Mar. 4 2016

Getting a UK Youth Mobility Visa for Canadians

The Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa is essentially a working holiday visa for people aged 18-30 who want to travel or live in the UK for up to two years and work at the same time. It’s a perfect way for Canadians to get abroad and get international working experience for a few years, with relatively simple paperwork.

When I got confirmation I’d be able to do an internship with CBC London in April, the bureau producer suggested I look into one.  It seemed like a good idea.  Now that I have it, it means for the next two years I’m able to live and work in the UK (how convenient!).


Citizenship: Every year a number of youth from a few countries are eligible for a UK Youth Mobility Visa.  You must be from:

  • Australia
  • Canada (that’s us!)
  • Japan
  • Monaco
  • New Zealand
  • Hong Kong
  • Republic of Korea
  • Taiwan

Age: You must also be between 18-30 years old.  Specifically, you need to have turned 18 by the time your visa begins and you can’t be older than 30 when you apply for the visa.  You can apply when you’re 17 and enter the country at 18.  You can apply when you’re 30 and enter the country at 31.

Money: You need at least £1,890 (about $3,540.92 CAD) in your bank account.  You’ll provide a bank statement to that effect with your required documents.

You can’t apply if you have:

  • children who live with you;
  • children you’re financially responsible for; or,
  • already been in the UK under the scheme or in the former ‘working holidaymaker’ category*

*This means you can only have the UK Youth Mobility Visa once in your life, so choose wisely as to when you want it.

Required documents: You’ll need to provide a few documents along with your application.  You don’t need these to fill out the online form, but you’ll need them for your in-person meeting and to mail off with your application to the processing centre.


So you’re eligible?  Splendid!  Let’s do this.

First I recommend you take a look at the official guidance document, just so you know what you’re getting in to.

Then to get started:  Fill out the online form.

What you need:

  • Payment for the visa processing fee and user fee.  Together they’re $427.00 USD / ~$618.24 CAD.
  • Payment for the immigration health surcharge for an IHS reference number. £200 per year the visa is valid, £400 total.  That’s USD $616 / ~$891.89 CAD.
  • Current and previous passports
  • Dates of all international travel, including to the UK (this took me awhile)
  • Your parents’ full names, birthdates and locations.
  • An address for where you’ll be staying in the UK.
  • Which Visa Application Centre you want your in-person interview at.  Here’s a list of centres in Canada.

You’ll get emails confirming your payments and be able to download an appointment letter after choosing when and where your in-person meeting will take place.

Once you pay for the immigration health surcharge you will be covered by the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) upon arrival in the UK and between the valid dates on your visa.

These books are all great to read pre-departure. Granta’s ‘Britain’ Volume, Lonely Planet’s Guide to London and Bill Bryson’s ‘Notes from a Small Island’.

In-Person interview and biometric gathering

Before you go to your meeting, make sure you have all your supporting documents and passport photos that meet UK specifications.  You’ll need them, so bring them with you!

Example of my documents: a statement of accounts from my bank, invitation letter from the CBC where I have my internship, the address I’ll be staying at in London, two copies of a UK passport photo, and my IHS number. Don’t forget to write down your IHS number! I thought it would be on the letter you bring to your appointment, but it’s not. I had to run out into the hall to check my cellphone and get it during the interview, which they kindly let me do.

My visa centre was in Halifax at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel.  They operate out of a conference room only once a month from 8:00am-2:00pm.

This is why it’s important to book early!  They only have so many appointments, although I’ve been told the winter is apparently slower for them.  You can see why it’s important to book early though, otherwise you risk not getting your visa back in time for your intended departure date.

My interview was very straightforward.  After getting a DHL envelope from the security guard in front of the conference room and filling out my information, he gave me a quick scan with his metal detector and told me to leave all my electronics outside the room.  He told me he’d watch my stuff so I left it on a chair just outside the door.

Inside were two men sitting at a large table.  One of the men asked me some questions about my documents and made sure I had filled out all the forms correctly.  Then he put all my things in the DHL envelope and passed it on to his partner along with me.

