canadian passport, uk youth mobility visa, work in the UK
Photo courtesy of James Nord

About This Guide

This is a step-by-step guide to applying for a Tier 5 YMS visa for the UK, while located outside the UK.

If you’re reading this post, I suspect you’re considering or are in the process of applying for your Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa for the United Kingdom. Welcome! Before we get started, please have a look at my Disclaimer page.

Last Updated: 7 Jan 2020

The Essential Youth Mobility Visa Handbook
 Why waste time sifting through 10 different resources when you can get it all in one place? The Essential Youth Mobility Visa Handbook: Everything Canadians Need to Know about Getting the Visa and Moving to the UK contains 56 pages of useful information that will help you make your dream of moving abroad a reality!

Get it now!


  • Canadian Citizen
  • Age 18-30 (you can apply at 17, but you must be 18 on or before the visa start date; you can move to UK at 31, as long as you were 30 on the date of the application)
  • No dependents (children under 18 either living with you or for whom you are financially responsible)
  • A minimum of the equivalent £1890 (~ $3220 as of January 2020) in your bank account
  • Not currently in the UK

You can apply for this visa if you are not in Canada, as long as you are legally allowed to stay in that country for more than six months and there is a UK Border Agency where you can have a biometric appointment. For example, you are in Australia on the working holiday scheme for one year, then you may apply from Australia and attend your biometric appointment in Sydney.

British High Commission in Ottawa
British High Commission in Ottawa | Photo courtesy of ukincanada

How to Apply for the UK Youth Mobility Visa in Canada

This Official Guidance Document will give you information on all of the requirements for your documents as well as the limitations on the work you may do. Read it twice, if not three times.

Once you’ve done that, Apply Online Here.

What You Need:

  • Current passport and all previous passports (if you have them)
  • Dates of all international travel, including travel to the UK
  • Birth dates and birthplaces of your parents
  • Accurate UK postcode to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (your permanent work/residence permit)
  • Credit card to process payment for Visa Fee, Immigration Health Surcharge, and User Pay office (if applicable)
  • Your proof of funds (do it now and you won’t have to worry later! 🙂 )


1.  Gather the information needed and fill out the application. If you run into information you don’t have – don’t lie! Save the form and get it, or tell the truth (e.g. you lost it, you don’t know, etc.). Make sure your name is filled out exactly as it appears on your passport. I failed to put my middle names on the application, which I was able to amend at my appointment.

2.  Fill out the intended date of arrival as accurately as possible. The vignette you receive in your passport is only an entry visa, so you must enter the UK within 30 days of that date or apply for a transfer of visa. See the FAQ for details on the Biometric Residence Permit and the temporary vignette.

3.  For the international trips – visiting the USA counts even though there may be no stamps in your passport if you went by car. Put the trips you remember and explain in the comments section at the end of the application. If you forget a trip, don’t sweat! Just mention it in your appointment.

4.  Make the payment. The fee for this visa is £244. It is charged in USD because the visa processing office is in New York.

5.  You will be directed to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, which is £300. You must complete the payment and return to the application page within 30 minutes. This link has all of the documents you will need to hand to make the payment.

6.  Print out your completed application. Confirm all the information is correct and sign and date where necessary. Write your IHS number on the front page.

7.  You will be directed to the VFS Global website to book an appointment at their office in Toronto. Choose the date and time that is convenient for you. If you are not in Toronto, other offices include User Pay Offices in Edmonton, St John’s, Vancouver, Halifax and Ottawa.* There is a $100 USD fee to use these Offices. Print out the appointment confirmation notice.

** Halifax and St John’s User Pay Offices are only open one or two days a month. Be sure to take this into account when applying. **

The Visa Appointment

I should point out that this is officially what is required – I do not have experience with the VFS Global application service, as I used a Worldbridge office when I applied. Please refer to the comments if you would like to know about other people’s experiences with VFS Global.

What You Need:

When you attend your appointment, you should bring:

Information and Documents 

  • Current passport. It needs to be valid for at least 6 months but your BRP card will be your permanent visa (so you have to keep it on you at all times!).
  • Proof of funds dated within 30 days prior to the date of application. Refer to the Official Guidance Document above for specifics. For this visa, you need to have the minimum maintenance amount on or anytime within the 30 days before the date of application. Here are some examples of what this means:
    • A hard copy bank statement showing the balance received before your application (no older than a month);
    • A letter from your bank on official letterhead stating your balance on the date of your application;
    • A print-out of your bank summary from the date of your application showing your balance with an official stamp from your bank.
This is the same kind of Account Summary I had printed a few days BEFORE I applied for the YMS visa. Note the stamp and signature from the bank.
  • The date of application is the date you paid the fee to the UKBA. Maintenance funds required is £1890 (Canadian Dollar amount is calculated using the rate of exchange from the date of your application). My accounts were a chequing account and my TFSA. You must have access to these funds in cash, i.e. they cannot be held in stocks, assets, or credit cards. Lines of credit and joint bank accounts are okay as long as your name is on them.
  • Appointment confirmation, visa fee receipt, and VAC (User Pay) service fee receipt.
  • You no longer require a passport photo as VFS global now takes it. Be sure to double check if you are applying outside of Canada.
  • Print out of your application form (should be available when the application is complete), signed and dated.
  • Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) Number
  • Your hand and your face


1.  Arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appoint to check-in. Someone at the desk will verify you have all the required documents. If you don’t they may have them on hand but you can be asked to come back. The person at the desk will put them in a folder and give you a number. If you have any last-minute questions, the manager can advise you on your application.

