canadian passport, uk youth mobility visa, work in the UK
Photo courtesy of James Nord

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: 23 April 2018

The Essential Youth Mobility Visa Handbook
 Why waste time sifting through 10 different resources when you can get it all in one place? The Essential Youth Mobility Visa Handbook: Everything Canadians Need to Know about Getting the Visa and Moving to the UK contains 56 pages of useful information that will help you make your dream of moving abroad a reality!

Get it now!


  • 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
  • Not currently in the UK

You can apply for this visa if you are not in Canada, as long as you are legally allowed to stay in that country for more than six months 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.

British High Commission in Ottawa
British High Commission in Ottawa | Photo courtesy of ukincanada

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! 🙂 )


1.  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.

2.  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.

3.  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.

4.  Make the payment. The fee for this visa is £244. It is charged in USD because the visa processing office is in New York.

5.  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.

6.  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.

7.  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. 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.
This is the same kind of Account Summary I had printed a few days BEFORE I applied for the YMS visa. Note the stamp and signature from the 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 as long as your name is on them.
  • 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


1.  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.

2.  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.

3.  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

4.  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.

5.  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…

UK Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa
UK Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa!

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).


If you found this post helpful, imagine what the whole book could do for you!



992 thoughts on “Getting a UK Youth Mobility Visa for Canadians”

  1. Hi Alyssa,

    First off I’d just like to say thank you so much for writing this blog post! It was super helpful and eased a lot of my worries and anxiety throughout the process.

    I’m happy to say that I received my visa today. One thing I noticed however, is that my start date is on September 19, 2014 even though I had requested a start date of October 15, 2014 (date of planned arrival). For reference, I applied online/paid on August 28 and had my biometric appointment was on September 3. It’s not a huge deal, but I’m just wondering if you have any idea why they would push my start date up?


    1. Hi Angie,

      Congrats! Have you double checked it’s not the issue date? It may have just been a mistake – you may want to contact VFS Global and let them know about the error… I’m not sure, it’s not a problem I’ve come across yet! Do keep us updated here 🙂

  2. Hey Alyssa,

    Just wanted to updated you and let you know I got my visa within 9 business days! That’s 4 days sooner then what they initially said!! Super excited thank you so much!!

  3. Well, I’ve officially joined the club of freaker-outters. I had my appointment in Edmonton on the 9th of sept, email from NY on the 11th stating current processing times were 13 days. 13 days will be Monday, but at this point I think I might be screwed…it occurred to me that I don’t think any of the bank documents I submitted had my name on them. I submitted three. In Regina, when I asked for proof of funds the teller told me all she could give me was my receipt print out. Frustrated, and pretty sure that wasn’t enough, I printed out my balances for September from my online banking at home (which I just looked and doesn’t have my name)…then the morning of my appointment I decided to stop in at a branch in Edmonton and try again. There the teller printed my last month of balances out. I didn’t have a chance to look at it that good, as I was needing to get to my appointment. Never even crossed my mind to check if it even had my name…I’m betting just my account number. Ugh!!

    So, if I need to re-apply, what is the process? Just do it again? I’m assuming they won’t email stating there’s an issue, they’ll just not approve it and send it all back? So frustrated that I might need to pay another $350 and pay to travel to Edmonton again…ugh… Kind of cursing BMO right now!!!

    1. Hi Carrie,

      You can re-read the FAQ – there’s a point about what happens when there’s a minor error. They can call your bank to find out what they need so if you haven’t heard anything it’s probably good news.

      Good luck and keep us posted.

    2. Hello, Carrie,

      I applied from Vancouver within the same week as you – my application for the visa arrived in NY on the 12th.

      I still haven’t heard one way or the other though, so I think things may be taking a bit longer than 13 work days. I hope to hear within the week – but I have to give notice at my apartment tomorrow, as I’m hoping to be in Scotland in November.

      I’d feel so much more relaxed about giving notice if I had word about my visa. My landlord still says I can cancel the move out after giving notice if I need to and they haven’t already promised the suite to someone else for November.

      Anyway, all that to say, hold on! It’s just taking a little longer than they said.

      1. Alyssa, thanks so much for the response!! I swear I read through this entire page but I must have missed the part about them contacting if there’s an issue.

        Tim, thank you for taking the time to share your timeline with me. I really appreciate that. I read it last night in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep and when I came to reply now I checked my email again and got one saying my visa had been issued (hopefully without issue…I’m trying to stay calm until I actually see it). So since yours was received a day after mine, you very well might hear by tomorrow, and hopefully Friday at the latest!!

  4. Love you blog!

    I will be doing the YMS visa next fall I just have a super quick question about the whole funds thing. What is an acceptable document to bring for your proof of funds? like a print out from the bank? will the bank know?


    1. Hi Beverly,

      Thanks! Please read through the Guidance document – it tells you in great detail what is acceptable. Sometimes the bank tellers are away because they dealt with people getting visas before. Good luck!

