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Getting a Youth Mobility Tier 5 Visa / Working Holiday to the U.K. for Canadians

Youth Mobility Visa Working Holiday Visa Canadian

Everything you need to know about moving to the U.K. on the Youth Mobility Tier 5 visa.

So, you’re a young Canadian and looking to try living abroad? Perhaps in the U.K.? If you’ve been following my journey on my Instagram then you already know I’ve recently moved to the U.K. from Canada. A huge decision I made earlier this year. Now that I’m here, I definitely do not regret it one bit! I want to write more about my experience so far and my thoughts on the British, specifically London lifestyle but for now I just want to focus this blog post on how I got my Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa (at the age of 30!) and specifically for a Canadian citizen.

When I started looking into this visa there weren’t too many guides or aids to help you through the process. I found a blog of another Canadian who managed to get the same visa. The comments from different candidates in the blog post were thoroughly helpful. However, this blog is currently charging for their help guide. I feel this should be free information as the entire process is VERY EASY and no one should worry about it at all. I’m happy to help!


Youth Mobility Visa Working Holiday Visa Canadian

Youth Mobility Visa Working Holiday Visa Canadian

If you’re in the position I was where I was already 30 and wasn’t sure if I still qualified for the visa, then you’re in the right place! As long as you apply for the visa BEFORE your 31st birthday, you are just fine. You can even apply 2 days before you turn 31, turn 31 during the visa decision process, and you will still qualify. Obviously, don’t wait until the very last minute. But rest assured, I know many have managed to get this visa days after they have turned 31 while waiting for their visa approval.

What is this visa you ask? In a nutshell, it’s a working holiday visa available to any individuals between the ages of 18 to 30 from a qualifying country. As a Canadian, you may work and live in the U.K. for up to 2 years. For more details, you can visit the government here. For now, I will talk about the process and share my experience hoping this will help someone in the same situation out there.

Youth Mobility Visa Working Holiday Canadian

Youth Mobility Visa Working Holiday Canadian


I basically started thinking about the idea with my now fiance at the end of 2016. Being in a relationship we first thought of the going the spousal way, thinking it will be an easier route – obviously not. Then we stumbled upon this youth mobility visa and noticed that I had less than a year to make a decision and apply! After only a few weeks of thinking about it, I impulsively applied – I had nothing to lose!

Before you start anything else – READ AND RE-READ this entire post. You may find the answer to your questions after reviewing it again.


  • The first thing I needed to do was renew my Canadian passport. This process took about 10 working days. Before you apply, make sure your passport is valid for the entire duration of your stay in the U.K. It will just make your life easier later on.
  • Also, before you proceed with the process you should have a pretty good idea of when you want to arrive in the U.K. on the Youth Mobility Tier 5 Visa. You can apply up to 6 months prior to your desired date of entry. For example, I wanted to arrive September 1st so the earliest I can apply is March 1st. Don’t start the application process if you’re not sure of your date of entry because then you have to re-do the entire process. Once you select a date, it will be the permanent date throughout the entire application even though there’s a section later on to re-select the date. It’s not accurate. SO BE SURE OF YOUR DATE OF ENTRY!
  • Documents you should get sorted before you apply:
    • Current and valid passport
    • Official bank letter from your bank with date stamp, bank account number, bank address, bank logo, your full name, and confirmation that you have the funds required (the balance must be at least £1890 or ~$3000 CAD).
      “Letter from financial institution regulated by either the Financial Conduct Authority or the home regulator confirming funds.The letter should state your name; the account number; the date of the letter; the financial institution’s name and logo; confirmation that there are sufficient funds present in the account (the balance must be at least £1890). The home regulator is the official regulatory body for the country in which the institution operates and the funds are located.”
    • Bank statement (no older than 30 days)
    • Old expired passports (specifically ones with travel stamps/information from up to 10 years prior)
    • A list of all the countries you’ve been to within the last 10 years. It’s okay if you don’t remember every single one. Having your old passports will help fill in the gaps.
    • Parents birthplace and birth info
    • Need ~$3000 in your bank account
    • Need a UK address (i.e. hotel you may stay at, family member etc.). Visa centre needs this in order to mail your Biometrics Resident Permit (BRP) card to the nearest post office to that address. Pick a place that’s easy to get to because you only have 10 days to pick it up. 



  1. Visa application fee – $299 USD
  2. IHS (health insurance) – $390 USD
  3. SMS fee at Visa Centre for notification – $4
Youth Mobility Tier 5 Visa

Youth Mobility Tier 5 Visa

Visa Process.

