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ATAS

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More information on the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) - updated following the change of UK immigration rules on 5 October 2020

ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme)

ATAS is a certificate issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) which gives you security clearance to study certain subject areas in the UK.

These subject areas relate to where the knowledge gained may have an application in the development or delivery of weapons of mass destruction, for example, certain science subjects such as mathematics, engineering, technology or medicine.

An ATAS certificate will be required as part of your visa application if you intend to study a subject area in the UK that is ATAS attracting.

This is not limited to the Student Route (previously known as 'Tier 4') visa category. You will also need ATAS if you are going to apply for a short term study visa.
ATAS is also required by any person holding any visa with limited leave in the UK.
They do not need the ATAS certificate to apply for the visa, but will need the ATAS certificate to study on the course.


Frequently asked questions

Please click on the relevant section below to expand the guidance.
  • You do not require an ATAS if you are:

    • A national of the United Kingdom
    • A national of the European Economic Area (EEA)
    • A national of Switzerland
    • A national of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, USA and are starting your course on or after 5 October 2020, and you have not applied or obtained a UK visa as of 5 October 2020
  • You can see if you need an ATAS certificate by checking the following:

    • Your offer letter from the University of Warwick will state if your programme requires an ATAS certificate.
    • If you are applying for a visa under the Student Route, your CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) statement will also state if you are required to obtain an ATAS certificate.
  • Applications for an ATAS are submitted online and are free of charge. You can apply for an ATAS certificate as soon as you have received a conditional or unconditional offer from the University of Warwick. You are advised to apply as soon as you receive your offer for your course as the application may take up to 20 working days to be processed, although applications can take much longer than this. You will receive an email from the FCO to confirm if your application has been approved or refused.

    What information will I need to complete the online ATAS application?

    It is recommended that you have the following information before you start your online application:

    • Your conditional offer letter from the University of Warwick; and
    • Information about your programme of study/research including the relevant CAH3 code - this information will have been provided to you and will vary depending on the course you are following
  • When you apply for ATAS clearance, you will be asked to give a statement of six or seven lines to describe broadly your planned area of research. If you are a prospective postgraduate research student, once you receive an offer, the Postgraduate Admissions team will provide you with an email giving a brief description of the research that you will carry out. You simply need to copy the statement exactly as it appears in your email from Postgraduate Admissions into the ATAS form. If you have not received the appropriate documentation for your ATAS application, please contact the Postgraduate Admissions team.

  • If you are a current postgraduate research (e.g., Master's by research, PhD, EngD) student, you might need a new ATAS for a number of reasons:

    • You have received an academic extension before your viva, or you have been given a period of correction after your viva, and as a result, your 'course end date' on the University records system is more than 3 months after the 'course end date' as stated on your CAS.
    • Following the initial grant of an ATAS certificate, you have changed to a different research course.

    In these cases, you will be contacted by the Student Records team when they process the extension/course change request, and they will send you the necessary information and instruct you to make your ATAS application. Your extension/course change request will not be processed until you receive the new ATAS certificate.

    • You need to make a new visa application under the Student Route (e.g., you are returning after taking a period of temporary withdrawal or you are switching into Student Route).
    • Following the initial grant of an ATAS certificate, you plan to change your research area or research technique imminently, and it is not a minor change.

    In these cases, you will need to obtain a statement from the Student Records team. Please email SR.research@warwick.ac.uk and clearly state that you are a current student, that you require an ATAS statement (please specify the reason) and include your name, Warwick I.D. number and the course you are currently enrolled on in the email. You will receive an official statement from Student Records along with the CAH3 code in a few days' time, and you should use that statement for your ATAS application.

  • If you are starting a new taught Master’s course (MA, MSc etc.), you will be asked to give a list of the modules that you are likely to take and any project/dissertation work to be completed. Again, this information will be sent after an offer is made and you simply need to copy the list exactly as it appears in the email. Please do not attempt to compile the list of modules by yourself as both core and optional/elective modules must be listed and a partial list will invalidate your ATAS certificate.

