USA and the UK
- What is the Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS)?
- Who is eligible for a Youth Mobility Scheme Visa?
- What are the requirements for a YMS Visa?
- What you can do with a Youth Mobility Scheme Visa?
- Are there country-specific requirements for a Youth Mobility Scheme Visa?
- Submitting a Youth Mobility Scheme Ballot
- What is the application process for the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa?
- What documents are needed for a YMS visa?
- What is the cost of a YMS Visa?
- How long does it take to get a YMS Visa?
- How can IAS help me with my YMS Visa?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Youth Mobility Scheme?
The Youth Mobility Scheme (formerly the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme) is a kind of a working holiday visa that grants young people between the ages of 18-30 the opportunity to come to the UK where they can live, study, and/or work. Under this scheme, eligible participants can stay in the UK for a period of up to two years and travel freely in and out of the United Kingdom.
Who is eligible for a Youth Mobility Scheme Visa?
To be eligible for the Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS), applicants must either be a national from a country that maintains an exclusive reciprocal agreement for this scheme or has certain types of British nationality.
Nationals from the following participating countries are eligible for YMA:
- New Zealand
- San Marino
- Hong Kong (if applicants have a SAR passport)
- South Korea
Individuals can also apply if they are:
- British overseas citizen
- British overseas territories citizen
- British national (overseas)
What are the requirements for a YMS Visa?
In addition to being from a country that participates in the scheme (or having a certain type of British nationality required), YMS applicants must also meet the following requirements:
- Be between the ages of 18-30 at the time of the application
- If you’re from New Zealand, you can be aged 18-35 and be eligible. Australians aged between 18-35 will also be eligible from 31 January 2024.
- Have at least £2,530 in savings to support yourself while in the UK (these funds must in your bank account for at least 28 consecutive days within the 31 days of application submission)
It should be noted that applicants who have children under 18 who live with and/or are financially dependent on the applicant are not eligible for the YMS. Furthermore, applicants who entered the UK on the scheme before will not be eligible to apply again.
What you can do with a Youth Mobility Scheme Visa?
While in the UK under a Youth Mobility Scheme Visa, visa holders are permitted to the do the following:
- Study (It should be noted that some courses will require an Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate)
- Work in most jobs in the UK
- Establish a company and engage in self-employed work (This is allowed on the conditions that the premises are rented, the company does not have any employees, and the equipment used is not worth more than £5,000)
YMS visa holders will not be permitted the following:
- To engage in work as a professional sportsperson
- Receive public funds
- Extend your stay in the UK under the YMS visa
- Bring family members with you to the UK under the YMS visa
Are there country-specific requirements for a Youth Mobility Scheme Visa?
Some nationalities can apply for the Youth Mobility Scheme more easily than others. For example, foreign nationals from Australia, Canada, Monaco, or New Zealand can sign up for the program provided that they meet the initial requirements.
However, Youth Mobility Scheme applicants from Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan will need to be granted an invitation to apply for the YMS before they submit their visa applications. This invitation to apply will be granted through a ballot system where applicants are randomly chosen.
YMS applicants from San Marino will need to provide a letter confirming suitability for the YMS from the Directorate of Political and Diplomatic Affairs of the Republic of San Marino Department of Foreign Affairs. This letter must not have been issued more than 6 months before the application is submitted.
YMS applicants from Iceland will need to provide a Criminal Certificate for Private Use with their YMS visa application. This certificate must not have been issued more than 6 months before the application is submitted.
Submitting a Youth Mobility Scheme Ballot
Hong Kong, Japanese, South Korean, and Taiwanese nationals will need to be selected in the Youth Mobility Scheme Ballot system before they can apply for a YMS visa.
To participate in the ballot system, prospective applicants must send an email written in English to the designated Home Office email address specific to their foreign country. In this email. applicants must include their name, date of birth, and passport number in the subject line. The format should be as follows:
Surname, First (given) name – DD/MM/YYYY (for date of birth) – passport number
The body of the email should contain the applicant’s full name, date of birth, passport number, and mobile number. Ballot systems are usually open in January and July of each year. Most applicants are chosen early in January but there is a second lottery in July where the remaining applicants are selected. The ballot system is open for 48 hours at a time and applicants must email during this window period in order to enter.
