Youth Mobility visa (former Tier 5 Youth Mobility)

The Youth Mobility Scheme is an exchange programme for young adults from participating countries. The Youth Mobility visa is granted for up to 2 years. During this time the visa holders can experience life in the UK and work here.

A Youth Mobility visa cannot be extended and those who already held this visa once in the past will not be able to apply under the Youth Mobility Scheme again. However, under the current law, Youth Mobility Scheme visa holders can switch to a Skilled Worker (work) visa from inside the UK. The Youth Mobility visa holders can also switch to an Unmarried Partner or a Spouse visa from inside the UK.

Short video about Youth mobility visa for Indian nationals.

Music by Bensound

What Nationalities qualify for the visa

An applicant must be one of the following:
• a British Overseas Citizen, British Overseas Territories Citizen or British National (Overseas) as defined by the British Nationality Act 1981; OR
• a national or citizen of a country or the holder of a passport issued by a territory as follows:
• Australia
• Canada
• Hong Kong
• Japan
• Monaco
• New Zealand
Republic of Korea
• San Marino
• Taiwan

NOTE: If you come from Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea or Taiwan you have to take part in a ballot before you can apply for Youth mobility visa. The ballot takes place in January and July.

Youth mobility visa scheme

Applicant’s age

An applicant must be:

  • aged 30 or under on the date of application;
  • 18 or over on the date your entry clearance will become valid (i.e. the planned travel date to the UK).

Financial Requirement

The applicant must:
• have funds of £2,530 for a 28-day period prior to the application, and provide evidence of those funds;
• not have any children aged under 18 who are either living with them or financially dependent upon them

‘Sponsorship’ requirement

‘Sponsorship’ under the Youth Mobility Visa means that an applicant is a national or rightful passport holder of the countries and territories specified as having ‘Deemed Sponsorship Status’. The below listed 8 countries and territories have the ‘Deemed Sponsorship Status’ for the Youth Mobility Visa.

  1. Australia
  2. New Zealand
  3. Canada
  4. Japan
  5. Monaco
  6. Taiwan
  7. Hong Kong
  8. Republic of Korea

Currently the only country without ‘Deemed Sponsorship Status’ is:

  1. San Marino

NOTE: The sponsorship requirements do not apply where the applicant is a British Overseas Citizen, British Overseas Territories Citizen or British National (Overseas).

Annual Allocations

Each country or territory listed in Appendix Youth Mobility Scheme of the Immigration Rules has an annual total allocation of places to be used by their nationals, citizens or rightful passport holders on the Youth Mobility Scheme.

The total allocation of places available for use by nationals or citizens of each of those countries and rightful holders of a passport issued by those territories, in 2021 are as follows:

  • Australia – 30,000 places
  • New Zealand – 13,000 places
  • Canada – 6,000 places
  • Japan – 1,500 places
  • Monaco – 1,000 places
  • Taiwan – 1,000 places
  • Hong Kong – 1,000
  • Republic of Korea – 1,000 places
  • San Marino -1,000 places.

The Home Office will refuse an application if the number of places allocated to nationals or citizens of the same country, or rightful holders of a passport issued by the same territory, has exceeded the total annual allocation, even if they meet all of the other requirements of Appendix Youth Mobility Scheme of the Immigration Rules.

NOTE: There is no annual allocation of places limit for British Overseas Citizens, British Overseas Territories Citizens and British Nationals (Overseas).

Suitability requirement

 The applicant must not fall for refusal under the so called ‘general grounds for refusal’ – those are matters relating to the applicant’s ‘good character’ (e.g. offences/criminal charges, past breaches of immigration rules, involvement in terrorism etc)

Youth mobility visa

Who is not eligible for Youth Mobility visa

You do not qualify for the visa if you have:

  • children under the age of 18 who live with you; or
  • children you’re financially responsible for; or
  • already been in the UK under the youth mobility scheme.

Cost of application

As a part of the application process, you will need to pay the following:

  • application fee (244 GBP); and
  • NHS surcharge. The NHS surcharge for the Youth Mobility Visa is £470 per year, which equals £940 for the 2-year visa. To find out more about NHS surcharge go to this page.

Your rights under the Youth Mobility visa

The visa is granted for 2 years. Once you have been granted the visa, you can travel in and out the UK as many times as you want during the duration of the visa.

You can do the following whilst on the Youth Mobility Visa in the UK

  • study – for some courses you’ll need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate
  • 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 and you do not have any employees

You cannot do the following whilst on the Youth Mobility Visa in the UK

  • work as a professional sportsperson (for example as a coach)
  • extend your stay
  • get public funds
  • bring in family members on your application – they must apply separately

The relevant overview of the visa requirements and visa process is on the Home Office website.

Iceland and India will be added to the Youth Mobility Scheme from January 2022

Allocation of places

  • Iceland – 1,000 places
  • India – 3,000 places 

Nationals of India and Iceland require sponsorship to qualify for the visa.

In addition, nationals of India must:

  • participate in a ballot similar to the one described above for nationals of Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea or Taiwan (the ballots are in January and July each year, and if there are more candidates than places, the selection is made at random from those who submitted their interest);
  • either have a qualification equal to RQF Level 6 (i.e. Bachelor degree) or above, OR have 3 years’ work experience in a professional role equivalent to an eligible profession specified in Appendix Skilled Occupations.