Thursday, 2 February 2012

Do I need to apply for ATAS clearance?

Ok so you have applied for a place at a UK (United Kingdom) university and been given an offer.  It's an exciting time.  You can begin to plan your future, buy materials needed for your course and look for student accommodation, but wait, there's one thing you might need to consider...do you need ATAS clearance?

Let's look at some points to see if you will need to apply for ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) clearance.

Are you applying for an undergraduate course which will lead to an undergraduate qualification when you graduate ie. Bachelor degree (B.A, B.Sc, B.Eng etc)?
If YES then you DO NOT require ATAS clearance.

Are you a UK, EEA or Swiss National applying to study a postgraduate (or an undergraduate course leading to a postgraduate qualification such as an M.Eng or M.Sci) in the United Kingdom?
If YES then you DO NOT require ATAS clearance.

Are you an International applicant applying to study a postgraduate course (or an undergraduate course leading to a postgraduate qualification such as an M.Eng or M.Sci) in the United Kingdom?
If YES, then you MAY require ATAS clearance.

First let's look at what is an International applicant.

An International applicant is someone applying from a non-EEA country. 

What does EEA mean and what is an EEA country?

EEA stands for European Economic Area.  If you are a citizen from an EEA country, you will not require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK (United Kingdom) and therefore will not be required to apply for ATAS clearance.

Here is a list of EEA countries:

1. Austria
2. Belgium
3. Bulgaria
4. Cyprus
5. Czech Republic
6. Denmark
7. Estonia
8. Finland
9. France
10. Germany
11. Greece
12. Hungary
13. Iceland
14. Republic of Ireland
15. Italy
16. Latvia
17. Liechenstein
18. Lithuania
19. Luxembourg
20. Malta
21. The Netherlands
22. Norway
23. Poland
24. Portugal
25. Romania
26. Slovakia
27. Slovenia
28. Spain
29. Sweden
30. United Kingdom
31. PLUS SWITZERLAND.  While Switzerland is not in the EEA, Swiss Nationals have the same rights as EEA nationals and therefore DO NOT require ATAS clearance.

Any other country is considered International and therefore if you apply to study in the UK, you will need a Tier 4 visa and may need ATAS clearance.

Further information can be found at the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office's) website at

So we have established the following:

1. You are an International applicant
2. You are going to study a postgraduate course or an undergraduate course which leads to a postgraduate qualification

If you say YES to the above two points, you may need to apply for ATAS clearance.

So what else needs to be considered.

You need to look at the JACS code of your chosen course.

What is a JACS code?
A JACS code is a course code.  It is a code set by the University.  

Where will I find my JACS code?
You will find your JACS code on your offer letter. 

If you have a JACS code that appears on the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office's) list on their website, you will to apply for ATAS clearance - www.fco.gov.uk/atas

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