If your ballot is chosen, you will receive an email informing you that you have been selected. If your ballot has not been chosen, you will receive an email within 2 weeks of the ballot system closing informing you that you have not been selected. However, you may choose to try again next time provided you still meet the eligibility requirements.
If your ballot is selected and you have been given an ‘Invitation to Apply’, you will have 30 days to submit your YMS visa application online and pay the necessary fees. After that, you will have 90 days to book an appointment at the nearest visa application center where you will have biometric information (a photograph and fingerprints) collected.
After biometrics have been submitted, applicants will receive a decision on their application within 30 days. If the application is approved, visa holders will be granted entry clearance and will have 90 days to enter the UK. Visa holders who can not enter during this 90-day period will need to apply for an extension.
What is the application process for the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa?
Applicants who meet the eligibility requirements and have been selected in the ballot system (if applicable) can apply for their YMS visa online within 6 months of their intended date of visit to the UK. Like other UK visas, the YMS visa can be applied for online through the gov.uk website.
In the online application form, applicants will be asked to fill out the corresponding application form, upload relevant documents, and pay the application fee. Then the applicant will be asked to submit biometric information (a photograph and fingerprints) at their nearest UK visa application center in their country of residence.
Once everything is submitted, the application will be processed within 3 weeks. After which, if approved the visa holder will be able to travel to the UK. If not approved, the visa applicant will receive a letter detailing the reasons for refusal.
What documents are needed for a YMS visa?
When applying for a YMS visa, applicants will need to submit the following documents:
- A valid passport or another valid travel document
- An ‘Invitation to Apply’ (if you are from Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, or Taiwan)
- A recent bank statement showing you have at least £2,530 in savings
- Tuberculosis (TB) test results (if you are applying from a country where this is necessary)
- Other documents that are a country-specific requirement (ex. Police clearance certificate, etc)
What is the cost of a YMS Visa?
Applying for a YMS Visa will involve the following costs:
- YMS Visa application fee: £259
- Immigration Health charge: this fee will be calculated as £470 per year of intended stay in the UK
Furthermore, all applicants must have at least £2,530 in their bank account for at least 28 consecutive days prior to submitting their application.
How long does it take to get a YMS Visa?
Applications for the YMS visa must be made online outside of the UK. After the visa applicant has applied, proven their identity, and submitted the necessary documents, the applicant will be processed. Most visa applications will be processed within 3 weeks provided that the application is not missing any important documents or information.
How can IAS help me with my YMS Visa?
If you would like to apply for Youth Mobility Scheme but are a little overwhelmed at the visa application, then were are here to help. Our team of expert immigration professionals at IAS keeps update-to-date with the latest changes in the UK immigration system. We can help guide you through the application process and assess your eligibility for the YMS visa or other visa categories that you might want to consider.
In addition, we will check your documents and make sure that you submit an application completed to the highest standard. Call us today at +1 844 290 6312 to learn more about the services we provide or contact us online to get in touch.
Last modified on July 26th, 2023 at 3:00 am
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The Youth Mobility scheme visa can only be extended if you’re from New Zealand. Australian nationals will also be able to extend their visa from 31 January 2024.
If you’re eligible, you will be able to extend your visa by one year when you’ve spent full two years in the UK with it. You can only extend your visa once.
Extending a Youth Mobility Scheme visa costs £259. You will also have to pay the immigration healthcare surcharge.
Other applicants who are in the UK under a YMS visa and wish to continue to stay in the UK will need to switch to another UK visa category,
Each participating country has its own quota for places in the scheme. However, it should be noted that British overseas territories citizens, British overseas citizens, and British nationals are not subject to this cap.
The quotas as of 2022 for the following countries are as follows:
|Hong Kong||1,000 places|
|New Zealand||13,000 places|
|San Marino||1,000 places|
|South Korea||1,000 places|
YMS visa holders are permitted to stay in the UK for up to 24 months (2 years). After their existing visa expires, they will be required to leave or switch to another UK visa as the YMS visa can not be extended.
Individuals who turn 31 years old while on a YMS are permitted to stay in the UK until their visa expires. They don’t have to leave the country despite being older than the age requirement.
Unfortunately, you are not eligible to sponsor your family members to come with you to the UK on a YMS visa. If family members would like to join you in the UK, they will need to apply for another UK visa separately.