Published: 31st October 2014

Changes to video exemption criteria to protect children under the VRA


On 4 August 2014, the Video Recordings Act was amended to lower the threshold at which certain video content loses its exemption from classification. This amendment came into effect on 1 October 2014

Accordingly, we updated the information on our website to reflect the changes to the exemption criteria. Now that a few weeks have gone by since the law changed, we just wanted to write to you to remind you to take a look at this information, to see if it applies to any of the video works you are planning on releasing.

For example, it may be that your earlier video releases were exempt under the previous criteria but that your new video releases can’t be considered exempt, now that the law has changed. If that’s the case, you will need to submit them to us for classification. Or maybe you are used to getting films classified for theatrical release but, because they were documentaries, you’ve always been comfortable claiming exemption for them. If so, you should check to see if your forthcoming video releases are exempt under the new criteria. Again, they may need to come into us for classification.

Please note also that, as a video recording may contain a number of video works, you should consider the criteria for exemption in relation to each individual element that will appear on the final product. An individual item of bonus material may require rating even if the main feature or video game it accompanies does not. This was the case under the previous criteria too.

For more information, please check out our article on the exemption criteria. (Please note, we cannot decide for you whether your video content is exempt – it has to be your decision.) And, if you’ve never submitted a video to us before, or want a refresher, our submission guide tells you everything you need to get started.

If you have any queries about the changes to the exemption criteria or any other aspect of submitting content to the BBFC for classification, you can contact us on or ring us on 020 7440 0299.