His partner took my photo on a white backdrop and collected my fingerprints on this little scanner machine about the size of a receipt printer.  He then handed me my DHL envelope with everything in it, had me seal the envelope and drop it in the ‘mailbox’.  The mailbox was a wooden dresser they’d cut a hole in the top of to use like a drop slot.  The front of the dresser was padlocked and had a bunch of DHL stickers all over it.  Kind of funny, but hey, you do what the visa man tells you.

I dropped it in and that was it!  A couple days later I received an email saying my application had arrived at the processing centre in New York.  Then I got another email update saying my visa application had been finished.  And then…

Less than two weeks later

My passport, containing a lovely youth mobility visa.
My passport, containing a lovely youth mobility visa.

My passport was returned to me in the mail!  I had to be home to sign for it upon arrival.  It had this lovely UK Youth Mobility Visa fastened inside.

Your mileage my vary: the visa office strives to complete all visa applications within a three week window, but of course this depends on the volume they receive.  There’s also the option to pay more for priority service, which I didn’t.

After you receive your visa

Woohoo!  Do a happy dance to celebrate.  But, it’s not over quite yet.

There’s still the Biometric Residence Permit

Once you arrive in the UK, you need to pick up your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP, that’s a mouthful).

If you apply for the Youth Mobility Visa after May 31, 2015, you get a sticker in your passport instead of the full 2-year visa granted.  The sticker is valid for 30 days from the date the visa begins.

Update: A few days I arrived in the U.K. in March I headed over to the post office indicated in the correspondence I received. I queued up with the best of them (Brits are pro at queuing) and provided my passport and local address to the nice woman at the counter who went out back and returned with an envelope containing my beloved BRP!

Fun tip: When I arrived at the post office there was an option to take a ticket for either ‘Travel Services’ or ‘Counter Services’. I took one of each. It turns out the BRP is a ‘Counter Service’. Just to save you some time in the queue.

The BRP, aka your permission slip

Your BRP must be collected from the post office within 10 days of your arrival in the UK.  The BRP is your proof of your right to work in the UK and you should always keep it on you during your stay.  The BRP is your ‘real’ visa that allows you to work and live in the UK.

During the initial online application you’ll be told a specific post office branch in the UK where you can pick up your biometric residence permit (BRP).  The post office you get is based off the UK postal code you enter during your online application.  That post office branch address will also be with your passport when it’s returned in the mail with your visa.

Once you’ve picked up your BRP, it’s done and you’re officially in the UK on a 2-year Youth Mobility Visa.  Congratulations!!!  Pour yourself a beer or champagne.

Photo of passport containing youth mobility visa on the table along with some British books.

Cost of a UK youth mobility visa

Visa and user fee (together): $427 USD / $618.24 CAD

Immigrant Health Surcharge: $616 USD / $891.89 CAD

Total Cost: $1,043 USD / $1,510.13 CAD

The charges were processed in USD to my Canadian credit card.  The reason everything is in USD is because the visa processing centre is in New York (yeah, phooey).  With currency fluctuations those CAD numbers could change.  They loonie was really weak when I was doing my application, so the exchange rate wasn’t in my favour.

You’ll also need to have at least £1,890 (about $3,540.92 CAD) in your bank account to provide documentation that you have adequate funds to travel/live in the UK.  It doesn’t cost you anything, but the money needs to be there.

A note on timelines

The UK government website says the earliest you apply for your Youth Mobility Visa is six months before you arrive in the U.K.  They don’t want you applying a year or two ahead of time because it clogs up the system.  They may reject you if you do.

Make sure that your passport is valid for the whole time you’ll be in the UK.  This will save you some trouble.

And that’s it!  Have fun in England!

Disclaimer: The information in this article is correct as I’m hitting publish.  There is the possibility that the visa process could change in the future.  Always check with the UK Government Visas and Immigration site for the most recent rules and regulations.  Whatever you decide to do is at your own discretion.  If you have any questions I’ll do my best to answer.


