Zip Oyster photocards

5-10 Zip Oyster photocards

5-10 Zip Oyster photocard

Children aged under 11 need a 5-10 Zip Oyster photocard to:

  • Travel free on Tube, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail and most National Rail services where pay as you go is accepted
  • Pay as you go at the child rate on:
    • Southeastern high speed services between St Pancras International and Stratford International
    • Gatwick Express
    • Southern and Thameslink services between Coulsdon South and Gatwick Airport
  • Pay as you go at child rate on the Emirates Air Line cable car
  • Pay as you go at half adult rate on Thames Clipper River Bus services

You can check this map [PDF 0.3MB] to see where your child can travel free on National Rail services with a 5-10 Zip Oyster photocard, and where they will be charged a child-rate pay as you go fare.

Your child doesn't need a 5-10 Zip Oyster photocard:

  • To travel free on buses and trams
  • To buy child-rate paper tickets, unless they look older than 10
  • If you accompany your child on Tube, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail and some National Rail services. Check this map [PDF 0.3MB] to see the services on which they can do this

Find out more about travelling with children.

11-15 Zip Oyster photocards

11-15 oyster zip card

Children aged over 10 years and 11 months and under 16 on 31 August need an 11-15 Zip Oyster photocard to travel:

  • Free on buses and trams
  • At child rate on Tube, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail, Emirates Air Line and most National Rail services in London
  • At half adult rate on Thames Clipper River Bus services

If your child is now 16 but was aged 15 on 31 August then they can still apply for an 11-15 Zip Oyster photocard. Despite the name, this photocard is still valid when your child is 16.

16+ Zip Oyster photocard

16 plus oyster zip card

Young people aged 16 and 17 need a 16+ Zip Oyster photocard to:

  • Buy child-rate 7 Day, Monthly or longer period Travelcard and Bus & Tram Passes
  • Pay as you go at half adult rate on bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail and most National Rail services in London

Children aged 16 or 17 on 31 August who live in a London borough can also travel free on buses and trams.

Londoners aged 18 on 31 August who are still in full time education can also apply for a 16+ Zip Oyster photocard that allows free bus and tram travel.

If your child is now 16 but was aged 15 on 31 August then they can still apply for an 11-15 Zip Oyster photocard.

How to apply

You must apply online and you'll need a Zip Oyster photocard web account.

If you already have an account, you can apply by signing in. If you've forgotten your password you can reset it online.

If you have an Oyster photocard account for a non-Zip Oyster photocard, you'll need to use a different email address to create a Zip web account.

5-10 and 11-15 Zip Oyster photocards

The parent or guardian must apply for a 5-10 or 11-15 Zip Oyster photocard for their child.

Find out how to apply if you:

 
Live in a London borough

You must apply online and you'll need to provide:

  • An active, valid email address
  • Details from your child's machine readable passport. If they don't have one or you can't provide the details, you'll have to complete your application at a post office (see below)
  • A digital photo of your child which must be:
    • A .jpg, .bmp or .gif file and less than 6MB
    • A true likeness
    • Without hats and head coverings, unless worn consistently for religious or medical reasons and, only then, if the features of their face can still be seen

You will need to pay an administration fee (£10 for a 5-10 and £15 for an 11-15 Zip Oyster photocard).

If you have a credit or debit card, you can complete your application online. If you don't have one, you will need to complete your application at a post office.

Completing an application at a post office

You will need to complete your application at a post office if:

  • Your child doesn't have a machine readable passport, or you can't provide the details
  • You don't have a credit or debit card

You'll need to print a verification letter and take it with your payment and proof of your child's age to a post office in London to complete the application. The proof of age must be either:

  • A valid passport
  • An ID card from a European Economic Area country
  • A birth certificate
  • A Biometric Residency Permit

If there is an issue with your application we'll email you.

We'll post your child's Zip Oyster photocard to you within a week of you completing your application.

