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Work in the UK and travel Europe: The Youth Mobility Scheme

Dreaming of an adventure abroad? The UK’s Youth Mobility Visa might be your ticket. This visa allows young people from select countries to live, work, and explore the UK for up to two years. Here’s what you need to know about the recent changes to this popular visa.

What is the Youth Mobility visa?

The Youth Mobility visa is designed for young individuals who want to experience life in the UK. It’s a perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in British culture, gain international work experience, and travel around Europe. This visa allows eligible individuals to work, study, and live in the UK without the need for employer sponsorship.

The Youth Mobility visa is valid for two years, but a recent change allows citizens of Australia, New Zealand and Canada to extend their stay by another year when their initial visa expires. The upper age limit for these countries, along with South Korea, has also been extended to 35 years old.

UK Youth Mobility visa requirements

To be eligible for this visa, you must not have participated in the scheme before or previously held a Youth Mobility visa for the UK.

You must also meet the following requirements:


You must be a citizen of one of the following countries:

  • Andorra 
  • Australia 
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • Iceland 
  • India
  • Monaco
  • New Zealand 
  • Hong Kong
  • Republic of South Korea
  • San Marino
  • Taiwan
  • Uruguay

British Overseas Citizens, British Overseas Territories Citizens, and British National (Overseas) are also eligible. Those from India, Hong Kong (SAR passport) and Taiwan must be invited after submitting their name to a ‘ballot system’. Ballots open in January and July each year.


You must be between the ages of 18 and 30 (35 if you are from New Zealand, Canada, Australia or South Korea).


You need to have at least £2,530 in your bank account to support yourself. These funds must have been held for a 28-day period before your application date.


You cannot include dependants (children or family members) on this visa. Additionally, you must not have any dependants who are financially dependent on you.

How long can you stay in the UK?

Your visa will be valid for two years. During this time, you can enter the UK at any point, leave, and return as often as you like while your visa is still valid.

If you turn 31 after getting your visa, you can stay in the UK until your visa expires. If you're from Australia, Canada or New Zealand, you can extend your visa for one more year after the initial two-year period ends.

How much does the UK Youth Mobility visa cost?

You will need to:

  • Pay the application fee – £298
  • Pay the immigration healthcare surcharge – £776 per year (£1,552)
  • Prove you have enough personal savings –  £2,530
  • The total cost of your visa application will be £4,380 

Read more: How much a UK visa will cost in 2023-2024

What you can and can’t do on a Youth Mobility visa

You are allowed to:

  • Study – some courses require an Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate.
  • Work most jobs.
  • Be self-employed – You can set up a company if your premises are rented, equipment is worth less than £5,000, and you have no employees.

You are not allowed to:

  • Work as a sportsperson or coach.
  • Extend your visa unless you are from Australia, Canada or New Zealand.
  • Access public funds
  • Bring family members with you. They must apply separately.

Our expert UK immigration consultants will be happy to give you further information on the UK’s Youth Mobility Scheme visa if you have any queries. You can contact us on +27 (0) 21 657 2180 or +44 (0) 20 7759 5330 or send an email to

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