How to apply for a Child Visitor Visa

Eligibility criteria for a Child Visitor Visa

If a child (under 18) is a visa national and would like to visit the UK, the child may apply for a visit visa as a Child Visitor.

A Child Visitor visa is classified as a ‘special visitor’ visa and in order to apply successfully, you must meet the normal requirements for general visitors as well as specific requirements.

Generally, a child will apply for entry, accompanied or not, to visit, to study, to take part in an exchange program or stay with a host family.

Hard copy applications for a Child Visitor Visa are to be made on Application Form VAF1a, General Visitor Visa or select “Visit” as the purpose of application and “(Special) Child visitor” as the type of application while filling out your visa application online.

For a child to be granted leave to enter the UK as a visitor, for up to 6 months, or up to 12 months if they are accompanying an academic visitor, strict requirements are to be met, for the safeguard of children as vulnerable subjects.

If the child is a student, who intends to stay longer than 6 months or who plans to work or extend the visa, they will need to apply for Tier 4 (General) Student Visa under the Point Based System.

If a parent wants to accompany a child under 12 at school in the UK, they will need to apply under the category ‘Parent with children at school’.

Eligibility criteria for a Child Visitor Visa

To give clearance, the Immigration Officer will need to be fully satisfied with the reception and care arrangements in the UK for the child and that the child’s welfare needs are still met once the child arrives in the UK.

Evidence must be provided that

• suitable travel arrangements have been made: if accompanied, this may simply be evidence of the child’s inclusion in their parent or guardian’s travel arrangements.
• suitable accommodation and care arrangements have been made: this may simply be evidence of the parent/guardian’s accommodation arrangements in the UK.
• If the parent/guardian is not accompanying the child, the child has a parent/guardian in his/her home country who is responsible for his or her care and consent for their child to travel to the UK. Provide a letter where they confirm their relationship to the child, provide their full contact details, give their permission for the child to make the visit, and consent to the arrangements for the child’s care in the UK.
• If a foster carer or relative will be responsible for the child’s care, the parent/guardian or other person involved in making the foster care arrangement is satisfied with the foster care arrangements and that they intend to notify the local authority of the care arrangements soon after the child’s arrival. Provide details of the person the child will be staying with, including their address and a landline telephone number.

If the child is to travel to the UK in order to take a short course of study they will also need to give evidence that they meet the requirements for a  ‘Student Visitor Visa’.

Or, if the child wants to come here to undertake an exchange or educational visit only, that this is provided by a school on the basis set out by UK Border Agency:
• in the maintained sector,
• a non-maintained special school, or
• an independent fee-paying or non-fee-paying school.


The visa must state whether the child is accompanied or not. If accompanied, the name of the adult accompanying the child must be on the visa. The child’s visa is only valid if the child travels with at least one of the adults identified on their visa.

By Federica Gaida,
Foreigners in UK

Edited by Raheela Hussain,
Principal Solicitor,
Greenfields Solicitors

* Please note that the above article does not relate to nationals of the European Union.

Disclaimer: The above article is meant to be relied upon as an informative article and in no way constitutes legal advice. Information is offered for general information purposes only, based on the current law when the information was first published.

You should always seek advice from an appropriately qualified solicitor on any specific legal enquiry. For legal advice regarding your case, please contact Greenfields Solicitors for a Consultation with a Solicitor:
Tel. +44 (0)20 8884 1166