    If you have started a taught Master's course which is subject to ATAS clearance, there might be a number of reasons why you may require a new ATAS:

    • You have received an academic extension and as a result, your 'course end date' on the University records system is more than 3 months after the 'course end date' as stated on your CAS.
    • Following the initial grant of an ATAS certificate, you have changed to a different course which is also subject to ATAS clearance.

    In these cases, you will be contacted by the Student Records team when they process the extension/course change request, and they will send you the necessary information and instruct you to make your ATAS application. Your extension/course change request will not be processed until you receive the new ATAS certificate.

    • You need to make a new visa application under the Student Route (e.g., you are returning after taking a period of temporary withdrawal or you are switching into Student Route).

    In this case, you will need to obtain a statement from the Student Records team. Please email sr.coordinator@warwick.ac.uk and clearly state that you are a current student, that you require an ATAS statement (please specify the reason) and include your name, Warwick I.D. number and the course you are currently enrolled on in the email. You will receive an official statement from Student Records along with the CAH3 code in a few days' time, and you should use that statement for your ATAS application.

  • If you are a new undergraduate student taking a course that will lead to a postgraduate exit qualification, the Undergraduate Admissions team should provide you with information about the modules you will take. This information will need to be provided on your application. If you have not received the appropriate documentation for your ATAS application please contact the Undergraduate Admissions team.

    If you are a current undergraduate student transferring to a course that will lead to a postgraduate exit qualification, and are required to obtain an ATAS certificate, the Student Records team will contact you and provide you with a statement as part of the course transfer request. This information will need to be provided on your ATAS application.

    It is important that you complete your application accurately and do not make any errors whilst you are completing your application form as this may delay a decision being served by the FCO.

    • You need to make a new visa application under the Student Route (e.g., you are returning after taking a period of temporary withdrawal, or, you are switching into Student Route).

    In this case, you will need to obtain a statement from the Student Records team. Please email sr.coordinator@warwick.ac.uk and clearly state that you are a current student, that you require an ATAS statement (please specify the reason) and include your name, Warwick I.D. number and the course you are currently enrolled on in the email. You will receive an official statement from Student Records along with the CAH3 code in a few days' time, and you should use that statement for your ATAS application.

  • You must use your ATAS certificate within 6 months of the date it is issued. If you do not, you will need to apply for a new one. Once you have used the certificate with a visa application, your ATAS certificate will remain valid for the length of the course for which it was issued, from the course start date to the course end date given on the CAS + 3 calendar months. The certificate remains valid as long as your programme of study, provided that your subject area does not change and the course end date is not postponed for a period of more than 3 calendar months. You must apply for a new ATAS Clearance Certificate within 28 calendar days of being notified of the changes in course, regardless of when your visa expires.

    If you lose your ATAS certificate, you should email the ATAS team.

  • If you apply to extend your student visa in the UK to complete a course that is subject to ATAS clearance, you will need to apply for and receive a ATAS clearance certificate before submitting your Student Route visa application. If you do not already have an ATAS certificate for this course, you will need to apply for one.

    Remember it may take up to 20 working days for ATAS certificates to be processed, although applications can take much longer than this

    Our website provides details on the process of applying for a student visa.

    Continuing student applying for ATAS to make a visa application under the Student Route:

    For ATAS statements, please contact the following

    Undergraduate Master's and Master's students contact SR.coordinator@warwick.ac.uk

    PHD/Research students contact: SR.Research@warwick.ac.uk

  • No. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will automatically send the University a copy of your ATAS certificate and you are therefore not required to provide a copy to the University yourself.

  • If you obtain a new passport after having received the ATAS certificate with the previous passport number on, where there is time, you are advised to contact ATAS by email with a scanned copy of your new passport and ask for a new ATAS certificate to be issued with the new passport number on. If there isn't enough time, you are advised to submit the visa application with both passports.

  • There is a lot of information and guidance available on the ATAS website, including frequently asked questions and information on what to do if your ATAS application is delayed or refused.