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 applying for a science or engineering-based course – unless you are from an exempt country in the government appendix.

Use the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office website to find out 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. 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 student 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 visit visa to study a short course, 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, Commonwealth and Development Office.

If your ATAS application is refused

If your ATAS application is refused, we will not not be able to issue you a CAS to apply for a Student visa or proceed with your offer on the proposed course.

You may be withdrawn from your course if you are a current student at Sussex who is refused ATAS clearance. 

The government will not provide a full reason for refusal, so we will be unable to overturn the decision.

You may be able to request a review – you should have received information on how to do this in your refusal notice.

You can contact our International Advice team for advice on what to do.

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 student 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