What is an ATAS Certificate?

4 minute read
ATAS Certificate

An ATAS or Academic Technology Approval Scheme Certificate is required for all international students (Exemptions are there) and researchers who want to pursue postgraduate studies in sensitive subjects in the United Kingdom. If you are a prospective international student who wants to gain postgraduate education in the UK then you must be aware of an ATAS Certificate. Here’s all you need to know about an ATAS Certificate.

Who needs to apply for an ATAS certificate?

The ATAS certificate is applicable to all international students and researchers except for the following:

What is an ATAS Certificate for?

International Students and Researchers of all nationalities other than the exemptions must apply for an ATAS certificate if they are undertaking a postgraduate course or research in specific sensitive subjects in the United Kingdom. The subjects and the areas of research are those where knowledge can be used in the following programs to develop the following:

  • Advanced Conventional Military Technology (ACMT)
  • Weapons of mass destruction (WMDs)

You may also require an ATAS clearance if you are applying for an undergraduate course with an integrated master’s year in the United Kingdom.

Which course will require an ATAS certificate?

Listed below are the postgraduate courses that will require an ATAS Certificate:

  1. Materials Science
  2. Physics (including Nuclear Physics)
  3. Mechanical Engineering
  4. Aerospace Engineering
  5. Chemical, Process, and Energy Engineering
  6. Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathology
  7. Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Pharmacy
  8. Biology
  9. Botany
  10. Genetics
  11. Microbiology
  12. Molecular Biology, Biophysics, and Biochemistry
  13. Chemistry
  14. Materials Science
  15. Physics
  16. Astronomy
  17. Physical Geographical Sciences
  18. Animal Science
  19. Veterinary Science
  20. Agriculture
  21. Mathematics
  22. Operational Research
  23. Computer Science
  24. Artificial Intelligence
  25. General Engineering
  26. Civil Engineering
  27. Naval Architecture
  28. Electronic and Electrical Engineering
  29. Production and Manufacturing Engineering
  30. Metallurgy
  31. Polymers and Textiles
  32. Materials Technology not otherwise specified
  33. Industrial Biotechnology

When to apply for an ATAS certificate?

You must apply for the ATAS Certificate as soon as possible after receiving your offer from the respective university. It is recommended to apply for the ATAS Certificate 6 months before the commencement of your course. 

How long is an ATAS Certificate valid? 

An ATAS certificate is valid for 6 months from the date of its issue. This provides students and researchers with sufficient time to apply for a Visa. Ensure that your ATAS certificate does not expire before you apply for your UK visa.

Information required to Apply

To apply for an ATAS certificate online you need to provide the following information:

  • Information about your program of study/research including the relevant CAH3 code is provided by the Higher Education Institute/ research institute.
  • A conditional offer letter from your Higher Education Institution is required for student applications.
  • Information about your previous studies
  • Previous and current employment (if applicable)
  • All published papers for researchers
  • Optional modules you might take in a taught masters (if unsure please include all possible modules)
  • Your area of research and a description (for researchers)
  • Full names and Contact Details of 2 referees
  • How you will be sponsored whilst in the UK (Proof of Financial Resources/Financial Support)

Guide on how to apply?

Here’s a checklist for you to ensure no delays to your ATAS application:

  • Provide the full names (First and Last Name) of your referees, employers, and sponsors 
  • Provide details for 2 referees you have  known for more than 3 years, one of the 2 must be an academic referee
  • If you have not been employed yet, choose ‘not applicable/ never employed’
  • Ensure that there are no long gaps in your employment/education history. 
  • Double-check the information provided in the passport.

For Researchers Specifically

  • Provide research statements as specifically agreed with your HEI/employer and a personal statement. 
  • If you are extending your research, ensure your application features the new length of your visit/employment. You should include the date you submit your ATAS extension application as the start date.

How long does an ATAS Application take?

For International Students

It takes at least 4 weeks to process an international student’s ATAS application. Processing Time may increase between April and September and can take up to 30 or more working days to complete.

For Researchers

It takes at least 2 weeks to process a researcher’s ATAS application. Processing Time may increase between April and September and can take up to 15 or more working days to complete.


What is an ATAS Certificate?

An ATAS certificate is required for international students and researchers who wish to take admission to postgraduate courses in the United Kingdom in certain science subjects, mathematics, engineering, technology, or medicine where you gain knowledge in the development or delivery of weapons of mass destruction.

Do I need to apply separately for an ATAS Certificate if I want to apply for more than one program?

You must submit an ATAS application for each program of study or research area where an ATAS is applicable. 

What is the validity of an ATAS certificate?

An ATAS certificate is valid for 6 months from the issue date.

This blog covered everything you needed to know about an ATAS Certificate. Planning to pursue postgraduate studies in the United Kingdom? Contact our Leverage Edu Experts for end-to-end assistance regarding your study abroad journey in the UK.  Call us at 1800 57 2000 to book a FREE 30-minutes counseling session today!

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