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19 October 2021

UK Youth Mobility Scheme: Updates and how to apply

Woodcock Law has broken down all that you need to know about the latest updates to UK Youth Mobility Scheme and the ballot system.
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
UK Youth Mobility Scheme: Updates and how to apply

What is the Youth Mobility Scheme?

The Youth Mobility Scheme is for young adults from certain countries to live and work in the UK for 2 years. This is part of the UK’s new points-based immigration system, and one of the main sub-routes for the T5 (Temporary Worker) route.

What is the Youth Mobility Scheme ballot system?

The Youth Mobility Scheme ballot system is designed specifically for applicants from Hong Kong (SAR Passport holders), Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Applicants from these countries must be eligible for the Youth Mobility Scheme route and only one ballot can be submitted per person. 

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How does the ballot operate?

The Youth Mobility Scheme ballots usually open in January and July each year and are open for 48 hours. During this time, all emails received from applicants are sent an automatic message confirming their entry.

Applicants are selected usually during the January ballot and the remaining places are then filled in the July ballot but should make sure that they meet all eligibility requirements before they apply for the ballot.

British Overseas Citizens, British Overseas Territories Citizens or British Nationals (Overseas) do not need to apply for the Youth Mobility Scheme ballot. 

Who is eligible for the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa?

To be eligible for the Youth Mobility Scheme route, you must:

  • Be between the ages of 18 to 30 years.
  • Want to live and work or study in the United Kingdom for upto 2 years. 
  • Be a citizen of a qualifying country.

What are the qualifying countries?

You can apply to the Youth Mobility Scheme if you are from one of the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Monaco
  • New Zealand
  • Republic of Korea
  • San Marino
  • Taiwan
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What is the application process?

You must apply online for the Youth Mobility Scheme visa. 

Please note that you must be successfully selected in the Youth Mobility Scheme ballot before you can apply for your visa if you are from:

  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • South Korea 
  • Taiwan

You’ll need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre.

How to apply for the ballot?

To apply for the Youth Mobility Scheme ballot, you must send an email to the email provided to you based on the country you are from. 

The email must be in English, and the subject line must include 

  1. Your name
  2. Date of birth 
  3. Current passport number as shown in your passport

Format: Last name First name – DD/MM/YYYY – passport number. 

The email must contain your:

  1. Name.
  2. Date of birth.
  3. Passport number.
  4. Mobile phone number.
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What’s next after submission?

If successful in the Youth Mobility Scheme ballot you will receive an email and you will have 30 days to submit your application. 

After you have made the payment, you have 30 days to book your appointment at your Visa Application Centre (VAC) and submit your application, and should get a decision in 3 weeks after providing your fingerprints and a photograph at your appointment. You may be able to get a faster decision depending on the country. 

Your visa will be valid for 90 days from when you receive it, and you must travel to the UK during this time. If you cannot travel at the time, then you will need to apply for a replacement vignette to come into the UK but will not need to reapply for the ballot and the expiry date on your visa will not change even if your arrival in the UK was delayed by Coronavirus. 

If successful you will be able to live, work and study in the UK for up to 2 years. 

If unsuccessful in the ballot, you will receive an email within a week of the ballot closing stating you have been unsuccessful, and you will be able to reapply in January 2022.

How long will it take to receive a decision?

When you apply from outside the UK, usually you will receive a decision within three weeks of your application date. 

How long is the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa valid for?

This visa is valid for two years. On this visa, you will not be able to extend your stay. 

You can apply to a different visa route such as the Skilled Worker Visa if you wish to extend your stay. 

Will I be able to settle in the UK on a Youth Mobility Scheme Visa?

This visa route does not lead to settlement in the UK.

What are the documents required to apply for a Youth Mobility Scheme Visa?

You will need to provide a:

How much does it cost?

You will need to:

  • Pay the application fee (£244) 
  • Pay the healthcare surcharge for each year of your stay (£624)

What am I permitted to do on a Youth Mobility Scheme Visa?

It is important to ensure that your actions or activities do not violate the Home Office regulations. 

On a Youth Mobility Scheme route, you may:

  • Study – for some courses you’ll need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate
  • Work in most jobs
  • Be self-employed and set up a company. 

However, you should not:

  • Work as a professional sportsperson (for example as a coach)
  • Extend your stay
  • Receive public funds
  • Bring in family members on your application

Ready for assistance?

If you have any questions, or want to book an appointment with one of our legal experts, contact Woodcock Law today. Call us on +44 (0)20 7712 1705 or email

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