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: 10 June 2017

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!

Eligibility

  • 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.

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! 🙂 )

Steps 

  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 £230. 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 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.
This is the same kind of Account Summary I had printed 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.
  • 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

Steps

  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).

I have moved the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS here.

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

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

  1. Hi Alyssa,

    I’ve read through most of the comments but I’ve got quite a unique situation. I met my partner (who is english) In Australia in 2013, we have been living together on working holiday visas in NZ and Australia until now. Currently we are in Thailand because we were told we could apply from here. I applied for my visa online and attended my appointment in Bangkok on the 17th of Feb. I still have heard nothing. It’s been a week and I have not received any email even telling me my application has been received. I also have banks in 2 different countries, which i need to prove my available funds. Considering I am not in any of those countries I had to get a print off from my online banking. I did make sure to have my account number, name and the logo showing on it. Do you think I’m completely screwed? I’m starting to panic a bit. We have already booked our flights out of here to the UK as well.

    1. Hi Kacie,

      This is one of those exceptional circumstances I’m not qualified to answer. Just wait and see! Good luck 🙂

  2. Hi Alyssa!

    I just thought I’d update everyone here for their peace of mind, I received my ‘Your Visa has been issued’ email this morning. I was the most extreme worry-wort about this. I thought I’d messed everything up and I was almost physically ill with worry! It was really no big deal after all was said and done. I just don’t want anyone else panicking like I did.

    IF YOU’RE WORRIED ABOUT BEING APPROVED/GETTING A YMS VISA, READ THIS:

    It’s not as hard as you think and the visa office is more forgiving than you would believe! I had several issues that could’ve caused delays or worse, an outright rejection of my application. I was terrified that I might not be able to get my visa to return to my partner in England. However, none of those fears were realized and I’ll tell you exactly what I did.

    My Problems:
    1. My bank wouldn’t give me a single document with everything I needed on it.
    2. I didn’t have my old passport and I had to guess all previous trips.
    3. I had visited the UK on visitor visas twice prior to applying for YMS, once for a very long period of time.
    4. I made a mistake on my online application and didn’t notice until after I couldn’t change it.
    5. When in the UK, I became sick and visited a local surgery twice. They refused to let me pay for my treatment, thus I used the NHS unwillingly.
    6. I didn’t book a hotel or hostel to stay at and I had no UK phone number.

    Despite all of the above, I received an email stating that my visa has been issued. The reason I believe this happened was because I recognized the issues before handing in my application and I meticulously corrected them as best I could. Below are how I handled each issue:

    Solutions:

    1. My GBP account was too new to receive a proper bank statement, that would take 30 days. Also, my bank couldn’t give me a full letter of reference without approval from head office, another wait that might take weeks. So I asked for a bare-bones letter; it had my name, my balance, the date, the HSBC logo and a banker signature all on fancy paper and addressed to the British Consulate in New York. I put it in a basic envelope from my bank and sealed it up. It was dated, luckily, the same day as my application. However, it didn’t have my account number! So I printed off my transaction history from my online banking, which had my account number, the date, the logo as well as all my transactions and my final balance. It didn’t have my name on it though. Out of pure frustration, I took a screenshot of my online banking account overview. It had my name, the logo, the account number and the balance…but no date! This was infuriating. I had already made the application, so any new documents wouldn’t have the right date. By this point, I was pulling out my hair.

    I called my banker in tears saying I didn’t know what to do. She printed me out the only thing she could give me, a Demand Deposit Transaction Statement. It didn’t have a logo, but it had everything else, including the full dates of all transactions which showed that the money was in the account before I applied. She also gave me her card and told me to send that along as well, so they could contact her to double check the funds. I figured that would be enough and thanked her profusely for her help.

    * Note: I also sent two withdrawal slips in my supporting documents. They may have only had my partial account number on them(which I filled in with pen), but they proved I could take cash out whenever I wanted. I also took a screenshot of the GBP Account Overview page on the HSBC website and sent that along, once again showing that withdrawals can be made at anytime and that my account was in Pounds so they wouldn’t have to convert it.

    2. I handed in my old passport to the federal government when I got my new one. They destroyed it in front of me, so there was no way I could send it in. For the application, I did my best to remember my trips, guessing the months and the days. I think I missed a few driving trips to the US, but I had no recollection. I also was very vague with my reasoning for going out of country such as ‘Shopping’ or ‘Holidays’ or ‘Visit’ or ‘Spring Break’. As I filled out the application, I got lucky found an old scan of my previous passport. I added the former passport number to the application, but I don’t think this matters as it was not a required field. Don’t stress about this part! They just want to make sure you didn’t go anywhere they consider ‘shady’. Still, do not lie! Honesty will get you approved, lying will get you banned.

    3. I was worried that due to my prior visits to the UK, they wouldn’t let me back to travel around. Considering I’d been there for a few months, I felt that they might not see any reason for me to stay for another extended period of time. Still, I was honest and listed both trips, including the reasons why: “Visiting Family Friends” and “Dropping off friend, seeing London.” As long as you haven’t been to the UK on any other version of the YMS, such as Holidaymaker, then you should be fine.

