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What You Need to Know If You Are Applying For The UK Youth Mobility Visa In 2021

For anyone planning to come to the UK on the Youth Mobility Visa in 2020, COVID-19 made this almost impossible. With the prospect of vaccines being made available possibly by Christmas, albeit only for those in the highest risk categories, there is a glimmer of hope that 2021 may allow us to return to some normality. As even the experts concede, it may not be until later next year that this happens, but there is every reason to be optimistic.

Every year, tens of thousands of 18 to 30-year-olds come to the UK to travel, work, and enjoy all that Britain has to offer. If you, like many others, put off your trip to the UK in 2020 in the hope of coming in 2021, you will no doubt be waiting for positive news that you can travel. In this article, we will explain the latest guidance for those planning to apply for a UK Youth Mobility Visa, including the eligibility requirements, the grounds for refusal, and the conditions which apply.

What is the UK Youth Mobility Scheme?

The Home Office pitches the Youth Mobility Scheme as a “cultural exchange programme that allows a person aged between 18 and 30, from participating countries and territories, to experience life in the UK for up to two years”.

Who is Eligible for the UK Youth Mobility Visa?

Citizens of eight countries are eligible to apply for a UK Youth Mobility visa, and the number of places is capped individually for each, as follows:

  • Australia - 30,000 places
  • New Zealand - 13,000 places
  • Canada - 5,000 places
  • Japan - 1,000 places
  • Monaco - 1,000 places
  • Taiwan – 1,000 places
  • Hong Kong - 1,000 places
  • South Korea, 1,000 places

San Marino has also now been added to the list of eligible countries, with a cap of 1,000 places. It is interesting to note that in a given year, the actual number of applicants is typically below the number of places available for Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, whereas, for Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea, those interested in applying are selected to apply at random.

In addition to the above countries, the Youth Mobility Scheme is available to British overseas citizens, British overseas territories citizens, and British nationals (overseas).

If you do meet the above criteria, but you have children who live with you or children you are financially responsible for, or if you have previously used the scheme (or the former ‘working holidaymaker’ visa), then you will not be eligible.

What are The Other Eligibility Criteria for the Youth Mobility Scheme?

In addition to the above, you will also need to satisfy the following requirements:

  • Age: You must be over the age of 18 and under the age of 31. If you are currently 17, you will be permitted to apply, but you will only receive permission to enter the UK from your 18th birthday.
  • Financial requirement: As part of your application, you will need to prove that you have enough money to support yourself during your time in the UK. Previously, applicants needed £1,890 in savings, but this has now been increased to £2,540; the latest policy changes state, “the maintenance requirement for applicants has been increased from £1,890 to £2,540, and applicants are now required to show they have held the funds for 28 days in line with other work routes”. It is important to note that the Home Office will apply the exchange rate, which applies on the date the application is submitted. Your money may be in a personal bank or building society account, in either a current, deposit, savings, or pension account, as long as it can be immediately withdrawn when needed.

Which Documents will I Need to Provide When Applying for a Youth Mobility Visa?

The application process for the Youth Mobility visa is completed online. You will also need to provide:

  • your current passport or other valid travel ID
  • proof of £2,540 in savings, which may include:
    • personal bank or building society statements – this includes bank statements
  • printed on the bank’s stationery
    • a building society or savings account passbook
    • a letter from the bank confirming funds
    • a letter confirming funds from a financial institution regulated by the official
  • regulatory body for the country in which the institution operates
  • tuberculosis (TB) test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test
  • You need a blank page in your passport for your visa.
  • Any documents not in English or Welsh will also need a certified translation

Your proof of funds must contain the following information:

  • your name
  • your account number and type of account, for example, current or savings
  • the date of the letter or statement
  • the financial institution’s name and logo

What are the Conditions of a Youth Mobility Visa?

With a Youth Mobility visa, you will be able to study and work (but not as a professional sportsperson, including as a sports coach, or a doctor or dentist in training). You can also work in a self-employed capacity in the UK as long as:

  • you don’t own premises where you do business, other than your home (you can rent premises for the purpose of self-employment)
  • the total value of the equipment you use in your business can be no more than £5000
  • you cannot employee others

If granted, your visa will last for two years, however, there is no option to extend or switch to another visa once it expires.

Final Words

The UK Youth Mobility scheme provides an exciting and rewarding opportunity for those between 18 and 30 from eligible countries to experience life in the UK. Working here can also kick-start your career, and enable you to return home with valuable skills and knowledge. We can only hope that the many thousands of young people who have been unable to come to the UK this year will be able to do so in 2021. So far, the signs are looking positive that this may be the case.

Related article

I Am On A Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa, What Are My Options After My Visa Expires?


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Cheyam Shaked

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