top of page

How to get a U.K Working Holiday Visa

If you're reading this post I can assume that you're interested in heading across the pond to Jolly old England for a bit right? Great! You'll find all the information that I gathered when I was applying for the The Tier 5 (Youth Mobility) Visa , AKA U.K working holiday visa earlier this Spring. I'm by no means an expert on the subject and am more than happy to answer questions the best I can but this information will differ depending on your country of origin. Being Canadian, all the information in this post will be relevant to most Canadians holding a Canadian passport wishing to apply for this visa while in Canada. If you are from a different country or hold a different passport, please visit the U.K Government website here to see the full list of eligible passports.

Visa Overview: - Applicants are aged 18-30 - Want to live & work in the U.K for up to 2 years - Have support funds of 1,890£ ($3, 500 CAD at time of posting, please check appropriate currency sites) - Hold a Canadian Passport (or other approved passport, see full list here

Visa Process:

I myself, met all those criteria. So from there I could continue on to set up an account in order to submit my application. Once you create an account you can begin your application, saving and closing out as often as you need to complete it in full. Your homepage will look like this. On the far right bottom corner those are all the sections that need to be completed before your application is completed. When you start they will all be in black, turning to green once you complete the full section.

Information Required for Application:

- An estimated date of arrival (within 6 months of you wanting to arrive. IE: You can apply in March and travel up until September) once

- Full Passport information

- Travel history over 10 years (excluding commonwealth countries IE: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK etc) - Address where you will be staying when you arrive. I used the address of a hostel I was planning to stay in when I arrived. This address is also used to find the closest post shop to send your Biometric Residence Permit to. This is your "ID" for your time in the U.K and must be collected within 10 days of your arrival. If you end up arriving after those 10 days you will need to contact Immigration for an extension, instructions can be found on the application portal.

- You must travel within 30 days of your intended arrival date (what you put on your application). If you change the date or it happens to be more than 30 days, you will need to apply for a transfer of visa, which can also be found through the application portal.

- Support funds are needed in order to prove that you can support yourself for up to 3 months while in the country & looking for work/traveling.

- As of April 2016 a new fee has been introduced as a Healthcare Surcharge. This means you are covered through the National Healthcare System in the UK.

- A return ticket is not necessary -The second to last box on the screen below "Register at Commercial Partner" is an optional service if you require your application to be given priority shipping services. I spent 30$ on a 10 minute phone call to UK Immigration to find this out as the information online was unclear.

Documents Required:

- Valid Passport valid for at least 3 months, but I would recommend having at least a year so as not to have to apply for a new one while you're abroad. I had just renewed my passport for 10 years in August, and as all my previous travel had been done with my old passport I also included that.

- Bank statement / letter from the bank dated no more than 30 days prior to application being submitted. I provided both a print out from an ATM as well as a document from a teller at the bank.

- A completed Appendix 7 document that can be found here which is similar to a checklist but has a point system to ensure you are submitting all required documents.

- Online and in the Appendix 7 document it says a photo is required, but when I went to my interview & to submit my application I was told it was not needed. If you are unsure or want to confirm if one is needed for your location/nationality please contact the visa centre where you will be submitting your application.


- Application fee = £230 ($384 CAD at time of posting)

- Healthcare Surcharge = £300 ($400 CAD at the time of posting)

When your application is complete and the healthcare surcharge & visa fee's have been paid you will then be instructed to make an appointment at the nearest Visa Centre to you. A list of locations can be found here. When you have made that appointment you will see a screen like this one (below) and can print the details which you will need in order to go to your appointment. You will also need the following documents for the appointment: - Passport (new and old) - Appointment confirmation e-mail - Confirmation of payment for Visa - Confirmation of payment for Healthcare Surcharge - Printed completed application

When you arrive to your appointment make sure you have your confirmation e-mail ready, a staff member will then get you to fill in a document with your shipping details & basic information before taking you to your "interview". I use "" for the term because it is just a person checking your documents, making sure it's all in order, getting your finger prints & taking your photo. You can ask them questions but it's nothing to be stressed out over. Once they get you finger printed & photographed, you then sign off on the package containing your passport(s) and all the documents you brought, and they are then shipped via DHL courier to New York City. The office will provide you tacking information for your return package, so once a decision has been made you are then able to track your passport coming back to you.

Wait Time:

This varies depending on time of year & if you requested priority service (at an additional fee). It is said the wait time can be up to 3 weeks for a decision to be made & your passport back in your hands. You will get an e-mail stating that the NYC office has received your application (I got mine 24 hours after sending it off), and from that point it was 10 business days before I received an e-mail stating my visa had been approved! From that point you can use the tracking number from your interview to keep tabs on your passport (mine was back in 24 hours from receiving the e-mail). And once it is you'll get a vignette sticker on an empty page of your passport allowing you entry, this will then be replaced by your BRP once you collect it.

From here it's just a matter of booking flights and getting yourself ready to head off! When I was completing my application I was meticulous in ensuring I had all the information necessary and triple checking it. In total it took be about 3 days to complete the full application and I made my visa appointment for the next day so everything was taken care of in order. I did a lot of research to make sure I filled in everything properly and used a ton of search engines but the most helpful bit of information came from a blog I found (thank you Google Gods!) that seemed to literally have everything you could need to help you out. From a step by step to an FAQ section it literally was a god send & am grateful to Alyssa from for posting it! Check it out here !

And there it is! If you're reading this and saying "hey! she forgot to mention..." please let me know! I want to have all available information and resources to help anyone else who might be wanting to apply but finding the process a little daunting (I definitely did when I started it). Drop me a line and let me know if you have anything to add or have any questions, I'd love to hear from you! And if you should find yourselves over in the U.K from June onwards, let me know! I would love to meet up.

*Photo Cred to my lovely friend Jo V for the iconic shot*

bottom of page