are intending to study at postgraduate level in certain sensitive subjects, knowledge of which could be used in programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction, to apply for an ATAS certificate before submitting their visa applications.

Under Appendix 6 of the Immigration Rules, international students will need to apply for an ATAS certificate if they wish to pursue the following academic programmes in the UK: Doctorate or Masters by research, for example, in Pharmacology, Toxicology, Pharmacy, Biology, Genetics, Chemistry, Astronomy etc; or Taught Masters, for instance, in Materials Science, Physics (including Nuclear Physics), Mechanical Engineering, Materials Technology etc.

The ATAS certificate does not only apply to a Tier 4 (General) student visa application, but also to those migrants who hold or wish to apply for a non-student visa or limited leave to remain, for instance, if an applicant entered the UK on a Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 5 visa, which was issued on or after 6 April 2015, and he/she would like to pursue a specific programme study in the UK.

Please note that if a migrant holds an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), he/she does not need to apply for an ATAS certificate.

Do you need to apply for an ATAS certificate?

Migrants can check if they need to apply for an ATAS certificate from the following GOV.UK website: Applicants will need to fill in their CAH3 codes and the type of their study (Research or Taught) as well as their nationality information.

How to apply for an ATAS certificate?

Migrants will need to provide their conditional offer letter issued by their Higher Education Institution (HEI) and information of their programme including the relevant CAH3 code to apply for an ATAS certificate online. It might take 20 working days for this to be processed.

In addition, applicants will also need to provide the following information:

  • Previous studies;
  • Previous and current employment (if applicable);
  • All published papers;
  • Optional modules you anticipate taking in a taught Masters (if applicable);
  • 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.


For more detailed information in relation to an ATAS certificate online application, please refer to the guidance:

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For expert advice regarding any aspect of the UK visa application, please contact our immigration team on 0203 384 3075.






The content of this article is for general use and information only. Since each case should be prepared on its own merit and in light of the constant amendments to the Immigration Rules, it is important to note that the information provided must not be relied upon unless Migra & Co has either given written consent or has been officially engaged in relation to a specific immigration matter. As a result, Migra & Co will take no responsibility for any damage, cost or loss resulting from relying on the information contained in this article, blog and website.

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