LJMU ATAS guidance

What is ATAS approval

This is a security clearance scheme, which applies to all international students and researchers (apart from exempt nationalities) who require a UK visa and intend to undertake postgraduate study or research in certain sensitive subjects, such as “those where knowledge could be used in programmes to develop Advanced Conventional Military Technology (ACMT), weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) or their means of delivery”.

If you require ATAS approval to study your chosen course, you will not be able to apply for a student visa until this has been granted so it is important to allow enough time to obtain ATAS and apply for your visa.

Exempt nationalities

If you are a UK national or a national of any of the following countries, you do not require an ATAS certificate:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Croatia
  • Republic of Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United States of America.

Courses that require ATAS

Currently, the list includes the below courses only.

Taught courses (MEng, MSc)

MEng Marine and Mechanical Engineering
MSc Marine and Offshore Engineering
MEng Mechanical Engineering
MSc Maritime Energy Efficiency
MSc Renewable Energy

Research courses (MRes, MPhil, PhD)

MRes Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences: Various PhD programmes in the Faculty of Science and Faculty of Engineering and Technology. The ATAS requirement will be confirmed on your offer letter. Not all PhD programmes require ATAS.

CAH3 code

This is the code that is assigned to degree programmes and is used to determine if ATAS approval is required. If your offer letter states that ATAS is required, a CAH3 code will be listed.


It is free to apply for ATAS.

When should you apply for ATAS

It is advisable to apply as soon as you receive your offer letter but no more than 6 months before the course start date. Applications take at least 30 working days (6 weeks) to process so you should apply for ATAS as soon as possible. There is no fast-track service and LJMU cannot chase an update on an ATAS application.

ATAS certificates are valid for 6 months, so the certificate needs to be valid for the course start date.

Where to apply for ATAS

Apply via the ATAS website.

What you need to apply

Applicants require a conditional offer or unconditional offer to apply for ATAS. You cannot apply for ATAS until you have received an offer letter.

You should also be prepared to provide the below information. Not all requirements will apply to you.

  • previous studies
  • employment history (if applicable)
  • all published papers (if applicable)
  • optional modules in the taught Masters course (MSc/MEng) – please refer to the detailed guidance below
  • your area of research and a description (for research degree programmes only- MRes, MPhil or PhD)
  • full names and contact details of two referees
  • how you will be financially sponsored whilst in the UK

What if you are applying to more than one university

An ATAS certificate is only valid for a specific university so if you are considering offers from different universities, separate ATAS applications may be required.

What if you are renewing my passport

An ATAS application is linked to the passport used to make a visa application. If renewing your passport, you should usually wait until you have renewed the passport.

A passport only needs to be valid to travel to the UK so if you are unsure about renewing your passport and require ATAS, please email internationaladmissions@ljmu.ac.uk for advice.

Application form guidance

If you require ATAS approval, below is a handy guide on completing the application form. We have only included the sections that sometimes confuse applicants. The rest is explained on the ATAS application form.

CAH3 code

This is listed on your offer letter

Supervisor name at UK university

For taught Masters courses (MSC/MEng), please list “N/A”. For a research programme, please list the name of your supervisor.

What you will be studying

For taught Masters degrees (MSc/MEng), please list elective (optional) modules – the optional modules are listed on the LJMU course page on the details section. If there are no optional modules, then list the core modules instead. For MEng, please only list the optional modules for Level 7.

Please ensure that you check the list of modules on the course pages.

If you are unsure, check with the International Admissions Team (internationaladmissions@ljmu.ac.uk) or include all possible modules. Do not guess.

For research programmes (MRes/MPhil/PhD), please provide the description of your thesis/area of research, as provided in the offer letter from LJMU.

Other studies

This refers to studies since you left school (18 years old+) but not at university. For example, this could be a college diploma or a vocational qualification.

Employment history

This includes any work (including long term volunteering) since you left school. You do not need to include any temporary jobs carried out during university holidays.


You must have known the referees for at least three years. There should be at least two referees and at least one should be an academic from your home country.


This section refers to financial sponsors. If you are funded by your home government or an international company, please include information on this. If you are self-funded, enter your own name.

Submitting your ATAS certificate

Please ensure that this is submitted through the Attachment Upload Facility.

Please note
The information listed above is correct as of March 2024 and reflects the current guidance from the ATAS Team. To apply for ATAS and review the UK government’s own guidance, please refer to the government website.