The Ultimate Guide to the UK Youth Mobility Scheme Visa

So you want to work in the UK, but where do you start?

Here is a breakdown about what the Youth Mobility Scheme visa is and important details about this UK visa. If you’ve ever been interested in living and working in the UK, here is the best place to start.

Important points about the Youth Mobility Scheme visa for the UK

  • Officially called the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa but is sometimes referred to as the “working holiday visa”
  • Originally called a Tier 5 visa but has since changed names
  • Allows you to work and travel around the United Kingdom for 24 months (or two years)
  • When approved, applicants can live and work in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales or England (however, many people move to London)
  • Visa applicants can only be from certain approved countries
  • Once on the visa, you can leave and enter the UK as many times as you want within the duration of the visa
  • Requires you to pay a fee to the National Health Service (NHS) as part of the visa, which then allows you to use the NHS like a British citizen
  • Applicants must be between the ages of 18-30 and have a valid passport

Interested in travelling and moving abroad? Make sure to read my article: How to Save Money for Travel |7 Easy Tips to learn the best ways to save money for travelling and moving!

Why choose the Youth Mobility visa?

The Youth Mobility visa, or a working holiday visa, is a great option for those who are interested in the UK but wouldn’t be able to work there otherwise. Most work-sponsored visas can be very difficult to get and usually requires that you work in a highly skilled area. But what if you don’t and you still want to work in the UK? This visa is perfect for this.

Of course, working abroad is a dream for many of us, but the Youth Mobility Scheme visa makes this much more attainable to become reality. With only a few requirements to be eligible for the visa, it’s much more likely to be approved versus a traditional working visa.

This visa is also beneficial to those who want to travel and work abroad before settling down into a career back home. This gives the applicant two years to try out a new country, learn new customs and get international work experience before heading back home.

Here’s everything you need to know about the UK Youth Mobility Scheme visa

Benefits of UK Working Holiday

As you can imagine, there are numerous benefits and advantages of apply for the Youth Mobility Scheme visa.

Easy to apply for

The main benefit of the Youth Mobility Scheme visa is that it’s easy to apply for and be approved. Many working visas for countries require the applicant to work in a highly skilled position, or work a job in a field that has a shortage of workers. Usually, they also require a sponsorship from the company before you are able to apply for the visa. This isn’t the case for this visa.

Can apply without a job offer

You can apply and be approved to the working holiday visa without having a job lined up in the UK. You also don’t need to be able to work in a highly skilled field, or a job with a shortage of workers. This give the applicant a lot of flexibility when it comes to employment in the UK, and also makes this visa in each for those who are not considered skilled.

An incredible experience

Working in a foreign country is obviously an incredible experience that not many people can say they’ve done. Not only will you receive international work experience to put on your resume, you’ll also get to experience what it’s like to live in the UK.

Tier 5 Working Holiday Visa UK

Cons to the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa

There’s quite a few cons to consider before you apply for this visa. If you decide it’s not for you, you can still try to visit on a UK Tourist Visa instead.

Cannot renew or re-apply

The biggest problem with this type of working visa is that it’s only available for two years. You cannot renew it. That means, once the two years has finished, and your visa has expired, you cannot apply for the visa again. This working holiday visa is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

If you decide to travel extensively outside of the UK during your visa, you cannot reclaim those lost months back. The visa expiry date is set and will not change, even if you leave the country for long periods of time.

Heads-up: there’s been an update! Certain passport-holders can now renew this visa for an additional year. Check out all the details here: NEW Youth Mobility Scheme visa updates


It’s important to remember all of the costs required for this visa before you get too excited. You’ll need to budget for things like:

  • Cost of the visa itself
  • NHS surcharge (required for visa to be approved)
  • You must prove you have a certain amount of savings in your account before you can be approved
  • The price of a immigration company if you choose to use one (such as SWAP Working Holidays which help you with your application)

And then the costs of moving abroad in general include things like:

  • Flights to the UK
  • Enough money to live on before finding a job
  • Any items you need to buy either before moving, or after you arrive (such as furniture, a car, etc)
  • If you choose to live in London, you’ll also notice the cost of living to be extremely high

While the idea of moving abroad is exciting, it’s important to understand the full costs before starting your application. Certain fees like the NHS surcharge have changed in recently, so it’s vital you check for the most up-to-date prices.

Should I apply for the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa?

At the end of the day, working abroad in the UK is a wonderful opportunity that doesn’t come around often. If you’ve dreamt of working and living in the UK, the Youth Mobility Scheme visa is a great option. Before getting too excited, make sure to check that you are eligible to apply. You’ll also need to have the appropriate amount of savings. If you don’t have the money available yet, make sure to save as much as you can and apply before you turn 30 so you can still apply.