Hi Mel, I found this post about a month ago via Facebook and I’m now looking into the possibility of a Youth Mobility Visa for myself. I have a few questions for you regarding supporting documents and info. Since you’re doing an internship with the CBC, you obviously had a letter outlining that. Is it possible – or rather, realistic – to apply for the Visa without an offer of activity? And as for where you’re staying while you live in the UK, does that mean I’d have to secure [permanent] accommodation before applying? I don’t know how I’d go about doing that especially since my arrival date is undetermined, and I can’t imagine trying to rent an apartment over the internet is a smart idea for myself or for landlords. I wonder if you can use a hostel address instead. Lastly, you mentioned you had to declare all your international travel. What does that mean? International travel – ever in my life? Travel to the UK if I get approved for the Visa? Or travel within the year of my departure? Sorry for all the questions – yes I’m Canadian too – but let me know if you can shed light on any of them! Thanks!

Hi Mary,

Those are some great questions. You do not have to have an offer of employment to apply. I included it because I figured it was being thorough and couldn’t hurt. The address you use can absolutely be a hostel or hotel or friend’s place that you’ll be staying at when you first arrive in the UK; from what I understand, it’s more just so they can designate where you’ll pick up your biometric permit once you land (so they don’t assign you to a post office in London if you’ll be in Wales, or something akin). As for declaring int’l travel – YES. Literally every time you have been out of the country. Ever. It was by far the biggest pain in the ass, but it actually gave me the opportunity to make a complete log of every time I’ve travelled, which (you never know) might come in handy again in the future. It was the most time-consuming part of my application.

Let me know if that helps! I’d love to hear more about your UK plans! ????

Hi Mel,

Thanks so much! I’m going to be going on a long trip from mid-May to mid-July, and since you’re not supposed to send the application outside of the three-month window before going I’ll have to wait awhile before I send mine. But I’m really excited and I want to do it now! lol
With that said, does my outgoing trip to the UK (plane ticket) need to be booked and confirmed before applying for the Visa? That, as well as the hostel or other accom I’ll be staying in once I get there? My international travel list won’t actually be that long, not at this point anyway, but do you know if you need to list upcoming travel too that’s booked? Since I wouldn’t be able to go until late this year at the earliest it won’t be applicable anyway, but I’m just curious as to whether travel ‘plans’ are also classified as international travel.
I’ll definitely keep you updated once I have a better idea of whats going on, again I’m a little sad I can’t really get the ball rolling yet haha! I was planning to move to Toronto for school, but since I didn’t get into my university I’ve been rethinking a lot of things. If I have a chance to move to the UK and get this Visa I’d much rather hold off on moving somewhere else in Canada when I can live abroad instead 🙂 hoping this all works out! thanks again for sharing your YMB experience as its been incredibly helpful!
Will you be living in London after your internship is over then? Looking forward to hearing about your plans too!


That’s awesome! No, your ticket to the UK doesn’t need to be booked before you get your Visa, you just need to say which day you intend to travel to the UK. Same with accommodations, booking not needed. Future plans Do Not count. They only want places that you have been to, or your travel history. After my internship is done in May I’m heading to the Balkans for a bit and then back to Canada, but part of getting the Visa was leaving my options open for the future! I like the idea of coming back to London to work over the next couple years.

Hey Mel,
A Friend of mine sent this to me and I want you to know how much of a help its been. But I have a few questions. As for finding the dates of all international travel, If you dont have your previous passports (alot of my stuff is in storage and have no idea where they would be, of even if i still have them) is there an easier way to get them? I have rough ideas of when I traveled but other than that I dont have solid dates. It also says we need our previous passports, is there a way around that? I was thinking about going to the passport office to see if they could also give me dates.
Thanks 🙂

Hi Alyssa, congrats on deciding to apply! If you don’t have your previous passports it’s not a problem. A lot of people hand in their old passports when they get new ones, so it’s not uncommon for people to not have their previous passports. To get my old travel dates I dug through emails, checked credit card statements and even asked my parents. Another trick I had was looking back through vacation photos and checking the metadata to see when the photos were taken — find photos from the first and last days of your trip and BOOM! dates ahoy. If you took photos on your smartphone it’ll automatically capture the date for you as well. That’s a good point about going to the passport office — I’ve never tried that but if you’re really having a hard time it couldn’t hurt. If you do try that, let me know if it works! I’m curious to know. Tell your friend thanks form me for sharing the article and let me know I can help in any other way! When are you planning to head to the U.K.?

