How to Get a UK Working Holiday Visa

There’s a whole lot more to the UK than just Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. From the lush rolling hills of Scotland to the ruggedly beautiful beaches of Wales and the vibrant cosmopolitan cities of England, there’s so much to see, do and experience in the UK that there’s no way you can do it all in one holiday. If you want to pack as much as possible into your next trip into the UK, consider combining business with pleasure and sign up for a UK working holiday visa.

UK is home to some stunning beaches that look like the Caribbean. UK Working Holiday Visa
UK is home to some stunning beaches that look like the Caribbean

How to apply for a UK working holiday visa

Also known as a Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa, a working holiday visa is available for people aged 18-30 who want to live and work in the UK for a maximum of two years and have at least £1,890 in savings.

When it comes to nationality, the UK is pretty strict about who can apply for a UK working holiday visa. Currently, you’re only eligible for this type of visa if you’re from: Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea or Taiwan.

If you’re a British overseas citizen, a British overseas territories citizen or a British national overseas aged 18-30, you’re also eligible to apply for a working holiday visa.

Avoid never-ending paperwork by using Visa First. UK Working Holiday Visa
Avoid never-ending paperwork by using Visa First

Collect all necessary documents

To apply for a UK working holiday visa you need:

  • Valid passport with one page that has two blank sides
  • Bank statement proving you have at least £1,890 in savings
  • Tuberculosis (TB) test results, if you’re from a country in which the test must be taken
  • Completed application form
  • Visa fee

Present your documents

If you’re applying for your visa outside the UK, you need to do so online. You also need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at an official visa application centre to get a biometric residence permit which you’ve got to collect within ten days of the date you’re expected to arrive in the UK.

If you live in North Korea, you can’t apply for your visa online. In this case, you need to download the appropriate application form and take it in person to the British Embassy in Pyongyang.

You can avoid the hassle of applying for a visa yourself by using an agency to do it for you. Visa First organises over 60,000 visas each year and has a 100% success rate, so your application will definitely be safe in their hands.

It takes around three weeks to process your visa application. UK Working Holiday Visa
It takes around three weeks to process your visa application

Processing time

Each UK working holiday visa is valid for up to 24 months and the earliest you can apply for one is three months before you travel. Most decisions are received within three weeks, so plan accordingly.

Visa fees

The visa on its own costs £230, but you will have to pay the healthcare surcharge of approximately £150 per year as part of your application.

Important information

You can’t apply for a UK working holiday visa if you have children living with you, have children you’re financially responsible for or have already been in the UK with a working holiday visa.

Your UK working holiday visa entitles you to study, work in most jobs and be self-employed or set up a company, as long as you rent your premises, your equipment is worth a maximum of £5,000 and you don’t have any employees.

With your UK working holiday visa from Visa First you can’t work as a professional sportsperson, doctor or dentist (unless you can show you qualified in the UK), extend your stay, get public funding or bring in family members on your application.

About Nicola Quinn


Nicola is a travel and food writer living in the Canary Islands who loves exploring far-off places, pushing herself to the limit and trying local eats wherever she goes.

Other posts by the Author

One Response

  1. How to Apply for a Schengen Tourist Visa | Go 4 Travel Blog

    […] a Schengen tourist visa. The only exception to this is if you’re travelling exclusively to the UK, Ireland, Romania or Bulgaria. These countries aren’t currently part of the Schengen region so […]


Leave a Reply