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How do I get the right to work in the UK?

There are a few visa options depending on what you are entitled to. A common option for many Canadians is the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme. This visa is for applicants between the age of 18-30. It allows you to stay and work for up to 2 years and you are only able to obtain this visa once. If this is the visa you are interested in, more helpful guidelines can be found by clicking the button below. Other options include sponsorship visas (most of our US candidates have this visa), EU/UK passport, or applying for the ancestry visa (if you have a grandparent who was born in the UK).

Youth Mobility Guide

Below is a step-by-step guide to applying for a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) visa for the UK. This visa will allow you to live and work within the UK for up to 2 years. It will take at least a few months to complete the visa process with the longest stretch being the time between booking your BRP appointment and receiving word that your visa has been approved. Staff at Aurelia Education provide support and assistance with the visa process so don't worry if all of this information seems overwhelming. We're here to help! If you require more detailed information than what is provided below, or have any direct questions, please refer to the government website for further assistance or send us a message.

Last updated: August 9th, 2017


  • Canadian Citizen
  • Age 18-30 (you can apply at 17, but you must be 18 on or before the visa start date; you can move to the UK at 31, as long as you were 30 on the date of the application)
  • No dependents (children under 18 either living with you or for whom you are financially responsible)
  • A minimum of the equivalent £1890 ($3245 as of June 2017) in your bank account within 30 days before the date of your biometrics appointment (you will need proof of these funds for the date you submitted your visa application). These funds do not need to stay in the account after you obtain the proof of funds but it is best to have these funds in order to support your move to the UK financially. 
  • Must be currently residing outside of the UK

You can apply for this visa if you are not in Canada, so long as you have been in that country for at least six months with a long-term visa and there is a UK Border Agency in the country you reside in so you can have a biometric (BRP) appointment. For example, if you are currently residing in Australia on the working holiday scheme for one year, then you may apply from Australia and attend your biometric appointment in Sydney.

Beginning the Process

The Official Guidance Document (button below) will give you information on all of the requirements for your documents as well as the limitations on the work you may do. Read it twice, if not three times, to ensure you aren't missing anything obvious.

Once you have read through and are ready to begin the application process officially, you can begin to fill in and submit the formal form (button below)

What You Need

  • Current passport and all previous passports (if you have them)
  • Dates of all international travel, including travel to the UK 
  • Birth dates and birthplaces of your parents
  • Accurate UK postcode to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (your permanent school or accommodation arrangement) 
    • It is likely that at this time in the process you have not yet found a place to live, that is fine. You can provide the post code of your school, or of the area/city/town you are living in as the documents will make their way to the local post office and you can pick them up there upon arrival.
  • Credit card to process payment for Visa Fee, Immigration Health Surcharge, and User Pay office (if applicable)
  • Proof of funds in your bank account (dated for the day you submit and pay for your application). A letter from your bank dated for the day you submitted and paid for your application stating the funds in your account will suffice for proof of funds.
  • Approximately $1030.00 CAD on hand ready to pay for the application, the health surcharge and the processing fee (discussed below in detail), this is paid in pounds and is separate to the amount you need to have in your account on the date you book your BRP.

Receiving Your Visa

From applying online to receiving your passport with the vignette (entry sticker), it can take anywhere from 15 days to 30+. If you are living in Toronto, Ottawa, or Edmonton, where the appointment slots are available nearly everyday, you can apply, book attend BRP and receive back your passport within 15 days. If you are living further from Ontario or Alberta, and have to book a BRP appointment at a different location as listed above with fewer appointment dates, the total process could take a little longer - try to plan accordingly. 

The visa processing office in New York sends you an e-mail when they receive your documents and then once the visa has been issued (and presumably if you are rejected), after this e-mail of approval is received, you can await your documents return (if you chose the mail return)

You can check up on your visa and direct any inquiries to the UK Visas & Immigration office here, if you haven’t heard about your visa for more than a month.

When you receive the package via mail, it will contain several documents including your returned passport containing the entry sticker. There is one piece of a paper (half a page in size, and printed on card stock) that you must bring with you to the UK as proof for when you retrieve your BRP card from the post office. This makes the process of picking it up quicker and easier especially if you don't have your new residence sorted out yet.