    4. I felt like this biggest idiot after this one! I clicked ‘No’ on something I should’ve said ‘Yes’ on. Worse, it was a section that would’ve expanded more questions that now were invisible to me. However, I read on here that you could write in changes on your application form after crossing out the incorrect answer. So I spent hours researching on forums and government sites and I figured out the missing questions. I then changed my answer and filled in the other portions as neatly as possible. Afterwards, I made sure to initial my changes. They have no qualms with written changes so long as they are legible and initialed. The visa officers will understand that you are human and make mistakes.

    5. This problem scared me the most. I was very ill in the UK, right before I was supposed to return to Canada. I had come down with a throat infection that swelled my throat shut, and so I went to see a doctor at the local surgery. They refused my travel insurance and registered me as a temporary patient. I spoke with the doctor briefly and he examined my throat with a flashlight. He then sent me on my way, saying to buy paracetamol at the pharmacy. He wanted to wait a few days to see if I would improve. When I got worse, they saw me again and I was handed a written prescription. I asked various times, but they refused to let me pay for anything other than the pills I was prescribed. The reason this issue worried me so much was that according to my research, there were only two major reasons that these applications get rejected. The first one is lack of proof for maintenance funds. The second is an unpaid NHS bill not covered by the visitor emergency exemption.

    According to UK law, you’re allowed to see a doctor as a visitor in an emergency. At first glance, yes my situation was an emergency. At it’s worst, I couldn’t eat or speak. I wasn’t even well enough to return home to seek treatment. Unfortunately, according to UK law seeing a doctor for an emergency follow-up thus negates this free service. I was sure this would get me denied and I knew that putting it on my application could be detrimental. Still, I didn’t want to be banned from the UK for 10 years because I lied. Honesty is the best policy! I wrote down my explanation of it all including that I had full travel medical, that they refused payment for the emergency care, that I paid for my medications and the address as well as the phone number of the clinic. My visa was issued nonetheless! As long as it was an emergency or you paid for your treatment, you will not be turned down. Relax!

    6. Now since I have to travel constantly for the first few days right after my flight, I didn’t want to book a hotel in London or any town. I also didn’t have a UK phone number of my own because I had yet to stay in the country long enough to need one. Still, I needed contact information. On the application, I put down the address and phone number of my partner. He would be able to reach me if the Visa Office tried to contact me, so it was fine.

    Overall, please don’t stress about the application! I was so worried, but you don’t have to be nervous as long as you’re meticulous. If you can’t get one document with everything you need on it, get as many documents as you can that link you to that account, that balance and that bank! Make sure you also have proof that you can withdraw money from the account. Finally, double check your online application before you sign the declaration and always be honest. More than likely you’ll be approved!

    I’ll post my full timeline after I receive my visa via the courier. Thanks for your help, Alyssa!

    1. Hello Alyssa,

      I just received my passport with my visa inside. I did use the expedited service, which cost about $206 Canadian. In the initial email they said it might take up to five (5) business days for expedited visas. That email also listed the current processing time for early March 2015 as three (3) business days for all standard YMS visa applications.

      Here is my timeline:

      Saturday, February 14th – Online Application Submitted & Appointment Booked
      Tuesday, February 24th – Appointment Day in Toronto, Appointment lasted 10 minutes
      Wednesday, February 25th – Documents Received in New York
      Thursday, February 26th – Visa Issued
      Monday, March 2nd – Visa Delivered by Courier

      From appointment day to receiving the visa, it took about 4 business days, or 6 days total! Quick and easy, once I stopped over-thinking and worrying. Thanks for all your help. Good luck to all those who apply in the future.

  3. Dear Alyssa and everyone else,

    This is the time schedule for getting my UK Working Visa. I applied for the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme.
    Note: that I also bought the express/urgent service. So that my Visa application could be put in front of the others to go faster, as I am leaving very soon. It cost an extra $220 Canadian.

    Before arriving at my appointment I went to Walmart and got my Past-port photograph done in the UK Size. Make sure you also bring the application forms. They are very similar to the online application. I made my appointment at the Halifax UK Visa Center, which in only open for one day a month. They were running an hour behind, but the security guard was keeping things lively. It was not as scary or nerve-raking as I thought it would be. The security guard gave me 3 papers to fill out before the appointment, basically the address that the visa will be sent to (your home address) and which documents will be shipping back to you. The appointment itself probably took 5 minutes. It was simple and fast.

    -February 10th- Applied online, then made my appointment (Halifax Center)
    -February 18th- Arrived at my appointment in Halifax (They were running an hour behind)
    -February 20th- Received an email “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…”
    -February 23rd- Received an e-mail that “Your UK visa has been issued” and showed my tracking number with the delivery service.
    -February 24th-26th- Received notification e-mails (from a subscription on the delivery site)where my package was.
    -February 26th- Received my package with the Accepted Working Visa!!

    It went fast, as I hoped for, since I payed for the express/urgent service.

    Hope this helps!

  4. Got my passport back today! My visa was issued for Apr 1st, but I had requested Apr 15th in my application. Does anyone know if the visa is exclusively issued for the 1st of the month.

    Here was my timeline:

    Sat Feb 14 – Applied online

    Mon Feb 16 – Biometrics appointment in Vancouver(9 AM PST, package to be shipped by 1PM PST). Appointments available every weekday with plenty of openings.

