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We are sponsoring a family to visit us in UK as friends from Madagascar for two weeks. They have a 6 year old and a 16 month old.

Do the kids need their own visas, and are they the standard visitor visa or a special child visa?

Also, when I try and apply on the website I can only apply for one person so how do I apply for all the individuals in the family?

I have looked on the Immigration website and can't find the answers I need.

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There is no minimum age threshold where a child can be exempt from the requirements. Malagasy people are visa nationals and so each child must have an entry clearance in their own passport.

In the pre 9/11 era, children could travel with an amendment in their parent's passport, but it is no longer allowed. As a knock-on effect to requiring separate passports for dependents, the UK decided that every entry clearance needed to attract the same fee. And yes, there is a type of group application, but tour operators are required to have a qualification and it's basically irrelevant for you.

Applying as a Family

For your question about using the system... You would first complete the application for the primary (in most cases the father) and indicate in Part 9 that they are the primary. Write down their GWF number. Then proceed to make a fresh application for the other adults (presumably the mother). Put the primary's GWF number in Part 9 of each application and write down the other adult's GWF numbers. You should have all the adult's GWF numbers before starting the children's applications.

When you start with the children, write the names and GWF numbers for the parents in Part 7 of the application and make an additional note in Part 9. If they are relying upon your evidence for finance, make the appropriate note. There is no need to copy the same stuff over and over. This procedure is not taken from the rules, it is best practices only and reflects the way a qualified solicitor would do it. You can select a different procedure and get a comparable effect.

Children under 18

For your question about finding things on the net, you can read the guidance and note that there is separate guidance for children under 18. Those two things are all you really need. Beyond that, there are not many up-to-date narratives or FAQ's on the net and trying to use them is not always beneficial.

Practical advice: try to fill out the applications in one session when everyone in your country is asleep. That way you have a better chance of getting their biometric appointments at the same time. If the system splits up the appointments, send the whole family to the first appointment anyway.

Misc Tips

  • All applicants attract the same fee (regardless of age).
  • Applicants should include marriage certificates and birth certificates.
  • If you already have a valid UK visa, you can (and should) be the primary. In this case use your entry clearance number instead of GWF number.
  • Children need their own login and password.
  • Multiple email addresses may be required.
  • If different appointments get scheduled for family members, they should all show up at the primary's appointment and be processed together. As a matter of policy, families should not be separated at any stage of the process.
  • The primary submits one set of evidence. Payments should be separate.
  • Practical advice part 2: take extra care in your cover letter to assure that you will be in the arrivals area to meet the children and you will arrange for their safe transportation to your residence.
  • It is fundamentally critical that the application contains child care information.
  • you've previously observed that there can be problems where the visa application appears to be "owned" by a person other than the applicant (although I presume that doesn't apply to children). Could there be problems here if the visa applications is carried out mostly or entirely by the host family? – CMaster May 4 '16 at 10:37
  • When I start getting into somebody trying to own the application, it's usually about a male being so overly dominant and possessive in the process such that the applicant (usually female) isn't doing her part. He calls it 'my application' when he's actually just the sponsor. ECO's are sensitive to that aspect because it's apparently linked to domestic abuse, domestic violence, etc. It happens all the time. Read this! travel.stackexchange.com/questions/24540/… – Gayot Fow May 4 '16 at 12:03
  • @CMaster if ECO's are sensitive to something, then YOU have to be sensitive about it too :) – Gayot Fow May 4 '16 at 12:06

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