The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) was introduced by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) in November 2007.
Under this scheme an ATAS clearance certificate will be mandatory for all non-EU students seeking leave to enter or remain under the Immigration Act in order to study in the UK and who are intending to undertake PhD level research (including a few postgraduate Master's students) in specific, limited/programmes of study.
An ATAS clearance certificate will be needed before a student applies for entry clearance. It will also apply to those students seeking an extension of stay if already in the UK (e.g when moving from undergraduate studies to a Master's or PhD, or from a Master's to PhD, that is covered by the provisions of ATAS).
Applicants who have an existing visa and whose subject area falls within the specific fields identified by FCO will also be required to obtain ATAS clearance prior to engaging in their studies.
For more information please visit www.fco.gov.uk
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