Applying for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate

Find out if you need Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance.

What is ATAS?

ATAS is a scheme run by the UK Government. It requires international students looking to study certain sensitive technology-based subjects to apply for an ATAS certificate before they apply for their visa.

This relates to new students coming to Sussex and existing students.

Do I need ATAS clearance?

You need to apply for ATAS clearance if you are not a national of a European Area (EEA) country or Switzerland, and you are applying for a science or engineering-based course.

Use the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website to find out which countries are in the EEA and if you need an ATAS clearance certificate.

Examples of when you might need ATAS clearance include:

You’ll be advised on your individual case.

Important: ATAS requirements apply to all visas – not just Tier 4. The exception is if you have Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.

How to apply for ATAS clearance

If you need ATAS clearance, you will need a statement from Sussex to complete your application.

You must apply online for a clearance certificate through ATAS before you apply for a visa.

If you’re planning to study at Sussex, you’ll get information about making an ATAS application with your offer letter.

If you’re already studying an undergraduate or Masters degree at Sussex, email

If you’re a PhD student, email You must use the project description we give you when completing the online ATAS application.

Courses requiring ATAS clearance

When to apply

You can apply for ATAS after you receive an offer from us, and up to nine months before your course start date.

If you need a Tier 4 visa, we can’t issue a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) to you without proof of ATAS clearance.

If you’re applying for a short-term study visa, we can’t issue a sponsor letter without ATAS clearance.

In both cases, we need ATAS clearance directly from the government before you can make a student visa application.

See more information about applying for ATAS clearance from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

If your course changes

You need to apply for a new ATAS certificate within 28 days if you change your:

  • course
  • research area
  • course completion date.

If you don’t do this, you’ll breach your immigration conditions.

You also need ATAS clearance if you apply to extend your Tier 4 visa.

See more about changes to your studies.

If you haven’t applied for a course yet

If you’re still looking at Sussex courses, you don’t need to consider ATAS right now.

Find out how to apply for:

See more from Applying for a student visa