    Thurs Feb 19 – Passport receipt e-mail

    Tues Mar 3 – Visa issued e-mail (~9AM PST)

    Wed Mar 4 – Passport with Visa received (~1PM PST)

    Total times:
    16 days between biometrics appointment and passport being received
    13 days between passport receipt and visa issued e-mail

    One last note: I live travel across the US border by car frequently and didn’t include many of my travel dates because I wouldn’t be able to recall them. I just included a note in the end of my application stating that and provided my last passport # (for a lost pp).

  5. Just an update on my process with a condensed timeline!

    Well ahead of time: started visa online
    Jan 19th: got bank statement
    Feb 1st: submitted application, no appointments open for the monthly clinic
    Feb 2nd: checked website and appointments were open, booked one and paid, printed stuff
    Feb 18th: went to appointment
    Feb 21st: got email saying docs received
    Mar 3rd: got email saying visa issued
    Mar 5th: visa technically arrived in town, but DHL is a loser and won’t redirect packages like they say they do…
    Mar 9th: picked up visa from the crappy local DHL office

    Only hitch is that I applied with a friend — my visa info is all perfect with the requested start date of May 1st, 2015. Hers is wrong and says March 2nd. I see that only one other person reported this issue so far. My best guess of what to do next is to contact VHS Global about the mistake and see if it’s something that can be fixed, but I highly doubt it. We’ll probably end up leaving for a trip to Europe at the end of March and coming back so she’s on a tourist visa until I finish out my time up to May 1st 2017.

  6. Hi! i have a weird question. my appointment is for next Monday, if i get approved lets say in April but i said my intended date of travel was in august will that waste 4 months of my visa or will be start the date i said i wanted to leave?

    1. Hi Taylor,

      I’m not sure what you mean. Did you ask for the start date to be in August? If so, there’s a chance you will be rejected–you cannot put a start date more than 3 months in advance. If you mean you won’t arrive until August, then yes, it will waste 4 months of your visa time.

  7. Hi Alyssa!

    So I’m filling out the application form, and I’m in the section where it’s asking about other visas from the UK or Commonwealth countries. I went to Australia in 2008 just for a 3 week visit, however everyone requires a visa to visit. However, I do not have the information anymore for that visa. I don’t have the issuing number or anything like that. Do you know what I should do? Should I leave it blank?

    Thanks!
    Vanessa

    1. Hi Vanessa,

      Just put that you received the visa and leave the rest blank. If there is a place to put comments just put that you don’t have the information anymore there.

  8. Hi Alyssa,

    Thank you for such a helpful blog and answering everyone’s questions!

    I have a question for you, does it matter if my application is printed on the standard North American paper size? The only part of my application that gets cut off at the bottom is the created date and the page number. I’ve just been to 3 different print and copiers in my area and none of them have A4 paper. When I applied for a Danish VISA a few years back, it had to be on A4, but I no longer live near that same print and copy center.

    My appointment is tomorrow, so I’ve been running around trying to get this sorted!

    Thank you!
    Alyson

    1. Hi Alyson,

      I don’t think it matters. You could also try changing the print size in the printer settings? Good luck!

  9. Hi Alyssa,

    Thanks for all your advice, your blog really helped me with applying for this visa! I just wanted to comment here, because I bank with PC financial, and I had some questions about how to show my proof of funds when you bank with a… well, a non-bank, such as PC.

    I’ve seen that other people who bank with PC have printed out their e-statement and then also submitted a letter of authorization. The problem (for me, anyway) was that I didn’t want to pay $16.50 and wait several business days for that letter to come. So what I did, was refer to the “Official Guidance Document” which Alyssa has referenced above. Under the section titled “Maintenance Funds”, paragraph 48 lists the 4 types of documents you can submit. I chose type 2: Personal bank statement. There is a sentence which states “Alternatively, an electronic bank statement bearing the official stamp of the bank in question will be accepted. This stamp should appear on every page of the statement.” Even though that seemed too good to be true, I ran with it and hoped for the best.

    After printing my bank statement off the website (it was my savings account, and showed my name, account number, date of statement, PC logo and my funds), I took the print-off to my nearest PC kiosk and asked them to stamp it with their official stamp, which they did, instantaneously and at no charge.

    My visa was approved and I went and picked it up yesterday, so I guess that worked after all. Just thought it might save some trouble for others who bank with PC.

    Here’s my timeline:
    Paid online fee: Sunday March 1
    Biometrics appointment: Tuesday, March 3
    Receipt confirmation email: Thursday, March 5
    Visa issued email: Monday, March 16
    Picked up visa: Wednesday, March 18

    Thanks!

  10. Hi Alyssa,
    its very helpful your blog. I am canadian citizen. I already have my tickets booked for 16may2015. and I still haven’s applied for the tier 5, cause I just got the $3600 in my account yesterday 1apr2015. DO, I have to wait till 1st May to apply online?
    Do I have to go for my TB test(as per the online form?

    1. Hi Farhana,

      No, and you should apply ASAP as you will be hard pressed to get your visa back in less than a month.