  5. Alyssa – I forgot I had one last question…now sure if this is the right page to be asking- it’s regarding flights. I’ve only been looking air Canada and I have seen that one ways are more expensive than round trips. Thinking that couldn’t possibly be right, I googled it and turns out it is. And airlines even really crack down on people who purchase return flights and “throw away” the return. I’m planning on coming back to Canada in January for a week for a wedding and then again in August so I thought I’d maybe book my travel in a string of return trips since I know when I need to be back (is this allowed if I decide to do that?).

    Also, after remembering that WestJet now flys into Dublin I decided to check prices…more layovers but only $390 for a one way!! Is this right?? How can air Canada get away with charging $1500+ for essentially the same one way flight?? (Return with AC is around $1000). I know flights from Dublin to London are under $100 one way…this seems too cheap after all the outrageous AC pricing I’ve been looking at. Am I missing something?? Or Has westjet not jacked up their international one ways yet since they just recently started flying into Europe?

    1. Hi Carrie,

      That’s insane! I’ve flown to London with Air Transat (try and they have pretty good rates. When I was moving here, I flew with Iceland Air because 1) they allow free stopovers for up to 10 days or something like that, so I got to spend some time in Iceland, and 2) they allow 2 pieces of luggage free. I paid something over $600 for the one way, which was $200 less than a return flight!

      Unless you’re booking at the last minute, you probably shouldn’t be paying more than $750 for your flight…

  6. Hello Alyssa

    Just wanted to let you know that I had my biometrics visa in Toronto at VFS Global on Sept 5th and my visa was ready for pick up on Sept 17 – really quick!! I fly to London Gatwick tomorrow on Air Transat – flights are much cheaper than on Air Canada to Heathrow (this comment is for the benefit of Carrie). Thanks again for all of your help.


  7. Hi I was just wondering

    I have my visa and my flight is booked to leave. My only question is when you get to the airport what should I have with me in regards to documents?

    1. Your passport and maybe proof of funds and a place to stay. I haven’t heard of anyone being asked for them, but they can ask.

  8. So when you went I just have some questions

    1. What all did you bring with you for documents?
    2. What did you put on your declaration card when you got their?
    3. What questions did they ask when you got their?
    4. Which airport did you fly into ?

    1. 1. Passport
      2. The truth
      3. ‘Put your index finger on the scanner. Now thumb’ Thanks. ‘Welcome to the UK’
      4. Heathrow

  9. Hi Alyssa!
    As everyone here your information has helped me quite a lot and I am grateful for it! I am just about to send my application and i was wondering what do they mean when they say by “unmarked on both sides (unless a photo needs to be countersigned)”. The woman at the passport/travelling place did not know either so i got only the date stamped behind the picture?

    Thank you! Have a wonderful week end if you see this today!


  10. Hi Alyssa,

    I’ve been searching online, but cannot find the answer. I would like to work in the UK for some time, but want to ensure I have a job there set up first. However, I would like to apply for the VISA right now, because I am currently available during the day so I know that I can attend the required Visa/Biometric appointments. In the near future, I do not think I will be able to pull leave work to do so, so even applying for the Visa will be difficult.

    Hence, do you know if it is possible to apply for the Tier 5 Visa, but then defer or adjust the start date? For example, if I apply now, and select December 1st, 2014 as the start date, would I be able to defer this to January 1st, 2015? Or, January 1st, 2016?

    Otherwise, if the visa cannot be deferred, can one apply for the visa a second time, if they are between the ages of 18-30 and the first Visa was never actually “used”. For example, apply at 25 years old, Visa expires by the time one is 27 years old, but I never actually entered on this date. Apply again when I am 28 years old, and actually move to the UK at this time, and stay until I am 30.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Michelle,

      You have to set the start date no later than 3 months after the date of your application, but you can enter the country anytime during the validity dates of the visa. But it will still expire 2 years from the start date NOT the date you entered the country.

      For example, if you do set the date to January 1st, 2015 but don’t activate your visa until January 1st, 2016, the visa will still expire on January 1st, 2017.

      If you apply but don’t actually enter the UK to use the visa, you can reapply.

      Does that make sense?

  11. Sorry to bug you just one more question. Since my application the address where I will be staying has changed since my sister in law has moved. Will that cause me any problems when I arrive at the border?

  12. Hi Alyssa,

    I accidentally got a UK sized passport photo. Will that be acceptable or should I go back and get a normal size one?! My appointment is tomorrow morning!

  13. Hi there, I found this article very helpful! I found it was clear,well written, and very informative. I’ve been searching online for some information about this program, specifically for Canadians, you saved me the trouble of searching further.

    Thank you!

  14. This website (and comments!) have been incredibly helpful, so I thought I would share my experience with others.

    I was in the UK on a Tier 4 (Student) visa and loved London so much I wanted to stay a bit longer, so I needed to come back to Canada for the youth mobility visa. I needed it processed rather quickly as I was invited for a job interview that could not be moved, so I paid the extra $170USD for priority processing. Here is my timeline:

    Oct 13: Sent in my application
    Oct 15: Biometrics interview in Vancouver
    Oct 15: My passport has been received in New York. They tell me it’ll take about 5 business days
    Oct 22: Notification via email that my passport has been issued
    Oct 23: Received my passport via courier

    It was a really quick process but I suppose that’s the case if it’s not peak season! Tomorrow I fly back to London for my interview on Friday 🙂

  15. I’m a dual citizen of Canada and South Africa, and I’m applying for my tier 5 from Cape Town, SA. Have been planning this all year (so I can go over to the UK in January) but I have been very stressed about not getting approved, so I was very glad to read in your article that it’s not a difficult visa to get! Just to clarify in terms of documents – it’s bank statements, passport and passport photos? So I don’t need my original birth certificate or anything like that at all? I’ll be sure to take along my South African passport and ID documents anyway. My other concern is that as a dual citizen, I have passport stamps that don’t match up as I have to travel out of SA on my SA passport but have always entered Europe/UK on my Canadian passport to avoid having to get a visa beforehand!