  1. Register your profile online prior to filling out the Youth Mobility Tier 5 Visa application – VISA4UK
  2.  Have all of your paperwork and documents ready.
  3. Fill out and submit Youth Mobility Tier 5 Visa application
  4.  After you’ve completed and submitted your application, you’re ready to book your appointment to the Visa Centre. You will be prompted to BRP location selection
  5. Book an appointment with visa centre. You do not need to go to the actual Visa Centre website to book your appointment. You will be able to book your appointment within the application site (VISA4UK website).
  6. Then you will be prompted to IHS payment. Ensure all the information on your application is correct or else it does not pull the right information over. You have to redo the entire application. No chance to make adjustments here. I found a mistake in my application and had to painstakingly redo the entire application again. You have 3 hours to pay this. You will get a confirmation email with your IHS #. There isn’t a chance to put this on your application. Even though it says you have to – don’t worry !
  7. Then go back to the application and pay for the visa fees.
  8. You will get a confirmation email that your visa has been submitted. The email will list all of the paperwork you need to print out – application (with barcode), BPR appointment confirmation, Supporting documents (bank letter/statement, photo, all passports). READ THIS EMAIL CAREFULLY PRIOR TO YOUR BIOMETRICS APPOINTMENT

At your Biometrics appointment:

  1. Arrive at least 15 minutes prior. You will be greeted by a security guard who will check your bags. You cannot bring any large bags or food in the visa centre. They will provide lockers.
  2. Note, nowhere in the visa process will it tell you to print and bring this checklist with you to your appointment. Make sure you bring that with you. Check with the security guard that you have the more up to date checklist (I didn’t know this step so my appointment got delayed but luckily it wasn’t busy so they waited for me)
  3. Once its your turn, the rep will put together all your paperwork and give you a number ticket for the biometrics room. They will ask if you would like to pay for SMS notification (optional)
  4. During the biometrics processing, they will take your photo and finger prints. Note, you do not need to bring an extra passport photo at the Toronto Centre.
  5. Whole process took 10 to 15 minutes only. Book early in the morning to avoid any crowds.

Now, it’s the waiting game! In my experience the entire process was fairly simple and quick. My only annoyance was how much paperwork was required but they were all easy enough to find.


  • March 14: submitted Youth Mobility Tier 5 Visa application
  • March 15: Biometrics appointment at Visa Centre 9:20 AM
  • March 15: Application shipped to Decision Making Centre in New York City 7:00 PM
  • March 16: application acknowledged by Decision Making Centre
  • March 28: Youth Mobility Tier 5 Visa approved!
  • March 29: Passport with Youth Mobility Tier 5 Visa vignette arrived in Toronto 6:12 PM

Youth Mobility Tier 5 Visa

When you land.

Activating your visa when you land in the U.K. is quite simple. Ensure you bring your passport and vignette, as well as the confirmation letter with your visa approval. Now, I wasn’t checked for this but it’s a good idea to bring a bank statement not older than 30 days, showing your ~$3000 CAD funds. I’ve heard some people were checked.

Once you get to the immigration counter (smiles from ear to ear), you need to let the immigration officer know that you would like to activate your Youth Mobility Tier 5 Visa. They will briefly ask you about your plans in the U.K., where you’re staying and confirm that you know what you need to do about the Biometrics Resident Permit card. Remember you only have 10 days, including weekends, to pick up your BRP card

Youth Mobility Tier 5 Visa

Taken in 2015 in London. At this point we had told each other we would never move to London because it’s too expensive… haha

What’s next? Stay tuned for future blog posts about life after I got the visa!

  • Opening a British bank account
  • Finding a job
  • National Insurance
  • Finding a flat in an expensive city
  • Making a new life
  • Travelling for a month in Thailand/Southeast Asia

Share your experiences with me! Or better yet, reach out and let’s meet up in jolly ol’ London 🙂

Youth Mobility Visa Working Holiday Canadian

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  • Reply
    November 17, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    This is an awesome guide! I’m also Canadian and am about to start a working holiday visa to NZ and have been considering doing a UK visa after that as well! Thanks for the info, definitely bookmarking this page for the future 😉

    • Reply
      November 27, 2017 at 5:30 pm

      Amazing! I hope it all works out well 🙂 Drop a message if you ever need help with the UK one!

  • Reply
    January 24, 2018 at 8:42 pm

    Hey!!! I am in the exact same position (turning 31 this year) but for Scotland! I have no idea where my old passports are though….and I saw the application fee being about $1510…..on the document checklist it also says you need job, etc etc, does that get in the way? I just finished school….any thoughts?

