How to apply for a UK Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa in Australia

So, you're a young Aussie (18-30 years old) who is interested in heading overseas to work in the UK for up to 2 years... The UK immigration process is complicated, and requires a VERY high level of accuracy and completeness. One mistake and your application could be rejected swiftly. Your only recourse at that stage? Pay to apply again (a small mistake can be very costly).

In all honesty, there are not many in-depth resources out there to guide you through the process - and because we've been processing Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa applications for Australian travellers bound for the UK since 2004 (more than 20,000 visas processed!) - we figured that we would step up to the plate and create your one-stop guide that will cover all the bases of the application process.

  • Where do you start?
  • Where do you find the online link to apply?
  • How do you know if you're eligible?
  • What documents do you need?
  • What's a biometrics appointment?
  • How do you pay?
  • How much does it cost?

Look no further. This is THE COMPLETE GUIDE, covering everything that you need to know in order to successfully apply for your UK Youth Mobility Visa (Tier 5) as an Australian who wants to move to the United Kingdom.

First things first... Are you eligible?

You can apply for a Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa if you:

  • want to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years
  • are aged 18 to 30
  • have the equivalent to £1,890 in savings
  • are a passport-holding citizen of either Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Monaco, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, or the Republic of Korea
  • have not lived/worked in the UK on a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa before

Why do I need money in savings?

In short, the UK government wants/needs to know that everyone who is coming to the country to live and work has some money in savings to support themselves (if/as needed). If they open their borders to folks with empty pockets, this could cause some major issues, in the event that these individuals cannot find work or suitable housing once in the UK. The maintenance funds (savings) requirement helps to ensure that everyone who is approved for the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa is able to support themselves once they have landed and begun their 2-year adventure in the United Kingdom.

This is perhaps the most important requirement and the most difficult to provide evidence (your documentation needs to be EXACT), as this is really the only eligibility requirement that can be scrutinized (your age and citizenship cannot be disputed, but your savings can)!

I'm eligible... Where do I start?

Your first step will be to create your online profile on the UK's visa processing system. To do that, go here: https://visas-immigration.service.gov.uk/apply-visa-type/tier5

(be sure you select the 'Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) visa - Youth Mobility Scheme' option)

How early can I apply?

You can apply a maximum of 6 months before your intended arrival date. If your visa is approved, you will be granted a 30-day 'Entry Vignette', which will be active from the date you request on your application (again, a maximum of 6 months in advance - you cannot apply earlier than that).

What documents will I need to provide?

When you apply you’ll need to provide:

  • a current passport or other valid travel ID
  • a bank statement showing you have at least £1,890 in savings
  • your tuberculosis (TB) test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test (Australian's do not!)

You need a page in your passport that’s blank on both sides for your visa.

You’ll need to provide a certified translation of any documents that aren’t in English or Welsh.

Read the guide for a full list of documents you can provide.

How much does it cost?

There are 2 main fees that you will be required to pay when you complete & submit your Youth Mobility Visa application online.

The first is the cost of the visa application itself: £244

The second is something called the Immigration Health Surcharge, or IHS. The cost for this is paid at a rate of £150 per year for the full 2-year duration of your visa (and it's paid up front). It is not optional - all travellers must pay this. The total cost for this will be: £300

(The IHS is set to increase by 2x as of December 2018 to £300 per year for the Youth Mobility Visa. Read our recent blog post on this for more information!)

Your Biometrics Appointment

Once your application is complete, submitted, and you have paid for the application and subsequent IHS fee, you will then be prompted to book your Biometrics enrolment appointment at your nearest VFS Global office in Australia. There are offices in: Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Sydney.

Do not stress about this appointment. There is no interviewing or interrogation as such. The staff at the biometric location are primarily concerned with obtaining your biometric data (fingerprints & digital photo) in addition to ensuring you have all the correct documentation required by UK authorities to make a decision on your visa application.

Here is a list of the documentation you must bring with you to this appointment:

  1. Your current passport 
  2. A copy of your online Visa application form (the online system will spit this out in PDF format once your application has been completed);
  3. Barcode Seperator Financial Evidence
  4. Proof of Funds 

What's a Barcode Separator?

You must sort and separate the documents that you want to submit with your application.

Download and print out the barcode separators document. It provides a barcode separator page for each document category. It also lists examples of valid documents.