 
Live in the UK but outside London

You must apply online and you'll need to provide:

  • An active, valid email address
  • Details from your child's machine-readable passport. If they don't have one or you can't provide the details, you'll have to collect their card from a Visitor Centre (see below)
  • A credit or debit card to pay the administration fee (£10 for a 5-10 and £15 for an 11-15 Zip Oyster photocard)
  • A digital photo of your child which must be:
    • A .jpg, .bmp or .gif file and less than 6MB
    • A true likeness
    • Without hats and head coverings, unless worn consistently for religious or medical reasons and, only then, if the features of their face can still be seen

If we can verify your child's age online, we'll post your child's Zip Oyster photocard to you within a week of you completing your application.

If you can't provide details from your child's machine readable passport, or if they don't have one, you'll need to collect their Zip Oyster photocard from a Visitor Centre. You can choose which one to pick it up from when you apply. You must allow a minimum of four weeks for your application to be processed.

If you're collecting the photocard from a Visitor Centre, you need to apply at least four weeks in advance.

Collecting a Zip Oyster photocard from a Visitor Centre

We'll send you an email once your photo has been approved and your application is complete. If you're collecting your child's Zip Oyster photocard from a Visitor Centre, you must bring this email and proof of identity for your child. It can be any of the following:

  • A valid passport
  • An ID card from a European Economic Area country
  • A birth certificate

You must provide original documents - we don't accept photocopies.

If you don't have these, or if the name or date of birth doesn't match your application exactly, we won't be able to issue the photocard.

If there is an issue with your application we'll email you, so please check for emails from us. If you need to provide a new photo, this may mean that your preferred collection date will change. You can track the progress of your application in your web account.

 
Live outside the UK

You need to apply online and you'll need to collect it from a Visitor Centre.

You must apply at least four weeks before the date you want to collect the Zip Oyster photocard. You'll be able to choose which Visitor Centre you want to collect it from. You can apply up to three months in advance of your chosen collection date.

To apply, you'll need to provide:

  • An active, valid email address
  • A credit or debit card to pay the administration fee (£10 for a 5-10 and £15 for an 11-15 Zip Oyster photocard)
  • A digital photo of your child which must be:
    • A .jpg, .bmp or .gif file and less than 6MB
    • A true likeness
    • Without hats and head coverings, unless worn consistently for religious or medical reasons and, only then, if the features of their face can still be seen

We'll send you an email once your photo has been approved and your application is complete. You'll need to bring this and proof of identity for your child when you collect the photocard from your chosen Visitor Centre.

Proof of identity must be one of the following:

  • A valid passport
  • An ID card from a European Economic Area country
  • A birth certificate

You must provide original documents - we don't accept photocopies.

If you don't have these, or if the name or date of birth doesn't match your application exactly, we won't be able to issue the photocard.

If there is an issue with your application we'll email you, so please check for emails from us. If you need to provide a new photo, this may mean that your preferred collection date will change. You can track the progress of your application in your web account.

16+ Zip Oyster photocard

All 16 and 17 year olds are eligible for a 16+ Zip Oyster photocard. If your child is 16 but was 15 on 31 August then they can still apply for an 11-15 Zip Oyster photocard, which is better value.

Age Are you eligible?
16 Yes
17Yes
18Only if you live in a London borough and are in full time education

A parent or guardian must apply for a 16+ Zip Oyster photocard if their child is aged under 18.

Applicants aged 18 or 19 must apply for themselves and need to create their own Zip web account before they can apply.

Find out how to apply if you:

 
Live in a London borough

Aged 18?

If you're aged 18 (or 19 as long as you were 18 on 31 August), you'll need to create your own Zip web account.

If you were aged 18 on 31 August, you must prove that you are still in full time education to get free bus and tram travel. Being in full-time education is defined as:

  • At least 12 hours of guided learning per week, between 09:00-17:00, Monday to Friday
  • At least 10 weeks on a further education course at Level 3
  • In a sixth form college, academy, further education college or other training provider

Examples of Level 3 courses include:

  • A-levels (AS/A2)
  • Vocational awards such as BTEC and NVQ qualifications at level 3
  • The International Baccalaureate

It can also include apprenticeships and training courses funded by the Education Funding Agency, provided you're 18 or under on 31 August. Your school, college or training provider will be able to confirm if the course qualifies.

