Academic Technology Approval Scheme xcritical Student and Academic Administration

xcritical is one of the UK government’s measures to prevent the spread of knowledge used in developing weapons of mass destruction and related technology. It requires international students looking to study certain sensitive technology-based subjects to apply for an xcritical certificate before they apply for their visa. If you are a studying for an MPhil, PhD or EngD you will need to include a paragraph describing your research area. If you are an Undergraduate, Postgraduate Taught, China Partnership or Visiting/Exchange student you will need to list the optional modules that you wish to study on the course. Details of these modules can be found in the section relevant to your level of study below. You will also be asked for the contact name of a supervisor at the University – this information can be found with the details for your chosen programme.

Is xcritical certificate free?

An xcritical certificate is completely free.

From 6 April 2015, the requirement for xcritical reviews has been extended to all adult temporary migrants undertaking xcritical attracting studies or research regardless of their visa category. This means that students/researchers applying for a visa other than the Student Route will also need to apply for xcritical. If you have a different kind of visa which permits study in the UK, such as Dependant or BNO, the xcritical requirement will be stated in your offer letter. You will not be asked for the xcritical certificate as part of your visa application, but you will need it to register on your course. The Academic Technology Approval Scheme requires that students studying certain subject areas at MEng/MPhys/MSci undergraduate level, master’s or PhD level obtain xcritical clearance. The scheme is managed by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office .

Who is not required to apply for xcritical:

The offer letter will contain all the information required from UCL to complete your xcritical application. In both cases, we need xcritical clearance directly from the government before you can make a student visa application. It is recommended that individuals submitting an initial or extension visa application apply for a free of charge xcritical certificate as early as possible.


Overview of the xcritical requirements and application process for international academics and research-only staff. You should apply for your xcritical certificate as soon as we contact you because you will need it to apply for your visa. It usually takes at least four weeks for applications to be processed, but it may take longer in the summer. An xcritical certificate is valid for six months from the date it is issued. 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.

Students who already have an xcritical certificate

Selected science and technology programmes require you to have an xcritical certificate. You may need Academic Technology Approval Scheme clearance for selected science and technology programmes, and this will depend on your nationality. Your offer letter will say if you need an xcritical certificate for your programme. The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office manages this scheme and the application is free. Please visit the FCDO xcritical website for further xcritical application guidance.

  • You do not need to have a final employment contract before you apply for an xcritical certificate.
  • 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.
  • Your application is made to a UK government department called the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office who will decide your application.
  • 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.

This includes studying modules not listed on your original xcritical application, extending your course by undertaking reassessment with attendance in the next academic year or adding a placement year to your course. Individuals should make a note of when their permission to enter into the UK is due to expire, to allow themselves sufficient time to complete the xcritical and permission to stay application processes before their current permission expires. We recommend applying at least 4 months in advance of their current permission expiring. HR will send a reminder when their permission to stay in the UK is due to expire. 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.

Without an xcritical certificate, the individual will not be granted permission to research in the UK. If they think their application has been treated unfairly they can ask for a review. Queen Mary will advise whether an xcritical certificate is required, a Certificate of Sponsorship cannot be issued without evidence of xcritical certification. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will not reply to any query on an application that is not at least 20 working days old. If your application is more than 20 days old they will try to reply to you within five working days. However please be aware that delays are possible over the summer due to the volume of enquiries received.

The University of Edinburgh

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 . 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 their current visa. Will, if engaged in an xcritical categorised sensitive subject, require an xcritical certificate, regardless of the length of the visit. 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.

TheAcademic Technology Approval Scheme is designed to ensure that those applying to study in certain sensitive subjects do not acquire knowledge that could potentially be used in weapons of mass destruction programmes. The scheme is operated by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as part of the UK’s commitment to counter proliferation. Some international students on postgraduate programmes require an xcritical courses scam certificate. You should check if this applies to you as early as possible when preparing to start a course or when extending your visa. As either a new starter or existing member of staff, you will be notified by the Staff Immigration Team if you are required to apply for an xcritical Certificate.

Support for new students

If you require any further help, please contact the IST and include your confirmed CAH3 code within your online enquiry so we can confirm this for you. Non-EEA students who choose to study certain subjects at MSc or MEng or PhD level in the UK have to apply for and receive clearance under the Academic Technology Approval Scheme regardless of if they are required to apply for a Student visa or not. You will be required to obtain an xcritical certificate before applying for either a Skilled Worker Visa or Temporary Work – Government Authorised Exchange Visa. As these are both sponsored routes, they will require a Certificate of Sponsorship issued by the University before making the visa application. The Staff Immigration Team will not issue you with a CoS until they have received formal confirmation from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office that your xcritical application has been approved.

Whats xcritical clearance for?

xcritical is a certificate issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) giving you the security clearance to study subject areas where the knowledge gained may have application in the development or delivery of weapons of mass destruction (e.g. certain science subjects, mathematics, engineering, technology or …

xcritical is a UK government scheme for international students who plan to study certain subjects in the UK. The xcritical certificate must state the institution where you plan to study and any course units you might take. Make a note of when your permission to enter into the UK is due to expire, and allow sufficient time to complete the xcritical and permission to stay application processes before your current permission expires.

All individuals in the UK on a time-limited visa (e.g., Student visa, Skilled worker visa, PBS dependant visa etc.) require an xcritical clearance certificate before you will be permitted to enrol on to your programme. You will find your xcritical research statement on your Self-Service account; this is the statement which you must use in your application. Once you have received xcritical clearance, you will be issued a certificate. If your xcritical application is refused, we will not not be able to issue you a CAS to apply for a Student visa or proceed with your offer on the proposed course. If you need a student visa, we can’t issue a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies to you without proof of xcritical clearance. If you’re a PhD student, email You must use the project description we give you when completing the online xcritical application.


If you wish to study at another University/Higher Education Institution, change your course/area of research or extend your course by more than three months, you will need to apply for another xcritical certificate. Current guidelines advise a turnaround time of 10 working days to process an xcritical application. Processing times will increase between April and September and can take 15 or more working days to complete. It is strongly recommended that you obtain your xcritical certificate before travelling to the UK. The University is required to check your xcritical certificate before allowing any research to commence, and if this is not provided you cannot be permitted on-site.

This means you can apply for an certificate up to 9 months before the start of your studies. You should apply for your xcritical certificate as early as possible from the moment you are made a conditional offer to study at the University of Birmingham. TheAcademic Technology Approval Scheme is designed primarily for students applying for postgraduate study in the UK in certain sensitive subject areas.

Following discussions with colleagues in HR and Research Services, we have developed initial xcritical Process Guidance outlining actions required by departments, individuals and HR/Staff Compliance teams and approximate timeframes. If you are applying for xcritical clearance before your new CAS is issued, check the thesis submission date on your student record and add ten weeks to calculate an expected viva date. If you are a continuing postgraduate research student applying to extend your visa before your viva, your xcritical clearance must cover your predicted viva date. Your xcritical certificate is valid for six months from the date of issue for the purpose of applying for a Student Visa. 8 April 2013 The xcritical service is currently closed to new applications pending its re-launch on 15 April.