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Immigration Corner | Am I old enough to apply?

Published:Tuesday | July 5, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mr. Bassie,

I am 17 years old and I would like to visit some friends in England. Am I able to apply for a visitor's visa? I was told that it is possible.


Dear A.P.,

Persons are able to apply for a standard visitor visa if they are under 18 years of age, providing that certain criteria are met.

For instance: A person should have made suitable arrangements for their travel and stay in the United Kingdom; the applicant should have consent from their parent or guardian to travel there; he/she should be able to pay for his/her return or onward journey. Also, the British authorities would require proof that persons have enough money to support themselves without working or getting help from public funds, or that they have family and friends that are willing and able to support them while over there.

If such a person, that is someone under the age of 18 years, would like to travel to the United Kingdom without an adult, that is someone over the age of 18 years, then their parent or guardian will need to provide written consent for him/her to travel there. Full contact details of the parent and guardian will need to be provided along with proof that the applicant has somewhere suitable to live during the stay in the United Kingdom.

The details of where the person plans to stay should include: the name and date of birth of the person that he/she will be staying; an address where he/she will be living; details of the relationship to the person who will be looking after the applicant; and consent in writing so they are able to look after the applicant during the stay in the United Kingdom.

When travelling as a person under 18 years of age to the United Kingdom with an adult, that person will need to be identified in the visa application.

If the person that the applicant is travelling with is not a parent of the applicant, specific information will need to be provided about them in the application. That person's name will appear on the visa, and the applicant will be refused entry to the United Kingdom if he/she arrives over there without him/her. It should be noted that an applicant can identify up to two adults on the visa application, and the visa will only be valid if the person travels with at least one of them. Also, the adults can apply for a visa at the same time, but each must complete separate applications.

Just for completeness, when making the application for the visa from outside the United Kingdom the visa application form will need to be filled in online. The applicant will need to have his/her fingerprints and photograph, known as 'biometric information', taken at a visa application center as part of the application. Persons might be able to extend the visa if they are already in the United Kingdom.

I hope this helps.

Yours truly,

John S. Bassie

- John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK).