There is a new and extra permission that you may need to get when you are a postgraduate student researching or studying some science and engineering subjects if you are a national of a country that is not part of the EU/EEA. It is called the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS).
You must get ATAS before you apply for your student visa or extend it. Most PhD subjects in science and engineering need ATAS. At the University of Surrey the following Masters level courses need it:
- MSc Advanced Materials (F200)
- MSc Medical Physics (F350)
- MSc Radiation and Environmental Protection (F351)
- MSc Radiation Detection and Instrumentation (F351)
- MSc Space Technology and Planetary Exploration (H643 and H420)
- MSc Medical Microbiology (Research)
- MRes Chemistry
How do I find out if my subject needs ATAS? First you need the JACS code for your research. JACS is a national system of identifying subject areas. If you are coming to be a student at Surrey your offer letter will include the JACS code. If you are already studying here get your JACS code by contacting the International Student Office.
Go to the list of subjects that require ATAS at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website. If the first letter and number of your JACS code is on the list then you must apply for ATAS.
You apply for ATAS online and it is free. The FCO aims to process the majority of applications in 20 working days (four weeks), but some applications can take longer to be processed. They will email their decision to you. Check your inbox (and Spam box) regularly.
To apply you need a brief statement of the research you plan to do, about six or seven sentences long. Get this from your offer letter or, if you are already here, from the Registry Student Centre. MSc students should use the module information shown on their offer letter or issued by the Registry Student Centre.
Apply promptly for your ATAS certificate – you can’t make your visa application without it.