UCL Human Resources


Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

Information about the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS).

From the 21 May 2021, Skilled Worker, Government Authorised Exchange, and Student visa applications must be supported by an ATAS certificate if the individual is applying to work in certain academic environments in roles including postgraduate researchers and higher education teaching professionals. Individuals must obtain a valid ATAS certificate prior to commencing research in any of the specified subjects.

Fields of research are listed in Appendix ATAS. In order to determine whether or not a role requires an ATAS certificate, departments will need to identify the relevant Common Aggregate Hierarchy (CAH3) code.

The occupation codes covered by this requirement are listed below: 

• 2111 Chemical scientists*
• 2112 Biological scientists and biochemists*
• 2113 Physical scientists*
• 2114 Social and humanities scientists*
• 2119 Natural and social science professionals not elsewhere classified*
• 2150 Research and development managers*
• 2122 Mechanical engineers
• 2123 Electrical engineers
• 2124 Electronics engineers
• 2127 Production and process engineers
• 2129 Engineering professionals not elsewhere classified
• 2311 Higher education teaching professionals*
• 3111 Laboratory technicians
• 3112 Electrical and electronics technicians
• 3113 Engineering technicians
• 3114 Building and civil engineering technicians
• 5235 Aircraft maintenance and related trades 

*Previously known as designated PhD level SOC codes 

Researchers working in these academic environments, coming to the UK as academic visitors, will also need to apply under ATAS before beginning their research. Appendix ATAS lists countries whose nationals are exempt from the duty to comply with this rule.  Departments must check that researchers, who come to the UK to collaborate with UCL academics in a field of work covered by ATAS, have obtained the ATAS certificate if they require it.  The department should conduct a right-to-work check, in order to identify an individual’s identity and nationality, and take a copy of their ATAS if required.

The UK Government website states “The HEI must check the ATAS certificate before allowing the research to start, and if this is not provided you will not be permitted on-site”.  Please note that visitors may obtain their visa without an ATAS, however if they need an ATAS, they should request it before travelling to the UK.

Guidance for staff requiring ATAS certification is available. Staff requiring further guidance about the ATAS application process and its applicability to certain roles should contact HR Services.

Support for students completing an ATAS application is also available on the UCL website.