UK Working Holiday Visa: What Canadians Need to Know

Are you a Canadian citizen wanting to live in the UK? The great news is with the UK Working Holiday Visa, you can! The working holiday visa is a type of work permit that eligible youth can obtain to live and work in the UK for up to two years. That includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland! The UK actually has a more specific name for their working holiday visa, so you may already know it as the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa.

Stepabroad has helped many Canadians get started on life-changing working holiday experiences in the UK. We are experts on the entire working holiday application process for the UK. It’s a fairly complex one and we get asked a lot of questions. In order to give you a better understanding of how the UK’s Working Holiday Visa works, we are answering some of the most common questions. Let’s jump in!

What is the Working Holiday Visa for the UK?

The UK Working Holiday Visa is a permit that allows you to stay in the UK for longer than a tourist. It also allows you to work during your stay and earn money. The working holiday visa is part of a youth mobility agreement between Canada and the UK. This agreement allows Canadian youth the opportunity to experience living and working in the UK – and vice versa. Hence the name Youth Mobility Visa!

Is there an age limit for the UK Working Holiday Visa?

Yes, this visa is specifically for youth so applicants must be between 18 and 30 years old inclusively. This means you have until your 31st birthday to apply for the visa. You can only apply as far as 6 months in advance of your intended entry to the UK. For those near the age limit, you do not have to enter the UK before you turn 31 – but you must apply before you are 31. If you have passed your 31st birthday, unfortunately, you are not eligible to apply for the UK Working Holiday Visa. You may be eligible for another type of visa which you can read more about here.

How do I get a Working Holiday Visa for the UK?

Good question! There are a few stages involved in the UK Working Holiday Visa application process. The first stage is completed online; you will need to correctly fill in the online application form, then apply for UK Health Care, and upload valid supporting documents.

For the second stage, you must make an appointment to visit a UK Visa Application Centre (VAC) in either St. John’s, Halifax, Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton or Vancouver. During this appointment, you will be required to submit additional documentation and have your biometrics taken.

The last stage is completed after you arrive in the UK. You will need to pick up your biometrics residence report within 10 days of entering the country. This will be your official work permit since your visa that you entered the country with will expire after 30 days.

We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to the UK Working Holiday Visa application that breaks down the process in more detail. Since the application process is complex and the UK Embassy does not offer any assistance, you may consider using Stepabroad’s professional services. Our friendly experts make sure you do not miss any critical steps in the application process. Our team will ensure that you complete the application correctly, and submit valid supporting documents. On top of that, your advisor is available the entire time to answer all of your questions.

If my UK Visa application gets rejected, will I be refunded the application fee?

Unfortunately, if your visa is rejected for any reason you will not be refunded the visa application fee. This amounts to approximately $415 CAD plus $100 CAD for the in-person appointment.

If you are interested in using our expert services to help ensure your visa application is completed correctly, saving yourself time and money, check out our UK Working Holiday Send-Off package for Canadians. Our team will also help you prepare for living in the UK once your visa has been granted – including resources for finding accommodation and a job!

Do I have to work while using the UK Working Holiday Visa?

You don’t have to work at all while in the UK on this visa. You may choose to simply travel, or volunteer. However, if you don’t plan to work, be sure to have plenty of savings set aside for your trip. You may find after a while you want to help offset the cost of living and travelling in the UK. This is why the working holiday visa is so great.

Can I work in the UK without a visa?

You cannot work in the UK without a proper work permit. Therefore, if you enter the UK as a tourist you are not allowed to work. There a several types of visas you can get that allow you to work, however, not all of them are easy to obtain. The Working Holiday Visa is the easiest option to work in the UK without having to find an employer or British family members to sponsor you. You can only do a working holiday in the UK for a limited period of time in your life – so don’t pass it up!

What are the work restrictions as a Canadian in the UK?

There are no restrictions regarding hours you can work or your length of employment in the UK – which is great! With the exception of a sports coach, dentist or doctor-in-training, you can work in any job, and in any field. Whether you choose to pursue work in your career field or try out something completely new, remember that the purpose of a working holiday is to support your adventure abroad with a job to help you experience a new culture. We recommend finding a job you enjoy to fund your time in the UK, after all – it’s all about the experience!

How do I find a job in the UK?

In addition to visa assistance, our UK Working Holiday Send-Off package also provides support and resources for finding a job in the UK. Our team will help enhance your resume to ensure that your application stands out and you land a job faster. We also help you with other things necessary for working in the UK such as opening a bank account, obtaining a National Insurance Number and getting a UK phone number (we send you a free sim card). Prior to your departure, we also provide a one-on-one video call orientation where you will be equipped with tons of information needed to begin living, working, and travelling in the UK.

If you prefer to have your job and accommodation secured before you arrive in the UK, then our UK Camp Job program may be just what you are looking for!

Where are your camps located in the UK?

The answer is all over the UK! We have 12 different locations across England, Wales and Scotland. The camps are located in the beautiful countryside near a forest or even the seaside. With the UK’s great rail system you’re never far from a bustling city centre.

How long can I live in the UK?

Canadians can live and work in the UK for up to two years on a working holiday. The price of the Working Holiday Visa is the same regardless if you want to stay in the UK for 3 months or two years.

Because of the length of this visa, many of our participants do our UK Camp Job Program for a summer, return to university for a year, and then go back the next summer on the same visa. We don’t charge anything extra to do our camp program for a second summer season!

How long does it take to apply?

The timing varies greatly from case to case. After you have submitted your online application you must attend an in-person appointment. Getting an appointment time slot can take anywhere between one and four weeks. Following your in-person appointment, it takes approximately three weeks for consular officials to process your application – as long as everything is correct and you have valid supporting documents. In all, we recommend beginning your application anywhere from six to three months before your intended departure from Canada.

Unfortunately, if your visa application is rejected you are not allowed to “fix” your application. Instead, you have to apply and pay all over again – ouch! If you use our professional services you will have confidence in your visa application being accepted. An added bonus is that you also have our team to answer any questions along the way!

What documents do I need to apply?

To apply for the UK Working Holiday Visa you will first need to fill out the online application form, apply for the UK’s National Health Insurance, and submit supporting documents (travel documents and proof of support funds). The documents are essential to ensure your application is approved. This is why our Work & Travel Advisors review all your documents before you submit them. Once you submit your documents you cannot update or change them – so it is very important that everything is done correctly the first time.

In addition, you will need to attend the in-person appointment. You will need to bring your passport, completed application form, national health insurance confirmation and the confirmation email of your appointment.

Once you arrive in the UK you will have ten days to collect your biometrics residence permit. We’ve broken it all down in our detailed step-by-step guide to the UK Youth Mobility Visa.

As a Canadian, what other countries can I do a working holiday in?

Lucky for you, as a Canadian you can get working holiday visas to over 30 different countries! So many options! To read the entire list of countries where you can live and work, check out our post on the countries where Canadians can do a working holiday.

I’m ready! How do I apply for the UK Working Holiday Visa?

Check out our step-by-step guide for more information on applying for the UK Working Holiday Visa.

For expert assistance to ensure that you correctly complete your visa application, check out our UK Working Holiday Programs for Canadians. We’ll also receive a personal orientation conducted via video call before you depart. The orientation covers how to navigate finding a job, a place to live, setting up a bank account, mobile phone, getting a biometrics residence card, filing taxes and much more!

Want to Know More?

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