You must apply online, then complete your application at a post office (see section below). You'll need to:

  • Create a Zip web account if you don't already have one
  • Download and print a verification letter - you will need to get this endorsed by your school or college to confirm that you are still in full time education

Aged under 18

If you're under 18, your parent/guardian must create an account.

You'll need to provide:

  • An active, valid email address
  • Details from the applicant's machine readable passport. If you don't have one or can't provide the details you'll have to complete your application at a post office
  • A payment card to pay the £20 administration fee. This must be registered to the address used in the application. If you don't have a card to pay online, you'll have to complete your application at a post office (see below)
  • A digital photo (of the applicant) which must be:
    • A .jpg, .bmp or .gif file and less than 6MB
    • A true likeness
    • Without hats and head coverings, unless worn consistently for religious or medical reasons and, only then, if the features of their face can still be seen 

Completing an application at a post office

You will need to complete your application at a post office if:

  • You are aged over 18
  • Your child doesn't have a machine readable passport or you can't provide the details
  • You don't have a credit or debit card

You'll need to print a verification letter and take it with your payment to a post office in London to complete the application. If you're 18 or 19 you'll need to get your verification letter endorsed by your school or college.

You will need to take proof of age, which must be either:

  • A valid passport
  • An ID card from a European Economic Area country
  • A birth certificate
  • A current full UK driving or provisional licence
  • A Biometric Residency Permit

You will also need to take proof of address, which must be either:

  • A residential utility bill (dated in the last three months)
  • A bank, building society or credit card statement (dated in the last three months)
  • A council tax bill (current document)
  • A council or Housing Association rent book or statement (current document)
  • Driving licence (current document)

If there is an issue with your application we'll email you, so please check for emails from us.

We'll post your Zip Oyster photocard to you within a week of you completing your application.

 
Live in the UK but outside London

You must apply online and you'll need to provide:

  • An active, valid email address
  • Details from the applicant's machine readable passport. If they don't have one or you can't provide the details, you'll have to collect their card from a Visitor Centre (see below)
  • A credit or debit card to pay the £20 administration fee
  • A digital photo of your child which must be:
    • A JPG, BMP or GIF file and less than 6MB
    • A true likeness
    • Without hats and head coverings, unless consistently worn for religious or medical reasons and, only then, if the features of their face can still be seen

If we can verify your child's age online, we'll post your child's Zip Oyster photocard to you within a week of you completing your application.

If you can't provide details from your child's machine readable passport, or if they don't have one, you'll need to collect their Zip Oyster photocard from a Visitor Centre. You can choose which one to pick it up from when you apply. You must apply at least four weeks before you want to collect it.

If there is an issue with your application we'll email you, so please check for emails from us. If you need to provide a new photo, this may mean that your preferred collection date will change. You can track the progress of your application in your web account.

Collecting a Zip Oyster photocard from a Visitor Centre

We'll send you an email once your photo has been approved and your application is complete. If you're collecting your child's Zip Oyster photocard from a Visitor Centre you must bring this email and proof of identity for your child. It can be any of the following:

  • A valid passport
  • An ID card from a European Economic Area country
  • A birth certificate

You must provide original documents - we don't accept photocopies.

If you don't have these, or if the name or date of birth doesn't match your application exactly, we won't be able to issue the photocard.

 
Live outside the UK

You must apply online for a Zip Oyster photocard and you'll need to collect it from a Visitor Centre.

You must apply at least four weeks before the date you want to collect the Zip Oyster photocard. You'll be able to choose which Visitor Centre you want to collect it from. You can apply up to three months in advance of your chosen collection date.

To apply online you'll need to provide:

  • An active, valid email address
  • A credit or debit card to pay the £20 administration fee
  • A digital photo of your child which must be:
    • A .jpg, .bmp or .gif file and less than 6MB
    • A true likeness
    • Without hats and head coverings, unless worn consistently for religious or medical reasons and, only then, if the features of their face can still be seen

We'll send you an email once your photo has been approved and your application is complete. You'll need to bring this and proof of identity for your child when you collect the photocard from your chosen Visitor Centre.