Leah Woolridge- McPherson

Hi Mel,

Thank you for this blog. Super helpful! I actually am worried because I stated on my application I had my old Passport in my possession and when I went to search for it in the boxes under my house I was unable to find it. Do you know if this will be an issue? I know i have to have it somewhere, but I haven’t been able to find it yet.


Hi Leah,

Glad it helps! As for your passport, my intuition says it will probably be fine. I checked that box but I never had to show them my old passports or prove I had it. They might just ask so that they know your previous passport wasn’t stolen. As long as it’s somewhere around your house, I’d say you’re fine. In the mean time, I know applying is stressful! Hang in there and hope you hear back soon. Did you get an interview date yet? When are you heading to the U.K.?

Leah Woolridge- McPherson

Thank you so much, Mel! I mailed my passport out from the Toronto office on Thursday and got an email saying it arrived today! Super excited about the process and hoping I get lucky and hear if I am approved next week. I am planning to head to the UK between June 28 and July 28th!

Woohoo! That’s awesome Leah. Crossing my fingers for you and wishing you safe travels. ❤️

Hey! I am preparing to apply for the YMS I just had one question:

as far as the maintenance funds, does the 1890GPB have to be a total closing balance or does it have to be a consecutive amount dating a certain amount of time? ex: if I were to give my bank statement with a 1890GBP closing balance is it okay that its the closing balance of that day or would it have had to be in your account for say 2-3 months?

Hope its not too confusing lol

Thank you,


Hi Jasmine!

No, I totally get what your saying. I wondered the same thing. What the bank provides is just a statement of funds so it’s literally just the cash that’s available to you on the day you go to the bank to get your statement. So it doesn’t have to be sitting there for any amount of time, just as long as it’s there when you go to get your statement. Hope that helps! And good luck with your application. ????

Vasili Panagopoulos

I had the exact same question. It is so confusing because on the website Tier 5 guidelines they require you to have had the funds in your account for at least 90 days. This doesn’t apply to the Youth Mobility Visa? Because my parents were going to wire the money into my account this month so that I could confirm my application and move through the process of getting my bank statement. The whole 90 days thing just threw me for a loop and sent me into panic mode haha. It would have sent me back from having my application done in January to having to wait until February to apply to move in April. So you can literally put the funds into your account then go to the bank and get the statement and it would be valid?


Hi Vasili! It is confusing, but yes. As long as the funds are there, you’re fine. They just need to confirm the money is in your account. Good luck!

Hi Mel, Thanks so much for this post. When did you apply for your Tier 5? I know that the visas work on a quota system and for 2017 Canada has been allocated 5,500 visas. However, I can’t find any information (I’ve called the UK Visas Home office and emailed them and called the UK Embassy in Ottawa with no luck) that tells me when the visas are actually released. i.e. if the full 5,500 became available in January of 2017. When I called the person I spoke with hesitantly told me that there are 2 periods – March and October – but I haven’t been able to find anything to confirm this. I’m actually in the UK right now on a student visa and have to go back to Canada to get the Tier 5. I can go back in August or November, but am worried that when I go back the quota will be filled and I’ll be stuck. So if the quota allocation takes place in January, I’d go back in August, but if there are those two periods in March and October it’d be safer for me to go back in November. I’m just really afraid that when I go all the visas will already be taken and I’ll have to end my job in the UK early! If you can offer any insight into this, if you’ve heard of anyone being declined because there were no visas left, and if you could tell me when you applied that would be much appreciated! Sorry for such a long post!

