Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

You will need an ATAS certificate to do certain types of study and research in the UK. Without this certificate, your visa application will be refused.

How to Apply

Get a statement from the University

To apply for ATAS you need a statement from the University confirming your research topic.

For new students this is usually sent with your offer letter. If you don't have this statement, and need an ATAS certificate, please contact your Admissions Officer, listed on your offer letter.

Continuing students need to request this from the Online Shop.

Once you have your statement from the University you can make your ATAS certificate application online to the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). This should take no longer than 30 minutes to complete. 

Receiving your certificate

You will need to wait for your application to be processed and for your certificate to be emailed to you. Average waiting times for ATAS at present range from 4 to 7 weeks.

When to Apply

You can apply for an ATAS certificate up to 9 months before the starting date of your course. Early applications are strongly advised.

An ATAS certificate is valid for 6 months from date of issue, which should allow you plenty of time to apply for your Student Route visa. You can apply for a Student Route visa up to 3 months in advance of the start of your course. This means you can apply for an ATAS certificate up to 9 months before the start of your studies. You should apply for your ATAS certificate as early as possible from the moment you are made a conditional offer to study at the University of Birmingham.

Do I need ATAS?

You only need an ATAS certificate for specific types of study and research at postgraduate level and above. (This also includes MSci/MEng level). An ATAS certificate is issued for a specific course at a specific university and is only valid for 6 months, so there may be cases where you need to apply for a new one.  

From 6 April 2015, the requirement for ATAS has been extended to all adult temporary migrants undertaking ATAS attracting studies or research regardless of their visa category. This means that students/researchers applying for a visa other than the Student Route will also need to apply for ATAS.  

From 6 July 2018, if you are studying a course that requires ATAS then you will need to obtain ATAS clearance regardless of the length of course. You will need to obtain this clearance before you make the Student Route application (either as entry clearance or permission to stay).

If you are coming to the UK under the short-term student route in order to study relevant courses for up to six months, you will need to apply for ATAS clearance (This only applies if you are 18 or older when applying for immigration permission or will turn 18 before the permission expires). This is not a requirement for you if you are coming under the short-term student (child) route.


See our ATAS FAQ Guide for help with understanding the ATAS requirement and how to prepare for your ATAS application.


New students

If you need an ATAS certificate, you will usually get a statement with your offer letter confirming that you need ATAS and telling you what to do next. 

Continuing students

Changing research area or modules

You will need to apply for a new ATAS certificate if your course or research requires ATAS and you change area of research or modules of study.

Changing course

You will need to apply for an ATAS certificate if you want to change course and the course you are changing to requires ATAS. You need to do this even if you already have an ATAS certificate for your current course. 

Changing university

You will need to apply for a new ATAS certificate if your current course requires ATAS and you want to move to another university.

Extending your visa for further study

If your course requires ATAS and you need to extend your visa to continue with your studies, you will need to apply for a new ATAS certificate. Further details are available on the ATAS website.


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