  11. There is now an Immigration Health Surcharge or IHS fee……

    Basically between when I submitted my application and when my appointment was scheduled they introduced a new fee. Just about had a heart attack the night before when I went to print my Appointment Confirmation letter and it said that I needed to have/pay for an IHS number.

    SO anyone now applying has to pay an additional $650 USD on top of the VISA and appointment fees. (it was 649.something)

    1. Thanks for letting me know Amy. I’ll be sure to add that to the post. The fee seems like a political move more than anything — Brits are getting real touchy about immigration and it’s an election year. I think its INSANITY.

  12. Pretty upsetting… Amy is right, there is now a Health Surcharge for all non-EA nationals. The total amount for those applying for a Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa is basically 800CAD (!!!!). So now the visa will cost you around $1300CAD, as opposed to the $500CAD it did before. Basically 2.5 times the price.

    This is what they have said:

    “By introducing this surcharge the UK Government want such individuals to make an appropriate financial contribution to the cost of healthcare in the UK.
    The health surcharge will be £150 per year for students and £200 per year for all other individuals. In effect this will mean that all visa applications from 6 April 2015 will have to be accompanied by this amount, and it will be payable for the total period of the UK visa being applied for. The amount will thus be collected as part of the immigration application and the payment will be mandatory.
    Visitors to the UK will not be affected by this surcharge, and will only have to pay for any treatment once they need to receive any treatment from the NHS.
    Nationals from Australia and New Zealand are also exempted from this surcharge, as the UK has a reciprocal healthcare agreement with these countries.”

    This is ridiculous, I’m so mad as I’m applying at the end of May. Of course something like THIS happens…………

  13. Hi Alyssa,

    I find your blog is very useful. Thanks!

    I did my biometric and submit passport/documents at VFS Edmonton on 13 April 2015. However, I did not get any confirmation that the passport and documents has been reached to New York visa office. I find from the comments of this post that most people receive confirmation by 2-6 days. This makes me worried. Do you have any clues/suggestions? Is there any way to make it confirm that the passport reached to New York and/or track the status of the application?

    I called them (the paid number at UKVI site) but don’t get any useful info. I also submit email inquiry at https://ukvi-international.faq-help.com/ but don’t get any reply (though it has been mentioned that they will reply back by one working day).

  14. Hey!
    So I have a question, the new health surcharge – what does this cover? Because I was going to buy health insurance for the first few months when I arrive, so I can find a job that’ll fully cover me after the insurance is up. However, do I still need to do this if I’m paying this health fee??

    Thanks!

  15. Hey Alyssa,

    Firstly, thanks for all the time you’ve put into doing this, it looks like you’ve helped a lot of people! Like a lot of others though I wish I had found this before I started the application…

    My big question is to do with the travel outside Canada part – I entered everywhere I’ve been in the last 10 years going off the stamps in my passports and memory, but I submitted the application without entering any details of my trips to the US and now I can’t edit it, only print it. I think I’ve been to the US maybe 3 or 4 times in the last 10 years but I have no real idea exactly when or for how long, and so I couldn’t use the drop down menus to enter the info and I didn’t even think to use the additional information portion. Should I just handwrite the information into my ‘additional info’ box before my interview in a couple of days or is that a bad idea as it’s submitted online?

    Is there anything I can do?! I know you aren’t a visa specialist but I see that you managed to add your middle names at the interview so maybe I could do the same kind of thing?

    Thanks again for all your help!

    1. Hi Polly, I don’t know how it works now but just mention it at the appointment and they will be able to advise you.

  16. The Tier 5 Visa is just short of being a scam, not at ALL what they make it out to be. It is all very well to be allowed to work ‘legally’ in the UK for two years, however NO employers are willing to take on someone without a British passport. I got my visa and moved here three months ago and am STILL unemployed because I have been rejected for COUNTLESS jobs, because of my lack of a British passport. I would advise anyone considering this visa to just not do it.

    1. I myself spent a lot of time applying for permanent jobs with no success but I’ve found temping to be great! I’m in Edinburgh and have been working steadily for 2 Months now. I know not all agencies are as busy as others and it can depend on the city you’re in as well but I’m sure glad i signed up! Another plus of temping is you can take time off whenever you like, which is a big plus as i want to continue to explore the UK.

    2. Hi Farah, I was gainfully employed within 6 weeks of arriving in London. If companies are rejecting you based on nationality then that is illegal. As long as you have an address in the UK, I would suggest not mentioning your visa status in your applications/cover letters, unless specifically asked. You’re making a generalization based on your own experience and using it to discourage people from travelling. Not cool.

  17. Hey,
    I applied April 4th and had my appointment booked for April 8(Vancouver Location).
    Got an email confirmation April 15th that they have received my package and stated that it will take about 9 business days for average processing time.
    I am really worried I have my flight booked for May 16th. Not sure what to do now.

    1. the email I received said the average processing time was 12 days to process – this does not include the time it takes to mail it back to me. So I wouldn’t worry yet, they did also include in the email that it was just the average processing time. If there was a big hold up they would contact you by email. You could also try checking your junk email.

      On another note, they tell you not to book your flight until you actually have the visa! Because they cannot guarantee that it will be received on time. I hope that you will receive yours soon!!

