UK — Youth Mobility — “Working Holiday Visa” (Tier 5)
The youth mobility visa (a.k.a. working holiday visa) allows 18-30 year olds from certain countries including Australia, New Zealand and Canada to travel to the UK for an extended visit and work legally there in order to fund their visit. Itís a relatively cheap visa application at $300-$500 (depending on your country of origin), itís often one of the quickest to process, and it allows you to stay for up to two years.
Quick Links and FAQs
- Do I qualify for thie Youth Mobility Visa?
- Proof of funds
- Do I have to be in my home country to apply?
- How do I apply?
- I'm also eligible for a Tier 1 — highly skilled worker visa...which visa is best for me?
- What happens when my Youth Mobility Visa ends?
The vast majority of working travellers from Australia, New Zealand and Canada travel to the UK on this working holiday visa. It is truly a once in a life-time opportunity so be sure to apply before you turn 31 years of age. Finding work in the UK is not difficult as long as you are flexible and UK employers love the working travellerís work ethic (youíre there for a good time not a long time, so work hard and save up for your further travels!). At any time before you arrive in the UK be sure to apply to jobs and recruitment agencies aimed at working travellers using this website - you can see what types of jobs and agencies are out there and it gives you a big head start on your job search, not to mention the peace of mind of knowing youíll likely be earning pounds shortly after you land.
To qualify you must:
- be from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan or Monaco;
- be at least 18 years old and under 31 years old when you apply; and
- have at least £1600 of available money.
You can only apply for this visa once in your life and you must have a valid passport from your home country.
You need to show proof that you have at least £1600 to support your stay in the United Kingdom. Be aware that the currency exchange rate on the date that you pay your fees will be used to determine how much money is in your account.
You must show evidence, such as an original bank statement dated no more than a month before your application. If you wish to use electronic bank statements, they must be stamped on every page by your bank or accompanied by an original letter from your bank. A letter from your bank confirming the balance in your account is also accepted proof of available funds.
You can apply for this UK Working Holiday Visa from your home country or from a country where you are staying at the time of application, as long as:
a) the ‘entry clearance post’ in the country you want to apply from is authorised to process Youth Mobility applications (check the UK government's Foreign and Commonwealth website for the latest list of UK embassies, consulates etc); and
b) you are authorised to be in the country you want to apply from, and you have permission to stay there for a period of more than 6 months.
**You can not apply from within the UK**
1) DIY — Check out our step-by-step guide to do-it-yourself visa applications.
2) Get assistance — If you would like to get your working holiday visa in the quickest time possible and ensure itís done right the first time (or simply don't like lots of paperwork), a travellers company with a visa service may be a good option for you. Click here for a helpful comparison of the various visa services offered.
***Currently suspended - since late 2010*** The Tier 1 (general) visa for highly skilled workers is considered to be a ‘route to migration’. It gives you an initial three year period to work in the UK that can be extended to five years, after which you qualify for ‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’. The Tier 1 is more expensive, more complicated and more lengthy to apply for than the Youth Mobility Visa. You can find out more information about the Tier 1 visa here. If you are only looking for a relatively short term working holiday in the UK (up to two years), then the Youth Mobility Visa is a perfect choice. You can always apply for the Tier 1 later.
One of the conditions of the Tier 5 - Youth Mobility Visa is that you leave the UK at the end of the two year period. You could potentially return to your home country and apply for the Tier 1 (general) visa for highly skilled workers or get sponsored for a Tier 2 (general) visa for sponsored skilled workers. In any case you will have to leave the UK once your two years are up.
Got more questions? They might be answered in our VISA FAQs.