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FAQ
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Immigration Health Surcharge?

If you are applying for a Youth Mobility Visa, you are now required to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge. This amounts to £150 per year of the visa validity, therefore £300. No, it doesn’t matter that you only plan on staying in the UK for 3/5/9 months. You must pay the IHS before completing your Tier 5 YMS visa application as it will ask for the reference number when you apply.

What is this business about a Biometric Residence Permit?

If you apply for the YMS visa after May 31, 2015, you will receive a sticker in your passport instead of the vignette with the full 2-year visa granted. You must provide an accurate UK postcode as part of your application as you will be designated a specific Post Office branch to pick up your biometric residence permit. You will receive a letter with your passport when it is returned to you telling you which Post Office that is. Your BRP is the proof of your right to work in the UK and must be carried with you at all times.

BRPs must be collected from a post office within 10 days of arriving in the UK and the vignette sticker is only valid for 30 days after your intended date of arrival. If you cannot pick up your biometric residence permit in time, inform the Home Office here.

This has two implications:

1) You must put an accurate address on your application.

2) You must travel within 30 days of your intended date of arrival. If you change your travel date you will have to go to the Visa4UK website to apply for a transfer of visa.

* * *

I think I made a mistake with my youth mobility visa application, what do I do?

Do not freak out if you think you’ve done something a little bit wrong. Here is what will happen.

If you have provided:

  • A document in the wrong format;
  • A document missing from a sequence of documents;
  • A document that is a copy and not an original; or
  • A document that does not contain all the required information

They will contact you by writing or telephone to tell you what you need to send. They must receive it within 7 working days.

Also, if a document provided is in the wrong format, is a copy, does not contain all the required information BUT can be verified from other documents in the application, the website of the organization or regulatory body that issued the document, they MAY approve your application exceptionally.

If you are turned down, you can appeal the decision. Read the Guidance document for more information.

How do I know if they are out of spots? What if I waited too late in the year?!

Canada has 5,500 places in the UK Youth Mobility Scheme. When I asked the woman at the application centre, she said that Canada has never even come close to using all of the spots. In June 2013, approximately 370* of these visas were processed in Canada.

Here is what will happen is there are no spots left:

Directly from the Guidance document: “…a notice will be released to notify customers of this. The notice will be published on the relevant UK embassy, High Commission or Diplomatic Post website.”

If there is no notice, then you may still apply. If you’re confused about what the relevant website would be, it is the British High Commission in Canada website if you’re Canadian. The High Commission in Australian website if you’re Australian, etc.

* If you would like to calculate that number for yourself here is how – They are no longer releasing the numbers for visas processed.

Look people. Seriously. Canadians between the ages of 18-30 are not particularly enthusiastic about moving to the UK. I know you think they are, because you are, but they are not. There will be places left no matter when you apply. In the decade-plus that this visa has been going, Canadians have never used up all the spots. So this is not something to worry about. Seriously. As mentioned, check the UK embassy website. For Canadians, that is the British High Commission in Canada website.

The online application is asking for a UK address and phone number - what do I do?

I put down the address and phone number of my partner’s family. If you don’t have friends or family in the United Kingdom, find a hotel or hostel where you will be staying and supply their number. This is simply to ensure that you will be going somewhere when you arrive in the UK and there is a record of your stay. No, you don’t HAVE to stay there but they will ask you again for this when you arrive in country, so you better have a place to stay booked or arranged.

Make sure that the address you write is at least NEARBY where you plan on staying (e.g. don’t put an address in London if you’re going to Cardiff). As of May 31, 2015, you will have to pick up a biometric residence permit from a post office near you, which will be indicated in a letter from the UKBA.

Compare hostel and hotel prices at Booking.com or sign up for a new Airbnb account with this link and you’ll get $50 off your first trip over $95!

When does my visa start? How far in advance can I apply?

It starts on the date you requested it to start – that is your intended date of arrival. This date must be within six months of the date of your application. Your application will be rejected if you try to date it further in the future than that. So, if the start date is February 17, 2017 and you arrive on March 10, 2017, your visa will still only be valid until February 17, 2019.

