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You will find below the answers to some common questions on ATAS. If our webpages do not answer your questions, please contact us.

1. Do I need an ATAS certificate?

If you are applying for a visa, please see our website for guidance.

2. When should I apply?

We recommend that you apply for ATAS as early as possible (up to 6 months before you need it). It will normally take at least 30 working days for a decision to be made on your application, and there are no fast-track options.

If you are applying for a Skilled Worker or Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange visa, you will in most cases need your ATAS certificate before we can assign a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to you. The certificate can take up to a month to be granted (and in some cases, longer) and this will only start at the point at which that the ATAS team receives a completed and correct application with no other details required, so you should check your application carefully before submitting it. If you are asked to submit further information, this may 'reset the clock'.

If you have been waiting for a decision on your application for more than 30 working days, please email us

3. I am starting a new job but do not need a new visa – do I need to apply for an ATAS certificate?


However, when/if you apply to extend your current visa, or switch into a new visa route, you might need to apply then. If you are extending your current visa for 3 months or less, contact ATAS to ask whether you will need to apply for a new certificate. 

4. How long does it take to fill in the form?

ATAS suggests 1 hour, but we have been made aware that it has taken much longer for some applicants, particularly those with a long list of publications. You can complete the sections in any order, and save your progress as you go, but please set aside a reasonable amount of time to complete your application. 

You will not be able to update your application once you have submitted it.

5. How much does it cost?

There is no charge for an ATAS application.

6. What is my CAH3 code?

Please see the Statement of Research (form HR58) provided to you by your Department. If you do not yet have a Statement of Research, please request it.

7. I am having problems with the ATAS website – what should I do?

Try registering with a different email address, ideally an internationally recognised email such as Outlook, Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail or similar (ATAS have experienced difficulties with firewalls for local servers) or from a different computer.   Alternatively, try using a different web browser. The ATAS website works best with Google Chrome. You may experience difficulties when using Internet Explorer or Firefox to complete the form. 

8. For how long is my ATAS certificate valid? Does it have to be valid for length of my visa?

The ATAS certificate is valid for 6 months from the date of issue – it must be valid when the visa application is submitted, but does not need to remain valid for the duration of the visa. 

9. How long will it take for my application to be granted?

Both student and researcher ATAS applications take at least 30 working days (6 full weeks) to process.

To ensure fairness and consistency, the ATAS team processes applications in order of receipt. There is no ‘fast track’ service.

10. I have made a mistake on my form – what should I do?

Email ATAS giving your application reference number and passport number. Explain the mistake and provide the correct information, then follow any instructions in their reply. 

11. My work start date has changed, do I need to apply for a new ATAS certificate?

No, you would only need to reapply if you were applying for a new visa.

12. I am in the UK and need to apply to extend my visa/switch into a new immigration route, but my ATAS application has not been granted yet - what should I do?

If you need to apply for a Skilled Worker or Temporary Worker - Government Authorised Exchange visa, you will normally need an ATAS certificate before we can assign a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to you. However, if you are submitting your visa application in the UK, we may be able to assign a CoS to you based on your ATAS application reference number.

Once you have your CoS, you must submit your visa application before your existing permission expires. However, please do not submit your biometric information and other supporting documents until you have received your ATAS certificate.

13. ATAS have requested more information from me, but I am not able to resubmit my application - what should I do?

Please go through each section of the application and save changes until the end, and the application says complete. You should then be able to resubmit your application.

14. How will I know if my application has been successful or not?

ATAS will email your certificate to the email address you specified on your application form if you are successful. Please: 

  • check your spam or junk folders regularly to ensure the email has not been filtered out;
  • read your ATAS certificate carefully to check that the details on it are correct;
  • send a copy to your Department.
15. There is a mistake on my ATAS certificate - what should I do?

If there are errors or omissions on the ATAS certificate (for example your given/family names, date of birth), ATAS will not correct the certificate if the mistake was yours, so you will need to apply again. If you did not make a mistake in your application, please contact us.

16. I have renewed my passport since my ATAS certificate was granted – do I need to do anything?

Please email ATAS, quoting your ATAS reference number, to provide your new passport details. You should also include a scan of the old and new passport details in your email.  In most cases ATAS will update your certificate accordingly but, in some circumstances, you may be required to apply for a new ATAS, for instance if you have changed nationality. 

17. I have been granted an ATAS certificate for my research work, but have since been accepted to study a PhD alongside my work – do I need to apply for another ATAS certificate?

You should ask your supervisor for a new Statement of Research (HR58 form) which includes details about the research you are working on and the focus of your studies, then submit a new application as a Taught Student undertaking research.

18. Since my ATAS certificate was granted, the scope of my research has changed – do I need to apply for a new ATAS certificate?

The website states that “The ATAS certificate must accurately reflect the HEI/research institute which employs/hosts your research, and the research project, job title and duration. If any of these details change you should check whether you require an ATAS certificate and apply for a new certificate if you need one.” 

We would therefore suggest contacting ATAS to explain any changes changed and ask whether a new certificate is required.

If you are in the UK and your existing visa is due to expire, you must submit your visa application online before the expiry date even if you have not received a response from ATAS. Please wait to upload your biometric information and supporting documents until you know whether a new ATAS certificate is required. 

19. Conditions of ATAS clearance
  1. The certificate is only valid for the person named on it.
  2. The certificate is only valid for the University stated on it.
  3. The certificate is only valid for the research stated on it.
  4. If you decide to work at/visit another university and/or change your field of research, you will need to apply for another ATAS Certificate if one is required.
  5. The certificate is valid for use in a visa application for up to 6 months from the issue date.
  6. If you apply to extend your existing Tier 2/Skilled Worker/Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange/Visitor visa by more than 3 months, or to switch from another visa route into one of these, you will need a new ATAS certificate.