Hi Audrey, glad to hear you’re loving the UK! I’ve never heard of anyone getting turned down because the quota was full, but the quota system does exist. I applied for my Tier 5 Youth Visa in March 2016. When speaking to UK Visas and Immigration I was told the Tier 5 Youth Visas are given on a first-come, first-serve basis to eligible applicants. I’ve also been told the Visa office won’t tell you whether or not their quota is full, or how many spots are left. Honestly, I would just go for it an apply ASAP.

Do you already have a job in the UK, or are you going to start looking once you get your visa? Since you’re already in the UK, you might also try stopping by the High Commission of Canada at Canada House at Trafalgar Square—they deal in passport services for Canadians and might be more helpful!

Andrew Wettlaufer

Hey Mel! Super helpful post! Thank you so much 🙂
I have my appt for my visa tomorrow (!yikes!) and have everything in line, but I am 21 years old right now, and the travel dates for the last ten years were, like you said, the most time consuming thing as my parents have taken my on vacations twice a year from 2007-2013. We had a computer crash with our photos so the dates are definitely not exact. But we did manage to remember (I think) everywhere we have gone and roughly what month at least. I did list in the additional info at the end of my application that travel dates may be plus/minus two weeks of the date listed as there was no travel documents to refer to and that everywhere I have gone internationally since 2007 is listed on the application. I have read that it is better to be honest then try to make it up lol so I presume this is fine as long as the travels are there. I know you are by all means no YMS visa expert, but some reassurance through your experience if this would most likely be fine would really put me at ease ^_^

Again thank you so much for all of the info! It was a superb help:)


Awesome Andy! I’m glad you found it helpful. It’s exciting stuff. Some of my travel dates were definitely educated guesses, and talking to my parents later I might have even missed one Florida vacation we took when I was a teen. It sounds like you’re really on the ball, so my fingers are crossed for you and good luck tomorrow!

Andrew Wettlaufer

Omg thank you so much 🙂 I will let you know how my appt goes and whether all goes through! 🙂 Edinburgh here I come (hopefully) xD

This is a great resource, thanks writing it! I’ll also be doing my Tier 5 appointment at the VFS Centre in Halifax, next month. Are the VFS staff able to correct minor mistakes/misunderstandings on your application (not sure if I have any) at your appointment? Thanks!

Hi Alex! Yay Halifax! When I had my interview the staff did review all my paperwork with me to make sure I signed in the right places, had the right boxes ticked, etc. They were super nice and helpful. Also answered a couple questions I had about timelines and how I’d filled things out. From my experience, they want you to get everything right so will let you know if anything’s filled out wrong. Wishing you a good interview! ????????

Another question! Do we need to have copies of all previous passport at the VFS interview, or just the current/valid one?

Just the current/valid one!

Thanks! I’ll breathe a bit easier now. Don’t think I’ve made any mistakes, but I’d hate to have my application nixed over a misunderstanding or clerical error. Glad to hear VFS is helpful!

I GOT MY VISA ???????? only took 9 days from the day I applied I couldn’t believe it! Thanks again for all your advice and help Mel! You’re fantastic 🙂

Amazing!!! So excited for you. ????

Hi Mel!

My intended date of arrival to London was January 26, 2018. I was thinking of going to get my bank statement showing sufficient funds tomorrow (Sept 23, 2017). Since the funds do not need to be sitting in the account for any particular time, would I still have to wait 30 days for me to apply for the YMS visa? When would you recommend for me to apply for the visa if I plan on going in January?

Kindest Regards,
Roshana S.

Hi Roshana! You can now apply for the Youth Mobility Visa up to six months before your departure date, so if you’re planning on a January 26th arrival date, I’d do ahead and apply right now! Good luck and hope this helps. ???? P.S. You can see this on the U.K. government’s website under the heading ‘How long it will take’:

Thank you Mel! I have another question (sorry, just really nervous!)..I picked up my statement of funds yesterday from the bank, so would that mean I could apply for my visa today (stating my intended date of arrival is January 26th)? Also, if I get an appointment say next week or a 2 weeks from now, the funds would not have been in my account for a month, would that affect my visa application? Last one (I promise, for now :$) is my intended date of arrival would be my start date of the visa, right?