    Either way, thanks for the helpful article!

    1. Hi Farah,

      I’m glad you found the article useful! Essentially… I don’t know the answer to your question about what travel to include. I would put everything to be safe and just explain in the notes that you travelled on your SA passport for X, Y, Z trips. The documents are listed there and as I mention, read through the guidance document. If it’s not in there then you don’t need to worry about it.

      Good luck!

  16. Hi Alyssa, thank you very much for the detailed guide. I’ve just applied today, though going through the process I was stumped. You mentioned in your guide to print out the receipt for the application payment and the VFSGlobal website also says to bring a copy of the receipt, but the website (Visa4UK) just thanked me for the payment and sent me an email confirmation. Checking the Visa4UK FAQs they state they don’t give invoices, so I’ve printed a copy of this email to bring with me, but I was wondering if you or anyone else would know if this is okay? Thanks again!

    1. Hi Stephanie,

      Normally there is a pop up box confirmation after the payment goes through. Hopefully what you have will work!

  17. Hi Alyssa,

    My documents are in New York already so just playing the dreadful waiting game.

    I actually didn’t print any confirmation about paying the fee because I considered it was already completed online. Do you think this will be OK?

    Also for my funds, the majority of them is in my TFSA. I got a letter from the bank but I’m unsure if it explicitly states I can access these funds even though I can. Should I be worried?!

    1. Nope. Worrying doesn’t change anything and like I said above: they’ll likely contact you if anything is wrong. Then you can fix it.

  18. Hello Alyssa!
    Your blog has helped me so much with my application for my UK visa. You are amazing for putting all of that time into it. THANK YOU!
    I have a question for you. My boyfriend is from the UK and we are trying to move there. Right now we live in Canada and are common-law married and foolishly while I was filling out my application I thought that “civil union” was the same as common law married. So my marital status is wrong and my papers are already in New York. Will I have to re-do it and pay for it again?
    Any help would be great.
    Thanks again for everything you have already done with your blog.

  19. Hi Alyssa. I found all of this information very helpful, I was just wondering if you knew about the whole UK address and information. I plan on staying in a Hostel or Hotel but if I give them that information does that mean I HAVE to stay at that place in particular when I arrive, and if so, how long am I required to stay there?

    Thanks for any help you can give,



  20. Hey Alyssa,

    Thanks so much for having this up. Its been really helpful. I have one question. I did not see the fine print after criminal offences about traffic offences and have 2 speeding tickets from 2004 and 2008 i didn’t declare. I feel sick about this and can’t believe i missed this. Is this something you could get declined over??

    I know you my not know the answer to this but i thought i’d try.


      1. Hi Alyssa,

        Yes after thinking about it more i doubt it would make a difference. I don’t even know that it would show up on a drivers abstract since it seen over 5 years. One other question though. Both the GovUK website and VFS global state different things for you to bring to your appointment. While i brought my proof of payment for the visa they did not ask for it when i gave them my documents to send off. I assumed this was because they just wanted to confirm i payed and that the British Consulate would already have record of this through worldpay and the GOVUK website. Is this correct or am i likely to receive a call requesting this payment verification?

        Thanks so much Alyssa!

        1. Hi Jenny,

          Probably not. We used to need it to show that we could book an appointment. I suspect that has changed with VFS Global.

  21. I’ve submitted my visa for application, and I am now awaiting approval.
    I don’t know the paternal side of my family’s details at all, and my birth certificate just lists my mother under the parents. I submitted a copy of my birth certificate with my application to support this and said on my form that father’s details are unknown but im worried they still turn me down based on this.

  22. Hi Alyssa, thanks for the useful information. The only thing I’m really curious is how you looked for a place to stay during your visit. I’m looking online at places but I’m not really sure if I should book a place without seeing it first, nor do I really know what the well known real estate names are in the UK. How did you look for a place to stay during your visit?

    1. Hi Julian, you’re welcome! Do you mean how I found an apartment? Yeah, I keep meaning to write a post about that… In any case, I stayed with my partner and his mum when I arrived and then I used Spareroom to look for a place to live with flatmates. I wouldn’t recommend agreeing to live somewhere you haven’t seen – especially in London. PEople who come on their own just stay in a hostel until they find a place.

      If you meant how do you find a hostel or hotel, then Hostelbookers, Laterooms, HI Hostel, and the like, are trustworthy!