  18. Hi Alyssa,
    Amazing blog! You’re super helpful 🙂

    I am living in LA right now but moving back home to canada in 1 month to pack up and make the big move to London where my boyfriend is living! Today I finished my online application for the tier 5 youth mobility visa where I booked my biometrics appointment for the day after I arrive back in Toronto and paid the health surcharge online as well. So now do I just wait until my appointment and hope that my application is approved or will I be approved before my appointment? Also my appointment is June 8th and I’m planning to leave for London around July 8th, do you think it’ll be enough time to process everything or should I wait on booking my flight there? Sorry if I’m repeating other comments I’m just looking for some clarification!

    Thanks again!

    1. Hi Danielle, That’s probably enough time barring any complications. But really you should hold off on booking flights as they recommend.

  19. Hi Alyssa,

    I am applying for the yOuth Mobility Visa and ran into trouble with filling out my travels for the last 10 years. it says: Have you ever travelled outside your country of residence, excluding the UK, in the last 10 years?

    My current country of residence is Canada, however I have lived in several countries in the last 10 years….and Canada was one of the places I travelled to from some of those places. How do I fill out the details?

    Thanks!
    Reham

  20. What are the chances that I won’t be accepted. I had my figure prints done put its like ink on a paper is that okay? I just want to be prepared to be rejected even though I have all the proper paler work done.

  21. Hey alyssa,
    I am canadian and i applied for the youth mobility visa from the us because Im doing an exchange program there. I am going to the uk for the summer for an internship, do I need to pay for the health surcharge if Im going for just 3 months?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Jessica, the health surcharge is based on the number of years the visa is valid for, so yes. If you’re only going for 3 months, I would recommend applying for a different visa category, especially if you ever would like to go back to the UK.

  22. I have applied for UK visitor visa (6 months). I would like to share my experience. Here is my timeline:

    31 March 2015: Online application submitted.

    13 April 2015: Biometrics at VFS Edmonton, Canada (They send the passport to UKVI New York on their own. They also give a tracking number which is for returning the documents from New York to my home address).

    21 April 2015 (Morning – around 11 AM CST): Got email from NEYOZVisaInfo@fco.gov.uk that they received my application. Also mentioned current processing time 9 days.

    25 April- 03 May: Use email from using https://ukvi-international.faq-help.com/ several times and got same response:
    “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 and a decision has been made and it should be with you
    in the next few days. We do not have the visibility to the actual decision
    made and the location of your documents due to confidential reasons.

    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.”

    4 May 2015 (Morning – around 11 AM CST): Got email that a decision made and passport will be returned shortly. Around 9 PM at night DHL tracking activated.

    5 May 2015 (evening): Picked up passport from local DHL office.

  23. Hi everyone, I received my email this morning stating that my application has been processed and everything was being sent back to me by DHL. Did everyone else’s emails state that their visa was actually approved before they sent it to you? or did it just state your application was processed? Thanks!

    1. Hey Jessica!

      Just wanted to let you know that my boyfriend received the same email and we wondered the same thing, but he just received his passport back today with the visa in it! So I would assume it does indeed mean that the visa has been approved. Hope you get yours soon!

      1. Hi Monica, Thanks for the reply… I received my passport back with the Visa inside! 🙂 What a stressful process of not knowing until you finally receive the visa!

      1. Do you know where in Toronto? Ive been researching and it looks like its the same place i go for my visa appointment, they do it before i have my interview?

  24. Hi guys, I don’t know if anyone else had this problem – but I just completed my application and printed it, and it didn’t ask for the IHS number anywhere. The status says complete so now I’m worried I may have missed a step…?

    1. Hi – You just write your IHS number on the top of your printed application. When I took my application I had it on a separate form because I was scared to write on my printed application but the lady who took my application just wrote it at the very top of my forms. Hope that helps.

  25. Hi Alyssa,

    What an amazing blog you’ve put together!

    I am currently looking for jobs in the UK and am close to submitting my application for a tier 5 youth mobility visa.

    Something I’ve come across is that on the official UK website it states that:

    “You’ll need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre (to get a biometric residence permit) as part of your application.

    You’ll have to collect your biometric residence permit within 10 days of when you said you’d arrive in the UK (even if you actually arrive at a later date).”

    https://www.gov.uk/tier-5-youth-mobility/apply

    Is the fact that you have to collect your biometric residence permit within 10 days something new? It sounds like you have to pick up your biometric residence permit within the UK within 10 days of your estimated arrival.

    From talking to my friends who have the tier 5 visa, this is something that they don’t remember having to do.

    Any assistance on this would be much appreciated! Many thanks!

    -Kevin

    1. Hi Kevin,

      Thanks! So, yes this is something new. It formerly only applied to students and their dependents. They are rolling this out in stages – you will only need to do this with applications made AFTER May 31st, 2015. Your sticker is now only valid for 30 days after your intended date of arrival. Your actual visa is now a biometric residence permit and must be picked up within 10 days of arriving in the UK. Thanks for the heads up I will be adding it to the post.

  26. Hi Alyssa,

    I live in Vancouver so going to the USA for a quick weekend getaway is something I haven’t really kept track of over the years. I have noted my bigger trips in my application (i.e. flying to a USA destination or elsewhere) but cannot remember all of the trips I took by car – how do I go about completing this part of the application?