Hi Roshana,

I hope you’ve sorted this by now, but if not, you just need to have a bank statement/letter dated 1 to 30 days before the date of your application (the day you paid to submit the online application). It doesn’t matter how long the funds have been sitting in your account. Good luck!

Hi Roshana! Sorry for the late reply, this totally slipped past me. Thanks for helping out AJ! Like he says—it doesn’t matter how long the funds have been there. And yes, intended date of arrival would be the start of your visa. Good luck and my fingers are crossed for you! ❤️ Did you have your interview yet? How did it go?

Hi Mel!

I love how comprehensive your post is about getting the visa. I do have a few questions about things surrounding the visa.

Can you tell me more about the job application process? Should I apply for jobs before or after I get the visa?

Now that you’re 2 years are almost up, do you plan to stay longer? What are some of the ways you can do that if you have decided to stay?

Thank you so much 🙂

Hi Muneeb!

Great questions. Regarding jobs, it’s really up to you whether you want to land a job beforehand or find one once you get there. If you’re trying to secure a job beforehand, from anecdotal experience I’ve heard that employers can often be hesitant to spend time interviewing until you’ve actually got the visa in hand. In my case, through my university’s program I had an internship with the CBC in London set up and ready to go, having the visa meant that when that was done I could look for other work. No matter whether you find work or not, the visa is still valid for the 2 years, so you could come and start working right away, or come and travel for a year and then start working in your second year. It’s pretty open! As for extending it afterwards, you can not extend the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa, but if you’re in a job by then, your employer might help you to gain a regular Tier 5 Temporary Worker visa, if they’re willing to provide a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ (basically a document that says you have a job with them and such). If you decide to go for it, you’ll have some time to figure it out. I hope that was helpful! Are you thinking of applying soon?

Hi Mel! This is the best blog I have read about tier 5 visa!
I applied for the visa yesterday (in Halifax too!) and have not received any sms or e-mail notifications about whether the visa centre in New York has recieved my application. Did you sign up for getting notifications when you were at the appointment session? Also, the staff at the appointment gave me the application form back (which one page is the declaration with my signature on it) and he only kept the first 4 pages. Did you have the same experience or should I be concern?

Sorry for asking so many questions and I hope you are enjoying your UK life!

Thank you so much Viv! And congratulations – that’s awesome that you got your application in! I did sign up for e-mail notifications. I think it was at least a few days (if not a week) before I got any updates. I do remember getting a message once it reached New York though! These things can feel like they take a million years, but in all reality my processing time was relatively quick, considering I didn’t even pay for the speedier service upgrade. Yours might be faster or slower depending on how many applications they’ve received. Regarding the staff member keeping the pages, I don’t 100% remember, but now that you say that it sounds familiar. I definitely had paper with me when I left. I wouldn’t worry about it. Those guys know what they’re doing and if he gave it back to you, I’m sure it was because they didn’t need it.

Hope that helps, and hope you hear back soon!!! Fingers crossed for you.

Thanks for your reply Mel x. How did you sign up for the notifications ? I have only got the UPS courier tracking number. Thanks.

Hi Viv! Good question. For me it was just the same email I had been getting all my other visa correspondence to. For example, when I made my appointment I got an email with subject line ‘Visa application appointment confirmation,’ and then all the other updates I got from then on seemed to be automated and sent to that address. To give you an idea of my timeline: I registered for my February 2 meeting on January 28 (haha, talk about in the nick of time), after my Feb. 2 meeting I got an email on Feb. 4 with the subject line ‘UK Visa Application – Receipt Acknowledged’ saying that my application had been received in New York. On Feb. 8 I got another updated with the subject line ‘Your UK visa has been issued.’ After which I promptly did a dance of joy. There was literally less than a week between my in-person Halifax meeting and my visa being issued, BUT, from what I understand my case was very fast/lucky. If it takes longer before you hear back, follow the advice of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and ‘Don’t Panic.’ Officially, UK Visas and Immigrations aims to process visa applications within 15 business days of receipt (so, 15 business days after it gets to New York). If they think it’ll take longer, they’ll reach out to you by email. I hope that helps—waiting is hard!

