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ATAS for continuing students

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) is a scheme run by the British Government which aims to check and approve studies and research undertaken by non- EU/EEA in certain science and technology-related fields.

How long is an ATAS certificate valid for?

Your ATAS certificate will remain valid for as long as your programme of study, provided that your subject area does not change. If you lose your ATAS certificate, you should email the ATAS team atas@fco.gov.uk

If you are a PhD student and are applying for an extension to stay for the sole purpose of writing up your thesis and your previous Visa did not require ATAS clearance, then you do not need an ATAS certificate. If your Visa was issued after the 30 November 2007 then you will require ATAS clearance for writing up your thesis.

What if I change my area of research or course?

If you wish to switch to a course which requires ATAS clearance certificate you must obtain an ATAS certificate before you can transfer to that new course.
If your area of research or course is likely to change to one still affected by the requirement to have an ATAS certificate, then you should not register on the new course or start the new area of research until a new ATAS certificate has been applied for and has been successful.

Will I need an ATAS certificate to extend my visa?

An ATAS clearance certificate is issued for a specific course with a named Tier 4 sponsor and remains valid as long as the Tier 4 sponsor and/or course details do not change, including the length of the course. 

You will need to apply for a new ATAS certificate if:

  • you change your course; or
  • you apply for an extension of leave in order to continue on and complete a course; or
  • the area of research/modules change for the course you originally applied to; or
  • you move to another institution; or
  • your visa was issued on or after 30 November 2007, and you need further permission to stay for writing up a thesis.

If you are applying for further permission to stay to write up your thesis and your previous visa did not require an ATAS clearance certificate as it was issued before 30 November 2007, an ATAS clearance certificate is not required.

If you are applying to study a course which requires an ATAS clearance certificate, you must provide a print-out of your ATAS clearance certificate together with your visa application. 

Do I have to provide the University with a copy of my ATAS certificate?

If you are continuing student changing the programme or requesting visa extension you will be required to provide us with an ATAS certificate before we can approve your change of programme form or process your CAS. Therefore we strongly advice that you apply for  an ATAS certificate in advance as we are not able to process any change of programme requests without ATAS clearance.

Where can I find more information?

There is a lot of information and guidance available on the ATAS website, including frequently asked questions and information on what to do if your ATAS application is refused.

You may also seek advice from Advice and Counselling 

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