Working Holiday Visas to the UK

The UK Youth Mobility Scheme visa (Tier 5) is available for young people who would like to live and work in the UK for up to two years. Here’s everything you need to know about this visa.

What is the Youth Mobility Scheme?

The Youth Mobility Scheme (often shortened to YMS) is a Points Based Visa which enables young travellers (aged 18-30) to spend up to two years living and working in the UK.

The visas are open to citizens of a select number of countries and can only be applied for once.

Who can apply for a YMS visa?

In order to be eligible for this visa you must score 50 points in the below system.

Nationality Requirement

You will secure 30 points if you are a citizen of one of the below countries.

Australia Canada Hong Kong
Japan Monaco New Zealand
San Marino South Korea Taiwan

Age Requirement

You can score 10 points in this category if:

  • You are over 18 at the time your visa becomes valid for use
  • You are under the age of 31 on the date you submit your online visa application. You can submit your online visa up until your 31st birthday

Maintenance Requirement

You will get the last 10 points you need if you can prove that you have enough funds to support yourself upon arrival in the UK (£2,530 in 2021).

Who is not eligible for this visa?

Even if you meet the primary requirements listed above, you can still be denied a visa if:

  • You have previously spent time in the UK on the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme
  • You have children under 18 years old who are either living with you or financially dependent on you
  • You have been to court in the last 12 months for an offence and found guilty

How long does this visa allow you to live and work in the UK?

The visa is valid for two years. Your two years will begin from the visa start date provided at the time of your application.

Do I need a job offer in order to apply for this visa?


You should be aware that the online application includes a field which asks you about UK employment. But you can simply state here that you intend to look for work when you arrive in the UK.

Can I apply for any job while in the UK on a YMS visa?

No. You can’t work as a:

  • Professional sportsperson (includes coaching)
  • Doctor or dentist in training, unless you have a degree in medicine or dentistry from a UK institution

Finally, you are entitled to be self-employed in the UK, provided you rent your premises, have no more than £5,000 in equipment and have no employees.

My passport is going to expire soon. Should I get a new passport before I apply for this visa?

You need to have at least six months validity on your passport when you enter the UK. So if you do not have this then you should apply for a new passport before your application starts. Your visa will be attached to the passport used at the time of application.

How long does it take to apply for this visa?

Once submitted, YMS visa applications are typically processed within 15 days.

If you apply with Visa First, you can ensure that your application goes smoothly.

The team will guide you through the entire process, boosting your chances of a successful outcome.

Why apply with Visa First?

  • Fast and reliable service
  • Experienced team – Visa First have been processing UK working holiday visa applications since 2003
  • Forget spending ages navigating embassy queues

Apply for your UK YMS visa with Visa First here