    Thank you,

    Caitlin

  27. Hi Alyssa,

    I received my passport with the vignette and other supporting documents in the mail today however I didn’t receive any kind of decision letter. I am a little worried and not sure what to do. Help?!

    Brooklyn

      1. Ok, so do I not need a decision letter stating where to pick up a Biometric Residence Permit once I get into London? I guess I was under the impression that I had to pick up a BRP within 30 days of my travel date that I put down and this would be used to show employers that I am eligible to work in the UK.

  28. So I am a Canadian who is going to apply for a Tier 5 Work Visa for the UK.

    My passport expires by March 29 of 2016.

    Is it OK for me to apply with this passport?

    I plan on living there only until the beginning of that March.

    This means when I move there (aiming for August), there will only be approximately 8 months left on my passport before it expires.

    Or do I need to first renew my passport beforehand, to show that it will be valid for the entire 2 years on it before it expires??

    Thank you so much!!

  29. Hi all!

    I was wondering if anyone can give me any info on recent processing turn arounds… Just got my email saying a decision has been made and that it will be sent back to me – does anyone have any idea of roughly how long this will take via courier, and if the email means they are sending it out that day? It’s coming back to Vancouver and the only reason I ask is because I’m supposed to be flying next week and will have the change the flight if it takes longer than a couple of days!

    Secondly I come with a bit of advice/general things that have gone wrong for me. I submitted and paid for my application on April 1st and as such was supposed to be exempt from IHS. I hadn’t even heard of the IHS until I went to my biometrics interview and they mentioned it! But they then realised I was exempt and made a note on my application. Despite this I got an email a couple of days ago saying my application had been deferred until I paid for IHS. After contacting UKVI every single available way (phone numbers, web forms, other email addresses given by people on the phone etc) I still didn’t hear a single thing from the NYC offices despite their promise to get back to you within one working day, and after going back to the biometrics interview office on the off chance they might know something, they told me it was likely this had happened with others applying around this time and my best bet was to pay the IHS or my application would just get refused after 7 days. Fun!

    So just a heads up to others out there. There’s not really a way of stopping this from happening, but maybe don’t book your flight if you can help it, even if it’s a month after your interview (as it was with me, priority processing and everything!)

    Good luck all! And thanks as always Alyssa 🙂

    1. Hi Polly,

      My boyfriend got his back to Vancouver the next day – he got an email in the late morning, then the tracking was activated probably about 10 pm or so PST, and by the next day around noon or 1 pm it had arrived. I don’t know if this is typical, but I just wanted to let you know what our experience was! This was on the 14th-15th of May. Hope you get yours soon! We were also feeling nervous since we are flying out on the 30th, but were impressed how quickly it came once he got the email!

  30. Hey,

    I’ve found contradictory information about this simple question. This Tier Youth Mobility Visa is valid for 2 years, but are you only allowed to work 12 months or the full 2 years?

  31. Hey Alyssa,

    So I was wondering, I’m not banking with HSBC at this point. Would it be advisable to open a Canadian account there before coming to the UK, so my money transfers easily.

    Also, the size of the passport photo…In Canada, the standard passport size is a few mm larger, I think 50 mm x 70 mm. Did you have a problem with this? I’m in the UK right now, I’ll be applying for my visa when I get home (in a week and a half). Could I get my photos done in the UK so they’re the correct size?

    Thanks!

    1. I can give my personal experience here! I arrived at the beginning of May, and I opened an HSBC account last July to save up pounds.

      They can’t do anything with the HSBC GBP high-rate savings account if you aren’t already a CAD customer (and, I believe, even if you are) except let you deposit CAD, convert it to GBP on the spot, and store the pounds. They can’t wire-transfer it to a UK GBP account. At the end of your term, you’d have to withdraw all the money in pounds, which is what I did.

      It was VERY useful to have some pounds for the first few weeks for meals, etc, but I couldn’t use them to secure the apartment (they wanted proof of income and didn’t care about the cash I had on hand, ready to give them), pay bills (it’s all direct deposit/standing orders, they call it), etc. You won’t be able to open a bank account until you can prove your address, which takes a while. It looks like they might be looser with the restrictions in London. I tried this, that, and the other to get around it and nobody would help.

      So I ended up moving here 2 May, getting an apartment 12 May, getting my first council tax bill 16 May (I went into the Citizens Advice Bureau centre on 11 May to register for council tax and speed this up) and using that to make a bank appointment that day to open the account on 18 May. I got the debit cards in the mail on 21 May. It still wasn’t until 26 May that they even ordered the card reader I need for online transactions, which should be here in another week. THEN I’ll be fully set up and ready to go. Just to give you an idea of how long everything here takes… a lot of hurry up and wait.

      Whether or not you open an account depends on the exchange rate, I think. If you want to be safe in case the exchange rate gets even worse (good god, it’s been horrible… it’s very depressing), you can start depositing money now, or you can wait and take your chances, then just withdraw cash from an ATM here and pay the exchange rate you get on the spot, or else go to your bank in Canada before you leave and order pounds.