Go here to download these files: https://www.vfsglobal.co.uk/au/en/vacs/what-to-bring-with-you

(click the orange button on the right that says "Download Document")

What next?

Okay - so you've completed your application, paid & submitted the application online (as well as paid your IHS fee), booked/attended your Biometrics appointment, and now you've sent all of your documentation and forms away from processing (along with your biometrics data and your current passport)...

Now you wait...

Processing Times: 
Normal visa processing time can take up to 30 business days. If you need your passport back faster than that, you can pay for Priority which takes 7 - 14 business days (sometimes it can take longer). 

Can I book my flight yet? 
Short answer - no. Don't book your travel until your visa has been approved, and your passport and UK Entry Vignette are back in your hand. Once you're holding them in your hand, you can go ahead and book your flight!

Contact from the UKVI and/or VFS Global:
You may receive further instructions or updates from the UK Visas and Immigration or the visa application centre, VFS Global. Please check your junk mail regularly during the processing of your visa. If you are asked for further information, follow the instructions carefully.

Your passport will remain in Australia and your documents will be scanned and returned to you at the appointment. The decision will be made in Sheffield, UK. You will receive an email or text from VFS Global, stating your application has been processed. Your passport can be couriered to you ($27) or you can collect if this is what you asked for when you submitted your application.

When you receive your passport, you should have a vignette inside giving you 30 days to enter the UK. This will be accompanied by a letter advising you when and from which Post Office you should collect your Biometric Resident Permit from. If the letter is not in the envelope with your passport, please advise the staff at the Visa Application Centre (if you are there collecting it).   

Collecting your BRP (Biometrics Residency Permit) when you arrive in the UK

Once you have arrived in the UK (ensuring you travel within the 30-day window allowed by your UK Entry Vignette that was issued to you with your visa approval), you will have to collect your BRP card.

You must do this before the vignette sticker in your travel document expires or within 10 days of arriving in the UK, whichever is later.

Check your decision letter. It will tell you where to collect your BRP (a named Post Office branch that was nearest to the UK address (or hotel/hostel address you provided on your application).

You must be over 18 to collect a BRP.

You can get a fine of up to £1,000 if you do not collect your BRP.

What you’ll need:
Bring your passport or travel document with your vignette sticker in when you collect your BRP.

You’ll get your vignette sticker when your visa application is approved. You have permission to come to the UK within 30 days of getting it.

Collecting your BRP from a different Post Office branch:
You can choose to pick up your BRP from a different Post Office branch. You’ll need to arrange this at the branch and pay a fee.

Check that the Post Office branch you want to use offers a ‘BRP collection service’.

If you cannot collect your BRP:
You can nominate someone else to collect your BRP if you have a serious illness or disability that prevents you from collecting it.

The person you nominate must have one of the following:

  • a passport
  • an EU national identity card
  • a BRP

You can get someone to make the nomination for you, for example a legal representative, charity, employer, college or university.

You’ll be told within 5 working days if the person you nominate is approved to collect your BRP.

If you change your mind, you can still collect your BRP yourself or you can nominate a different person. You do not need to cancel the original nomination.

Anything else?

Nope! Effectively - that's it. You apply online. You pay your fees. You attend your Biometrics Appointment in Australia. You send away for documents and wait...

Once approved, you receive your passport back with your UK Entry Vignette affixed inside. Enter the UK as directed in the approved 30-day window, pick up your BRP card, and you're set to start your working holiday adventure!

I've read all of this and I'm still confused... Can Restless World help me?

Of course, we can! Even with a roadmap outlining all the steps to take you from clueless to approved (with respect to your UK Youth Mobility Visa), we know all too well how confusing, complicated, and overwhelming immigration applications to the UK can be. It's our business, after all!

If you want to consider hiring Restless World to assist you with your application, we can do so for the low price of $259 (this fee is in addition to all the other costs outlined in the post above). 

We're so confident in our ability to ensure your visa is approved, that we offer a No Visa = No Fee Guarantee*. Simply put, if WE make a mistake that causes your UK Tier 5 YMS visa application to be rejected, we'll either pay for your re-application or refund your fee in full (whichever you prefer).

To purchase our UK Youth Mobility Visa service, click the link and add the service product to your cart!

If you have questions before you move forward with our service, you can click the blue "Ask a Question" button on the product/service page, or you can click HERE!