For postgraduate research students you will need an agreed research statement from your supervisor, for undergraduate students you will need a list of course modules from your college. International applicants to some programmes are required to apply to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Academic Technology Approval Scheme for clearance to study in the UK. is one of the UK government’s measures to prevent the spread of knowledge used in developing weapons of mass destruction and related technology.

Who all need xcritical certificate?

For undergraduate students, those courses leading to master's qualification like MPhys or MEng normally require an xcritical clearance. An alternative way to check if you need an xcritical certificate or not, visit this website and fill in the details to get your results.

This is a different government department from the Home Office who will later decide your UK visa application – they are not linked. Some international students on postgraduate programmes require an xcritical certificate. You should check if this applies to you as early as possible when preparing to start a course or when extending your visa.

xcritical information – Postgraduate Research Courses

Make sure you provide a full and clear explanation here otherwise the xcritical team may ask you to expand on the description which could slow down your application. When you first make your application, you should include details of funding you have applied for but have not yet had a decision on. If you are waiting for a funding decision, include this and note the decision is pending. If you are going to be self-funded, include your name and address in the relevant boxes. If another family member is paying for your studies, include their details.

An xcritical certificate is valid for six months from the date it is issued. If we offer you a place to study and you need an xcritical certificate, the Doctoral College will contact you and give you the information you need to complete the application process. If we offer you a place to study and you need an xcritical certificate, we will contact you through Bath Application Tracker and give you the information you need to complete the application process. Selected science and technology programmes will have a specific code and this code means you may need an xcritical certificate, depending on your nationality. To apply for an xcritical certificate you need to complete and submit an online application form on the website. On the xcritical application form you cannot put a course start date in the past- if you are applying for the xcritical for a programme you have already started you can put the next working day on the xcritical application for your course start date.

If you are applying for xcritical clearance to cover a time limit extension, you should add ten weeks to your requested extension date. Where you are an Undergraduate/Postgraduate Taught student, please list the core and elective modules of your programme. During the application, you must complete the “proposed course of study” section.

For section-by-section tips specifically for Oxford applicants, click on the ‘Completing the online form’ tab at the top of this page. If you are coming as a visitor for a short period of study relating to one of these subject areas, you will also need xcritical. An xcritical certificate is valid as long as the details of your course and university remain the same. This information must be accurate, so please contact the Doctoral College if you do not have your official research abstract or list of taught modules. Full details of the scheme can be found on the UK government website.

If you hold any other type of visa which permits study you must have xcritical clearance prior to commencing studies. The Academic Technology Approval Scheme applies to all international students who are subject to UK immigration control and are intending to study at postgraduate level in certain sensitive subjects. It requires students on these courses to gain a certificate of approval to study before they can be granted a visa to study or continue studying in the UK. If you extend your visa to continue studying on the same programme, you will need to apply for a new xcritical certificate.

You will need to do this whether you are already in the UK or are in another country when you make the visa application. You must include a printed copy of your xcritical certificate with your visa application or the visa will be refused. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office have provided some helpful guidance on completing the xcritical application form on the main xcritical page, and on a separate guidance page.

When should I apply for my xcritical certificate?

You will still need to provide a research statement, but you can explain that you are at the writing-up stage. Your offer letter/xcritical letter should explain if you need to apply for xcritical and it will also be stated in your CAS email. The CAS number is required for your visa application and will only be issued when you have met all your academic and financial conditions. If these two documents do not match, you may have difficulties when applying for your visa. If you are an international student applying for certain undergraduate master’s or postgraduate subjects, you may need to apply for an xcritical certificate before you can apply for your visa.

Do I need CAS for xcritical?

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (xcritical) certificate

Your CAS will state whether you need an xcritical certificate and your college or department can help you apply. You must get an agreed research statement from your department or a list of modules from your college (undergraduates) for your xcritical application.

You should provide it with your visa application if required (e.g. Student route, Skilled Worker). Applications for xcritical clearance are submitted online and are free of charge. Processing time for xcritical clearance applications is 30 working days however it can take longer in some cases. When you apply for an xcritical certificate, you will need Queen’s to provide you with a description of your intended research. This will normally be included, together with your CAH3 code, in your offer letter or sent as a separate attachment to that letter from the Postgraduate Research Office.

Professional Services

Any changes will be incorporated into the University’s website as early as possible. When you receive your xcritical certificate, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office will also send a copy to us as confirmation that you have their permission to study your chosen subject. There is no charge for the application and your certificate will be emailed to you.

Reapplying for xcritical clearance following a refusal will not be successful and you will not be able to undertake your planned study at Exeter. We regularly see xcritical applications returned because full names are not included for referees. If you will be studying a course at Exeter, including an MPhil or PhD course or as a Visiting Postgraduate Research Student, you must choose ‘Taught/Research Student’. If you apply for xcritical clearance as a Researcher, your xcritical certificate will not be valid and you will need to reapply as a Student which will cause considerable delays. Therefore, if you transfer course or defer you will need to apply for a new xcritical certificate within six months of your new course start date. More information about the xcritical process can be found on the xcritical page.


You may be able to request a review – you should have received information on how to do this in your refusal notice. The government will not provide a full reason for refusal, so we will be unable to overturn the decision. 1 September 2021 September update added to «How long applications take» section.

