Theatrical ratings | British Board of Film Classification
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Theatrical ratings

The BBFC classifies films on behalf of the local authorities who license cinemas under the Licensing Act 2003.

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

All feature films, short films and trailers which are to be shown theatrically must be submitted to the BBFC, unless permission has been granted by the local authority in the area that the work is being shown.

Reclassification of Films Being Re-Released in UK Cinemas

If we previously classified a film and you wish to re-release it theatrically with a BBFC certificate and black card, you may need to submit it to us for a new age rating. Our guidance on reclassification, available belowgives detail about how to do this.


The BBFC does not have an IMAX screen, so viewings of some IMAX films or trailers will be arranged at an external screen. Our Client Helpline will help you schedule this.

You will need to obtain an age rating for your IMAX work when one or more of the following is applicable:

  • The film is only being released in the IMAX format.
  • The film contains scenes shot in IMAX.
  • The film is being shown on an IMAX screen with an altered aspect ratio in comparison to the original release format


4DX exhibition does not require a separate submission and age rating in addition to the regular DCP version of the film sent to us for classification. You can read more about this in our guidance for 4DX below.


ScreenX titles contain additional footage compared to the main theatrical version and so need to be viewed and classified separately.  Please note the BBFC does not have ScreenX screen and so viewings of ScreenX works must be arranged at an external screen. Please contact the Client Helpline here.

What can/can't I submit?

Films and trailers should be submitted in the format that they are going to be released i.e. content to be released digitally must be submitted as a DCP with relevant KDM, likewise 3D content must be submitted in 3D etc.  All content submitted for classification must be the full, final edit, in the correct screen ratio and with the final sound mix.

Read our technical requirements in full here.

Any content to be released in both 2D and 3D may require separate submissions as the different formats may raise differing classification issues. We apply a concessionary rate in some cases. Further details are available here

Any content submitted for a theatrical age rating does not need to be retained by the BBFC and you can arrange to collect it following the classification decision. Any theatrical submissions not collected will be retained for 2 months, after which time they will be destroyed.

How do I submit?

In order to submit a work please make an entry on our client portal (Horizon).  You will need to request a date, please note slots are issued on a first come, first served basis.  A submission guide is available below.

If you do not have an account you may request one here.

Please deliver your film print or DCP to the BBFC offices here, or make the content available for download.

Content submitted digitally must arrive, along with payment, by 3pm the working day before it is viewed. Any KDMs or download links must be emailed to by the same deadline. If you have any questions, contact Projection on 020 7440 1570. Our premises are closed until further notice, but we're still working. Please contact us on as this phone line is not currently in use.

Alternatively external viewings can be arranged depending on availability. Please contact the Client Helpline here.

How much does it cost?

Details of fees and service charges are available here.

Is there anything else I need to consider?

If you require a fast turnaround you may wish to consider our Pre-Booking Express Service.

We can also give you advice as to what rating an unfinished work may receive.  

Full details can be found here.

Black Cards

Feature films and short films will be issued with a black card which includes the title, BBFC register number and age rating symbol. Black cards are issued in an electronic format and emailed to you.  The black card should appear at the start of the film for five seconds.

Trailers do not receive black cards. The appropriate age rating should be displayed on screen for five seconds at the start of the trailer.

Displaying Ratings info on posters

For guidance on displaying Ratings info on posters and advertisements please see the below pdf download.

Related documents and downloads

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