      1. Thanks for your quick response! Ya I was talking about apartments. I don’t know anyone who lives there so I’m out of luck on that one. I will be staying in Sheffield with my girflfriend who is going at the same time to study at the University there, so we’re mai ly just looking for one bedroom apartments. The Rightnoge website seems to be the best one in terms of finding a place so far but like you said, I wouldn’t really want to rent a flat that I’ve never had a chance to loom at.

  23. Hi There,

    Just wanted to give an update on the visa application process from Vancouver through VFS.

    November 6, 2014: I dropped off my application and supporting documents.
    November 14, 2014: Received email from New York British Consulate that my application was being processed.
    November 21, 2014: Advised via email that my Visa was approved and would be sent back to me via the DHL tracking number given to me at my application appointment. (I originally thought the tracking slip they gave me was so i could track it to New York as well but this is not the case.)

    My original email from the consulate said it would likely take 13 business days to process but mine was only 6. This is likely due to the fact that its not peak season and mine was pretty straight forward.

    Now i’ll just wait “Patiently” for my package!

    Thanks so much for this wonderful blog Alyssa. So helpful.

  24. Alyssa,
    I will have about $4000 in my account and that will be sufficient for the 1890pound needed.
    Question: after printing my bank statement do i need to have those funds in my account for the appointment day? The reason i ask is because I intend to transfer the money back to my credit card(to avoid paying the interest)after printing my bank statement but before the appointment date. I will however have enough money on the day of travel.
    Doing this blog has made a lot of people’s process smoother.

    1. Hi Nancy,

      I’m glad it was helpful. You don’t need it on the day of your appointment, just proof it was there on the date of your application.

  25. Hey Alyssa,

    As I understand from you other post I am covered by NHS in the UK when I get there. Is there anywhere online that is stated on a a UK website? I’ve read that after 6 months you are eligible if you’ve applied. Does this mean if I need to go to a doctor before the 6 months I’m unable to do so?

    Thanks for any help you can give!

    1. Hi Jenny,

      You are covered in an emergency upon arrival. You are also covered as soon as you are employed and paying national insurance in the UK. GPs can register patients at their own discretion even if they won’t be covered but you may be subject to paying fees IF:

      1) You are not employed; AND
      2) Have been in the UK for less than 12 months.

      From the guidance notes:

      The Department of Health regulations currently allow Youth Mobility Scheme participants
      to be exempt from charges for NHS hospital treatment after they have spent a period of 12
      months in the United Kingdom. They will also be exempt during periods of employment (including
      self-employment) in the first 12 months of their stay, but not during periods in that first 12 months
      when they are not working. Information on entitlement to free hospital treatment can be accessed
      via the link: [broken]

  26. Hi there,

    I found your website very helpful. I am a Canadian living and working in the UK on a Youth Mobility visa. I received my visa on 17th Feb 2013 but only arrived in the UK on 3 May 2013 thus cutting my 2 years down a few months. Is there any way to get my visa extended to 2 May 2015? Or if I was to stay till 2 May 2015 would I get fined?

    Thanks for your help,

    1. Hi Nargis,

      You can’t get your visa extended, and if you stayed, you wouldn’t be fined. You would probably be deported and you will definitely get a flag on your passport stating that you overstayed a visa, which will make it much more difficult for you to travel or get another one. Your visa expires 2 years from the start date on the visa. If you want to stay, leave when your visa expires and come back on a tourist visa – though, note you will be unable to work.

  27. Hi there!

    I am moving to the UK from New Zealand in September and I am beginning to worry about everything that I need to get sorted before I go, such as my NI number, when you got your working visa did it come with your NI number?

    Thanks for your help!

  28. HI Alyssa,

    Your blog is very helpful, but like many others I found it too late. I believe I made SEVERAL errors with my supporting documents. I did not complete appendix 7 but what I gather from previous comments that this is now null because it’s included in the online application. For maintenance funds I supplied a mini statement tat had my name etc on it, but no logo, or stamp from the bank (and because I have already been living and studying int he UK for 2 years there was only activity on it for 1 day- the day I transferred the necessary funds into my account). Also I applied for the visa December 28, but did not transfer the funds until Dec. 29 and then had my appointment Dec. 30. Again hoping that this is OK. I also provided a bank letter confirming the cash funds- however again it was not stamped nor had my actual account number on it. However it was on letterhead and the manager attached his business card to it. I have yet to hear anything about the visa- not even if they have sent it to New York (I applied from Toronto) and I have a flight back for January 25th. I am debating if I should pay to expedite it- to either hurry up and refuse it so I can quickly apply again before I go or to ensure I receive it before I leave! I have a flat and everything in the UK- I just want to get back to it! Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Hi Robyn,

      No, you don’t need to do the Appendix 7 anymore. A bank letter on letterhead is usually fine but you’ll just have to wait and see. Let me know what happens!