    • Reply
      January 25, 2018 at 4:01 am

      Hey Ayesha! I don’t believe the fees are that high. I didn’t spend more than $1000 CAD for everything. You don’t need a job lined up in the UK in order to get this particular visa. You may be looking at the other Tier 5 visa where you do need a job lined up and it does cost more. Look for Tier 5 Youth Mobility. This visa is a working holiday visa and is meant for young people who are looking to live abroad and earn money while they try out a new country. Hope that helps!

      ****Disclaimer: I am not a visa expert or the source of official information. Please only use my information as a guide towards your application.******

  • Reply
    Mercedes Gueutal
    February 22, 2018 at 2:03 am

    Hello! This post is incredibly helpful, being that I am in the process of getting my youth mobility visa. I’m from Canada aswell, Edmonton Alberta. Would you be able to give more information about which areas are good to live in London? Once approved I will be travelling alone and don’t know anyone over there. That would be very helpful! Cheers

    • Reply
      February 24, 2018 at 1:54 pm

      Hey there! That’s amazing! Congrats on making the move 😊 I think where you end up working will determine where you should chose to live as transportation can be quite expensive here. I live in west London while my office is in southwark. I’d say my area is quite nice, accessible, not too busy and very safe. I’ve been told by people here that the cool/affordable places to live are east London, clapham, shoreditch, Finsbury park, stoke newington, Camden. Those were places we looked at as well. Hope they helps! Happy to answer more questions 😊

  • Reply
    February 26, 2018 at 6:52 am

    Hi! I really loved this post and found it so useful and comforting (planning on moving to London from Montreal in October).
    I’m not sure if you already wrote it or if I can’t find it, but the one thing I’m really worried about is finding a job. Do you have any tips or can share your experience on landing a job in London? Thanks!!

    • Reply
      February 27, 2018 at 12:02 pm

      Hi Kate! Thank you so much for the kind words. I’m so glad this was helpful to you. Congrats on your huge decision!
      No I haven’t written about job hunting yet but it’s in the works! Stay tuned. Here are some high level tips/advice:

      It really depends on your field of work and your experience. It’s different for every person who comes here on this visa. For some people I know who have already completed their two years here, it was tough for them to find work right away because they were still young in their career and work experience is key in the office world over here. For myself, I was able to get an interview the week I landed and got the job within a couple of weeks. Another person I know who is moving here next month, she was finding it slow (but she got a job now – a month after she landed!). I believe it’s because employers and recruiters over here feel more comfortable interviewing/screening/offering work to individuals who already have the visa and are physically here. There are so many immigrants coming into the UK to work so the pool is large for them to choose from. They can easily look you over since you’re not an easy access.

      – If you’re just looking for easy hourly paid work, there are tons of opportunities here. If you’re looking for office work, there are also plenty of job opportunities here as well but as I mentioned earlier, that all depends on your line of work and experience. I reached out to recruiters (btw – the UK are big on recruiters here) and let them know of my situation and gave them a copy of my resume.

      – I recommend updating your Linkedin profile and turning on the Premium free trial. You’ll be surprised at how many messages from recruiters you get. You’ll also find that you’ll get contract work only, which is fine since you’re not there very long.

      – Reach out to recruiters. Update your CV and LinkedIn. You could also get here, pick up easy work in a cafe or temp work to get you started while you job hunt for the work you really want to do.

  • Reply
    March 22, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    Hey Larah
    Thanks for the useful information you posted. Just like you when you applied for the visa, I am turning 31 this June. I wanted to submit my application online on April 1, 2018 with the intended arrival date of October 1, 2018. The only issue is i will be in South America for the rest of April and won’t be back until the end of May, so obviously i don’t want to send off my passport just yet.

    Do you know if i can submit online before leaving for my trip then book my appointment for the end of May when i get back? I’m just curious if it will let you book the appointment that far in advance and if there is a rule against that. Thank you and any feedback would be appreciated.

    • Reply
      April 7, 2018 at 1:11 pm

      I just replied to your email! Sorry for the delay. I hope it helped

  • Reply
    Alyssa James
    March 26, 2018 at 8:57 am

    Hello Larah,

    I actually ‘charge’ for a useful e-book with added value because I have spent nearly 5 years writing, updating, responding to questions and emails, and paying for hosting so that people could continue to read and benefit from the information in that guide, all of which is still available for free on my website — something I am sure you are well aware of, seeing as you have benefited from it yourself and proceeded to emulate without giving me credit.

  • Reply
    March 28, 2018 at 9:39 am

    Hi Laura,

    Thank you so much for the post! It is super helpful!

    It requires previous passport as part of the application documentation. Are you required to scan each page that contains an immigration stamp or just the information page of the previous passport?