You may arrive in the UK whenever you like, but your time will start running out after the visa validity date, regardless of whether you have arrived in the country. If you change your travel date to after your temporary vignette expires, you must apply for a transfer of visa on the Visa4UK website.

If you don’t enter the country to activate the visa, you can reapply at a later date.

NEW: For applications made after May 31, 2015, you will be issued a 30-day clearance sticker (in your passport). This sticker is only valid for 30 days after your intended date of arrival. If you plan on arriving later than that, you will have to request a new one. Your official “visa” is a biometric residence permit card, which must be picked up within 10 days of arriving in the UK.

I don't understand this bank statement date thing - why do I have to have the funds in my account for 30 days?

You don’t. You must show that the minimum maintenance funds were in your account on the date of your application.

Furthermore, your documents cannot be more than 30 days old (30 days before your application date). If you apply on February 17, your documents must be dated on or after January 17.

Can I enter the UK prior to the visa start date?

Yes, BUT you must leave and re-enter on or after the start date of your visa in order to validate it. If you are a few days to a week early, they will validate your visa, but you will not be allowed to commence working until the visa validity date on the visa and the border security might grill the shit out of you to make sure you weren’t planning on it.

Does my TFSA (tax-free savings account) count towards my maintenance funds?

Yes. I included a print-out from Scotiabank explaining that TFSA is a cash access account, because I’m meticulous like that.

Can I work as a pharmacist/doctor/sportsperson? What restrictions are there on work?

You may not work as a doctor or dentist in training, unless you can demonstrate you attained a degree in those fields in the UK. You are not allowed recourse to public funds (i.e. welfare). You may not be employed as a professional sportsperson or sports coach. You are allowed to be self-employed as long as you don’t own a business premises (other than your home); the value of your equipment does not exceed £5000; and, you have no employees.

You can work anywhere in the United Kingdom.

I lost my old passport - what do I do?

Try as best you can to remember your previous travel and indicate on the application that the passport has been lost.

I haven't heard about whether my visa has been issued. It's been two weeks and you got yours in a week! Does this mean I've been rejected?!

No. The visa processing centre endeavours to have visas issued within 10 business days, but anything can arise that will push the processing time back. I know this isn’t reassuring, but: just wait until you hear. You can check what the average processing times have been throughout the month by following the same process as I outlined in the ‘How do I know if they are out of spots?’ answer.

If you have followed the instructions, meet the requirements and are not a convicted criminal or have been removed from a country, 95% of the time you will not have been rejected. THIS IS A REALLY EASY VISA TO GET AND VERY DIFFICULT TO MESS UP. THEY ARE APPARENTLY FORGIVING WITH MISTAKES. YOUR SITUATION IS NOT AN EXCEPTION. STOP WORRYING.

What if I become pregnant?

You will be in violation of the terms of the visa and must leave the country voluntarily or you will be removed from the UK.

I suspect that they want to avoid the drama of people seeking settlement because they have children born in the UK. I actually think they may have removed the line about pregnancy from the document (probably because, in my opinion, it was offensive and sexist). If you become pregnant and are in your first 12 months of your stay and unemployed, you will not be covered by the NHS. You will be required to pay for any antenatal care, including delivery. If you have paid the health surcharge then you will be covered. However, under the terms of the visa you cannot have any dependents; therefore, giving birth in the UK would breach your visa terms and if you are found out or reported to the UKBA, then yes, they can deport you.

Do I need a return ticket?

A return ticket is not necessary.

Can I study while on this visa?

Yes, but it must not be the main purpose of your stay in the UK nor should you obtain a degree. If you wish to obtain a degree, you must return home and apply for student visa. It appears that the rules have changed and you can study while on the Youth Mobility Visa. Some courses require an ATAS certificate.

However, the immigration rules state that in order to obtain leave in one of these categories you “must intend to work”. Therefore when you applied you did so on the understanding that your main intention in the UK was work.