  29. Just wanted to take the time and say this has been very helpful. Helped calm me down if anything. The wait was not pretty. Perhaps took longer than I thought during this time of the month. I did not use any visa services, If you meet the requirements that is between 18-30, a citizen of the country that is on the list and 1890 pounds in the bank, you should get a visa, assuming no criminal record. For documents, i supplied a current passport. I had a previous expired passport but did not submit, probably the reason for a stressful waiting period. But it did not matter. My current passport will expire while i will be in the UK, i assume i would just apply for a new one there itself. I also submitted a VAF9 form appendix 7. Lastly i handed in a proof of funds with 1890 pounds. I did not submit a bank statement, it was more of a personal assessment portfolio from TD bank showing the funds, the name and logo of the bank, account number and stamped. Pretty much all the information it should have. I also paid $39 for the passport to be delivered home. You have the option of not paying that and picking up the passport from the downtown office. My biometrics appointment was at 130. I got there at 120, got my passport checked, was sent inside. NOt a big room. filled out a form, pretty much asking which doucuments i was submitting. 10 minutes later i was called and handed in all the documents and was sent to the biometrics room. got picture and id taken and thats it. out in 30 minutes. You also need 2 photos passport size. both my photos were stamped at the back. hope i covered everything.
    Dec10: Applied
    Dec 12: Biometrics
    Dec 16: email confirmation that the documents have been received
    Jan 7: Email visa have been issued.

  30. Just to give you an update.
    I applied for my uk visa from toronto on december 30,2014. got an appointment for jan 6. my passport, two photos, my hand(which took forever wiv the biometrics) and my face(no problem there) my bank statement and a letter from my bank stating funds of xxx were available with my account #, name, address on it. On jan 8 got an email of package receipt and today jan 14 got an email visa was issued. I can not tell you how much this blog has helped.

  31. Hi Alyssa,

    Thank you so much for your blogpost! I’m glad I was able to find it before I applied for my UK Youth Mobility Scheme visa and it went very smoothly! I applied for the visa from Vancouver on December 28, 2014, and went for my biometrics appointment on January 6th, 2015. It was super quick. The security scans you with a metal detector, then you meet with two ladies who take your documents, ask you to fill in forms, scan your fingerprints, and take your photo. On January 8th, I received an e-mail saying that it is New York being processed and would arrive within 12 working days, and today (January 14th), I received another e-mail telling me that my visa has been issued and will arrive in 2 business days. Very quick and smooth. Thank you for all your help!

    Dec 28 – Applied
    Jan 6 – Biometrics Appointment
    January 8 – Application received
    January 14 – Visa issued

    I will be going to Glasgow for an internship to start and very excited to be going to the UK once again!

  32. Hi, I just wanted to say thanks to Alyssa for everything! And I also want to provide the dates for my application just to update this thread

    Dec 16: Applied/ Paid Fee
    Dec 29: Biometrics appt. in Edmonton
    Jan 6: Email confirmation documents received (probably a little slow due to New Years office hours)
    Jan 12: Email visa has been issued
    Jan 14: Visa and passport received in Calgary

    All the best to those applying!

  33. Hi Alyssa,

    Great blog you have here. So I’m actually going to the UK on Sunday and I’m doing it through the program GO International. It may seem late to ask but everything so far has seemed legitimate and the people have been very understanding and accommodating but I haven’t found a single review or a single person who has actually done GO International and their partner EasyWork, there’s been some speculation regarding the legitimacy of that program. So I was just wondering if you’d heard anything or know anyone who did the program.


    – Zalika

    1. Hi Zalika,

      Unfortunately I haven’t heard about that program but as long as you have the visa in your passport you’re fine!

  34. Hey,

    Alyssa – As others have commented, thanks so much for the post. Makes the whole thing so much less daunting.

    A question for you or any others (couldn’t find this exact situation) – definitely not urgent:

    I turn 30 years old in June, but I don’t want to leave for UK until several months later. Is the visa for people who are UNDER 30 years old, or UP TO AND INCLUDING 30? If the former, then do you know whether there will be any problem entering the UK if I obtain the visa before my birthday (and “waste” a few months of the 2-year visa)?

    Thanks very much,


  35. HI Alyssa,

    This has been very helpful, so thank you very much! I have a couple questions regarding the actual application form. One of the last questions it asks me is about my “Points Claimed”. It then has 4 tabs where i can fill in the answers to, “Nationality”, “Age”, “Maintenance funds” and finally “Total Points Claiming”.

    This part of the application does not have a “red star” beside it meaning I do not have to fill it out. Is this something I should fill out? If so how can I find out how many points I can claim for this type of visa?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Andrew,

      There’s no harm in filling it out… You have to have 50 points to be issued the visa, which is all of them.

  36. Hi Alyssa,

    Thanks for this post! It’s made the entire process so much clearer 🙂
    I’m have to be in the UK in May this year until June 4.
    I was planning for my visa when I get home, so around June 6 so that I can go end of August or early September. Will it matter if I was just visiting there?? It is a personal visit to see my boyfriend.
    Also if I have a foreign currency bank account with the correct amount of maintenance funds in pounds, would that fine to submit?


  37. Hey Alyssa,

    Great page with really really good information!
    I just wanted to share my experience and hope it gives prospective applicants some update on the application time.

    VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA – (No expedited service and Not Prime time appointment)
    26/12/2014 – Made online application and paid fee online, booked my appointment date as well
    15/01/2015 – Appointment Day – 15 minutes: Signed in, submitted my documents in person, gave my contact details for DHL, fingerprints and photos taken on the spot
    20/01/2015 – Received email stating that my application package has reached the Consulate office in New York
    23/01/2015 – Received a second email stating that my application has been approved and that a visa has been granted, and my passport will be delivered back to me via DHL
    26/01/2015 – Received my package via DHL

    I waited 11 days (6 working days) from the appointment day to the day I received the package from DHL – which isn’t too bad.
    i had used expedited service in the past and got my visa approved and my documents back within 48 hours.

    Btw, you can track the status of your application by sending your enquiry through – An agent will email you within 24 hours and inform you whether they have received the package, whether it’s being assessed or if a decision has been made (they won’t tell you whether it was successful/unsuccesful)

    GOODLUCK! =)

  38. Hey Alyssa,

    I was wondering at the appointment at a Visa Application Center (I plan on going to Ottawa), do they physically take my passport as a document to send to New York, or do they scan a copy of it, and they give back my passport to me?

  39. HI Alyssa,

    I had an question regarding applying for the visa that I hope you can help me with.

    I am going on an European Trip (including the U.K.) in less than two weeks as an Birthday Gift to myself. I would like to apply for the Youth Mobility Visa before or on the date of my departure and book the fingerprints appointment (will be Toronto location) for when I land back in Canada (if possible).

    Would that be an good idea?

    I noticed on the application, I would need to include all travels including the United Kingdom. Would it be an issue if the dates I put are some what future dated days?

    I do plan to future date the start of my visa for May 2015.

    Thanks for any advice you can provide me.

    1. Hi Troy,

      I mean…you can do the application but why the hassle? Especially if your start date is well in advance, I would just wait until returning. I suppose if it has to do with the proof of funds then apply before you spend all your money in Europe. You don’t have to put the travel plans on there but you can if you want. Just my £0.02. I hope that helps!

      1. Hi Alyssa,

        Thanks for the quick response to my question. You do have an point in terms of I don’t need to rush to put in the application since it will be future dated.

        I wish to put in the application as soon as possible (next week or so) since I have the funds now. I don’t know if I’ll spend all my money while in Europe (as people tell me that everything is expensive and I will want to do all the tourist activities as well). I wish to be fully prepared by putting the application in before my trip.

        Thanks for the tip regarding “not needing to include my travel dates/plans in the application”. I am just nervous to leave the portion “have you been to the united kingdom before” blank. Technically, at the time of application I wouldn’t have but when I go to the fingerprint appointment I would have just gotten back from my Europe Trip.

        What happens if your bank letter (proof of funds) expires when it comes time for your bio-metric appointment or a few days after your bio-metrics appointment? ( I will have the funds available at time of submitting the visa application).

        Thanks in advance for your help.

        1. Hi Troy,

          When you go for your appointment just let them know that you have travelled since you put in your application. They will know whether it’s important or not. You will have to get a bank letter when you return from your trip — as I wrote above your documents cannot be more than 30 days old.

          1. Hi Alyssa,

            I think that I will put my travels (including u.k. trip) on the application even though it might be future dates. I am afraid that if I don’t list my travels (even future dated ones) on the application then when I attend the Bio-metric appointment they might consider it an problem that I didn’t list it on the application.

            I don’t know. Maybe, I am over thinking it.

            I am putting in the visa application this upcoming Monday. I will be obtaining the bank letter/statement this weekend (as the proof of funds can’t be more than 30 days) and book the bio-metric appointment in two weeks time when for the day (if available) I come back from my trip.

            I hope my plan sounds achievable.

          2. Hi Alyssa,

            I just have an follow up question that I hope you can help me with. I finally had my biometric appointment last week Monday (Toronto Location). I received an email on Wednesday stating “They have received my application and it is placed in queue for assessment”.

            Never heard anything back regarding my application. I sent an email (today) to the general inquiry to check the status of my application. I received an email back saying “Dear TROY,

            Thank you for contacting the UK Visas and Immigration International Enquiry

            STATUS:::::::::: We understand that you would like to know about the current status of your visa application. I have tracked the status and found that the application has been processed. It should be with you in the next few days. Please note that your passport and documentation could still take some time to reach you whilst being sent back from the decision making centre and whilst other administrative formalities are completed. The visa application centre will be in contact with you regarding the collection or
            delivery. If you have purchased a courier service then your documents will be dispatched to the delivery address you have provided. We appreciate your
            patience while you wait to receive your documents.

            Kind regards,

            We hope that this has answered your query.

            Does this mean my visa is approved and on it’s way back to me?

  40. Hi! I love your website, and I especially love the section of the FAQ that tells me in all-caps to freakin’ calm down. LOL. You’d think it would work, but… I have one more question still.

    I see some people saying that the passport photo is UK-sized (35×45 mm), but I saw you post above that it should be passport sized (by which I assume you mean Canadian passport size, or 50mm by 70 mm? Unless you meant it’s UK passport sized?). Is there a consensus on which it is?

    It’s good to know that I can at least use a photo with a white background, as that was a huge source of worry for me.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi El,

      Yes, I should update that. It is 35x45mm according to the VFS Global website.

