Video ratings

We assign age ratings to video content released on physical media (i.e. DVD/Blu-ray) under the Video Recordings Act 1984 (VRA).

When do I need to get an age rating for my work?

Video content (Films, TV programmes, Trailers, Adverts, Public Information/Campaigning Films, Menus, Bonus Content etc) to be released in the UK usually needs an age rating.

Distribution companies may claim exemption for certain video content that is 'designed to inform, educate or instruct' or is ‘concerned with sport, religion or music'.

All videos issued with an age rating under the VRA are automatically issued with a digital age rating that can be used on digital video services licensed by the BBFC.

What can/can't I submit?

You can submit video to us by digital file delivery or finished check discs and single element linear recordings on DVD or Blu-ray.  Please note the content needs to be the same as the version that will be released to the public.  All content submitted to us for classification should be the full, final edit in the correct screen ratio with final sound mix.

Historic BBFC 'black cards' or ratings cards issued by another regulator or classification body should be removed prior to submission. This is to avoid any potential misunderstanding or conflict with the current BBFC classification.

Ratings cards, including historic BBFC ratings cards, can feature in a stills gallery format as VAM on a home media release, but should not be attached to a piece of content (e.g. preceding or following a trailer or feature).

Please see our Technical Requirements for information on what file formats we accept.

How do I submit?

In order to submit a work please make an entry on our client portal, Horizon.

If you do not have an account please complete our Customer Account Request form.

How much does it cost?

Please see our Fee Tariff for a full list of costs.

Is there anything else I need to consider?

  • If your work has received an age rating in the past, or you have both a 2D and a 3D version that need to be rated then we may be able to reissue an age rating.  If the new version is the same then it can be processed for a reduced fee.  You can request a reissue when making your submission in Horizon.
  • If a video version of a previously classified theatrical feature is found to be identical once it has been examined it will be charged at a reduced rate.  Please note this does not apply to audio commentaries, audio descriptive works or those submited alongside other DVD extras.  
  • We can also give you advice as to what rating an unfinished work may receive. 

If you have not previously submitted a work for a VRA age rating you will be entered into the Video Packaging Review Committee scheme. This is a voluntary scheme of self-regulation by the industry which regulates the sleeves of packaged media. 

Customers wishing to opt out of the scheme should get in touch with the team.

Please note that video works submitted by members of the scheme are not officially rated until the packaging for that work has been approved by the VPRC.

Exemption Criteria

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. 

Documentaries, sports and music video works that could previously claim exemption will require a BBFC age rating if they contain material which could be potentially harmful or is otherwise unsuitable for children and, as with video games, content must be classified if it contains material which would be given a 12 age rating and above.

Please see our Exemption Criteria for more information.