What is the change? Children under the age of 5 who are applying for U.K. visas in the U.S. are now required to attend a biometric appointment to have their photographs taken. Fingerprints are not required.

What does the change mean? Families traveling to the U.K. with a child under 5 who needs a visa must make an appointment for their child as well as themselves. Previously, children under 5 were exempt from the requirement.

  • Implementation timeframe: The change was implemented March 27.
  • Visas/permits affected: U.K. visas applied for within the U.S.
  • Who is affected: Families with children under 5 applying in the U.S. for U.K. visas.
  • Impact on processing times: The change adds an additional requirement to the visa application process for children under 5.

Background: Photographs taken during biometric appointments will be printed on the child’s visa or residence permit (when applicable), but fingerprints are not required. The U.K. government says the change is designed to keep children safe and protect against identity theft.

BAL Analysis: The change will bring U.S.-based application processes for U.K. visas in line with requirements the U.K. has in the rest of the world. Because almost all affected children will be accompanied by at least one adult needing biometrics, the additional requirement is unlikely to add much, if any, time to the visa application process.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in the United Kingdom. For additional information, please contact

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