Immigration » Visas & Residence Permits » Youth Mobility Scheme Visa: How To Work and Travel in the UK

Youth Mobility Scheme Visa: How To Work and Travel in the UK

By IntFormalities
Updated on October 15, 2023
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

There are strict requirements for non-citizens to enter the United Kingdom. The conditions are particularly strict for people who want to access the UK for prolonged periods to live and work. For those aged 18 to 30 and from certain countries, the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa is available to come to the UK. This article will delve into how the scheme works, who is eligible, processing times, and the costs involved. If you are interested in applying for this visa, carry on reading to discover more.

How do I get a youth mobility visa for the UK?
The Youth Mobility Scheme Visa allows young people to work and live anywhere in the United Kingdom for up to 2 years.

What Is the Youth Mobility Visa?

Numerous work visas are available for foreign nationals who wish to live and work in the UK. Commonly referred to as the Working Holiday Visa or Tier 5, the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa allows young people to work and live anywhere in the United Kingdom for up to 2 years. Sadly, the visa is only open to a few countries, and a specific qualifying criteria is in operation.

What Does the Visa Allow the Holder To Do?

The Youth Visa holder can work in the UK, become self-employed, or start a company. Additionally, the person can study in the UK if they wish.

However, Youth Mobility Scheme Visa holders cannot access the benefits scheme (such as Income support, housing benefit, etc.). They cannot bring family members with them or extend the duration of the visa.

Youth Mobility Scheme Visa holders cannot extend their visa. Citizens from Australia, Canada, and New Zealand are exceptions. Citizens from New Zealand can extend the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa by 12 months at the end of the 2 years. Citizens of Australia and Canada will be able to do the same from 31 January 2024.

Who Is Eligible To Apply?

To successfully apply for the Youth Mobility Scheme visa, you must meet the following conditions:

  • Be between the ages of 18 to 30
  • Hold in excess of £2,530
  • Be a citizen of an approved country or hold British nationality (see below)

People who are British nationals (overseas), British overseas territories citizens, or British overseas citizens also qualify. A detailed guide to the differing kinds of British nationalities can be found on the official United Kingdom government website.

Please note that citizens from New Zealand can be aged between 18 to 35. From 31 January 2024, anyone from Canada and Australia can also be between 18 and 35 to be eligible.

Which Countries Are Eligible for the Youth Mobility Visa?

If you are a citizen from one of these countries, you are eligible for the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa:

  • Australia
  • Andorra (starting from 31 January 2024)
  • Iceland
  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • Monaco
  • San Marino
  • Uruguay (starting from 31 January 2024)

Citizens from San Marino must acquire a letter from the Directorate of Political and Diplomatic Affairs to confirm the person’s suitability. Icelandic citizens must supply a criminal certificate for private use for the previous 6 months before applying for the visa.

Ballot for the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa

Individuals from these countries can try to obtain the visa through a ballot or visa lottery:

  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Hong Kong (SAR holders – these individuals have Hong Kong and Chinese citizenship)
  • Japan

Citizens of these countries can enter a ballot. The winners qualify for the visa. They must provide a copy of the email from the Home Office to confirm they have won the ballot as part of the application.

What Documentation Do You Need To Make the Application?

To make an application, these documents are required:

  • Any form of document (including a passport) to prove identification and nationality
  • A bank statement showing a balance of £2530 or more
  • The results from a Tuberculosis test if the applicant is from a country where a Tuberculosis test is required (find the list of countries here)

How To Make an Application

Applications must be completed online no earlier than 6 months before you intend to travel. Identification has to be supplied as part of the process, and how that’s done will depend on the person’s citizenship and the passport held. The applicant will either have to:

  1. Create a United Kingdom Visas and Immigration account and download the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to load the identification documents OR
  2. Go to an application centre where the applicant will have their photos and fingerprints gathered to issue a Biometric Residence Permit.  

At the application stage, the applicant will be told which of the above two steps should be completed. For those who are required to visit an application centre, they will be asked to make an appointment. The application centre may keep the supporting documents and the applicant’s passport while they process the application.

Sometimes, application centres are located in a neighbouring country, and travel arrangements are required on the part of the applicant. 

How Much Does It Cost To Get a Youth Mobility Visa?

The application cost is £259, and all applicants must pay a yearly £470 health surcharge to use the NHS. The administration process is quick. Visas are issued as quickly as 3 weeks

Broadening Your Horizon

The Youth Mobility Scheme Visa is a terrific opportunity for young people between 18 and 30 to work and live in the UK. However, the scheme is only open to citizens of a limited number of countries. Also, the successful applicants are only allowed to stay for a one-time 2-year period. If you are lucky enough to obtain the Youth Mobility Visa, we hope you have a wonderful time in the UK.  

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