Are you a Canadian citizen wanting to live and work in the UK? With its historic architecture, rolling green hills, modern fashion, and iconic sights – we don’t blame you! However, before you move to the UK, you will need to apply for a UK Working Holiday Visa, also known as the UK Youth Mobility Visa (Tier 5). The UK Youth Mobility Visa gives you the chance to experience life in the UK like a local while making money to cover your travel and living expenses. Instead of spending all of your savings traveling – you can actually make money!
In order to live and work in the United Kingdom, you must obtain a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme Visa. We’ve put together an overview of how to apply for the UK Tier 5 Visa as a Canadian passport holder. Scroll down for the step-by-step process, or click the links below to skip through the steps.
While we hope this blog post will be helpful for visa applicants, it can be tricky to navigate all the steps of obtaining a working holiday visa and getting a job in a foreign country. Lucky for you, Stepabroad offers Canadians direct assistance through each step of the visa application in our UK Send Off Package.
Stepabroad is recognized by the Government of Canada as an official organization whose services Canadians can use for work and travel support while planning their working holiday.
Our Send Off Package also includes assistance with setting up your UK bank account, UK sim card, National Insurance Number, and UK health care. In addition, this package includes an informative orientation before leaving Canada with a guide containing resources for finding a job in your desired industry. We can even arrange a job for you before you even arrive in the UK with our UK Camp Job Program!
Visa processing time: About one month from the date that you submit your application in person. We recommend starting your application at least 3 months before your departure date. If you are not using our services, we recommend beginning your application sooner.
Cost of application: Approximately $420 CAD (depending on currency exchange). All application centres (besides Toronto) charge about $100 CAD for an appointment to submit your application.
Application method: You need to apply both online and in-person at your nearest visa application centre.
Visa specifics: You can only obtain the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa for the UK once in your lifetime. This visa is valid for up to 24 months from your date of entry to the UK. It is a multi-entry vias so you can leave the UK and come back as you please while your visa is valid – so you can visit Paris, Rome or Barcelona for the weekend and come back! Sounds amazing, doesn’t it?
The first step is to prepare all the information you need to submit the visa application. This includes collecting the following documents:
Please ensure you have your current passport as well as any previous passports (if you still have them) when you fill in the UK Youth Mobility Visa online application.
Make sure you have a credit card ready so that you can pay the visa application fee once you complete the online visa application form. You may want to consider contacting your bank to let them know you are applying for this visa so the foreign charge is not flagged or denied.
Proof of funds
You will need to prove that you have at least £1,890 of accessible funds for your application to be accepted. This is NOT how much the visa costs, this is just so that the government knows you have enough money to support yourself while you look for a job and get settled in the UK.
IMPORTANT: if your financial documents do not include all of the mandatory fields, your application WILL BE REJECTED and you will not be refunded your application fee. If you are using Stepabroad’s assistance, we will review your documents to ensure they meet all of the required credentials before you submit them.
Determine which visa application center you will visit
There are only 6 centers in Canada that process UK visa applications. They are located in Edmonton, Halifax, Ottawa, St. Johns, Toronto, and Vancouver. If there is no visa application centre in your city, you must travel to one of these locations.
You will have to provide a UK address in your Youth Mobility Visa application because your biometrics report will be sent to the UK post office closest to that address. Your biometrics report is a very important document that you are required to pick up within 10 days of arriving in the UK.
If you don’t have a UK address yet Stepabroad can assist you with this section of the application during the visa orientation provided in our UK Send Off Package.
To begin the application visit the UK Immigration Services website.
Register for an account
You will need to register for an account before you can begin the online application. After creating your account, you will be sent an email and will need to click the link in the email to verify your account details.
Log in & fill out the application
Once your account has been verified you can return to the visa application page and log in to access the UK Youth Mobility Visa application. It is very important here to read each question carefully and correctly because one mistake could result in your application being rejected. If your application is rejected you do not receive a refund for your visa application fee.
As part of Stepabroad’s services, you will have a personal visa consultation where we walk you through the entire online visa application and help you answer each question to ensure it is filled out correctly.
During the visa application, you will have to list every country that you have visited in the past ten years (this includes the UK and USA) and the dates of each visit. Therefore, we recommend that you write out this list before you begin the visa application process or have your past passports on hand to refer to.
Since you will no longer be a resident of Canada, you will not be covered by the Canadian healthcare system. When traveling outside of Canada, you would normally need to purchase insurance to cover unforeseen international medical expenses. However, in the UK, the government requires working holiday makers to register for the UK National Health Services (NHS) – just as the rest of the UK population does.
