What is the change? The U.K. is rolling out a new biometrics requirement for visa applicants under 5 years old.

What does the change mean? Children under 5 must attend a biometrics appointment to have digital photos taken as part of the entry clearance application.

  • Implementation timeframe: The U.K. will implement the rule for U.S. applicants later this year. It was implemented July 7, 2014 for applicants in Canada and several countries in Asia andthe Middle East.
  • Visas/permits affected: All K. visas.
  • Who is affected:Children under 5 applying for entry clearance to the U.K.
  • Impact on processing times: This adds another step for those applying for children under 5 years old, but the time required will be minimal because the procedure is to occur during adult appointments.

Background: In the past, children under 5 years old were exempt from the requirement to provide biometrics (a digital photograph and fingerprints) at the visa application centre prior to making an entry clearance application–for example as a PBS (points-based system) dependent. Under the new requirement, all applicants for entry clearance, including adults and children regardless of their age, must make an appointment at a visa application centre to provide biometrics. Children under 5 years old will sit for a photo only but will not be required to give their fingerprints. The Consulate General of the U.K. in New York has confirmed that the rule will be introduced later this year in the U.S. when the biometrics equipment is in place.

BAL Analysis: Parents applying for U.K. visas should be aware of this change and ensure that they make appointments to bring their children, regardless of age, to provide biometrics.

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

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