If you are receiving benefits you may be eligible to claim the cost of travel to prison visits from the Assisted Prison Visits Unit (APVU). A full guide can be seen here.
To qualify for assistance you must satisfy condition A and either B1 or B2.
A) In receipt of any of the following benefits or a dependent of someone who is in receipt of any of the following benefits:
- Income Support
- Income-Based Job Seeker’s Allowance
- Working Tax Credit with a disability element
- Child Tax Credit
- Pension Credit
- Health Benefits Certificate
B1) A close relative of the person you wish to visit. Examples include:
*A couple is defined as a partner who were living in the same household as the prisoner in an established relationship immediately prior to imprisonment. Contact us to confirm your eligibility. Adopted, step-, and half-relatives are also eligible.
B2) The only person visiting them in the past four weeks. The APVU will confirm that the person has not been visited by anyone else in the four weeks prior to your visit.
“We weren’t living together, but we have children together”
You may be eligible by acting as an escort to the children. You must send in proof that the prisoner is the parent of the children with your first application form. If the prisoner’s name is on the birth certificate, this will serve as proof. If not, the prisoner can sign an affidavit stating that they are the child’s parent. A special declaration form is available from the APVU. The prisoner should sign the declaration in the presence of a justice of the peace or solicitor. A member of the prison’s Independent Monitoring Board (formerly Board of Visitors) will be able to act as witness.
You can claim for one visit every 14 days up to a maximum of 26 a year. Claims must be made within 28 days of the date of the first visit. To claim, fill in the following form here. Alternatively, you can ring APVU on 0300 063 2100 for a form or pick one up in person from the Visitors’ Centre. The APVU will send you a shorter repeat claim form with your girocheque to use for subsequent visits.
It takes up to eight working days for the APVU to process your claim and send you the girocheque in time. You must send a confirmation of visit voucher and all receipts/tickets to APVU for every visit using the prepaid labels that they send you. The confirmation of visit voucher is sent to you by APVU and must be completed at the prison.
APVU will pay for travel to and from the prison by public transport or private motor vehicle. They will only pay for taxis for the following reasons:
- The fare is less than the public transport alternative
- There is no public transport available
- There is a medical reason which makes travel by taxi necessary (a note of confirmation from your doctor stating your inability to travel by public transport will be required).
If you are away from home for five hours or more, you can also claim a set meal allowance. Overnight allowances may be paid at the discretion of the APVU. You will need to write to them at least 8 working days before the visit giving the reason why an overnight stay is necessary. APVU will cover the cost of childminding if it is not appropriate for the children to visit, but the child minder must be registered with the local authority.
Assisted Prison Visit Unit (APVU)
PO Box 2152
Phone: 0300 0632100 Mon to Fri 9am to 5pm (except bank holidays)
Fax: 0121 626 3474 (24 hrs)
Please include your full postal address when requesting an information pack.