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Youth Mobility Scheme Visa

If you are a young foreign national and you want to live and study in the UK, you may be eligible for the Youth Mobility Scheme visa.

For more information about the services we offer, and for help with your UK visa application, reach out to one of our trusted legal advisers today on 0333 305 9375, or contact us online.


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    What is the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa?

    The Youth Mobility Scheme allows young people from participating countries or territories to experience life in the UK for up to two years.

    If you’re granted a visa, you will be able to work in most jobs and study in the UK for the duration of your visa’s validity. You may also be self-employed, under certain conditions.

    You will also be free to leave and re-enter the UK at any time during your stay.

    However, the UK Youth Mobility Visa cannot be extended and you cannot bring any dependents with you to the UK on this visa.

    What Can I Do With a Youth Mobility Scheme Visa?

    If you’re granted a Youth Mobility Scheme Visa, you will be able to:

    • Study
      • You may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate if you’re intending to study in a course related to the development or delivery of weapons of mass destruction
    • Work in most jobs
    • Be self-employed and set up a company, as long as:
      • Your premises are rented
      • Your equipment is not worth more than £5,000
      • You do not have any employees

    You will not be able to:

    • Work as a professional sportsperson
    • Extend your stay beyond the allocated two years
    • Access public funds
    • Bring family members, such as dependents, with you on the same application
      • If you wish to bring family members with you, they must apply separately

    If you intend to work as a sportsperson in the UK, you may instead be eligible for a dedicated Sportsperson visa.

    What Are the Eligibility Requirements for the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa?

    In order to to be eligible for the Youth Mobility Scheme visa, you must:

    • Be aged 18 to 30 at the time of application (or aged 18 to 35 if you’re from New Zealand. Australian applicants aged 18 to 35 will also be able to apply from 31 January 2024).
    • Be from one of the eligible countries:
      • Australia
      • Canada
      • Japan
      • Monaco
      • Hong Kong
      • Iceland
      • India
      • New Zealand
      • San Marino
      • South Korea
      • Taiwan
    • Have funds of at least £2,530 in your bank account, which you must have had for 28 days in a row within the 31 days before your application
    • Not fall under the UK government’s grounds for refusal policies

    You may also apply if you are a:

    • British overseas citizen
    • British overseas territories citizen
    • British national (overseas)

    You will not be eligible for the YMS visa if:

    • You have children under 18 who live with you
    • Children who are financially dependent on you
    • You have entered the UK while under the scheme before

    Note that in order to be eligible for the scheme, you must apply for it within 6 months of the date of your visit to the UK.

    What Are the Country-Specific Requirements for the Youth Mobility Visa?

    If you’re applying from Australia, Canada, Monaco or New Zealand, there are no additional eligibility criteria for you to follow.

    However, other countries in the scheme have specific requirements that youth mobility scheme applicants will need to follow.

    • Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan:
      • You must be issued with an invitation to apply to the scheme and submit your application within the time limit specified in the invitation
    • San Marino:
      • You must provide a letter confirming that you’re a suitable candidate for the scheme from the Directorate of Political and Diplomatic Affairs of the Republic of San Marino Department of Foreign Affairs. It must have been issued no more than 6 months before the date of application.
    • Iceland:
      • You must provide a Criminal Certificate for Private Use that has been issued no more than 6 months before the date of application.
    • India:
      • You must:
        • Be issued with an invitation to apply to the scheme and submit your application within the time limit specified in the invitation
        • Provide the unique application number for that invitation to apply
        • provide a local police certificate or a police clearance certificate that has been issued no more than 6 months before the date of application
        • Either have a minimum of 3 years’ work experience in a professional role equivalent to an eligible occupation listed in the Skilled Occupations list, or:
        • Hold a qualification equal to or above RQF level 6

    What is the Youth Mobility Scheme Ballot?

    If you’re applying for the scheme from Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea or Taiwan, you must first be selected in the Youth Mobility Scheme Ballot.

    The ballot usually opens in January and July each year. Most applicants are usually chosen in the January ballot and the remaining applicants selected in the July ballot.

    The ballots are open for 48 hours at a time. Applicants must send an email during this window to enter.

    Your email must be written in English. The subject line of your email must include your:

    • Name
    • Date of birth
    • Passport number

    The subject line must be written in the following format: Lastname Firstname – DD/MM/YYYY – passport number.

