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Academic Technology Approval Scheme

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) was introduced in November 2007. 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.

The ATAS process is completely separate to your Kingston University application. Information you provide as part of the ATAS process will not be passed to Kingston University, however, the University will be informed of the outcome of your ATAS application. It is a mandatory requirement to obtain ATAS clearance for some students studying in the areas of science, engineering and technology.

Do I need an ATAS certificate?

You may need an ATAS certificate if you are a non-EU/EEA or Swiss citizen and you intend to study one of the following courses:

  1. Four-year undergraduate courses
  2. Masters courses
  3. Masters of research courses

Your offer letter from Kingston University will state the specific JACS code and course title. Taught courses which have the JACS code beginning H8 and started on or after 1 January 2012 also require ATAS clearance.

How can I obtain an ATAS certificate?

The application is free of charge and is completed online at the FCO website.

In order to apply for an ATAS certificate, you will need to have been made an offer to study at Kingston University and should not apply for ATAS until you have received your offer letter. The offer letter will contain all the information required to complete your ATAS application. If your ATAS does not match your university offer, you may be refused a visa.

An ATAS certificate is specific to both your intended course of study and the university to which you have applied. If you have an offer from another university and are undecided as to which offer you will accept you will need to apply for separate ATAS certificates.

If you are going to study a research-based course at Kington University, you are advised to contact your prospective supervisors early, as a brief synopsis of your research proposal needs to be included in your offer letter.

If your ATAS application is successful, you will receive a certificate by email to the address that you used to register. Once you receive your certificate, you should check that the details on it are correct and match your offer letter. You will need to include a copy of the certificate when you submit your Tier 4 visa application.

What will I need to apply for my ATAS certificate?

  • 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 course of study you are applying for in the UK (including JACS code and research proposal).
  • If you have chosen a taught masters course you will need details of the optional modules you anticipate taking.
  • Full names and contact details of two referees (first name(s) and family name). You must have known both of your referees for at least three years and at least one must also be an academic from your country of origin.
  • How you will be funding your studies.

How long is ATAS valid for?

An ATAS certificate is valid for 6 months from the date of issue. Please ensure that you submit your visa application before the certificate expires.

I am a current student extending my visa, do I need ATAS clearance?

If you need more time to complete your course you will be required to obtain another ATAS certificate to extend your Tier 4 student visa. This includes students enrolled on a BEng or BSci three-year undergraduate courses and now switching to a four-year MEng or MSci undergraduate course.

If you are a research student and require further time to complete your studies please be aware that the FCO will now only issue ATAS clearance for an additional six months and your application for a Tier 4 student visa can only be supported for that period.

How long will the ATAS process take?

If you require an ATAS clearance, you need to obtain this before applying for your visa. The processing time is a minimum of 20 working days, therefore you are recommended to apply for clearance a minimum of one month before you wish to apply for a visa.

You need to obtain an ATAS certificate prior to applying for your Tier 4 student visa.

Top tips to avoid ATAS application delays

  • Please provide the full names for the names of your referees, employers and sponsors (please provide a first name and last name and do not provide an initial instead of first names).
  • Please provide the details for two referees you have ideally known for over three years, one of whom should be from your home country.
  • Please ensure there are no long gaps in your employment / education history; if you were unemployed or, for example, a full time parent please indicate this on the form.
  • If you have not been employed, please indicate ‘not applicable / never employed'.
  • Ensure your passport details are provided in full and are accurate.
  • Please provide (where applicable) research statements as specifically agreed with your university and an adequate personal statement (both should be five or more sentences in length but not exceed the number of characters allowed for the text box).
  • If you are extending your visa, please ensure your application features the new length of your course, not the original length.
  • Please ensure you enter the correct JACS code for your course before you submit your application as if you do not you may have to re-apply.

Contact us

Kingston University
Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 9000