First job is to check you’re eligible for either a Youth Mobility Scheme visa or Ancestry visa. Passed? You’re going places. Our 4-day Essential itinerary starts the second Monday of every month, so check the departure dates, secure your place with a deposit and wait for us to get in touch with the next steps.
You’ll need to apply and pay for your visa directly through the UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) website, but we’ll provide you with all the visa guidance and be on call to answer any questions. Some nationalities may need to enter the Youth Mobility Scheme ballot in order to be invited to apply for a visa. Find out more here.
Youth Mobility Scheme visas and Ancestry visas can take 3-4 weeks to process from the date you apply. However, this can take longer if you’re required to submit extra information. Once approved, start ticking off your to-do list by booking your travel insurance and flights – letting us know the details so that we can countdown with you.
The balance for your trip is due eight weeks before departure. Don’t worry, we’ll let you know when it’s coming up. We’ll also get in touch to arrange your pre-departure check in with our Work UK team. This is a group call to answer any questions and prep you for your trip, with advice on finding work and accommodation.
Do you need a vaccination passport, pre-departure test or are you required to isolate on arrival? Flying into London, it’s important to stay on top of England’s COVID requirements. (If you’re flying into a different UK country before starting your Essential itinerary, please note that they may have different COVD rules).
You made it! Snooze off the jet lag at your included London hostel, or hook up with other BUNACers through our WhatsApp group and get ready for an itinerary packed with job support, new friends, London landmarks and seaside trips. We’re trippin’ about it too. See you on the Brit side!
Work in the UK FAQs
How can I work in UK?
The UK working holiday visa is called the Youth Mobility Scheme visa (formerly known as the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme visa). It allows Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Monaco, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, San Marino, Iceland and Taiwan passport holders to live and work in the UK for up to two years. If you meet the ancestorial criteria and are a Commonwealth or British Overseas citizen, you might also qualify for a UK Ancestry visa which allows you work in the UK for up to five years. Find out more about both UK work visas here.
What’s the age limit for a working holiday in the UK?
You must be aged 18-30 (inclusive) for the Youth Mobility Scheme visa and over 17-years-old for the UK Ancestry visa.
How can I get work visa for UK?
Visa applications and payment (your visa fee and Immigration Health Surcharge) are made directly through the UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) website. However, BUNAC support you with your application, plus help you sort all the formalities that allow you to legally work in the UK, such as a UK bank account and National Insurance number. Check out the full Work UK program inclusions here.
How can I get job in UK?
Our Essential UK program gives you a head start on finding work. We include a comprehensive job assistance workshop when you arrive, where our team will help to get your CV UK ready and run through what work is available. We know that you might not want to start working straightaway, so our program includes access to our job listings, employer database and our working holiday resource centre in London for the full 24 months of your visa. Find out more here.
What is the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) and how do I pay it?
It’s mandatory for anyone staying in the UK for six months or more to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). Paying the IHS means you’ll be entitled to use the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK. This gives you access to emergency health care and means you won’t be charged for hospital treatment or further medical treatment if required.
You pay the surcharge once you complete your online application. Once payment is received you can then submit your biometrics.
What does 'submit my biometrics' mean?
You’ll be asked to provide your fingerprints and photo in person (‘biometric information’) as part of your visa application. The process takes less than five minutes and does not involve any ink or mess. You’ll book your appointment once you've completed your online application. Locations will be based on where you’re submitting your application.
Please note, you won’t be required to remove a head covering if you wear one.
How long does it take to get a work visa for UK?
This depends on how quickly you can complete your online application and upload the required documents. It can also depend on how soon you can get a biometrics appointment – this can take longer than normal due to COVID-19.
Once UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) receive your application, it can take 3-4 weeks to process. Once you’ve completed your biometrics in person, you can then courier your documents to UKVI to process. UKVI update applicants when they receive their application and when the visa has been approved. Passports are either couriered back or can be collected at some centres.
When can I apply for my working holiday UK visa?
Can I extend my visa?
You cannot extend the Youth Mobility Scheme visa beyond 24 months. This visa category is in a temporary worker category and therefore does not permit you to settle in the UK.
You can reapply for a second Ancestry visa.
Is the UK currently open for working holidaymakers?
Yes! Applications for working holiday visas and UK borders are currently open. However, please check the COVID-19 requirements before you travel. Please note, these may differ for different parts of the UK. For example, flying into Scotland may have different rules to flying into England, Wales or Northern Ireland.
What’s the Youth Mobility Scheme ballot?
There are a restricted number of visas allocated each year for each country – although in reality, the quota for some nationalities are hardly ever met (Australia is allocated 30,000 visas, New Zealand 13,000 and Canada 6,000).
Allocated 1,000 visa places each year (1,500 for Japan); Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan passport holders will need to enter the Youth Mobility Scheme ballot in order to be invited to apply for a visa. This usually opens for 48 hours each January. Find out more here.
How to work in the UK as a US citizen?
Unfortunately, US citizens aren’t eligible for a Youth Mobility Scheme visa. However, if you’re a student or recent graduate, check out our Intern in Britain program. This allows you to move to the UK to do a paid or unpaid internship in the UK.
What kind of jobs can I do on a UK working holiday visa?
The Youth Mobility Scheme visa is more flexible than most working holiday visas. You have the freedom to work in either England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland; and can work in most professions (other than as a professional sportsman and in some medical professions); and for one employer for the full 24-months of your visa.
Alternatively, you can do more casual work. Typical backpacker jobs include bartending, waiting staff, admin roles, retail, temp jobs and childcare (nannying or au pair). Find out more and how much you can expect to earn here.