2.  Sit and wait for your number. Watch the “Visit Britain” video they play on repeat. (I can not confirm that they have these videos at the VFS Global locations 🙂 ) You are not allowed to have any electronics, food or drink. Also, don’t leave your bag unattended – they will treat it as a bomb threat and evacuate the building which almost happened when some guy left his bag on a chair for 20 minutes.

3.  When your number is called, you will go see an agent who will look at your documents and then put them in a DHL bag to be mailed to New York. Yes, it’s silly that Canadians get their British visas processed in America…but you know. Budget cuts

4.  You have the option of picking up your visa in the office in Toronto or having it delivered to you for US $37. I decided to have it mailed. You can also have someone else pick it up for you with an authorization letter.

5.  Sit and wait again. Become British by osmosis. Your number will the called by the person at the desk and your photograph and biometric data will be taken. They scan your fingerprints and take a picture.

You are now free to go!

7 Days Later…

UK Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa
UK Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa!

From applying online to receiving my passport with the vignette, it took a total of 15 days. I applied on a Tuesday, had my appointment the following Wednesday, and had my passports returned to me the week after that on Thursday. I thought this was a pretty fast turn-around, though once I got to the visa stage for my French work permits, it took about a week as well.

The visa processing office in New York sends you an e-mail when they receive your documents and then once the visa has been issued (and presumably if you are rejected).


If you found this post helpful, imagine what the whole book could do for you!

1,017 thoughts on “Getting a UK Youth Mobility Visa for Canadians”

  1. I suppose there is no way around going to a Visa Office in person? Since Covid – the Halifax office is closed – and Toronto and Ottawa are a long way to travel for an appointment..

  2. I know that this is an old post, but the experience with VFS Global is not as easy as it was for Worldbridge.

    I applied for a Tier 5 around the same time you did and had a good experience. I had a visa within 15 days applying online. Lots of detailed info from Worldbridge, including clear info about what to bring, email confirmation that my docs were received by the UKVI and that the visa was issued and en route. The milieu and staff were professional and efficient. Exactly as you describe.

    Fast forward several years and I am returning to the UK and applying through VFS. Took me over a month to even get a visa appointment. It was a far less professional experience than with Worldbridge. I am not convinced that they won’t lose my passport. There is no way to contact them.

    -apply way in advance of your expected departure date.

    -set aside a whole morning or afternoon. I waited over 2hrs past my appointment time even though the processing and biometrics took under 10mins. They seem to deliberately overbook.

    -hang on to the receipt they give you for your passport. You won’t get any other email confirmation that your things are received by ukvi or are being processed.

    -in this era of covid, bring wipes. They don’t clean surfaces. There is a computer that is used by applicants to print labels. It is not only cleaned, there is no hand sanitizer nearby.

  3. Hi Alyssa,

    Love this page it really helped me with my visa application process, learning about the proof of funds and needing to have your bank statement dated on or 31 days prior saved my butt! I have one question, at the time of the appointment do they go through your application at all ( I saw in your guide you mentioned adding forgotten trips onto your application ) ?

    Thank you,


  4. Hi Alyssa, I hope you’re doing OK in the current climate — I too am a Canadian living in NYC at the moment:)

    I am nearing the end of my 7-year run in NYC and plan to move to the UK on the YMS in September. My US visa ends in June, and my funds exist in my Chase American bank. Considering all that’s happening at the moment, I’m wondering if you think I still have enough time to apply for the visa from the US? Can I even apply from the US since my current visa isnt valid for 6 additional months? So with that said, do you think it is OK to apply for the visa from Canada, but have a valid bank statement from my American account or do I need to transfer my money to a Canadian account?

    Thanks so much for all the help you do !!

  5. Hi Alyssa, what do you mean by: “Accurate UK postcode to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (your permanent work/residence permit)?” – I don’t have a UK postcode yet, what should I provide?

  6. Hi Alyssa,

    I would just like to thank you for creating this blog. It’s super helpful and informative.

    I’m not sure if you’re still answering questions however, I do have a question:

    The $1890 GBP that must be in my bank account 30 days prior to me submitting my application. Does my bank have the seize that amount so it stays in my account until I travel to the uk? I’m a little confused about this. once I receive the statement from my bank saying that I have the amount in my bank amount – am I allowed to spend a bit of it or does it need to remain in my account until I travel?

    hope you’re able to clarify this for me. as you can see I am a little bit confused.

    Thank you,

  7. Hello,
    I am just wondering, can I pay for my tier 5 Youth Mobility visa application, Immigration Health Surcharge, and User Pay office with my debit card?
    Thank you.

