What is ATAS?

What is ATAS

What is the Academic Technology Approval Scheme?

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) was introduced on 1 November 2007. It is used to help stop the spread of knowledge and skills that could be used in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery. This is common with other governments around the world.
The ATAS is designed to ensure that people who are applying to study certain sensitive subjects in the UK do not have links to WMD programmes. We advise you to find out if you need an ATAS certificate before applying for a student visa or extension.

How do I apply for an ATAS certificate?

If you require an ATAS certificate you will need to apply for it before applying for your visa or extension of stay. The possession that of an ATAS certificate does not guarantee you a visa or extension of stay. However, applications will automatically be refused if you need an ATAS certificate and can not provide one.
When applying for a visa, you must also provide evidence that you meet the usual student criteria.
For more information on what you need to apply for a student visa, and if you need to apply for an extension of stay, go to the UK Border Agency website.
An ATAS certificate shows details of the course and Higher Education Institution you have applied for clearance for. If you have more than one offer from different HEIs you will need to apply for separate ATAS clearance certificates for each HEI and programme of study.
An ATAS certificate is valid as long as the details of your course do not change. You can apply for an ATAS certificate up to 12 months in advance of the beginning of your course.

How long does the application process take?

We advise against you making any travel plans before your ATAS application is resolved. We aim to respond to all successfully completed applications within 20 working days. This can be longer during busy periods. We encourage you to apply as soon as you are able to.
If you are in the UK already and you need to extend your visa to complete your course, please check whether ATAS clearance is required.

Does your subject JACS Code begin with any of the following:

  • F2 – materials Science
  • F3 – physics (including Nuclear Physics)
  • H3 – mechanical Engineering
  • H4 – aerospace Engineering
  • J5 – materials Technology not otherwise specified

Subjects allied to Medicine

JACS codes beginning

  • B1 – Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology
  • B2 – Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmacy
  • B9 – Others in Subjects allied to Medicine.

Biological Sciences

JACS codes beginning:

  • C1 – Biology
  • C2 – Botany
  • C4 – Genetics
  • C5 – Microbiology
  • C7 – Molecular Biology, Biophysics and Biochemistry
  • C9 – Others in Biological Sciences.

Veterinary sciences, agriculture and related subjects

JACS codes beginning:

  • D3 – Animal Science
  • D9 – Others in Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects.

Physical Sciences

JACS codes beginning:

  • F1 – Chemistry
  • F2 – Materials Science
  • F3 – Physics
  • F5 – Astronomy
  • F8 – Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
  • F9 – Others in Physical Sciences.

Mathematical and Computer Sciences

JACS codes beginning:

  • G1 – Mathematics
  • G2 – Operational Research
  • G4 – Computer Science
  • G7 – Artificial Intelligence
  • G9 – Others in Mathematical and Computing Sciences.


JACS codes beginning:

  • H1 – General Engineering
  • H2 – Civil Engineering
  • H3 – Mechanical Engineering
  • H4 – Aerospace Engineering
  • H5 – Naval Architecture
  • H6 – Electronic and Electrical Engineering
  • H7 – Production and Manufacturing Engineering
  • H8 – Chemical, Process and Energy Engineering
  • H9 – Others in Engineering.


JACS codes beginning:

  • J2 – Metallurgy
  • J4 – Polymers and Textiles
  • J5 – Materials Technology not otherwise specified
  • J7 – Industrial Biotechnology
  • J9 – Others in Technology.

Yes: You must apply for your ATAS certificate before you apply for a visa or extension of stay.
No: You do not need to apply for an ATAS Certificate

JACS Code:

To confirm whether you need an ATAS certificate, you will need the relevant JACS code that applies to your course. Your HEI will either include this on your official offer letter or will be able to confirm it separately. Please do not contact the ATAS Unit to ask which JACS code applies to your course. Only your HEI will be able to tell you this information.
Do not guess at which JACS code is relevant to your studies. If you register with the wrong JACS code it can not be changed. Please ensure you have the right JACS code before you start your application.

What Next if you need to apply for an ATAS certificate?

If you are a new student:

You should only apply for an ATAS certificate AFTER you have received either an official offer from a UK HEI. Please do not apply without this as your application will be rejected.
Please also have details of your modules you will be studying to hand as you will need this to complete your application.
Read the Guidance Notes before you apply

What do I need to complete the ATAS application form?

The most important document you will need to refer to whilst completing your application is your offer letter from your Higher Education Institution.
You will need to have information about your programme of study/research including the relevant JACS code and a brief description of the research you will carry out. (Your university will provide you with this information in your offer letter, or attached to it).
We are not able to advise you which JACS code is attached to your area of research. It is very important that the JACS code matches your area of study; you should not try to guess.
If you do not have the JACS code or the brief description of the research area you need to contact your proposed HEI.
Please ensure that the text you enter on your application form is exactly the same as the text provided in your offer letter. If these 2 documents do not match, you may have difficulties when applying for your visa or extension of stay.
Most of the other information we need is similar to that on a typical CV, or your application form for your HEI study.
You will not need to send us any original documents at this time, as these will be checked by the Entry Clearance Officer when you apply for your visa or extension of stay.
We will need information on the following areas:

  • your contact details
  • passport details
  • name and nationality of your spouse/partner (if applicable)
  • full details of all previous studies
  • full details of all previous/current employment (if applicable)
  • full details of published papers (if applicable)
  • previous ATAS applications (if applicable)
  • the programme of study you are applying to follow in the UK (including JACS code and research proposal)
  • if doing a taught Masters course you will need details of the optional modules you anticipate taking.
  • full names and contact details of 2 referees (First name(s) and Family name). You must have known both of your referees for at least 3 years. At least one must also be an academic from your country of origin.
  • how you will be funding your studies