If you later change your mind and decide to study, there is a danger that the immigration authorities may think that your reasons for being in the UK have changed, and they could decide to cancel your visa. If you do undertake study while holding a work visa, it is advisable to continue working in the UK.

It is acceptable to study part time whilst holding a visa in one of these categories. Remember, however, if your visa runs out before the end of your course you cannot obtain an extension as a Student in order to complete your studies, since you must be studying full time in order to be granted a Tier 4 student visa.

Is it possible to switch between visa types?

No. If you are currently in the UK, on a student visa for example, you must leave the UK in order to apply for the YMS visa. If you are on the YMS visa and would like to switch to another points-based visa, then you must begin the process prior to your current visa’s expiry date. That being said, if you’re currently working for an employer they can sponsor you for a Tier 2 visa. You must begin before your visa expires and you will still have to return to Canada while the visa is being processed. I have heard a rumour that you don’t have to leave in the case of applying for Further Leave to Remain (Marriage). Since your permission to stay was longer than 6 months, then you can apply from within the UK. This visa allows you to continue working in the UK.

Do I need traveller's insurance?

No. I was not asked at the border and you will be covered by the NHS upon arrival in the UK (between the validity dates of your visa). Whether you want to have it, i.e. for repatriation and such, is another question. I wrote a follow up post regarding opening a bank account, registering the NHS and National Insurance number – read it here.

Should I pay for priority service?

I don’t know! This costs US $228 and your visa will be the first processed in the batch that arrives at the same time. If you have already attended your appointment, you can apply for retrospective priority, the details of which are here.

Do I have to disclose my traffic offences?

That depends. They ask about crimes you have been convicted of, they’re looking for drug traffickers, murderers, assault and battery and the like. The application said in my day said ‘except minor traffic offences’. That said, if you have been convicted of a DUI or something similar, that should be disclosed. By minor, they mean parking tickets and speeding tickets (unless you were drag racing, but then you would be charged with reckless endangerment, right?).

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!

More YMS Visa Posts:

Should I move to the UK first or find a job first?

What’s the difference between a British CV and a North American resume?

How long will it take me to find a job in London?

How to Bring Money Over to the UK?

What do I do about my taxes while on the Youth Mobility Visa?

Should I put my Youth Mobility Visa status on my CV?

How do I find a flat in London?

How do you make friends in London?

Updated:  12 March 2017

267 thoughts on “UK Youth Mobility Visa for Canadians – Frequently Asked Questions”

  1. Hi,

    I’m applying at the VFS Global office in Toronto ~ I started my application months ago and some of the info on it has now changed and I was wondering if they would be able to change that at the appointment. I’m mainly concerned about the address to which they mail me my passport as I live in Montreal but I am flying out of Toronto and it would be really inconvenient to have to go back to Montreal to pick up my passport.

  2. Hi

    I’ve applied for the Tier 5 YMS. I received an email which said my application was successful and the passport was returned to me, however the visa is only valid for 6 months! Is this a mistake at their end as i only applied with the understanding it was for 2 years.

  3. Hi Alyssa,

    Thank you for posting this valuable information. I am turning 31 in June 2018. I just want to clarify that I will still be eligible to apply for visa up until my 31st birthday. Also, does this mean that I have to complete the application, pay for the fees and attend the appointment all before my 31st birthday or can my appointment be after?

    Thanks again

    1. Yes, yes, yes, no you can do the appointment after your birthday.

      Just a question, not just directed at you: Why are you all waiting until the last minute though?

      1. Thanks for your reply!

        I don’t plan to move until the end of the year and with the six month rule, I figured I can apply in May so that I can maximize the full 24 months, of the visa (assuming everything gets approved)

    1. Nope. Just give HMRC a call and let them know you’re leaving or try to get email notifications because I have seen instances of people having to pay back taxes after they left (of course you don’t have to pay them – as in no one will chase you up – but if you ever plan to go back for working or living, then you might want to anyway).

