England Working Holiday Visa

In order to apply for the UK Working Holiday Visa, as a Canadian, it is required that you are under 31 years of age and that you are inside of Canada’s borders at the time of application.  There are two options for applying for this visa: through something called SWAP (www.swap.ca) for $395 which is a Canadian based program or through something called Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme (www.gov.uk) for $415 which is a United Kingdom based program.  Both are two-year visas where you may work for then entirety of the 24 months (even at the same job should that be you choice).

The initial requirements for the Tier 5 UK Working Holiday Visa include an online application to be filled out.

Once you have filled in the blanks with information, they will ask you when you want to schedule an appointment for your biometrics.  Biometrics are fingerprints that they want from you to be able to process the visa.  There are offices all over Canada and you can pick the one closest to where you are located.

You are required to bring a recent passport photo with you for the biometrics that will be used for your visa process, you will need a bank statement for proof of support funds to show that you have at least $3500 in savings *, you will need your passport that they will keep to mail to the consulate with you documents, and you will need to pay for this process with a credit card **.

The turnaround time for this visa was said to be at least four weeks.  I applied for the visa in Vancouver on February 23rd and the documents and passport had to be sent to Ottawa.  On March 2nd, only 8 days from the time that the application had been made, the visa had been processed in Ottawa and my passport was returned to me at my home address on the other side of the country with a full page two-year visa sticker inside.  This was a very quick process.

This is a great visa because it allows you two years to enjoy Europe hassle free.  With this unlimited multiple-entry visa, you are allowed to come and go from the United Kingdom as much as you please for the duration of the visa and you will have access to visit any European country without any international hassles.

The only problem with this visa is that unlike most other working holiday visas that activate once you enter their country borders, the UK visa activates itself from your projected UK arrival date that you fill in on the on-line form when you are applying.  It is very important to decide on your exact arrival day to the UK when you apply, or else the time on this visa starts ticking before you are even enter the country.  And believe me, you will want to get every day of the two years that you can out of this visa.  So make a concise arrival date decision.  And go and have the time of your life!

* When I applied for this visa, I had been previously living in The Netherlands, so my bank statements were in Dutch.  They denied the bank statement, even though numbers are international, because the words in the statements to prove that I had the obvious funding were in Dutch.  Perhaps the British are incapable of deciphering numbers if there are Dutch words on the page?  Consequently, I was required to have the bank statement translated into English by a professional translator, after which the statement was accepted.
** When I went to pay for this visa during my biometrics, I brought cash which was rejected as they would only accept a credit card payment.  Fortunately I had a friend close by who I could call to come to the office to make the payment in exchange for the cash.