      As for the all caps – I get a lot of panicked emails from people who are like OMG I FORGOT TO PUT THAT I HAD A LAYOVER IN AMSTERDAM WILL I GET REJECTED? Relaxation is completely necessary in these circumstances!

  41. Hi Alyssa,

    Couple questions for you:

    1. Do you know if you need to attend your appointment within a certain timeframe? I submitted my application yesterday and don’t know if I need to book it within 2 weeks (or something similar) and I can’t find any information on it. (I’m using the Edmonton location)
    2. Do you know what the difference is between choosing a “Primetime” and “Standard Appointment”? I’m worried about choosing “Standard” as it gives me this pop up message “A standard appointment should only be selected if there is not a separate option which relates specifically to your application type. There may be a delay to your submission if you select the incorrect appointment type.” I’m not in a rush to get the application finished but I want to choose the correct one.

    Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Caroline,

      1. It should probably be around a month before you plan to fly out! But I’m not sure really. You can’t backdate your visa so it should probably be before the visa start date.

      2. Primetime just means that you get a priority appointment outside working hours. You only need a standard appointment.

  42. Hi Alyssa,

    I have just got my visa issued and am wondering if there is any documents that I need to bring with me when I go through custom in the UK (e.g., my bank statement to show that I have the funds)?


    1. Hi Samantha,

      You should always be prepared for questioning when crossing borders. Nothing is required though.

  43. Hi Alyssa,

    Your blog has been infinitely helpful. I’ve got almost all my documents together and I will be applying once I have the money in my GBP account. I hope to apply before the next Vancouver appointment day (Feb 18th) because I want to be in the UK by the end of the month. I suspect the only way to do this would be to use the expedited service, costing about $170 USD.

    My question is two fold. First off, if I’m using a user pay office AND using expedited service, do I have to pay both the user pay fee AND the expedited fee? (I assume I do, I’m just checking.)

    Secondly, how soon can I set my travel date in my application? I want to return to the UK as soon as possible to be with my partner who is really having a hard time being apart form me so long. So here’s my biggest dilemma: say I hand all my documents in on Feb 18th and I’ve used the expedited service. If I had set my travel dates(only on the application, not actually booked flights) between Feb 28th – March 2nd, would my application be denied because that travel time is too soon/during the possible processing time? Or would they simply set the visa start date as the date it arrives at my door? I’ve struggled to find info on this and I’m trying my best to return to my partner’s side as soon as possible.

  44. Hi A,
    Thanks so much for this wonderful blog post!!! I must have read at least half a dozen times in anticipation of my putting in my application. I do have a quick question.. do you know if all User Pay Services offices are only open one day a month or are some open more frequently? I live in Vancouver and on the following site it says they are open throughout the week.


  45. Hello Alyssa,

    Another question, I am applying for my Visa online now and It asks for “the main address and contact details of where you will be staying whilst in the UK?”. I read above in the comments section that someone else was wondering about this as well and you said to just add the address of a Hostel or a Hotel, but the “UKBA won’t let you enter the country without a booking at a hotel or the address of a residence.”
    The only thing, my Host family is in the process of finding/buying a home in London right now, they are moving to the UK (I will be their au-pair), so I won’t know the address of their house until a few more days. I am leaving on the 7th of March, so time is an issue, I don’t necessarily want to wait to apply for my Visa until they find their house. I wanted to know if I could write in the address of a Hostel, and once I arrive in London I will have the address to their house and give that information to the UK Border Agency then? Will the UKBA accept that?

    1. Hi Bryana,

      Like I said. Put down any address. It just helps you finish the application. When you arrive just put the correct address on the boarding card.

  46. Hello Alyssa

    Incredible site here! So many questions I had have been answered.
    Strangely though, you don’t seem to have mentioned anything about needing a police check or TB skin test results. I know I’ve read in at least a couple places online that these are necessary; did you not need them? It would be great for me not to need the police check specifically because it would mean not having to wait for that to be ready before booking my appointment.

    Many thanks!

      1. Thank you so much! I wish I had known that earlier haha. I did notice it didn’t make mention of them in that link of suggested documents you have up, but I just wanted to make sure.

  47. Hello again, Alyssa.

    Well, I applied and chose a Toronto appointment since I can afford the flight there and it’s cheaper. The application went through and everything’s peachy…except my bank decided to no longer cooperate. They refuse to give me a proper statement since the account hasn’t been open 30 days, and when I asked for a letter of reference they said it’d take a week or more!

    I managed to get a signed letter off them addressed to the British visa office in New York with my name and funds on it dated the same day as my application, but no account number. I’m really worried that isn’t enough. So I’ve printed a transactions statement from my online banking which shows the balance and other transactions as well as the same date as my application (and 3 future transactions! But that’s because they were made on a Saturday and wouldn’t be processed until Monday.). However, my name isn’t on that one. So then I took as screenshot of my online account overview which has my name, account number and the balance…but no date! I also have a receipt from the bank with my partially blocked account number(on which the banker wrote in the missing numbers for me) to use as evidence that I can withdraw cash. I don’t know what to do…If I send all of these will they be enough evidence?

