From 21 May 2021 any individual who will be undertaking research activities, at PhD level or above in one of the Academic subjects/fields of research relevant to ATAS, will be required to apply for a free of charge ATAS certificate before they can apply for a visa to start or continue working in the UK. The ATAS requirement only applies to certain nationalities, and in certain roles and research fields.
As part of the ATAS application process, you will be required to submit information about your programme of research including the relevant 'CAH3' code. This will be provided by HR. Please note that you should not write the statement of research yourself.
An ATAS certificate may be required as part of the application process for the following immigration routes:
- Skilled Worker visa;
- Temporary Worker GAE (Tier 5) visa;
- Visitor visa application.
What is ATAS?
The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) is a scheme administered by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and is aimed at preventing the transfer of information, knowledge or technology which could develop, advance or support an Advanced Conventional Military Technology (ACMT) and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) programme or their means of delivery. It applies to all international students (other than exempt nationalities) who are subject to UK immigration control and intend to study at postgraduate level in certain sensitive subjects. Such students must apply for an ATAS certificate before they can study in the UK.
With effect from 21 May 2021 the ATAS requirement has been expanded to cover individuals undertaking research activities at PhD level or above, applying for a Skilled Worker, Government Authorised Exchange (Tier 5) visa and academic visitors. Anyone (apart from exempt nationalities) who will be conducting research at PhD level or above in a particular subject area will need to have applied for and received an ATAS certificate BEFORE a certificate of sponsorship can be issued.
Will I have to pay for the ATAS certificate?
No, there is no fee attached to the ATAS certificate.
How will I know if I need an ATAS certificate?
You can check whether or not you require an ATAS certificate by using the online tool on the government website: https://www.academic-technology-approval.service.gov.uk/
A list of the subject areas requiring an ATAS certificate can be accessed via the following link.
Which nationalities are exempt from the ATAS certificate?
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. A full list of countries that are exempt can be found here
Can I apply for my visa before I have applied for or received my ATAS certificate?
No – If you require an ATAS certificate you will need to have received it BEFORE you can receive your Certificate of Sponsorship from Aston University and submit your visa application. You need to attach your ATAS certificate to your visa application.
What do I do with my ATAS certificate when I receive it?
You will need to send it to the person that you are liaising with about your visa in HR. When you receive the decision regarding your ATAS application you must let the recruiting manager and HR know.
Can my employment commence before I receive my ATAS certificate?
Aston University could have their sponsor licence revoked. An employer must not continue to sponsor a worker who is subject to the ATAS requirement if they either refuse to apply for an ATAS certificate, or the FCDO refuses their application.
Do I need an ATAS certificate if I am applying for a visa from inside the UK?
Yes. If you are applying to switch into the Skilled Worker route or for an extension to your current visa you will need to apply for an ATAS certificate if one is required. You can check this here: https://www.academic-technology-approval.service.gov.uk/
How long does it take to process an application for an ATAS certificate?
It will take at least 10 working days (2 full weeks) to process a researcher ATAS application. Processing times will increase between April and September and can take 15 or more working days to complete.
There is no fast track option available. ATAS certificates will be processed in order of receipt.
What documents are required for an application for an ATAS certificate?
You can apply online for the ATAS certificate and find out here what documents you need to submit as part of your application.
As part of the application for an ATAS certificate, new staff / visitors at Aston University who are liable for an ATAS certificate must be provided with a research statement as agreed by the recruiting manager/department. The applicant should NOT write the statement of research themselves. The recruiting manager will be asked by HR to obtain/provide an appropriate research statement for the applicant to submit as part of their application.
The ATAS Research Summary Statement template must be completed by the department and then sent to HR to send to the new employee. The new employee should include the statement as part of their ATAS application.
How do I apply for an ATAS certificate?
You can apply online