Hi Mel,
It’s Viv again. I am still waiting for my visa and I am worry about the fact that I submitted the online application while I was in the UK as a student, but I did fly back to Canada and had my appointment though. Do you know anyone who had this problem?THANKS !

Hey! Have you tried re-entering the UK or EU after your visa expired and if so, what was your experience like? I’ve read mixed reviews and am curious as my tier 5 has ended a few months ago and I’d like to go to the UK to travel within Europe. I’ve read that chances of being rejected entry to former visa holders is significantly high so I would just like to confirm x thank you x

Hi Elle! It should be no big deal since when your visa expires the default rules of your passport would still apply. So that would be a stay up to six months for Canadians. If they have any reason to suspect you’re working illegally during this time though, that’s why they might reject entry. It’s done on a case by case basis.

Hi Mel,

I am Canadian and would like to enter the UK two weeks before the start date of my Tier 5 YMS Visa in order to search for a flat in person.
Do you know if this is possible?
Do you think UK immigration would have an issue with me flat hunting while in the UK as a tourist?
Would I have to exit and re-enter the UK on my visa start date?


Hi Alex!!! Sorry for the late reply – I some how missed this one! To answer your question: YES! You can enter the UK for the standard tourist length of time (up to 90 days for Canadians) before your Tier 5 YMS visa starts. And no! I think flat hunting is fine, especially if you already have your visa in hand. You do not have to exit and re-enter either, your visa juts kicks into effect once it hits its effective dates. I hope that helps! Good luck flat hunting!

I am thinking of applying for this visa possibly next year and feel I have a good sense of how the whole application process works, however I do have a few questions regarding the other parts of the process. How easy or difficult did you find it trying to set up a UK bank account and phone number and things like that? And how long did it take you to fully adjust to a life in the UK? The transition to a whole new country can seem intimidating but I think it would be well worth it.

Sorry one more question also, I’ve seen a lot of people talking about taxes and stuff, what kind of taxes are you required to pay when you are over there?

Hi Julia! Thanks for your questions.

Getting a bank account and phone number in the UK is relatively easy, compared to some other countries. To set up a bank account, you usually will just need proof of ID, and proof of address. The proof of address one might be more difficult, as you’ll usually have to prove it by having a tenancy agreement, gas bill, etc. IMO, the easiest thing to do is to find a flat as soon as possible and sign a lease. Even if it’s short term. Once you have proof of address, a lot of other things will fall into place more easily.

For getting a phone number, I literally just walked into the closest cellphone shop near my flat (o2), asked for a sim card, picked a plan that worked for me, stuck it in my unlocked phone from Canada, and BAM! I had a London phone number.

For the taxes question, it’s a bit harder and I recommend asking someone like an accountant or tax lawyer in London who’s a professional. But, I believe if you have a UK employer who’s taking taxes off your paycheque, it’s actually possible for you to get them back since you’re technically on a working holiday. My setup was a bit different, so the taxes part didn’t really apply to me.

I hope that helps, and I hope you go for it! Just apply and you’ll figure it out as you go. ;- )

hoping you can help me
My daughter has her YMV and is leaving on this Sunday August 19/18 to teach in England. Her friend has gone earlier this week, but is telling my daughter she needs the letter that came with the visa stating where she will pu biometric res. permit. do you know if she will be turned down to fly if she doesnt have this letter, ple reply quickly, daughter freeeking

Hi Brenda! Great question. Did your daughter receive her passport back with the YMV sticker inside? If so, that’s all she needs to enter the country, she won’t be turned away at the border. However, once she’s inside the country she will have to go to the post office specified in the letter she should have received when her passport was returned to her, stating where she should pick up her BRP. The post office is where she’ll pick up the Biometric Residence Permit and that is what gives her permission to live and work in the country. She does not need the letter to enter the country. I hope that helps! Let me know if there’s anything else I can do.

Can’t Thank you enough, she did get her Passport with the stamp. You have certainly put our minds at ease. thank you the quick response.

