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Youth Mobility Visa

Youth Mobility Visa

What is the Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) Visa?

The Youth Mobility Scheme visa is a visa available to individuals from certain countries who are aged between 18 and 30 who want to live, work and travel in the UK. The visa is a one-time only visa so once you have been granted it once you cannot reapply.

The visas under this scheme are issued on a reciprocal basis, meaning that the same number of visas are available each year for UK citizens to live, work or study in each of the partner countries.

This visa has replaced the Youth Mobility Scheme visa (T5).

Can I apply under the YMS from any country?

No. You can only apply under the YMS visa route if you are from one of the following countries:

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

If you are from Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea or Taiwan (or India from 1 January 2022) you must first be selected in the Youth Mobility Scheme ballot before you can make a valid visa application under the YMS route.

If you are a British overseas citizen, British overseas territories citizen or British national overseas you can also apply.

What is the YMS ballot?

Individuals from Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea or Taiwan (and India and Iceland from 1 January 2022) need to use the Home Office’s ballot system before they make an application under the YMS. They need to submit an expression of interest and will need to be selected (at random) by the Home Office before they are able to apply under the scheme. Successful applicants will then be invited to apply for a visa.

How does the YMS ballot work?

The ballot system usually opens twice a year, in January and July.  It is open for a 48 hour period and you must email, providing specific information, within this window in order to enter.  You will usually find out if you have been successful or unsuccessful in the ballot within 1 – 2 weeks. The majority of places are awarded in the January ballot with remaining places awarded in July.

What about if I am from India or Iceland?

From 1 January 2022 individuals from India and Iceland will be able to apply under the YMS route. Currently they are not able to do so.

Are there any additional eligibility requirements I need to meet if I am from India?

Yes. Indian citizens can meet the additional requirement imposed on them either through a demonstration of their education status or through work experience. An applicant must hold a qualification which is equal to or higher than RQF level 6 and evidence must be provided of this.

Alternatively, the applicant must have a minimum of three years’ work experience in a professional role equivalent to an eligible occupation listed in Appendix Skilled Occupations of the Immigration Rules. You will need to demonstrate you have the required length of work experience.

Do I need a sponsor before I apply?

That depends on the country you are applying from:

Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Monaco, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Republic of Korea have deemed sponsorship. Individuals applying from a country with deemed sponsorship will only need to provide their passport from that country to meet the sponsorship requirement.

San Marino, Iceland and India do not have deemed sponsorship and therefore need to be able to show evidence of sponsorship from your national government which has been issued no more than 6 months before their application is made.

Is there an age limit to apply under the YMS visa?

Yes. Only applicants who are aged between 18 and 30 will be eligible. You can enter the UK if you have a valid visa and have turned 31, however, you must apply before your 31st birthday.

If I apply when I am 30 will I still be granted a 24 month visa?

Yes. As long as you meet the age eligibility requirements when you apply you will be granted a visa for 2 years.

Do I have to have a job before I apply under the YMS?

No. You do not need to have a job in the UK or an offer of employment before you apply under this route.

Are there any financial requirements associated with the YMS visa?

Yes. To be eligible for this visa you must have at least £2,520 in savings and be able to prove that you can support yourself in the UK.

Is there an application fee?

Yes. The application fee is £298.

Do I have to pay the healthcare surcharge?

Yes. You will need to pay the healthcare surcharge which is normally £470 per year.

Will I need to provide any documents to support my application?

When you apply under the YMS visa route you will need to provide:

  • A valid passport or other document that shows your identity and nationality
  • Bank statements showing you have at least £2,530 in savings
  • Your tuberculosis (TB) test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test

You will also need to ensure you have a blank page in your passport.

Depending on your circumstances you may need to provide additional documents.

How long can I stay in the UK under a YMS visa?

You will be able to live and work in the UK for up to 24 months.

Can I enter the UK at any time?

You can enter the UK at any time whilst your visa is valid, you can leave and come back as many times as you like during the validity of your visa.

What does the YMS visa permit me to do?

With a valid YMS visa you can:

  • Study (for some courses you will 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.
Is there anything I can’t do with a YMS visa?

Under the YMS visa you cannot:

  • Work as a professional sportsperson (including coaching)
  • Extend your stay
  • Get public funds
  • Bring in family members on your application – they must apply separately


Given the fast pace of change, we would stress that this information is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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