Youth Mobility Scheme’s key requirements

The Youth Mobility Scheme provides a cultural exchange program that allows individuals aged between 18 and 30 from participating countries (except for New Zealand where the age threshold has been increased to 35) and territories to experience life in the UK for up to 2 years (or 3 years in the case of New Zealand). This route is straightforward and flexible to apply for, without the requirement of sponsorship from an employer.

However, eligibility for this scheme is limited to citizens from only 11 countries or certain territories, and the requirements and benefits may vary for different nationalities.

The general eligibility requirements include:

– Being aged 18 to 30

– Having £2,530 in savings held for at least a 28-day period and no financial dependents, such as children

– Not having previously applied for the Youth Mobility Scheme

For citizens of Australia, Canada, Monaco, or New Zealand, meeting the general eligibility requirements is sufficient to apply.

Other nationalities need to review country-specific eligibility requirements outlined in YMS 4.2.

Applicants from Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, or Taiwan must be selected in the scheme’s ballot and receive an invitation before applying.

San Marino nationals must provide a confirmation letter issued within 6 months from the Directorate of Political and Diplomatic Affairs of the Republic of San Marino Department of Foreign Affairs at the time of submission.

Iceland nationals must provide a “Criminal Certificate for Private Use” issued no more than 6 months before the date of application.

India joined the Youth Mobility Scheme for the first time in 2022, and the ballot opened on 28 February 2023. Indian applicants must apply with a valid invitation sent by the Home Office. Additionally, they need to demonstrate their non-criminal records and hold a qualification equal to or above RQF level 6, as stated in YMS 4.2 of the appendix.

The Youth Mobility visa is valid for up to 24 months with no possibility of renewal. However, New Zealand nationals can extend their stay for an additional 1 year.

Successful applicants can be employed in the UK with few limitations on forms of work, including:

(a) No employment as a professional sportsperson (including as a sports coach).

(b) No self-employment unless the following conditions are met:

  (i) The person has no premises other than their home from which they conduct their business.

  (ii) The total value of any equipment used in the business does not exceed £5,000.

  (iii) The person has no employees.


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For expert advice regarding any aspect of the UK visa application, please contact our immigration team on 0203 384 3075


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