Accessibility statement

Immigration and visa enquiries

What should you look out for?

International students will often have queries about their visas especially when they are approaching the end of their course or need a renewal or extension. Visa rules and immigration laws are complicated and advice is regulated by the Office of Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) so legally must only be given by specialists.

What should you do?

Direct the student to the International Student Support team in the Student Hub.

What happens next?

A specialist will be able to support the student with all aspects of their query and offer them a one-to-one appointment if needed.


ATAS is the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) which applies to all international students and researchers (apart from exempt nationalities) who are subject to UK immigration control and are intending to study or research at postgraduate level in certain sensitive subjects.

Who issues an ATAS certificate?

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). The FCDO is a ministerial department who are responsible for foreign travel advice, consular help abroad and document legislation. They are also responsible for issuing ATAS certificates.

Who needs an ATAS?

All international students and researchers (apart from exempt nationalities) who are subject to UK immigration control and are intending to study or research at postgraduate level in certain sensitive subjects.

Which nationalities are exempt from the ATAS requirement?

Students and researchers who are nationals of EU countries, the European Economic Area (EEA), Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland or the United States of America do not need an ATAS certificate.

When should applicants/students apply for their ATAS?

Six months before the course start date. Applicants/students should apply for an ATAS certificate as early as possible. Please note that UoY offer holders will not be issued with a CAS until they have their ATAS certificate which is why it is important for them to apply for their ATAS as early as possible.

How long does it take to process an ATAS application?

ATAS applications take at least 30 working days (6 full weeks) to process. If the student/applicant has not received a decision within this timeframe it is important that they do not submit a new application without first contacting the International Student Support team.

Is there a fast track option for ATAS applications?

No. Applications are processed by the FCDO in order of receipt. This is to ensure fairness and consistency. 

How long is an ATAS valid for and when is the ATAS valid from?

An ATAS certificate is valid for six months from the date it is issued. This should enable applicants time to apply for their visa. Note that an ATAS certificate must not expire before an applicant/student applies for their visa.

What is the process if a research applicant/student changes their project after the FCDO has issued an ATAS?

If an applicant/student changes their research project after an ATAS certificate has been issued they will need to make a new ATAS application and include the new research proposal. 

Does an applicant/student have the right to appeal a refused ATAS decision?

Where the applicant has been advised of their right of appeal and has received an application form to request a review of the refusal decision, if they wish to pursue an appeal, they must complete and return the form, with any additional information they believe will help the reviewer, within 30 calendar days of receiving the refusal notification. Reviews can take at least 15 working days to complete.

How are we notified of ATAS processing delays?

Information relating to delays with ATAS applications are often published on Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) website. We also often get notified by Russell Group, UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA), British Universities' International Liaison Association (BUILA) and Immigration Compliance Network (ICN) mailing lists.

Who establishes that the course meets the ATAS threshold?

As part of the programme set-up process each new course is allocated a CAH3 code using Government guidance and based on the module content of the course. The CAH3 code allocated is what determines whether ATAS clearance is needed or not. As ATAS is linked to national security, the Foreign, the Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) does not share information about how these codes are determined.

How does ATAS relate to Trusted Research?

Trusted Research is a UK government initiative aimed at protecting UK researchers and sensitive research information in the context of international collaboration.
ATAS is one of the measures that supports this initiative.  

For more information please see the government's Trusted Research Guidance for Academia or contact

Where can I find out more information about ATAS?

Further information about ATAS can be found via the government website.