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UK Au Pair Visa Options and Application Guidance

Under the current UK immigration system, there is no specific Au Pair visa, however, there are several suitable visas for young people who wish to work in the UK on a temporary basis. The possible alternatives to a UK Au Pair visa include the:

  • Youth Mobility Scheme visa
  • Nanny visa
  • Short-term work visa (Tier 5)
  • High-potential individual visa

We have provided a summary of each of these visa types below. It is important to note that this list of possible visas for au pairs is by no means exhaustive. For more details on other work visas available, please visit our UK work visas and permit section for more information.

Youth Mobility Scheme Visa

The Youth Mobility Scheme visa is for young people aged between 18 and 30 who wish to work in the UK for up to 2 years to live, work, and study. The Youth Mobility Scheme is only available to nationals of certain countries:

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

The scheme is also open to nationals of Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, however, numbers are capped. This means that potential applicants need to enter and be selected from a ballot before making an application for a Youth Mobility Scheme visa.

Unfortunately, nationals of the United States cannot currently apply under this immigration route.

To make a successful application under the Youth Mobility Scheme route, you will need to show you have £2,530 or more in savings.

Nanny visa

The UK Nanny visa, also referred to as the Overseas Domestic Worker visa, allows domestic workers, including overseas nannies, to visit the UK with their employer for up to 6 months. Overseas Domestic Worker visa applicants must:

  • Be 19 years or over
  • Live outside the UK
  • Have an existing job as a domestic worker in a private household overseas as a cleaner, chauffeur, cook, a person providing personal care for their employer and their family, or a nanny
  • Work in the same household as their employer (or one they use regularly)
  • Have worked for their overseas employer for at least 12 months

Your employer can be a British citizen who lives overseas and is coming to the UK or an overseas citizen intending to travel to the UK.

Short-term work visa (Tier 5)

The UK offers a wide range of short-term work visas (Tier 5) to overseas citizens. These short-term work visas include the:

  • Charity Worker visa
  • Creative Worker visa
  • Government Authorised Exchange visa
  • International Agreement visa
  • Religious Worker visa
  • Seasonal Worker visa

The amount of time you can spend in the UK on a short-term work visa varies considerably depending on the visa you apply for. For example, seasonal workers can come to the UK for up to 6 months if they are doing horticultural work, whereas religious workers, international agreement workers, and Government Authorised Exchange workers can stay for up to 2 years.

Applicants for a short-term visa typically require:

  • A job offer from a UK employer with a sponsor licence
  • Sufficient funds to support themselves while in the UK (normally £1,270).

In addition to the above, there may be visa-specific requirements you are required to meet in terms of the type of work you do and certain salary requirements.

High potential individual visa

The High Potential Individual (HPI) visa is another option for young people from outside of the UK, who wish to work here on a temporary basis. Successful HPI visa applicants can stay for up to 2 years, after which it is possible to switch visa types (it is not possible to extend an HPI visa). HPI visa holders can work, look for work, be self-employed, bring their partner and children, do voluntary work, and travel to and from the UK freely.

To make a successful HPI visa application, you must:

  • Have the equivalent of a UK bachelor’s degree, UK postgraduate degree, or a UK Ph.D. or doctorate from a top (non-UK) ranking university. A list of eligible universities can be found online1
  • Meet the English language requirements
  • Have enough savings to support yourself in the UK (£1,270)

Please note you do not require a job offer to apply for a UK HPI visa.


1 GOV.UK: Eligibility for HPI visa

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