You cannot proceed further in your Youth Mobility Visa application until you have paid for NHS. Unfortunately, the UK government makes you pay for your NHS for the entire validity of the visa whether you use it or not. This means you must pay for your healthcare for the full two years upfront – costing about $1,000 CAD. When you break it down by month it’s not so bad, costing you about $42/month. To calculate the exact amount you will be required to pay for your NHS, fill in this questionnaire. During Stepabroad’s visa consultation, your Work & Travel Advisor will go into more detail about applying for NHS and answer all of your questions about what is covered by your NHS payment.
The good news is that you do not need to purchase travel medical insurance. However, if you plan on traveling outside of the UK during your working holiday, you will need to purchase travel insurance. Our team can recommend some affordable travel insurance options for you!
If your visa application is denied for any reason, your NHS payment will be refunded.
Note: You must complete the NHS registration and payment in less than 30 minutes and then return to the online immigration application.
Only once you have registered and paid the NHS fee you can return to your UK Youth Mobility Visa application. You will then need to pay the visa application fee (about $420 CAD depending on the exchange rate).
Review your application thoroughly before paying to ensure that you made NO MISTAKES and have filled in everything correctly. After you submit your application you cannot make any changes. If you get denied you will not be given a refund for the application fee. Ouch!
After submitting your online application, you will then need to book your in-person appointment at the visa application center here.
Make sure to book in advance because some visa application centres in Canada are only open once a month. The following are all of the locations you can go to in order to complete the final step of the UK Youth Mobility visa application:
Each location, with the exception of Toronto, charges a fee of about $100 CAD for an appointment.
Depending on the location, expect to wait when you arrive. Even though you will likely have to wait, we still advise that you show up 15 minutes early because the last thing you will want is to miss your appointment. If you do miss your appointment you will have to reschedule for another day and pay again.
During this appointment, you will get your biometrics taken. What are biometrics you ask? They are biological measurements, or physical characteristics, that are used to digitally identity you (ie. fingerprints and retina scans).
You will also have to submit your supporting documents with all required information. If you are a Stepabroad participant, we will review your supporting documents and help you submit them beforehand – saving you the $200 fee the visa application centre will charge you to upload them on the day of your appointment.
The visa application centre only processes visas and does not provide customer support – making it difficult to get information from them. Because these visa application centres are run by a private company and not the UK government, they will charge you for every email or phone call that you make to ask a question.
As part of all of Stepabroad’s Working Holiday Programs, we provide Canadians with step-by-step visa application assistance and are always on hand to answer any questions. Wondering just how helpful we are? See for yourself in our Google Reviews.
We also provide an abundance of other services such as bank account set-up, international money transfer, phone plans and resources to help you move the UK. We are trusted by UK employers because of the amount of Canadians that use our services to successfully get their UK Youth Mobility Visa applications approved.
If you have followed our instructions and completed the application correctly, within a few weeks you should receive your passport back. When you open it up you will have a fresh UK Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa sticker inside with your picture on it – yay!
But don’t get too excited… you’re not done yet.
Once you arrive in the UK you will have just 10 days to collect your biometric residence permit (BRP). The BRP trumps your visa sticker and is what will actually allow you to live and work in the UK.
If you do not pick up your biometrics card you can be fined up to £1000 (about $1,700 CAD)!
If you are looking for assistance getting set up in the UK then our UK Send Off Package is just what you are looking for. We will assist you with your job and accommodation search, bank account set-up, send you a UK sim card before you even leave Canada, and prepare you with everything you need to know for your move to the UK.
If you want your job and accommodation secured before you even set foot in the UK, check out our UK Camp Job Program where you can work at an outdoor activity camp in the beautiful English countryside. It’s like a summer camp that is open year-round, excluding December & January.
No matter what your plans are in the UK, we take the stress out of moving abroad so you can focus on your upcoming adventures!
Disclaimer: No Legal Advice Provided.
The material on our website and on this webpage is intended to provide only general information and comment to our clients and the public. Although we make our best efforts to ensure that the information found on our website is accurate and timely, do not, under any circumstances, rely on information found on our website as legal or immigration advice. Nor do we guarantee the accuracy of any information contained on websites to which our website provides links to. For assistance with your specific inquiry or problem, please contact an immigration consultant or call the nearest UK visa application centre.
Tessa is the Program Development Manager at Stepabroad and a travel lover at heart. Her passion for travel started during a summer in university when she moved to New Zealand on a Working Holiday. She was immediately hooked and since then has lived in Europe and Asia and backpacked through more than 40 countries.