  4. Hello!!! After submitting I realized my bank statement doesn’t look official! TD for some reason didn’t have letterhead so they wrote me a letter and stamped it but DIDN’T put the account number on it! I also did a screenshot of my own online banking but didn’t get it stamped. WHAT IF I GET REJECTED BECAUSE OF THAT?

    1. Then you’ll have to resubmit it… Refer to this FAQ: I think I made a mistake with my youth mobility visa application, what do I do?

  5. does anyone know about travelling within the EU (Schengen) countries on the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa? Can I leave the UK to travel, and for up to how long, and are there restrictions on where I can go? I haven’t been able to find much information on this, aside from some Aussie posts that say you can travel outside of the UK for up to 90 days on the Tier 5 (which I assume would be the same for Canadians)… but would I be allowed to hypothetically move to France for a couple of months? Or visit Morocco for a weekend? What are the restrictions on movement or are there any? Or does it go back to your Canadian passport then…

    Super confused : x

    Any clarification would be helpful as I’m not sure where to go for answers

    Thanks

    1. You can go wherever your passport allows within its restrictions. Yes, you can go to France for two months but you can’t work there. You can’t exceed 90 days in the Schengen Zone. The YMS visa as multiple entry so you can go where you like.

      1. thanks! but if you go somewhere and stay there ( in the Schengen Zone ) for 90 days, can you come back again in like, 2-3 weeks… , or do you have to wait 90 days again before you re-enter / or is the multiple entry visa flexible enough to allow as many entries regardless of how long they are?
        and can you open a bank account there as a UK Tier 5er, like, so if a British person could open a bank account there as an EU national, could you open a bank account there as someone who’s technically in the UK for 2 years (would the same rights be extended to a Canadian in the UK) that is…

        also, my friend from NZ said it was up to 6 months , do you know where I could find the fineprint on this ? best *

        1. You can only spend 90 days in the Schengen Area in a period of 180 days. If you’re out 2 weeks, then you can go back for 2 weeks, not another 90 days. Multiple entry applies to UK only. It would depend on the bank and country. What is 6 months?

          1. oh, that you could stay out for 6 months (180 days in another country/travelling around Europe as opposed to 90 basically) — just a longer extended stay outside of the UK versus the 90 out of 180..

            also, I think I remember reading something on your blog about applying for an Australian working holiday while still on a UK work holiday visa (tier 5 youth), so that you could automatically go to Aus after the UK (not going back to Canada at all)..

            hypothetically, would this mean..say you went to France for 2 months, and decided you wanted to stay in France, could you apply for the work holiday visa in France, and transfer your UK to a France work holiday…like if you still had x amount of time remaining on your UK tier 5 visa, could you switch over to another tier 5, for another country…

  6. Hi 🙂

    I’m Susan,

    I’m a very stressed and confused about one factor of applying based on my age. Also, I really want to thank you for this site. It is extremely helpful!

    I’m 30 turning 31 on May 14th. I know I must apply before I turn 31. I know that once I apply I have six months from the date of my application to move.

    The information I’m confused about and can’t find an answer to is whether I have to be in London before I’m 31 to pick up the documents (not sure what they’re called) or if I can come while I’m 31 on my intended date of arrival (within six months).

    Please help! 🙁

      1. “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)”

        Thank you for your speedy response.

        I do understand I can move when I’m 31, but I’ve been told there’s paper work I need to pick up before I turn 31 and then can move within the six time frame.

        Is there any truth to that or is it something you haven’t heard of?

        My friend did the visa two years ago at the age of 30 and said she had to come to London before she turned 31 to do so.

        Thank you again,
        Susan

  7. Hi Alyssa,

    I’m a Canadian citizen who applied for my YMS visa outside of Canada. For some unknown reason, my visa has still not arrived after 15 working days, and so my stated “intended date of travel” has now passed. I read somewhere online that they consider your “intended date of travel” as the start date of your visa and your end date as exactly two years from that date. However, as I have still not received my visa after my intended date of travel, I’m confused as to when my visa will officially begin – would they a) provide me with a later date that they’ve deemed reasonable; or b) still use my original intended date of travel as the start date? I hope it’s not the latter as that would mean I end up getting a lot less than two years there…

    Jan

  8. Hi Alyssa,
    I applied and got approved for the YMS, however Im unable to go during my intended travel date due to an sudden family emergency. I noticed you put “if you dont enter the UK you can re-apply”? Do you know if this still holds true? I called UK.GOV and they said you can only apply for the visa once, and if your approved you cant re-apply.

