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Youth Mobility Scheme

If you’re a young foreign national and want to live, work and study in the UK, our team of expert lawyers can help and provide information on application process, requirements and costs for the Youth Mobility Visa Scheme. Youth nationals from a list of countries, including New Zealand, Hong Kong and and Republic of Korea, can apply for the youth mobility visa.

Call us on 0161 826 9783 to talk to our team of Manchester immigration lawyers about applying for the scheme. Our team is here to help over the phone, in person, or via Skype.

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What is the Youth Mobility Scheme?

The Youth Mobility Scheme comes under the Temporary Work visa category and can be used by young foreign nationals between the ages of 18 and 30 to live and work in the UK, for up to two years.

To apply, you must be a national of one of several eligible countries listed below. To come to the UK on this type of work visa, you must be sponsored by an educational facility not an employer or business.

If you would like to find out more about the Youth Mobility Scheme our team of Manchester-based immigration lawyers can assist you. Call us on 0161 826 9783 to see how our team could help you.

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General requirements for youth mobility visa

The Youth Mobility Visa scheme is visa for young people who wish to live, work, study and travel in the UK for up to two years. For your application to the Youth Mobility Visa Scheme to be granted, applicants must fulfil the following general requirements to show eligibility:

  • They must be a “youth”, between 18 and 30 years of age
  • They must have enough money to support themselves to live and work in the UK (without including any salary they earn)
  • They have been sponsored by an educational institution in the UK
  • They must demonstrate this by showing they have £1809 in their bank account (that they held at least 90 days before they made their application). This shows they are financially responsible. This must be in cash funds and evidenced through a bank statement, a savings account passbook or letter from the bank to confirm the amount of funds.
  • They do not have anyone who is financially dependent on them (such as a child or partner)
  • They have not had a Youth Mobility Visa or a Working Holiday Visa in the past

What countries can nationals apply to the youth mobility scheme from?

You have eligibility to apply for the youth mobility visa scheme if you are a national of one of the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • Monaco
  • Taiwan
  • New Zealand
  • Hong Kong
  • The Republic of Korea

British overseas nationals and citizens of overseas British territories are also eligible for the visa.

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Youth mobility visa document requirements

To put forward an application to the home office, along with your forms, you will need to submit the following documents:

  • A current passport, or valid ID
  • Your bank statements to prove your cash funds and/or savings
  • Tuberculosis test results (if relevant)

What does the youth mobility visa allow applicants to do?

The Youth Mobility Visa scheme grants the applicant up to two years to do the following in the United Kingdom:

  • Study for an education in a British institution, as long as you receive a sponsorship certificate
  • Work in a job on the Tier 2 occupation shortage list
  • Work a second job for up to 20 hours a week
  • Become self-employed and set up your own company.

What visa restrictions are there?

There are several youth mobility scheme visa restrictions. As already mentioned, to apply you should be between 18 and 30 years old. You must also be a national of one of the previously listed countries.

As well as these restrictions, you are also prohibited from the following:

  • Apply to bring any financially dependent children or partner with you on your visa application
  • Extending your visa and stay longer than 24 months
  • Using the two year period as part of the qualifying period for settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain)
  • Taking on work as a dentist or doctor in training
  • Taking on permanent work
  • Training as a professional sportsperson

The government also caps the number of Youth Mobility Visas that are granted every year on a country-by-country basis.

Can applicants work in the UK after the visa expires?

The Youth Mobility Scheme visa allows you to live and work in the UK for up to two years, and you cannot extend this type of visa.

If you wish to live and work in the UK for a longer period, you must apply for a fresh visa. You can apply for one of the following options if you wish to continue working as an employee or for your own business, once your visa expires:

  • Tier 2 Work Visa
  • Start up Visa (formerly called the Graduate Entrepreneur Visa)
  • Innovator Visa (formerly called the Entrepreneur Visa)

You can apply for other visa options, but these are the most common.

You cannot study in the UK after the initial time period of your youth mobility visa.

How long will the youth visa process take?

It usually takes approximately three weeks to hear back after you make an application for a Youth Mobility Visa scheme. You can apply up to 6 months before the day you wish to enter the UK.

However, it could take longer depending on where you apply from. For example, applications from Hong Kong can sometimes take longer to process are more evidence is needed at the submission stage.

You may be able to have your application processed faster by opting for a premium visa service.

What are the youth mobility visa scheme fees?

The Youth Mobility Visa costs are as follows:

  • £244 Home Office fee to apply to the scheme
  • £400 per year for the Immigration Health Surcharge (total of £800 for the two years’ stay)
  • £19.20 for bio-metric information to be processed

There may be extra costs involved with your visa application, such as lawyer fees if you instruct the help of an immigration caseworker, and extra fees for services like document sourcing or translation.

Can an application for the youth mobility visa be done from outside the UK?

You can apply online for your Youth Mobility Visa from outside the United Kingdom. Your bio-metrics (a photograph and fingerprint) will still need to be taken at a visa application centre. Once you arrive in the UK, and you have your visa application approved, you will have 10 days to pick up your bio-metric residence permit.

What is a Certificate of Sponsorship for the Youth Mobility Visa?

All youth mobility visa applicants must have a sponsor from an institution or organisation before you can submit your visa application. One of the following bodies can provide the certificate:

  • An organisation running an approved exchange scheme e.g. British Council
  • A higher education institution e.g. university
  • A government department or agency

Your sponsor must approve and give you your certificate of sponsorship. Please note it can take up to four weeks for certain sponsors to process your information and provide your certificate, so ensure you allow enough time when applying.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Despite the age range being 18-30, as long as you are still within the allotted time period of up to 24 months for this visa, you can still stay in the UK until it expires. Even if you apply when you are 30, you still get the full two years time period.

You cannot apply for this type of visa more than once. Even if you come for just one month but go home for the remaining two years, you wont be able to enter the UK again on that visa or apply again. If you had the youth mobility visa but never entered the country you can apply for another one, but you will have to pay again. However, if you wish to stay in your current role in the UK after your visa expires, your employer may be able to sponsor you to take on a Work Visa – such as the Tier 2 Skilled Worker Visa. This will allow you to stay in the UK more permanently and can also allow you to settle in the UK and become a British citizen, if this is a path you wish to proceed with.

You can marry under this visa category. If you wish to stay in the UK with a British spouse or civil partner you should consider marrying them well in time for the expiry of your visa. This will give you time to apply for a UK Spouse Visa. This is a permanent form of Family Visa that can also lead to settled status and British citizenship if this is a route you are interested in pursuing.

You can work in all countries that make up the United Kingdom: Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. You can also work in Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, subject to their immigration requirements.

Unfortunately not! You will only know if your youth mobility visa application has been successful when you receive your passport back. When you do, you will have an “entry vignette” (sticker) giving you your 30 day entrance window into the country. Get in touch with our immigration lawyer team who will be happy to help you ensure you get a successful and smooth application process.