  8. Hi Alyssa,

    When you paid the health surcharge, did you happen to find out if you are required to pay the health surcharge for both years, or just as many as you intend to stay? For example, it’s 300 pounds/year. If I only want to stay a year can I just pay the 300, and not 600 for the entire visa period?

    1. hey jesse, I just applied and I was required to pay for 2 years health surcharge. It doesnt matter how long you intend to stay.

  9. I read on the official UK government site that every country has a limited number of Tier 5 visa applications they can approve each year. If an application is received after the limit has been reached for that year, the application is denied on this basis. Canada’s annual allocation is 6000 placements/people per year. Has anyone been declined in this situation? Is this common?

    1. no, they’re never eevn CLOSE to that number every year. You really have nothing to worry about for that

  10. Just filling out the application and where it asks what type of work I will be doing and how much I will be making. Do I need to have a job lined up? I plan on waitressing when I get there so can I put that in and then research how much they make a year? I plan to find something upon arrival.

  11. Hey!
    I’m applying from Toronto and was wondering if anyone has any time line info in terms of how long they had to wait for an interview once they submitted their application.
    Any insight would be greatly appreciated 🙂

  12. Hi Alyssa, I have a very important to ask you. I am confused with the 30 days vignette sticker and the time you have to arrive in the UK, First of all, I read here in the past that those 30 days are from the intended arrival date which is fine and that you need to apply before you turn 31. I also read here in previous faqs that I can’t find now that you can put as your arrival date up to 6 months after your birthdate is that right? I need to get this answer to this question straighten up because I’m going to England with a Canadian work agency but the lady I’m dealing with she keeps telling me that I have to leave within the 30 days that says on my vignette and that practically I have to arrive in the UK before those 30 days expire but she says that counts from when I get my visa approved and I’m almost sure that is not the case. Where can I see from an official site the 6 months period after my birthday that I am allowed to arrive in the UK? this is very important for me because I’m having this argument over and over but to be honest I only read it here but nowhere else in the official UK government sites but have also not read anywhere that I have to leave before my birthday or such. Please if you have a direct link to this and a straight up answer I will really appreciate it as my application date is approaching since I’m turning 31 in March but I would like to leave sometime end of April if that is even possible otherwise I just have to leave whenever is required. Thanks a lot in advance!

  13. Hi there!

    Thank you so much for the blog and ebook – major help! Do you happen to know if there is a max length of time between your application date and the day you attend your biometrics appointment? I live no where near the visa office, so I am arranging to attend my biometrics appointment on my way back from an upcoming trip which will be about a month after my application is submit.

    Thank you 🙂

  14. My boyfriends visa just got refused because he did not receive the points needed by his maintenance funds. He sent a letter from his bank stating that he had a 15k credit line and has had for over 10 years. Has anyone else experienced this or something similar? Or is a credit line just not an acceptable form of funds? Pls help!

      1. Does it? I honestly can’t find anywhere where it says lines of credit are not acceptable, I can see that credit cards are not 🙁 Also perhaps you should change your blog because you write “Lines of credit and joint bank accounts are okay as long as your name is on them”

  15. I have a question about the “currently not in the UK” eligibility. I am currently in Canada but have already booked my flight to the UK. I live in a part of Canada where the appointments only happen once a month. Is it not possible to get the biometrics etc while in the UK?

  16. Does anyone know about the last question regarding the sponsorship? Am I meant to answer it as if I’m being sponsored or just say what I’m planning on doing whilst in the uk?

  17. Hi,

    This blog was a lot of help, i am about to go through the process now and was wondering how far back i need to go for international travel? Is it since birth or the last 10 years?


  18. Thank you so much for this blog post! I am awaiting trial for criminal charges (break and enter with intent) for a protest action I took part in. We broke into an abandoned elementary school (had been abandoned because of budget cuts) and moved in a bunch of homeless people, and then squatted it – to protest homelessness in Canada. I am planning applying for my T5 youth mobility scheme visa before my trial – should I just not mention the trial? I don’t have charges yet (and the charges might be dropped). Or should I disclose this?


  19. Hi Alyssa,

    I’m wondering if they review the transactions on your bank statement? I read in a forum that they may question spikes in your account and if it is in fact your money. I am a server so typically pay with cash but am now making larger deposits into my account from this money to help with the application process. I’m wondering if they’ll question this?


  20. Hi Alyssa;

    Love your blog. It has helped me so much as a Canadian coming over here to study.
    Under a work study visa (tier 5) does a taichi instructor count as a sports coach?



  21. I am a 25 year old from Vancouver Island, I just did the whole application process paid all the necessary fees and have my apt in Vancouver for my interview for next week.. Upon finalizing my application I realized I put down my old postal code not my current living postal code.. I wrote a cover letter correcting the mistake so I am hoping it will still get approved? Any thoughts on this or heard of stuff like this happening before? If so, what happened? Also the application I did for the tier 5 youth mobility did ask me for a sponsor or job I would be doing when i arrive in the UK, I just put down bar-tending because I plan on living and working a hostel, think this would case a red flag because this job is not set in stone?

    1. what was the total cost for everything all said and done? not including the funds in your account, but just the fees for getting the visa?

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