    My appointment isn’t for a week and a half, I could wait for the proper letter of reference…but it would be dated AFTER the application. I’m at my wits end. Everything was great with the bank until I needed proof that I had the money. I’m just about ready to withdraw it all and take pictures of me laying in all of it, though I know that won’t work. Any ideas? Am I just over-reacting?

    1. Hi Dana,

      Haha, I don’t know if that would work but I imagine the visa office would get a good chuckle out of it! If you can get a passbook filled out (remember those?) that would work too. You can print out the transactions statement and just have it stamped and signed by your bank. Also, the letter is fine regardless of the date, as long as the letter says that ‘X dollars was in Dana’s account on Feb 1, 2015 (or whatever the date is).

  48. Hello,

    I had my appointment last Wednesday at the Toronto office, but I am completely freaking out because I only sent in an online copy of my bank statement (which has all the necessary information on it) and did not get it stamped. I did not even think of doing that because when I applied for my Tier 4 visa, I didn’t have to get anything stamped. Plus, I used my barclays account in the UK, so I can’t get it stamped anyway. So now I’m worried It will be rejected!!! or will they email me to ask for the appropriate documents?


    1. Hi Lyn,

      You’ll just have to wait and find out. In any case, it’s something they can call your bank to verify so I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

    2. Hi Lyn,

      Please let me know if you hear from them about your bank statement. I’m in a similar situation myself. When I submitted all my documents, I was told that all my passports will be returned to me but my original bank statement will not. Since I was submitting a tax-free savings account statement (includes a portfolio of investments and cash) for proof of funds, I was hesitant about not getting it back. I get statements mailed to me every month from my bank which I like to keep for my own record. The lady at the VAC said she could photocopy my original bank statement and stamp “original seen” on the photocopy, which she did. However, I’ve been going over all the rules online after my appointment about how original documents must be submitted and I am starting to think that I made an extremely stupid decision on the spot :/ I have also previously applied for a UK Tier 4 student visa and I was not even required to submit proof of funds unless upon request, hence that might have influenced why I didn’t just hand over the original. I am hoping they will ask me for the original if they need it and not reject my application right away.

      1. Hey Sophie,

        I wouldn’t worry about it. I actually received my visa with no issues. I think as long as you can prove that the money is there and all the required information is on the document you submitted you should be fine. I was worrying a lot too but one morning I woke up to an email saying my visa was issued.

  49. I had my appointment at the Halifax clinic yesterday! To recap, here’s what’s happened so far:

    –Started application online well in advance to make sure I had all the details. In retrospect, I wish I’d put the US trips I don’t know dates for in the miscellaneous field at the end when I did this. Other than that, I’m happy with the online process.

    –Got bank statement printed off at my bank — I have a HSBC UK GBP savings account, useless for anything except converting to GBP on the spot and keeping it out of temptation’s way, and my HSBC local people are so sweet! I love them! The call centre people are awful, however. I did this on January 19th. They stamped it. They also included their business card in case the visa processing office wants to call for verification.

    –Submitted application on Feb 1st. Tried to book appointment but no Halifax slots were available. Emailed twice about this and they had useless answers ranging from “there are no open appointments” (no kidding, that’s why I was emailing) to “appointments are opened either on an as-needed basis or all at once” (no mention of which). Started to plan a trip to Toronto, just in case.

    –On Feb 2nd, checked the website and Feb 18th appointment times (it’s a once-a-month clinic) were suddenly live. Sprang on them! Paid the fee and printed out the application form.

    –Printed out HSBC e-statement on February 17th before I went to the appointment as an extra level of verification (more is better than less, right?).

    –Drove to Halifax and stayed overnight on the 17th just in case. That day, I got passport photos done at the eponymously named Passport Photos on Quinpool. He cut them to the correct size, which made my little heart thrill since no photographers here could do that size.

    –Went about fifteen minutes early to the February 18th appointment and it turned out they were running an hour late. Bring a pen to this, and fill out your work address, because they’ll deliver it during business hours! I filled out a DHL form, duplicate DHL form, and checklist of documents. I didn’t put down my GWF number since I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to fill that part out, but hopefully that won’t be a problem.

    –Got security-scanned and headed in to where they took my documents one at a time, organized them all, got me to sign and date my application since I hadn’t done that (sounds like you can do that in advance), asked for two photos but said one would work fine since I left the other one outside the room, and told me not to worry about it when I brought up the US recreational trips I hadn’t listed.

    –Got my photo taken, looked into a video camera, and struggled my way through giving accurate fingerprints and pressing hard enough, LOL. Then they put everything into the DHL envelope and got me to pop it in the box.

    This was all so much easier than I thought. So to echo the FAQ… CALM DOWN. ALYSSA IS RIGHT. THIS IS INDEED EASY.

    Now to wait for an email or the post to leave the passport outside my door while I’m at work, LOL. I’ll reply to this comment if I can find it again when I get any word!

      1. Worrywarts like me are bound to read through all the comments and find it. 😉

        Today, Saturday Feb 21st, I got an email saying my documents have been received…

        “This email serves to confirm that UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) New York has received your visa application. Your application has been placed in queue for assessment and decision by an officer.”

        It also says average processing times this week have been 10 business days. Let’s see!

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