    Thanks,
    Dee

    1. Hi Dee,

      Sorry to hear that. That used to be the case, but I have a suspicion that may have changed with the introduction of the BRP card. With that said, a thorough read of the eligibility section of the guidance document says that to be eligible, the applicant “must not have spent time in the UK” on the visa. That says to me that as long as you don’t enter the UK on the YMS visa, you would be eligible to receive another. Just be sure to cancel your visa and BRP card collection if you decide not to go. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help!

  9. Hi Alyssa,

    I’m confused about the planned emoymemt question. I don’t have a job in the UK so what do I write in the question.

  10. Hi Alyssa!

    I am a Canadian citizen and I am planning on moving to the UK with the Tier 5 Visa in the end of July.
    I am currently travelling around Asia and I was working in Australia for the past year.

    I know I have to go back to Canada to do my biometric (unfortunatly) so I booked my flight in Toronto.

    I am really confused about the bank statement though. I have the fund in my Australian saving account. They can give me a bank statements and also a letter confirming that I have the fund in my account. But they will not be stamped or original since I will have to print them out…

    I might be able to ask them to stamped it and send it back to me via email but I won’t be able to have an original copy. Do you think it will still work?
    Thank you so much for your help!

    1. Your documents should meet the guidelines outlined in the Guidance Document.
      If you were working in Australia for more than 6 months and your visa was still valid, you could have done it there.
      Good luck!

  11. Hi Alyssa, do you have any advice re-entering the UK as a tourist AFTER your tier 5 visa has come to an end? My visa ended in April 2018 but I left earlier due to personal reasons which means I was out of the country for 7 months. I have read mixed reviews and that the possibility of being rejected re-entry as a former visa holder is high. Please let me know if you have personal experience THANKS X (I’m canadian)

    1. I’ve been back several times to visit my partner’s family. The possibility is no higher than usual. As long as you can show you have a return flight, sufficient funds to support your stay, they find no evidence of an intention to do anything besides visiting, and you have no history of overstaying, you should have no problem.

  12. Hi Alyssa,

    I’m struggling because I don’t have a UK address yet, i read your FAQ but I plan to look for a job before I get to the UK with my visa and therefore will be looking for a place depending on where/if I can find a job. I don’t want to book something or just put an address on my application if I am not sure I will be staying in that area as I am afraid it will cause issues later on. Would it be ok to put “to be determined” on the address section of the Visa application or do you suggest just putting in an address even if I don’t know that I will be staying in that area?

    Thanks

  13. Hi Alyssa,

    My Tier 5 visa starts Sept 1st. However I want to arrive two weeks earlier to London (Aug 18th) in order to look for a flat in person. I would enter London as a tourist (I’m Canadian). A couple of questions here:

    1) Could UK immigration deny me entry because i’m arriving before my visa start date?
    2) Is this a valid reason to tell the UK immigration officer?
    3) I read some scary things in other forums saying if I arrive earlier than my UK visa start date I pose the risk that the UK immigration may revoke my visa altogether. Is this true?

    I would like to thank you in advance for answering these questions and for putting together this resourceful website and YMS handbook! Both were super helpful during my application and as well inspirational!

    1. 1) Yes – if they find evidence you intend to start working or otherwise breach the terms of your tourist visa.
      2) Yes. The truth is always valid when it comes to border security.
      3) Not unless they find evidence you misrepresented information on your visa application.

      Hope that helps!

      1. Hi Alyssa. Thanks for the quick response. I have some follow-up questions.

        Am I allowed to search for a flat if I’m in the UK as a tourist?
        Do you think UK immigration would have an issue with me arriving early to flat search?
        Would I have to exit and re-enter the UK on my visa start date?

