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New UK visa to safeguard children

New UK immigration rules aim to safeguard children under age 18 travelling to the UK.

india Updated: Feb 13, 2006 18:09 IST
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Q: When do the new immigration rules come into effect?
A: The change takes effect from February 12, 2006.

Q: Why were the immigration rules modified?
A: The UK plans to safeguard children under 18 years of age who wish to travel to the UK.

Q: How will the immigration rules safeguard children?
A: The immigration rules aim to safeguard children by providing a record of children who travel to the UK as visitors, identifying adults involved in their travel, and establishing who is responsible for the child's care.

Q: What are the requirements of the immigration rules?
A: All people under the age of 18 (on the date that the application is lodged) must show:
1) That they have a parent or guardian who is responsible for their care (in the UK and their home country; and
2) That their parent or guardian consents to them travelling; and
3) That they have suitable travel, reception and care arrangements concerning their travel to the UK.

In addition, they must travel in the company of the adult identified on their visa. Two parents can be named on the child's visa by using their passport numbers. The child can travel with either one of the named parents on the visa, or with both. If the child has an accompanied visa, but intends to travel with an adult not named on the visa, or alone, the child must obtain a new visa before travel. If the child is not travelling with one or both of the named adult (s) on his/her visa, the airline may refuse to carry him/her and s/he may be refused leave to enter the UK.

Q: Has the application process changed?
A: No. The only change is that there is a new visa application form (still called VAF1), which asks for information about the child's travel plans, and provides space for the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) to consent to the child travelling. When the visa is applied for, you must be sure that the adult(s) whom you wish to be identified on the visa is the same adult(s) who will seek entry to the UK with the child.

Q: What if a child wants to travel with an adult(s) who is not the parent(s) or legal guardian(s)?
A: Up to two adults can be identified on the child's visa providing the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) has given consent, either by completing and signing the VAF on the child's behalf, or by an accompanying letter which should be attached to the form.

Q: When is the visa valid?
A: The visa will only be valid for the holder if s/he is travelling within the dates specified on the visa, and with the adult (s) named on the visa. Any visas issued after before this change will be valid until they expire.

Q: Can children apply for long-term visit visas, such as 1, 2, 5 and 10 year visas?
A: Yes. Please note that the visa will only be valid when the child is travelling with the adult(s) recorded on the visa at the time of issue. If the child has an accompanied visa, but intends to travel with an adult not named on the visa or alone, the child must obtain a new visa before travel. The rules regarding single entry visit visas, and long-term visit visas remain the same, and apply to children as well as other types of visitor.


Q: Where can I get more information on British travel advice and foreign policy news?
A: Go to the following website -- http://www.fco.gov.uk.

First Published: Feb 13, 2006 18:07 IST