Find out if you need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate to study in the UK.

Prospective students should read the guidance for their course to find out if they need an ATAS certificate.

When you need an ATAS certificate

Check if you need an ATAS certificate.

Taught or research masters

Contact your proposed Higher Education Institution (HEI) to confirm whether they define your course as taught or research. Please be aware this varies from course to course and from institution to institution. Please make sure you know this before you apply. Master of Research (MRes) courses can be classified as taught or research – contact your HEI to confirm which.

When you don’t need an ATAS certificate

If you are a UK nationals or a national of any of the following countries, you do not require an ATAS certificate:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Croatia
  • Republic of Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United States of America

You don’t need an ATAS certificate if you’re:

  • coming to the UK as an academic visitor
  • coming to the UK to do research that is not linked to any studies
  • doing a postgraduate diploma or PGCE: continue with your application for permission as necessary. You should not be asked for any further documentation with regards to ATAS, as long as your offer letter clearly states that you’re studying a postgraduate Diploma or PGCE
  • applying for an extension to stay for the sole purpose of writing up your thesis and your previous visa did not require ATAS clearance as it was issued before 30 November 2007

Common Aggregate Hierarchy (CAH3)

All subject areas studied at UK Higher Education Institutions are identified by CAH3 code. Your HEI will provide you with a CAH3 code and confirm whether you require an ATAS certificate.

If you have offers from different HEIs

An ATAS certificate shows details of the course and Higher Education Institution (HEI) you have applied to for clearance. If you have more than 1 offer from different HEIs you’ll need to apply for separate ATAS clearance certificates for each HEI and programme of study.

You’ll need a new ATAS certificate if you change courses or if you want to apply for further permission to stay as a student.

Find out how to apply

Published 17 February 2015
Last updated 6 October 2020 + show all updates

  1. Updated to reflect borders and immigration system changes

  2. CAH3 codes have replaced JACS codes

  3. ATAS information updated for study/research of less than 6 months.

  4. Find out if you need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate to study in the UK amended.

  5. First published.