        1. Yes
          Only if they find evidence of an intent start working prior to the validity dates of your visa
          Depends how early you arrive, but your BRP card may not be ready for pick up.

  14. Is it possible to change the location for picking up the BRP? I’ve been approved for my Tier 5 Visa, but I put a postcode in Cambridge where my sister lives. I’m actually going to be staying in Kent, so I’d like to pick up my BRP from the post office there instead of having to travel to Cambridge for it. Any idea how to arrange this? Should I just call the original post office and get them to forward it down to Kent for me?

  15. Dear Alyssa,

    Thank you for this really helpful website!

    I’ve had my YMS visa approved and my start date will be Sep 25th. I know there’s an answer above for entering UK prior before the start date, but my situation is a little different so I’m hoping that you can answer some of my questions. Thank you!

    I’m holding a Taiwanese passport and we have visa wavier for traveling to UK as tourist under 6 months. Now I’m planning to arrive in London 3-4 weeks prior to my YMS visa start date (Sep 25th) in order to look for flats, getting around the area I’d like to live and work in the future and visiting my friends. Then I plan on leaving London for Paris either by plane or train before my YMS starts (around Sep 17th) to visit the friend who lives there and do some traveling and then re-enter UK (London) on the date of YMS starts (Sept 25th) by plane as I think re-entering through the UK immigration at the airport would be more appropriate to activate my YMS visa (or it has the same validity by train too? ) .

    So I’m wondering:

    1) Is it ok if I arrive earlier for almost a month (3-4 weeks) prior to my YMS start date as a tourist? If so, I’ll book the flight/train tickets for my leave and re-entering dates to prove it to the UK immigration officer.

    2) If I can arrive early as a tourist, besides my leave and re-enter plane/train tickets, do I need to provide other documents such as bank statement?

    3) For leaving London for Paris before my YMS start date, does it matter if I travel by plane or train Or would it be better if I just leave and re-enter London all by the plane?

    4) When I re-enter UK on the date of my YMS starts, do I still need to bring the same bank statement that I included in my submitting documents when I applied for YMS to show it to the UK immigration officer?

    5) If I want to arrive UK prior to YMS start date as a tourist, is it ok if I also tell the UK immigration officer that I hope to have some job interviews first (besides telling them I want to look for flats and visiting friends), so I won’t spend too much time on looking for jobs after my YMS visa starts?

    Sorry if I asked a lot and thank you in advance for answering my questions. I’m kind of stressing as the time is getting close and I know I need to book the flight tickets and everything asap.

    1. Okay, I’ve answered questions just like these before and you’ll get a better one if you just read through the comments………

      1) Yes. 2) Maybe. 3) No. 4) No. 5) Just don’t tell them shit they don’t ask and if they do ask tell the truth.

      But I’m pretty sure I’ve made it clear somewhere that you no longer need to leave and come back if you arrive beforehand, because of the BRP card. You simply will not be able to start working.

  16. Hi,

    Do you know of any companies that will help us apply for this visa? We are in a unique situation as my partner turns 31 in September of this year. I’m not sure how that works with the travel/arrival dates. I.e. if we apply b4 he turns 31, can we still travel by January 2019… In short i’m very confused

    Thanks,
    Alanna

    1. There’s literally nothing to be confused about if you’ve read the posts and taken the time to understand them because your situation is not unique. Literally dozens of people have been in the same circumstance and commented on these posts. You can Google the companies.

  17. Hi Alyssa,

    I sent you a previous question but I realize it wasn’t very clear so i’m going to try again…. Myself and my partner are planning on moving to England in 2019. I have dual citizenship but he does not so he needs a visa. He turns 31 on September 10th 2018 so we are getting in just under the wire. I guess I have 2 questions
    1) Does the start date need to be before he turns 31? i.e. can we make the start date November 2018.
    2) If not (I suspect we can’t), if we put a start/arrival date of September 1st,… can we arrive by January 15th without issue (under the 6 months)

    Thanks in advance,
    Alana

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