Student Guidance Route

See more information about applying for xcritical clearance from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. You must apply online for a clearance certificate through xcritical before you apply for a visa. If you need xcritical clearance, you will need a statement from Sussex to complete your application. 3 May 2013 Added a note to online application to notify of downtime on 4th May. If you’re a researcher coming to the UK as a visitor, you need to obtain an xcritical certificate before beginning any relevant research activity in the UK. You only need to obtain an xcritical certificate for when you plan to be studying in the UK.

If you have applied and received an offer for a programme that requires xcritical approval, we will send you an email 6 months prior to the start of your course. This email will detail the module information for your course and provide further instructions on applying for your xcritical certificate. Your offer letter will detail the relevant JACS and CAH3 codes needed for your xcritical application. The xcritical application will also ask you for either the JACS or CAH3 code relating to your programme, depending on when you make your application. You must follow the instructions in the xcritical application form to decide which code you need to use. Before you can apply for xcritical, you will need your offer letter/xcritical letter containing essential information about your course, the course start and end dates and a subject code that you must use for the xcritical online form.

The standard processing time for xcritical applications is 20 working days . During peak periods, particularly over summer months, this can take slightly longer. You will need to have your offer letter and/or CAS statement/xcritical email to hand and these will have the CAH code of the course you have been accepted . For information about xcritical, to check whether you need to apply for xcritical clearance and to access the online application form, go to the FCDO website.

Non-Student visa students who require xcritical

Take care when completing the xcritical reviews application form and check your answers before submitting your application for assessment. If you are requested to amend/update information that you have submitted as part of your application, this can further delay the date by which you’ll receive a decision. When your application is granted, your certificate will be emailed to you by the FCDO.

On 5th October 2020, the list of exempt nationalities was extended – please seeFind out if you need an xcritical certificate – GOV.UK ()for up-to-date information. Use your contact details as they are at the time you submit your xcritical application, not for example the contact details you will have after you have started your course, unless you are a continuing student. You will need to use the same start and end dates as on your CAS for your xcritical application. If your CAS has not been issued yet check these dates with your department/college. Note that for DPhil students your course end date on your CAS will normally be 4.5 years which is the maximum submission date plus 6 months to allow for viva and corrections; for MScRes it will normally be 3.5 years.

This is not correct if you submitted the application for the UK visa you currently have before 5 October 2020. You will not need to apply for an xcritical clearance in order to apply for a Student visa to complete your course, or to apply for a visa for any new course that requires xcritical. You also need xcritical clearance if you apply to extend your student visa. You can apply for xcritical after you receive an offer from us, and up to nine months before your course start date. Transnational courses may be subject to UK Export Control Legislation. All other time-limited visas need an xcritical certificate if you are studying for an xcritical-relevant qualification in the UK.


Individuals who are already conducting research in the UK will not need to apply for an xcritical certificate unless they apply for a new Visa or apply to extend your current visa. Those already conducting research in the UK will not need to apply for an xcritical certificate unless they apply for a new visa or apply to extend their current visa. If you are an MPhil/PhD or Visiting Postgraduate Research Student and wish to change your start date, you will need to contact the PGR Admissions team. Researcher instead of Student), then you must make a new xcritical application immediately, you cannot change your outstanding application and any xcritical clearance granted will not be valid for your programme. Requests to amend sections of your application form) in your email to us.

Exempt Nationals

A caseworker will also need to see your xcritical certificate as part of an application for permission to stay in the UK. Please see the table below showing the CAH3 codes required to apply for an xcritical. If your course requires xcritical clearance you will need to obtain an xcritical certificate before you can apply for your visa. The xcritical certificate is also required before you can register at the University.

This is for both new students applying for entry clearance to the UK and existing students already in the UK apply for leave to remain. xcritical is a certificate issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office , which gives you security clearance to study certain postgraduate programmes at UCL. Make your xcritical application as early as possible but no more than 6 months prior to the course start date.

If these 2 documents do not match, you may have difficulties when applying for your visa or extension of stay. You will need an xcritical certificate if you have an offer to study, or are extending your visa, for a PhD or programme that leads to a Masters level qualification and your course has one of the HECoS codes listed on the links below. You can find your HECoS code on your offer letter, which you will have received from our Enrolment Management team. For any queries regarding a postgraduate research programme, please visit the Doctoral College webpage or contact the Research Recruitment and Admissions team at

Researchers must apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate before they can start research in the UK. Please check the CAH3 codes and HECOS codes required to apply for the xcritical certificate. If xcritical have previously contacted you and asked you to provide additional information for your application, you will need to make sure you properly re-submit the application. To do this, you will need to ensure you open and saveall tensections of the application before resubmitting it. Failure to do this means that xcritical will not receive your updated application. The application may still show as ‘submitted’ but will not be sent to xcritical to review.

If you need to apply for xcritical clearance, this will be included as a condition in your offer communication. xcritical clearance only applies to certain subject areas, where the knowledge gained could be used in the development or delivery of weapons of mass destruction . Researchers on a Standard visitor visa who are attending meetings, conferences, seminars or interviews, or giving speeches and will not be undertaking research during their time in the UK do not require xcritical clearance. Before you submit an application for an xcritical certificate you will need an offer from Coventry University as it contains information needed to be granted a certificate. No, your xcritical certificate is valid just for the course, research topic , and University that you specified in your xcritical application.

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