Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) requires all international students (apart from exempt nationalities) who are subject to UK immigration control and are intending to study or research at postgraduate level in certain sensitive subjects to apply for obtain an ATAS certificate. The subjects and research areas are those where knowledge could be used in programmes to develop Advanced Conventional Military Technology (ACMT), weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) or their means of delivery. Students in these sensitive subjects must apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate before they can study or start research in the UK.

There are certain nationailities that are exempt from the ATAS requirement. Please see Find out if you need an ATAS certificate - GOV.UK ( for up-to-date information. 

Your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) will indicate whether or not you require ATAS clearance. Your Faculty/School will also let you know prior to, or at the point of making an offer whether you need ATAS clearance. The ATAS requirement is usually confirmed in your offer letter if you are a postgraduate taught or postgraduate research student. Students on 4-year integrated bachelors and masters programmes (e.g. MEng or MSci) will receive email communications from the University if they are required to obtain ATAS. 

If you are subject to ATAS requirement, a valid ATAS certificate is required before you can receive your CAS. This applies both to students starting new courses and continuing students extending their visas. The University will receive a copy of your ATAS certificate at the same time as you receive it, so you should not need to do anything to notify us. 

If you wish to study at another University/Higher Education Institution, change your course/area of research or extend your course by more than three months, you will need to apply for another (new) ATAS certificate.

To apply

  • For guidance on completing your application, see the information provided by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office about What you need to apply and Guidance on how to apply for an ATAS certificate
  • As a student of University of Bristol, when applying for ATAS, you need to select ATAS option for "Taught / research student" and not the option for "Researcher" as "Researcher" ATAS is intended for academic researchers and not students
  • Once you have received a conditional or unconditional offer, complete and submit an ATAS form online, following the guidance provided on communications from the University (please see below)
  • You will require a CAH3 code which is a code that is specific to your course of study
    • If you are a new undergraduate student, the Admissions team will inform you by email of the CAH3 code for your course and you can use University's Unit and Programme Catalogues to obtain description of your course
    • If you are a new postgraduate student (both taught and research), your offer letter will tell you the specific CAH3 code for your course and the research statement you can use in your application
    • If you are a continuing student who is extending, upgrading as part of an integrated masters or transfering to a course requiring ATAS, your Faculty Office will be able to look up the specific CAH3 code for your course on the University system. See the this government page for the list of academic subjects that need an ATAS certificate – please still contact your Faculty Office for the exact code for your course. You will also be asked to provide a description of your course. If you are on an undergraduate or postgraduate taught course, you can use University's Unit and Programme Catalogues to obtain this information If you are a research student, please obtain an updated ATAS statement from your supervisor. Please use the date you submit your ATAS application as the course start date when asked 'when will your course start'
  • The University's Student visa sponsor licence number is WE3JP69N1
  • The current processing times are listed on the government's ATAS webpage, but please note that in some cases applications have been known to take considerably longer, especially during the peak periods of June-September. You must therefore allow sufficient time to obtain ATAS clearance. Once the application is decided, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will confirm whether you have been cleared or refused


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