    The body of the email must include your:

    • Name
    • Date of birth
    • Passport number
    • Mobile phone number

    If You’re Successful in the Ballot

    You will receive an email if you’ve been selected for the scheme through the ballot.

    Once you receive your email, you will have 30 days to submit your application and pay the fees.

    After you’ve paid, you will then have 90 days in which to book an appointment at your nearest visa application centre. This is where you’ll have to provide your biometrics information in the form of fingerprints and a photograph of yourself.

    You will then receive a decision on your visa within 30 days of attending your appointment. If your application is successful, you will have 90 days to enter the UK.

    If you’re unable to travel to the UK within 90 days, you’ll need to apply for an extension.

    If You’re Unsuccessful in the Ballot

    You will receive an email within two weeks of the ballot closing notifying you that you have been unsuccessful.

    You will be eligible to apply when the next ballot opens, as long as you still meet the eligibility requirements.

    How Can I Apply for the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa?

    You must apply for the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa online.

    You will be asked to fill in the online application form, upload the relevant documents and pay the visa application fee.

    As part of your application, you will need to provide the following documents:

    • A valid passport
    • A bank statement showing you have at least £2,530 in savings
    • Your tuberculosis (TB) test results if you’re from one of the following countries:
      • Hong Kong
      • India
      • South Korea

    You will also have to prove your identity as part of your application. You will either:

    • Have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre (for a biometric residence permit)
    • Use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document

    You will be notified of which one you will have to do when you apply.

    What are the Fees and Processing Times for the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa?

    A Youth Mobility Scheme Visa costs £298 to obtain.

    In addition, you will have to pay a yearly National Health Service surcharge. This is usually around £776 per year.

    You must also have at least £2,530 in personal savings to be eligible for the scheme.

    Applications for the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa are usually processed within three weeks.

    How Can IAS Help?

    At IAS, we understand how complex it can be to understand which visa category is best for you. Whatever your circumstance or profession, the expert lawyers at IAS can help you. We will answer all your questions and guide you through each stage of your enquiry or application process. IAS will maximise your chances of a successful Youth Mobility Scheme application.

    Our services include assessing your eligibility for a Youth Mobility visa, checking your documents to ensure they are sufficient for your application, and helping you to complete each part of your application form to the highest standard. We can even liaise with the Home Office for you during your application process to ensure that the process goes smoothly, keeping you updated every step of the way.

    To discuss your eligibility for the Youth Mobility Scheme, or to find out about the other services we can offer, call us today on 0333 305 9375, or contact us online.

    We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    Each country has its own quota of open places for the scheme:

    Country Number of Places
    Australia 30,000
    Canada 6,000
    Hong Kong 1,000
    Iceland 1,000
    India 3,000
    Japan 1,500
    Monaco 1,000
    New Zealand 13,000
    Republic of Korea 1,000
    San Marino 1,000
    Taiwan 1,000

    British overseas citizens, British overseas territories citizens and British nationals (overseas) are not subject to a limit on how many people can apply to the scheme.

    As the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa only provides entry clearance and not permission to stay, it is only open to applicants from outside of the UK.

    The Youth Mobility scheme visa can only be extended if you’re from New Zealand. Australian nationals will also be able to extend their visa from 31 January 2024.

    If you’re eligible, you will be able to extend your visa by one year when you’ve spent full two years in the UK with it. You can only extend your visa once.

    Extending a Youth Mobility Scheme visa costs £298. You will also have to pay the immigration healthcare surcharge.

    For other applicants, you may be able to apply for other UK visas during your stay if you wish to extend your stay in the UK.

    These include:

    • Ancestry Visa – if you have a grandparent who was born in the UK. This visa allows you to live and work in the UK once returned as the application cannot be done in the UK.
    • Skilled Worker Visa– during the two years in the UK if you were able to receive a  job offer from a UK Sponsor, then you can apply for a Skilled Worker Visa.
    • Ancestry Dependant Visa – this applies if you are married to an Ancestry Visa holder. Consequently, if they qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) you will also be eligible to apply.
    • Spouse Visa – if you are married to someone who has settled status in the UK or is a British Citizen, then you can apply for this visa.

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