About This Guide
This is a step-by-step guide to applying for a Tier 5 YMS visa for the UK, while located outside the UK.
If you’re reading this post, I suspect you’re considering or are in the process of applying for your Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa for the United Kingdom. Welcome! Before we get started, please have a look at my Disclaimer page.
Last Updated: 10 June 2017
- Canadian Citizen
- Age 18-30 (you can apply at 17, but you must be 18 on or before the visa start date; you can move to UK at 31, as long as you were 30 on the date of the application)
- No dependents (children under 18 either living with you or for whom you are financially responsible)
- A minimum of the equivalent £1890 (~ $3245 as of June 2017) in your bank account
- Must not be currently residing in the UK
You can apply for this visa if you are not in Canada, as long as you have been in that country for at least six months with a long-term visa and there is a UK Border Agency where you can have a biometric appointment. For example, you are in Australia on the working holiday scheme for one year, then you may apply from Australia and attend your biometric appointment in Sydney.
How to Apply for the UK Youth Mobility Visa in Canada
This Official Guidance Document will give you information on all of the requirements for your documents as well as the limitations on the work you may do. Read it twice, if not three times.
Once you’ve done that, Apply Online Here.
What You Need:
- Current passport and all previous passports (if you have them)
- Dates of all international travel, including travel to the UK
- Birth dates and birthplaces of your parents
- Accurate UK postcode to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (your permanent work/residence permit)
- Credit card to process payment for Visa Fee, Immigration Health Surcharge, and User Pay office (if applicable)
- Your proof of funds (do it now and you won’t have to worry later! 🙂 )
- Gather the information needed and fill out the application. If you run into information you don’t have – don’t lie! Save the form and get it, or tell the truth (e.g. you lost it, you don’t know, etc.). Make sure your name is filled out exactly as it appears on your passport. I failed to put my middle names on the application, which I was able to amend at my appointment.
- Fill out the intended date of arrival as accurately as possible. The vignette you receive in your passport is only an entry visa, so you must enter the UK within 30 days of that date or apply for a transfer of visa. See the FAQ for details on the Biometric Residence Permit and the temporary vignette.
- For the international trips – visiting the USA counts even though there may be no stamps in your passport if you went by car. Put the trips you remember and explain in the comments section at the end of the application. If you forget a trip, don’t sweat! Just mention it in your appointment.
- Make the payment. The fee for this visa is £230. It is charged in USD because the visa processing office is in New York.
- You will be directed to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, which is £300. You must complete the payment and return to the application page within 30 minutes. This link has all of the documents you will need to hand to make the payment.
- Print out your completed application. Confirm all the information is correct and sign and date where necessary. Write your IHS number on the front page.
- You will be directed to the VFS Global website to book an appointment at their office in Toronto. Choose the date and time that is convenient for you. If you are not in Toronto, other offices include User Pay Offices in Edmonton, St John’s, Vancouver, Halifax and Ottawa.* There is a $100 USD fee to use these Offices. Print out the appointment confirmation notice.
** Halifax and St John’s User Pay Offices are only open one or two days a month. Be sure to take this into account when applying. **
The Visa Appointment
I should point out that this is officially what is required – I do not have experience with the VFS Global application service, as I used a Worldbridge office when I applied. Please refer to the comments if you would like to know about other people’s experiences with VFS Global.
What You Need:
When you attend your appointment, you should bring:
Information and Documents
- Current passport and all previous passports (if you have them). It needs to be valid for at least 6 months but your BRP card will be your permanent visa (so you have to keep it on you at all times!).
- Proof of funds dated within 30 days prior to the date of application. Refer to the Official Guidance Document above for specifics. For this visa, you need to have the minimum maintenance amount on or anytime within the 30 days before the date of application. Here are some examples of what this means:
- A hard copy bank statement showing the balance received before your application (no older than a month);
- A letter from your bank on official letterhead stating your balance on the date of your application;
- A print-out of your bank summary from the date of your application showing your balance with an official stamp from your bank.
- The date of application is the date you paid the fee to the UKBA. Maintenance funds required is £1890 (Canadian Dollar amount is calculated using the rate of exchange from the date of your application). My accounts were a chequing account and my TFSA. You must have access to these funds in cash, i.e. they cannot be held in stocks, assets, or credit cards. Lines of credit and joint bank accounts are okay.
- Appointment confirmation, visa fee receipt, and VAC (User Pay) service fee receipt.
- You no longer require a passport photo as VFS global now takes it. Be sure to double check if you are applying outside of Canada.
- Print out of your application form (should be available when the application is complete), signed and dated.
- Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) Number
- Your hand and your face
- Arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appoint to check-in. Someone at the desk will verify you have all the required documents. If you don’t they may have them on hand but you can be asked to come back. The person at the desk will put them in a folder and give you a number. If you have any last-minute questions, the manager can advise you on your application.
- Sit and wait for your number. Watch the “Visit Britain” video they play on repeat. (I can not confirm that they have these videos at the VFS Global locations 🙂 ) You are not allowed to have any electronics, food or drink. Also, don’t leave your bag unattended – they will treat it as a bomb threat and evacuate the building which almost happened when some guy left his bag on a chair for 20 minutes.
- When your number is called, you will go see an agent who will look at your documents and then put them in a DHL bag to be mailed to New York. Yes, it’s silly that Canadians get their British visas processed in America…but you know. Budget cuts?
- You have the option of picking up your visa in the office in Toronto or having it delivered to you for US $37. I decided to have it mailed. You can also have someone else pick it up for you with an authorization letter.
- Sit and wait again. Become British by osmosis. Your number will the called by the person at the desk and your photograph and biometric data will be taken. They scan your fingerprints and take a picture.
You are now free to go!
7 Days Later…
From applying online to receiving my passport with the vignette, it took a total of 15 days. I applied on a Tuesday, had my appointment the following Wednesday, and had my passports returned to me the week after that on Thursday. I thought this was a pretty fast turn-around, though once I got to the visa stage for my French work permits, it took about a week as well.
The visa processing office in New York sends you an e-mail when they receive your documents and then once the visa has been issued (and presumably if you are rejected).
You can check up on your visa and direct any inquiries to the UK Visas & Immigration office here. I would not recommend barraging them questions…but if you haven’t heard about your visa for more than a month, then maybe a kind email will help!
I have moved the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS here.