Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Student and Academic AdministrationAdmissions

General Information about ATAS

Who needs ATAS?

An Academic Technology Approval Scheme Certificate (ATAS Certificate) is required if:

Not all courses at the University require students to have an ATAS Certificate. To check the ATAS requirement for the course you have applied for click here to access the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website. You will need to enter the CAH3 code(s) for your course which can be found on your University of Southampton offer letter. 

If you do need ATAS clearance to study your chosen course then you must get an ATAS Certificate before you make your visa application.   ATAS applies to all visa types including the short-term study visa.  Students who have Indefinite Leave to Remain do not need ATAS but those applying for Asylum do need ATAS.

UK immigration law does not allow Universities to register/enrol students for a course requiring ATAS until the ATAS certificate has been issued. 

Exempt nationalities

Students who are nationals of EU countries, the European Economic Area (EEA), Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland or the United States of America do not need an ATAS certificate.  

What is an ATAS Certificate?

An ATAS certificate shows details of the course and University you have an offer from. When you apply for your visa, you must only use an ATAS Certificate that is valid for that University and course, you cannot use a certificate for another University or course.  

You will also need a new ATAS certificate if you change courses, or if you want to extend leave to remain as a student. For information about ATAS for current students, click here.

Full information about ATAS can be found on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website  

How do I apply for ATAS?

To apply for ATAS you must complete the Foreign and Commonwealth Office online application form .

Postgraduate research students, please note: when applying for ATAS clearance, please select 'Taught/research student' and NOT 'Researcher' as the term 'Researcher' is meant for research workers.  Applying under the incorrect category will result in significant delays in being granted ATAS approval.

Before starting your application for ATAS, please ensure that you read the Foreign and Commonwealth Office online guidance fully. Failure to answer any of the questions will delay the processing of your ATAS application.

You can apply for an ATAS certificate up to nine months before the start date of your course. We recommend that you apply as early as possible to allow yourself enough time to apply for your visa after receiving your ATAS clearance. You need only hold a conditional offer when making an application for ATAS. You do not have to have accepted your offer. We recommend that you apply for your ATAS certificate at least six months before the start of your course or as soon as you receive your offer if it is less than six months before the start of your course. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office takes between four and six weeks to issue ATAS clearance, although it can sometimes take longer.

The online application form has ten sections, which must be completed in full, with as much detail as possible provided for each section. Everything that is typed into this form is used to assess your application.

You will need to provide the following information which can be found on your offer letter:

This information can be found in your offer letter. If you have not received this information, please contact your Faculty Admissions Team.

What happens after I have applied?

An ATAS certificate is valid for a period of six months from the date of issue. You must ensure that you have received ATAS clearance before making your visa application. Your visa application will be refused if you do not have an ATAS Certificate. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office takes between four and six weeks to issue ATAS clearance, although it can sometimes take longer.

Once ATAS clearance is granted, it will provide you with a certificate which you will need when making your visa application. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will also inform the University that it has issued you with clearance. 

How long is the ATAS certificate valid for?

The ATAS certificate is valid for 6 months from issue.  However, if your programme start date is delayed by 3 months or longer you will need a new ATAS certificate even if the ATAS certificate is still within its validity period.

What if I transfer to a different programme or the content of my programme changes (including a change of research area)

If you transfer to a different programme or if the programme content changes you will need a new certificate. 

I need to extend my visa because I need extra time to complete my programme of study

If you need to apply for another visa to complete your programme of study, you will need a new ATAS certificate.  Your ATAS certificate is only valid for up to 3 months after your original programme end date as stated on your CAS so it is important that you apply for your new ATAS certificate at least 4 months before your current visa ends.

Who can I contact if I have any questions about ATAS?

Should you have any further questions please contact the University of Southampton ATAS Team at

Privacy Settings