    Many thanks!!

  • Reply
    Robert Luo
    March 28, 2018 at 9:42 am

    Hi Laura,

    Thank you so much for the post! It is super helpful!

    It requires previous passport as part of the application documentation. Are you required to scan each page that contains an immigration stamp or just the information page of the previous passport?

    Many thanks!!

    • Reply
      March 28, 2018 at 2:58 pm

      Hey Robert. No worries! Glad to help. No you don’t need to scan any of the pages from an old passport. You can add it to the package you send to The processing office, along with your current valid passport. I suggest listing as many countries you’ve been to as you can, on your application as well. Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    May 8, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    Hi Larah,

    I have misplaced my old passport. Will that be a problem?

    • Reply
      May 10, 2018 at 3:07 pm

      It shouldn’t be if you can list all of your previous locations. You can explain in the notes section that you no longer have your previous passport

  • Reply
    July 15, 2018 at 9:48 am


    I am so glad I found your blog because I am in a similar situation and this is so helpful. I have a quick questions and was wondering if you might be able to provide some insight… my partner is turning 31 on Sept 10th 2018. We want to arrive in the UK in January 2019… Can we list January 2019 as our date of arrival even though he will be 31 by that point?? We are getting down to the wire now so I am very nervous.

    Thanks in advance !

    • Reply
      July 24, 2018 at 1:43 pm

      Hi Alana!
      I am so happy you’re interested in this visa and finding my blog post useful! You have to apply for the visa before you turn 31 years old. So you can be approved for the visa and receive the visa in your hand even if you’ve already turned 31. You can also do this even if you choose a later date but it has to be max 6 months. So for example, my friends who was in a similar situation did this:

      Her chosen date of entry was Nov 2017
      Last week of May – 30 years old and applied for the visa
      June 2 – turned 31
      Mid- June – go approved and picked up visa/passport
      Date of entry is Nov 2017 – she picked up her BRP and went back home
      Jan 2018 – she officially moved but her two years started on Nov 2017

      Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    August 3, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    Hi Larah!
    Thanks for all of this information. I’m going to be doing my application next week and I’m just wondering if the bank statement needs to be submitted at the time of the application, or if it is just for when I actually go for my interview. Just would like to know ahead of time so I can move money around 🙂

    • Reply
      September 1, 2018 at 5:58 am

      Hi Danielle!

      I’m so glad you’re looking into this visa. I think I might have answered your question in an email before (sorry not too sure, I get so many questions and some are the same).

      You need a bank letter stating you have the required funds. It doesn’t mention you need a bank statement, however, I do recommend it anyways. They won’t tell you what you should be doing but the more documents the better. The visa center is just a processing office. They act as a third party and doesn’t really have useful information to help you with your application other than accept your paperwork and administer the bio metrics.

      I brought another bank statement with me at the border that was dated less than 30 days. However, they didn’t ask me for it. I have heard different from other Canadians though. Just safe to have it I suppose!

      Hope this helps!

  • Reply
    September 1, 2018 at 2:59 am

    Hey Larah,

    I am not a big comment-er on blog posts and message boards, but just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to write this out and share! Really appreciate the effort you’ve taken to demystify this process, and have found it extremely useful! Respect!

    • Reply
      September 1, 2018 at 5:59 am

      Hi Amelie! Thank you for the kind words 🙂 Hope it helps with your decision or journey to the UK !

  • Reply
    September 26, 2018 at 10:00 am

    Hello Larah,
    thanks a lot for the blog, it really helps to preapare for the whole process to aplly for this visa!
    I would like to ask you couple of questions, I hope you dont mind 🙂
    From the moment of attending your Biometrics appointment what is the time to await for you passport to come back to you? I can see it took you only couple of weeks but was wondering if that could take longer?
    Another thing is that the plan is to start working at the beginning of January and keep that two years ticking form that moment, do you think it is possible to arrive to UK late December and travel a bit around Europe first being on tourist visa and then only officialy switch to tier5?
    Thank you so much for that!:)

    • Reply
      October 16, 2018 at 2:42 pm

      Hi Marta! So sorry for the delayed response! I’m so glad you’re interested in this visa! There’s a chance it will take longer than 2 weeks, depending on your application, holidays, if the visa centre needs to do further investigation or ask you questions. However, if your application is pretty straight forward, yours should take around the same amount of time. I know most people’s took around two weeks as well. Yes, you can definitely come as a tourist in December but you have to leave the UK and come back to activate your visa at an airport. You can definitely do that. I did that 🙂 Hopefully it all works out! Reach out if you ever do end up in London! All the best!

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