Human Resources

Academic Technology Approval Scheme

If you are a member of research staff or a visitor to Sussex applying a visa, you may need clearance under the UK government's Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS).

About ATAS

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) is designed to protect UK research from inadvertently supporting the development and proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction or advanced conventional weapon technologies.

Clearance is issued in the form of an ATAS certificate directly from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCO).

The Scheme has been in place for sponsored research staff and visitors since May 2021.


If you are a student planning to study at Sussex, see ATAS guidance on the Student Hub

Who needs ATAS clearance?

Any individual applying for sponsorship under the Skilled Worker or Tier 5 (GAE) routes will need to gain ATAS clearance, if they are conducting research in a sensitive subject and are not an exempt nationality. This applies to both new starters and existing staff who are extending their contracts and visas.

If an individual is subject to ATAS clearance, they must produce evidence of clearance before the University will issue a Certificate of Sponsorship.

Appendix ATAS of the immigration rules contains the complete list of academic subjects which have an ATAS requirement, as well as a list of the exempt nationalities.

How long does it take?

The processing time for an ATAS certificate is 10 working days from the date of application, or 15 days between April and September. This processing time will need to be factored in when making decisions about employment start dates.

Information Sussex must provide

Our existing recruitment processes have been adapted to embed ATAS. At the advertisement stage, managers will be asked if the role involves research in a sensitive subject, and this will be noted in the advert. At the appointment stage, managers will receive an updated sponsored employee request form to complete, which includes space to provide the CAH3 code and research statement, in addition to the usual Certificate of Sponsorship information.

The HR Compliance team will use the CAH3 code and research statement, along with employment details from the contract letter, to issue an ATAS statement directly to the individual. This statement will contain all the information they need to make their application for ATAS clearance.

Useful links

See UK government guidance on:


For any questions relating to ATAS and international recruitment, email the HR Compliance team: