What is the ATAS requirement for certain roles?

25 Apr 2024, 32 mins ago

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) limits the spread of information, knowledge or technology that could be used to make dangerous weapons. You must apply for an ATAS certificate if you are an international student or academic researcher (apart from exempt nationalities) who intends to study or research at postgraduate level in ATAS-categorised sensitive subjects.

Before you apply for your visa, you should check if you require an ATAS certificate. ATAS certificates are issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which gives you security clearance to study or research sensitive topics. All subject areas studied at UK Higher Education Institutions are identified using a CAH3 code. Your institute will provide you with a CAH3 code and confirm whether you require an ATAS certificate.


New students require a valid ATAS certificate if the course of study for which the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies was assigned is an academic subject in the following fields: medicine, biological sciences, veterinary sciences, agriculture and related subjects, physical sciences, mathematics and computer science, or engineering and technology courses, and:

  1. leads to a master’s degree; or
  2. leads to a PhD; or
  3. leads to another postgraduate qualification; or
  4. is a period of study or research which is part of an overseas postgraduate qualification.

If you wish to study at a different university/Higher Education Institution, change your course/area of research or extend your course by more than three months, you will need to apply for another ATAS certificate.


Individuals applying for Skilled Worker, Global Business Mobility, Scale-up, International Agreement and Government Authorised Exchanges require a valid ATAS certificate if they are applying under a work route which requires a Certificate of Sponsorship, issued by a work sponsor that is also a licensed student sponsor, and the role set out in the Certificate of Sponsorship:

  1. is in one of the following SOC 2020 occupation codes:
    • 2111 Chemical scientists
    • 2112 Biological scientists
    • 2113 Biochemists and biomedical scientists
    • 2114 Physical scientists
    • 2115 Social and humanities scientists
    • 2119 Natural and social science professionals not elsewhere classified
    • 2122 Mechanical engineers
    • 2123 Electrical engineers
    • 2124 Electronics engineers
    • 2125 Production and process engineers
    • 2126 Aerospace engineers
    • 2127 Engineering project managers and project engineers
    • 2129 Engineering professionals not elsewhere classified
    • 2161 Research and development (R&D) managers
    • 2162 Other researchers, unspecified discipline
    • 2311 Higher education teaching professionals
    • 3111 Laboratory technicians
    • 3112 Electrical and electronics technicians
    • 3113 Engineering technicians
    • 3114 Building and civil engineering technicians
    • 5234 Aircraft maintenance and related trades
  1. includes an element of research at PhD level or above; and
  2. that field of research is a subject set out at ATAS 4.1

Nationality Exemptions

There are some nationalities that are exempt from the ATAS requirement if they are a national of any of the following countries:

  1. Australia
  2. Austria
  3. Belgium
  4. Bulgaria
  5. Canada
  6. Croatia
  7. Republic of Cyprus
  8. Czech Republic
  9. Denmark
  10. Estonia
  11. Finland
  12. France
  13. Germany
  14. Greece
  15. Hungary
  16. Iceland
  17. Ireland
  18. Italy
  19. Japan
  20. Latvia
  21. Liechtenstein
  22. Lithuania
  23. Luxembourg
  24. Malta
  25. Netherlands
  26. New Zealand
  27. Norway
  28. Poland
  29. Portugal
  30. Republic of Korea
  31. Romania
  32. Singapore
  33. Slovakia
  34. Slovenia
  35. Spain
  36. Sweden
  37. Switzerland
  38. United States of America

How Gherson can assist

Gherson’s Immigration Team are highly experienced in advising on UK visa matters. If you have any questions arising from this blog, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, send us an e-mail, or, alternatively, follow us on XFacebookInstagram, or LinkedIn to stay-up-to-date.

The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please do not hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

©Gherson 2024