      Shorter answer: having an HSBC bank account in Canada does nothing for you except serves as a piggy bank and provides a little protection if you think the exchange rate will get worse. If you’re not sure, you could open one, put half your savings in there and keep half in Canadian dollars, and whether the rate gets worse or gets better you’ll be only half as screwed. 😉

  32. Hi Alyssa, could you help me out? Are you supposed to pay the health surcharge before or after the online application? Or does it not matter so long as you pay it before your appointment?

    I was under the impression that it would come up as part of the online application, but it never did (I didn’t know they were separate processes). Now from what I’m reading it seems I was supposed to do it before the application. Have I made a mistake, and do you know who I would talk to about fixing it?

  33. Hi i have recently started my application process from Hamilton Ontario. Does anyone know where i can get my bio metric fingerprints done and roughly how much it costs? i was also wondering if i will be able to change some information on my application when i have my appointment? i was not aware i couldn’t go back to edit it and was confused on how to enter my travel information! any information is greatly appreciated!

  34. Hello!

    I’m wondering if anyone else ran into this confusion. I’m currently filling out the points section in my application, and it’s a bit confusing. Do I put in the points I’m claiming, or my actual age and funds? And then just provide a total…
    Might be a dumb question…

  35. Hey!

    what if you don’t know the exact date of your departure? In the first part is says it’s party of mandatory information.

  36. Hi Alyssa!
    So I’m in a bit of a panic. I submitted my application online and had my biometric appointment yesterday. With my application I submitted the self assessment, however it looks like I needed to also supply a “personal details form”. I looked online and it appears to be the same as my application…should I be trying to contact someone to send this in? I had no idea! :/
    Thanks!

  37. Hi Alyssa,

    I just sent my application from Toronto today, your blog was very useful for my final preparations. Thank you! I wanted to ask you question regarding the funds. I have a letter from my bank showing my chequing balance from last week which was over the amount required. I was wondering if when approving your application to they actually look into your bank account or do they go by your formal document? My friend who went to Australia on a visa said they never checked her actual bank account?

    I ask this because after all the fees for the application process including today’s charge at the immigration office puts my balance a little under the required amount :S

  38. Hi Alyssa,

    I asked a question yesterday, but not longer see it on the blog?

    In short, when you submit your letter of funds from the bank do they check your account to confirm the funds prior to approving the application?

    Thank you.

  39. Hi there guys. Been following this blog for over a year regularly checking in to see the requirements and updated information.. Glad to say I received my visa last Thursday and I’m flying out tomorrow!

    If you read though Alyssa’s paragraph at the beginning it’s a pretty simple process. Doesn’t mean I didn’t panic at times just like everybody else, you’re not alone!

    Timeline:
    Submitted Application form online – May 25
    Biometrics Appointment – May 27
    Visa arrived in NYC – May 28
    Visa approved & picked up on the same day – June 11

    Total business days: 14 days

    Paperwork I brought (I printed EVERYTHING and just brought it with me as an incase, better safe than sorry):
    -Online Application Form printed (with IHS # written on the front page)
    -One BRITISH PASSPORT SIZED photograph
    -IHS Confirmation & #
    -Appointment Confirmation
    -One official personal bank statement with a bank teller stamp
    -Passport
    -Online Application Payment Confirmation

    I payed the extra $234 dollars for expedited priority service. To be honest, it was just for my own piece of mind as I had my tickets already booked but I’ve done the math, it averages out at about to only 3-6 days faster than if you just stick with standard processing time. I’m sure I would’ve gotten it in time but I just didn’t want to risk it.

    The total amount I paid came close to $1500CAD for the entire Visa with the new health insurance charge.

    Tip: Try to pick for a later Biometric meeting time (around 2pm), my biometric appointment was done in 10 minutes, in and out because there was nobody there!

  40. Hi Alyssa,

    Thanks so much for writing this guide and continuing to updating it! I felt that much more at ease while applying for my visa.

    I recently picked up my passport with my vignette in it (I made the cut off date — that’s one less thing to worry about once I get there) but I noticed that my visa is only valid for almost 22 months — instead of the usual 24. It starts August 1, 2015 and ends May 22, 2017. This concerns me because I would be missing one of the busiest times of the year for my field of work (June, July — I write mostly about entertainment).

    Have you heard anyone being granted anything short than the full two years?And, if you have, what can I do about it?

    Also, I’m a bit nervous about arriving without a job. I’m set to move in August but I’ve already started looking for something. Is it too early to start applying? I’m hoping to see my current job out until the end of July so I can make more money for the move and besides, I won’t be able to start working until August anyways.

    Thanks again!

    1. Thanks!

      Hmm… This is a new one. Your best bet is to call someone and ask.

      It’s probably a bit early, but it depends what your industry is and whether you’re applying for grad schemes for example. Most jobs will want to interview within a week or two.

  41. Hi Alyssa, first off thanks so much for the blog, extremely helpful!
    I just have a few questions about the new requirements for the BRP. My girlfriend is turning 31 on July 11th of this year, and has not submitted the application yet; we are wanting to travel to the UK at the end of February. From reading your blog I understand that as long as she submits her application before she turns 31 she will still be eligible? Does she have to put the expected travel date (visa start date) as a date that is before she turns 31 or no? Also, now with the BRP will we even be able to delay our entry that far from what we will enter as the start date? It seems that the BRP will expire. Do we just have to pay a fee to get another one (which is totally fine).
    I know it’s cutting it close with her birthday, I’m just hoping that we can pull this off!
    Thank you so much for any help!!!