Thanks Brenda, and no problem. If she wants extra peace of mind she can always log on to the Visa4UK website where she would have applied online. From there you can view and print your BRP collection location.

again thank you enough

Thank you for posting this process! I am currently applying for an ancestry visa, and have my biometric appointment in Halifax, too. I am a bit concerned because on the VFS website, it says courier service is unavailable in the Halifax VAC, but I won’t be able to go back to Halifax to pick it up. You said your passport was mailed back to you, do you know if this is the standard practice or did you have to purchase it?

Thanks so much!

Hi Sabrina! Oooh, good question. So I’m not familiar with the ancestry visa process, and it might be slightly different for your case. So, take this with a grain of salt, but my passport was couriered back to me, and it is standard practice for the YMS visas, as it has to be sent away to New York to be processed. My GUESS is that yours would be similar, since there isn’t really a permanent office here, just a room at the Delta Hotel they use for their appointments. I recommend trying to give them a call and seeing if they can give you more details. Sorry I couldn’t be more help!

Thank you! I’ve emailed VFS already, no reply yet. I can’t say I am too surprised. The only number I found to call is the head office in Dubai, so they will be getting a call from me! 🙂

Awesome. I hope you get through to them. Good luck!

Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and experience! I am currently in the process of filling out my Youth Mobility Visa, but I think I am at a standstill, as it’s asking for my employer information, but I currently do not have a job lined up yet. Do you know if that’s a requirement? I notice that you mention you need a UK address, so I clearly need to have a place to stay all lined up before I apply, do I also need my employment lined up too? Thanks!

Hi Jenna! Thanks for writing. No, you do not need to have employment lined up before you go. You don’y even need to have a permanent place to stay lined up. They just ask where you’re staying so they can assign a nearby post office where you can pick up your biometric residence permit. Good luck!

Thank you for sharing your experience:)
I have something to ask you. I missed my appointment day so i wonder it’s available to go there and pay for ‘walk in without appointment’ service then summit my papers. Thank you so much!

Hi Selina! I think it depends on where your appointment was. For example, the Halifax ’office’ is only open once a month or so, and operates ad hoc out of a local hotel room. In their case, I’m pretty confident saying it would be hard to get in without an appointment. But, if you’re near a permanent offfice or embassy it might be different. I think the best thing would be to call and ask. Good luck!

Philippa Torrance

Thank you for sharing this! It helped a lot 🙂
One thing I’m concerned about with my application though is that they recently made some updates to their site, and it seems that it is required for me to enter information about my employer (sponsorship organization) and how much I’ll be expecting to earn. I’m a bit confused because I thought the sponsorship certificate was only necessary for those applying from Hong Kong or North Korea? I don’t have a job lined up before going, but on the form I cannot skip this step, and I’m unsure of how to fill it out, I don’t want to fill it out only to get rejected! Do you know what I should do? Thanks!

Hi Philippa! Good question. I think this is a difference on the new system versus the old. You do not need a sponsorship certificate if you’re a Canadian. I know people who applied more recently than me. They filled out this section ‘N/A’ for the sponsorship question, and then $O for expect to earn. Is there a section to fill out your skills? Your should explain there the type of work you’re planning to look for. Good luck!

Following! Philippa I am worried about the same thing!! I don’t know what to do!


Thanks for this post. I hoped you could clarify on the timeline WHEN the biometric permit needs to be picked up. For example, if I apply for the Visa June 1st 2019 post date the start date until January 1, 2020. Does that mean the 30 day window to arrive in the UK starts January 1 2020 and I need to get my Biometric permit in those first 10 days?


How do you know if they filled the quota for this year in Canada?

Hi Ank, there’s no way of knowing. You just have to apply and see!

I applied for the Tier 5 visa under the priority service but haven’t received any email as of yet. Is that something I should be concerned about.

I applied on Thursday.

Hi Mel,

Thanks so much for such a well detailed blog post! It has truly helped so many people out there 🙂

I had a quick question, are Canadians required to submit a character certificate? I have heard this from someone but wanted to double check from anyone who has recently applied?


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