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Academic Technology Approval Scheme

ATAS is a UK government scheme to screen students from outside of the European Union who may, through studies in engineering, science or technology, have access to information and technology which could be used to develop weapons of mass destruction.

An ATAS certificate is not required for undergraduate study and where the period of study or research is less than six months.

All non EU students who intend to study a relevant course must obtain an ATAS certificate before enrolling on your Stirling course, this includes Tier 4 students.

You’ll need to apply for an ATAS clearance certificate before applying for a student visa if you plan to undertake postgraduate research in some science or technology disciplines.

If you’ll be studying on another type of visa you must also apply for an ATAS certificate before starting the course. The University must have a copy of your ATAS certificate on file so you will be asked to provide this document.

The disciplines that require an ATAS clearance certificate are identified according to the beginning of their Joint Academic Coding of Subjects (JACS) codes. At Stirling the courses that require an ATAS certificate are as follows:

  • Research in Computing Science (JACS codes beginning G0, G1, G2, G4, G7, G9, I1, I4, and I9)
  • Research in Biology or Research in Ecology (JACS codes beginning C1, C2, C4, C5, C7 and C9)
  • Master of Research (for JACS codes beginning as above, for Computing, Biology or Ecology). Currently we have no courses on offer.

How to apply

You will need to apply through the ATAS website before applying for your visa or extension of stay. You should allow at least four weeks (20 working days) in order to obtain it. You should submit your ATAS clearance certificate with your visa application.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will send us a copy of your ATAS certificate. As there is a Home Office (UK Visas and Immigration) requirement for institutions to hold a copy of the ATAS certificate we’ll hold this electronically on your records.

Once you have received your ATAS certificate you should notify the Admissions Team who will then process your application.  

What if I change my area of research or study?

If your course of study or your focus of research has changed once you arrive in the UK then you should consult with the Student Immigration Team as there may be implications for your visa. You may need to apply for a new ATAS certificate.

Extensions to study

If you have to extend your Tier 4 visa to complete a course of study which is subject to ATAS clearance then you’ll have to get a new ATAS certificate. You should complete a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies or CAS request form which should be submitted to the Student Immigration Team in Academic Registry. You’ll not be able to apply for your new visa until you have received your ATAS clearance certificate.

Further information

For further information and to apply please visit the ATAS website.

You can also contact our Student Immigration Team for advice and support. To ask a question or request an appointment with an advisor please email

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