If you are planning to study in the areas of Science, Engineering and Technology, you may need to apply for clearance under ATAS.
- Does my programme need ATAS
- Student visa applicants who require ATAS
- Non-Student visa students who require ATAS
- Results and extensions
- Short-term Study visa and ATAS
- Students who already have an ATAS certificate
- How to obtain an ATAS certificate
The Immigration rules changed on 5 October 2020 and as such some nationals are now exempt from providing ATAS.
This means if you are an EU/EEA/Swiss national or a national of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea or the United States of America, you are not required to obtain ATAS approval for your Student visa application or your enrolment at UCL.
- Your offer letter from UCL will state if your programme requires an ATAS certificate.
- If you are applying for a Student visa your CAS statement will also state if you are required to obtain an ATAS certificate.
If you are applying for a Student visa you will be required to provide an ATAS certificate as part of the application process. This is for both new students applying for entry clearance to the UK and existing students applying for an extension in the UK.
An ATAS certificate takes at least 20 working days (4 weeks) to be issued so you need to apply for this well in advance of your Tier 4 application. Please note that during peak processing times (July, August and September) it can take up to 30 working days to process an ATAS application. We strongly recommend that you apply for your ATAS certificate as early as possible.
An ATAS certificate is valid for use in a Student visa application 6 months from the date of issue.
You may additionally be required to show your ATAS certificate at enrolment. If you have not already provided your ATAS certificate we will not allow you to enrol on your programme of study.
If you wish to study in the UK as temporary migrant (this refers to individuals given limited leave to enter or remain), for example Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 5, PBS Dependant, Asylum Seekers Leave, Family Members of EU/EEA Nationals, BN(O) visa which was issued on or after 6 April 2015, you must obtain an ATAS clearance certificate before you will be permitted to enrol on your programme.
If your visa was issued prior to 6 April 2015 an ATAS certificate is not required, although it will be required if you need to renew your visa whilst you are still studying on your programme.
Please refer to your offer letter from UCL which will state if your programme requires an ATAS certificate. If you do not have an ATAS certificate we will not allow you to enrol on your programme of study.
An ATAS certificate takes at least 20 working days (4 weeks) to be issued so you need to apply for this well in advance of your enrolment date. An ATAS certificate is valid for enrolment for 6 months from the date of issue.
If you are taking resits or extending your studies you will need to apply for a new ATAS certificate if this alters the end date of your course by more than 3 months. This must be done within 28 days of confirmation of the change of end date.
If you are intending on entering the UK using a Short-term Student visa you are required to provide an ATAS certificate as part of the application process. This is because all visa types now require ATAS.
Where you are applying for a Short-term Student visa to take your Doctoral viva, you may reuse the original ATAS certificate you obtained to study towards the same Doctorate for which you now have a viva examination.
An ATAS certificate is issued for a specific programme with a named university and remains valid as long as the university and/or course details do not change. If you already have an ATAS certificate you will need to apply for a new one if:
Your course details change, including the course length
- you must apply for a new ATAS certificate within 28 days if your programme end date is postponed by more than 3 months
- The area of research or modules change
- You move to another institution
- You need to extend your stay to write up your thesis
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 UCL and should not apply for ATAS until you have received your offer letter (this does not need to be unconditional). The offer letter will contain all the information required from UCL to complete your ATAS application.
An ATAS certificate is specific to both the programme of study you intend to undertake and the university you plan to attend. If you have an offer from another university and are undecided as to which offer you will accept you need to apply for separate ATAS certificates.
If you are planning to attend research programmes at UCL, you are recommended to make an early contact with your prospective supervisors, as a brief synopsis of your research proposal needs to be included in your offer letter.
If you are coming to UCL to attend one of the four-year undergraduate, Master's of Research or Master's programmes listed above, you need to visit your departmental website to ascertain what optional courses are available to study, as the optional courses that you intend to take will need to be listed on the online application. Core courses for all the programmes listed above have been passed to the FCO.
You can find further information about ATAS on the gov.uk website.