Updated July 2023

A Guide for Canadians Applying for the UK Youth Mobility Visa

Do you want to learn how to apply for a UK visa from Canada? 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! This article explains exactly how to apply for a UK visa from Canada, with a step by step guide explaining how it all works! so lets dive in.

Applying for the UK Youth Mobility Visa

In order to live and work in the United Kingdom, you must obtain a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme Visa. Before you begin, we recommend reading this blog post What Canadians Need to Know About a UK Working Holiday 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.

Step 1: Prepare your Documents

Step 2: Complete the Online Application

Step 3: Apply for the UK National Health Service

Step 4: Submit your UK Youth Mobility Application

Step 5: Book your Visa Application Appointment

Final Step: Collect your Biometric UK Residence Permit

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 with our UK Working Holiday Programs.

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 programs also include assistance with setting up your UK bank account, UK sim card, National Insurance Number, and UK health care. In addition, we give 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!

Can you guess what series Ireland's iconic Dark Hedges featured in?

Important Information to Know Before Applying for the UK Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa

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 visa 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? Keep reading on to find out how to apply for a UK visa from Canada!

Imagine spending your evenings with this view.

Step 1: Prepare your Documents

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.

Credit card

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.

UK address

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. Read on for step 2 for

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.

Step 2: Complete the Online Application

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.

Travel history

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.

Step 3: Apply for the UK National Health Service

Since you will no longer be a resident of Canada, you will not be covered by the Canadian healthcare system. When travelling outside of Canada, you would normally need to purchase insurance to cover unforeseen international medical expenses. However, in the UK, the government requires working holidaymakers to register for the UK National Health Services (NHS) – just as the rest of the UK population does. This step for how to apply for a UK visa from Canada is extreemly important and cant be missed!

Even if you are already insured, you are still required to apply to NHS if you want to live and work in the UK.

NHS Fees

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 travelling 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.

Step 4: Submit your Youth Mobility Visa UK 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! Read step 5 for how to apply for a UK visa from Canada.

Taking in the green rolling hills in the UK countryside.

Step 5: Book your Youth Mobility Visa UK Application Appointment

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:

  • Edmonton, AB
  • Halifax, NS
  • Ottawa, ON
  • St. John’s, NL
  • Toronto, ON
  • Vancouver, BC

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).

Supporting documents

You will also have to submit your supporting documents with all the 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. Next up is step 6 for how to apply for a UK visa from Canada.

In the UK, no one lives more than 130 km from the seashore. How close will you be?

Getting help

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 to 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.

Receive your Visa!

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.

Final Step: Collect your Biometric UK Residence Permit

The final step for how to apply for a UK visa from Canada needs to be completed upon your arrival in the UK. Once you arrive 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)!

Let Stepabroad help you get started on your adventure in the UK – like Cassandra from Vancouver!

How do you get set up in the UK?

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!

Get Started!

Want to hear more about how Stepabroad can help you get the UK Youth Mobility Visa through our UK Working Holiday Programs?

Fill in the form below and a member of our team will be in touch to answer all your questions!

UK Youth Mobility Visa FAQ's

How many times can you get a youth mobility visa?

The UK Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) allows individuals to apply for a visa only once during their lifetime. Once granted a UK Youth Mobility visa and after utilizing the permitted period of stay in the country, reapplication for the visa is not possible. Typically valid for around two years, the visa cannot be extended beyond its designated duration.

Can you stay in the UK after Youth Mobility visa expires?

Once your Youth Mobility visa expires, you must leave the UK unless you acquire another visa or permission to stay from UK immigration authorities. The Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) visa is designed for young individuals from certain countries to live and work in the UK temporarily, typically for two years. After the visa expires, you’re obliged to depart unless you secure an alternative visa or permission through a different immigration pathway. Adhering to UK immigration rules and regulations is vital to avoid any legal complications.

Is it easy to get a UK youth mobility visa?

Obtaining a Youth Mobility visa can be a relatively straightforward process if you meet the eligibility criteria and provide the required documentation. However, the ease of obtaining the visa may vary depending on individual circumstances and the specific requirements of the country you are applying from.

Can I renew youth mobility visa in UK?

No, it is not possible to renew a Youth Mobility visa in the UK. The Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) visa is a one-time opportunity, and once it expires, you cannot extend or renew it. The visa is valid for a specific period, typically two years, and once that period ends, you are expected to leave the country.

What is the total cost of youth mobility visa UK?

Approximately $1420 CAD total (depending on currency exchange). The application itself costs around $420. All application centres (besides Toronto) charge about $100 CAD for an appointment to submit your application. Additionally, you will need to pay the NHS fee which is $1000 CAD for 2 years and is mandatory for all visa participants.

What is a tier 2 uk work visa?

The Tier 2 visa, also called the General Work Visa, is for skilled non-EEA workers with a job offer from a licensed UK employer. It requires a job offer, employer sponsorship, and meeting skill and salary criteria. The visa is granted for longer periods and can potentially lead to settling in the UK.