Proof of identity must be one of the following:

  • A valid passport
  • An ID card from a European Economic Area country
  • A birth certificate

You must provide original documents - we don't accept photocopies.

If you don't have these, or if the name or date of birth doesn't match your application exactly, we won't be able to issue the photocard.

If there is an issue with your application we'll email you, so please check for emails from us. If you need to provide a new photo, this may mean that your preferred collection date will change. You can track the progress of your application in your web account.

Expiry

A 5-10 Zip Oyster photocard will expire the day before the child's 11th birthday.

An 11-15 Zip Oyster photocard will expire on 30 September in the academic year after the child turns 16.

16+ Oyster photocard - if you live in London and apply between 1 August 2016 and 31 July 2017

Age on 31 August 2016Expiry date
1630 September 2018
1730 September 2017
1830 September 2017

If you live outside London your 16+ Oyster photocard will expire the day before your 18th birthday.

Help and guidance

Zip Oyster photocard terms and conditions.

Help and guidance for existing Zip Oyster photocard holders and new applicants:

 
Checking the status of your application

If you have any questions once you've applied or want to find out what's happening with your application, you can:

  • Sign in to your Zip Oyster web account. You'll be able to see the status of your application so you'll know if we need something from you to complete your application
  • Text your application reference number to 07624 809330 - You'll get a text letting you know the status of your application. (Standard network charges apply and can vary considerably. Please check with your mobile phone service provider)
  • Call us on 0343 222 1234 (TfL call charges)
 
How to use a Zip Oyster photocard

Once you get your Zip Oyster photocard, you can start using it immediately. But if your Oyster photocard does not give free travel, you'll need to add pay as you go credit or buy a season ticket.

To pay the right fare, make sure you touch in on the yellow card readers on buses and trams and in and out on Tube and rail services.

If you don't touch in and out correctly you could be charged a maximum fare. If you don't have any pay as you go credit on your Zip Oyster photocard, this means your card will go into a negative balance. If this happens you won't be able to use your photocard on buses and trams, even if you are eligible for free bus and tram travel, until you have cleared (paid) the negative balance.

You may get a penalty fare if:

  • You don't touch in correctly
  • You don't have a valid ticket or enough pay as you go credit on your Oyster photocard for your journey

If your appearance has changed and you look different from the photo on your photocard, you'll need to order a replacement and upload a new photo. You'll need to pay a £10 administration fee.

Find out more about touching in and out.

 
Behaviour code

Zip Oyster photocard holders must stick to the rules as set out in our Young Person's Behaviour Code. You must agree to this as part of the application process. If you don't comply with the Behaviour Code, we can withdraw your Zip Oyster photocard.

If your Zip Oyster photocard has been withdrawn and you have any queries, email IAP@tfl.gov.uk.

 
Lost, stolen or damaged Zip Oyster photocard

Apply for a replacement Zip Oyster photocard if it has been lost, stolen or damaged. You must pay a £10 administration fee.

While you are without your Zip Oyster photocard you must pay for your travel. You are only eligible for free bus and tram travel with a valid Zip Oyster photocard.

Find out what to do if your Zip Oyster photocard is lost, stolen or stops working.

 
My Zip Oyster photocard has stopped working

If your 16+ Zip Oyster photocard has stopped working, you need to check if it has a negative pay as you go balance. You can't use it if it does, even if it allows free travel on buses and trams. You will need to top it up before you can use it again.

You can check your pay as you go balance by signing in to your Zip Oyster photocard account, or at Tube, DLR, London Overground and TfL Rail stations, Oyster Ticket Stops and Visitor Centres.

If your Zip Oyster photocard doesn't have a negative balance and isn't working, call Customer Services on 0343 222 1234 (TfL call charges). You'll need to have the Zip Oyster photocard with you when you make the call.

While you are without your Zip Oyster photocard you must pay for your travel.

Find out what to do if your Zip Oyster photocard is lost, stolen or stops working.

 
Pin and security questions

When you apply online, you have to provide an answer to a security question.

You'll need the answer to your security question if you contact us with queries about your Zip Oyster photocard, or if you need to report it as lost, stolen or damaged.

You can view or change your security question when you sign in to your web account.

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