For those seeking a path to UK immigration, there are a number of options to take when it comes to securing a visa and having the rights for length of stay and the ability to study or work and so on. One of those options if the Youth Mobility Scheme visa, which offers a range of features for medium-term stays in the United Kingdom.

What does the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa offer?

The main advantage of the Youth Mobility Scheme visa is that it allows the holder to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years, and within that period can be used for multiple trips in and out of the UK without losing those benefits. As long as the visa is valid, you can arrive in the UK, live and work. 

The visa allows you to work in most jobs, including giving you the ability to work self-employed and set up a company as long as the premises are rented, you do not take on any employees and your equipment is valued at £5000 or less.

You can also study at an educational institution, although for some courses you will require an Academic Technological Approval Scheme Certificate, which covers post graduate study or research in what are considered sensitive subjects.

Sensitive subjects include courses where knowledge gained could be used to aid the development of Advanced Conventional Military Technology (ACMT) or weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) or their means of delivery.

Under the Youth Mobility Scheme visa, you may not work as a professional sportsperson, including being an athlete or coach, claim any public funds or bring family members to the UK with you. In addition, you can only use this visa scheme once, and the visa cannot be extended to lengthen your stay. 

Who is eligible for a Youth Mobility Scheme Visa?

UK immigration features a number of different visa schemes aimed at different age groups, for those working or studying and so on. As such, it is important to make sure that you apply to a visa scheme that not only offers the right benefits, but that you are eligible for.

The Youth Mobility Scheme visa is open for anyone aged 18 to 30 years of age, has £2,530 in savings, and are from one of the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Monaco
  • New Zealand
  • San Marino

In addition, if you are any of the below, you can also apply for a Youth Mobility Scheme visa:

  • British Overseas Citizen
  • British Overseas Territories Citizen
  • British National (Overseas)

Finally, if you are from the following countries you can apply to the youth mobility scheme ballot and, if selected, apply for the visa:

  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan

The ballot is held twice a year, normally in January and again in July, and are open for 48 hours. You enter the ballot via email during that time, and it is important to make sure you can meet all the other eligibility requirements before entering the ballot. This is an additional step for those applicants in these four countries, it does not replace the other eligibility criteria.

Remember, if you are a British Overseas Citizen, British Overseas Territories Citizen or British National (Overseas) residing in Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea or Taiwan, you do not have to enter the ballot.

Regarding the other eligibility requirements, you will need to prove you have the required £2,530 in your bank account, and you must show it has been available for at least 28 days in a row. If you turn 31 years of age while in the UK on the Youth Mobility Scheme visa, you are able to stay for the duration of the visa.


Importantly, even if you meet all the criteria for eligibility for the Visa, you will not be eligible if you also have:

  • Children under the age of 18 who live with you
  • Children you’re financially responsible for
  • Already been in the UK under the scheme

Applying for a Youth Mobility Scheme Visa

You can apply for the Youth Mobility Scheme visa up to 6 months before you travel, with the application process taking around 3 weeks in total. The good news is that you can apply entirely online, making it a relatively easy process, but you will need to pay an application fee of £244, and a healthcare surcharge, which is usually £470 per year, but can vary depending on specifics, you can check in advance how much that will be. 

Aside from the fees and proof of your savings, there are a number of other documents you will need to provide when applying for the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa. Get them all together before applying to make the whole thing much easier to do.

The basic list of documents is:
  • A valid passport or other state issued document that confirms your identity and nationality
  • Your bank statement to confirm the £2,530 in savings
  • If you are from a country that requires it, your Tuberculosis (TB) test results

If any of the documents to be submitted are not in English or Welsh language, you will need to provide a certified translation of each one.

In addition to the required documents, you will also need a blank page in your passport for the visa to be added.

Depending on circumstances, further documents may be required to confirm either identity or eligibility, these will be identified and requested as part of the application process.


Allowing a short-term ability to live, work, study and even start a business in the UK, the Youth Mobility Scheme visa offers a lot for anyone between 18 and 30 years of age thinking about UK immigration. However, while there are obvious benefits to this visa, it is a one-time only offer that cannot be extended, and so it is important to think about what you will do after the two years when the visa expires.

If you are eligible, it does offer a fantastic option that gives flexibility to your life in the UK and could be the ideal option for trying life in the country.

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