    1. Yes, it’s fine.
      No, she doesn’t.
      No, you won’t. Three months max from application date; must enter UK within a month of the date on the visa.
      I’m not sure if there is a fee associated.
      Good luck!

      1. So we MUST enter within a month of the date? What happens if we don’t? Since the date we are planning to travel will be after a month of the date.
        Thanks for the help!

  42. Hi everyone and Alyssa.

    You did a great job with this website, it was detailed and useful for us canadians 🙂

    My situation is that I am a permanent resident in an EU country so as you mentionned I had to show my permit to stay ( a photocopy was sufficient)

    Here is my timeline:

    June 22 : Online application submitted
    June 26: Appointment for biometrics (Teleperfomance center in EU)
    July 3: Passport received from UK with my Visa 🙂 !!!!!

    Very excited, moving to London within 2 weeks can’t wait.

    Good luck to all

    G

  43. Hi Alyssa, thanks so much for the blog, extremely helpful! I just have on question. I am married to a british citizen and been married for over two years. She currently lives and works there. So my question is would that be a problem in me applying for the YMS since we want to live in the Uk for a bit? Thanks for the help

    1. No, but you’re better off just going straight for the marriage visa. YMS visas don’t count towards settlement years, which means that you’ll have to live in the UK for 7 years before you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

  44. Hi Alyssa. First I’ll just echo many others and let you know this has been the best resource I have found to answer my questions on applying for this visa!
    I did read your entire FAQ and comments before posting, and did not find the answer to my questions so I hope you might be able to help with these…

    I studied in the UK for 4 years on a Tier 4 visa, then switched to a Tier 2 for a 1-year contract job, which is now coming to an end. As another job has not come up (at least not one I want to commit to with a Tier 2), I am planning to return to Canada for a month to apply for a Tier 5 YMS so that I can return to the UK and apply for other jobs.
    1) Will the fact that I spent the past 5 years in the UK, on a Tier 4 then Tier 2 visa, cause any problems with my Tier 5 application being accepted? most importantly, is having held a Tier 2 visa just prior to applying for the YMS going to mean rejection of my application?
    2) Do you know of any problems with working as a pharmacist in the UK on a Tier 5 YMS visa? I know the exceptions are as ‘a doctor or dentist in training, or sportsperson’ but I’m a bit concerned anyway.

    Thanks in advance!

    1. 1) Do you meet the requirements of the YMS visa and had no trouble during your Tier 4? If yes, then no.
      2) No there’s not. A friend of mine is working as one.

  45. Hi Alyssa and everyone!

    My visa has been received and my has been flight booked! Here was my timeline:

    June 8- Applied online
    June 15 – Biometric Appt in Edmonton
    June 30 – Email Stating Visa has been issued
    July 1 – Received my visa and passports back

    For me, the whole process was about three weeks. I also wanted to say thank you for all the help you have provided, I really appreciate it. It definitely made the process so much less stressful!

    Now, I just need to find a job 🙂

    Thanks again!

  46. Hi,
    Your website is helpful, thanks! I have been looking all over for the answer to my question. I have a working holiday visa for the UK which started on January 31st 2015 because I was intending on leaving Canada sooner but I will not go now until the end of August. Do you think my visa will still be valid? I’m worried that since I won’t have been on UK soil in seven or eight months that my visa won’t be valid anymore. Do you know anything about this?
    Thank you!
    Andrea

  47. For those that got their visa before the new IHS fee was implemented, do they follow up and make us pay for it too? Or were we just lucky?

  48. Hi Alyssa,

    Thank you for your very detailed and helpful advice. I am currently studying a postgraduate programme in London with a Tier 4 Student visa, with which I am allowed to work full-time for four months only between the end of my studies in September and the visa expiration date in January. Employers willing to hire me remain unwilling to sponsor a work visa, so I want to use the Youth Mobility Scheme to extend my contract here next winter. However, I have several questions:

    1. I will need to go back to Canada to process my application, but will have extremely limited time to do so. I understand that it is possible to pay express fees to save on visa delivery time 3-6 business days from New York after the visa check appointment. I am also wondering whether I can submit my application online and book an appointment at a visa centre in Canada from the UK, and then travel home only on the day before the appointment…will the UK or Canadian customs prevent me from travelling while my application is being processed even if I still have my passport in hand?

    2. Is it ok to present bank statements from a British bank account? I have no money left in my Canadian bank accounts and will have to transfer funds (and pay exorbitant fees) it such is the regulation.

    3. On certain websites and on YMS guidance, a “quota” is mentioned, according to which there is a number limit on YMS visa holders per country per year and that applicants may be refused the visa simply because there were too many others that year. Do you know of anyone who got rejected for such reasons? Actually, do you know of anyone who was eligible and provided all necessary documents but was rejected nonetheless?

    3. I understand that several people apply for the two year YMS despite their passport expiry date being prior to the end of their visa. I hope there won’t be any additional fees to transfer the visa to the new passport…

    Thank you so much for your time.

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