From 30 November 2007 the academic technology approval scheme (ATAS) will become a mandatory requirement within the Immigration Rules for students intending to enter or remain in the United Kingdom for more than 6 months to undertake postgraduate studies or research in certain designated subjects.
The ATAS will also apply to you if you are enrolled on an overseas course which is similar in subject matter to those covered by the ATAS and you intend to come to the UK for more than 6 months in order to undertake a period of study/research, which forms part of your postgraduate overseas course.
If you wish to come to, or extend your stay in, the United Kingdom for such a purpose you will, from 30 November 2007, be required to provide a valid ATAS clearance certificate with your application for an entry clearance or an extension of stay. Failure to provide a valid clearance certificate will result in your application being refused.
You can apply now for an ATAS clearance certificate in readiness for 30 November 2007. You should apply online for a clearance certificate to the Foreign and Commonweatlh Office's Counter Proliferation Department where you will also find a list of the designated subjects and further details of the scheme.
This should not take you any longer than 30 minutes to complete. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) aims to respond to applications within 3 weeks from the date of receipt. Most will be resolved within 5-10 working days.