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UK Youth Mobility Visa Expands to More Countries, Ages in 2024 – New Rules Announced

The UK Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) visa allows young people aged 18-30 from certain countries to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years (3 years for some nationalities). As of January 2024, there have been several updates to expand eligibility and make it easier to apply.

Latest Changes to the Youth Mobility Scheme in 2024

Here are the key changes that have been introduced in 2024:

  • Age limit increased to 18-35 for nationals of Australia, Canada, and South Korea
  • Australians and Canadians can now extend their visa for a 3rd year after the initial 2 years
  • 500 visas allocated for nationals of Uruguay, the first South American country in the scheme
  • Japanese and South Korean nationals no longer need to enter a ballot and can apply anytime
  • Number of places for Japan increased from 1,500 to 6,000 and South Korea from 1,000 to 5,000
  • Andorra joins the scheme with an allocation of 100 placesNursing Abroad images 9

According to Guardian,These changes significantly expand opportunities for young people from these countries to live and gain work experience in the UK.

Step-by-Step Guide to Applying for the YMS Visa

Here is a step-by-step guide to applying for the UK’s Youth Mobility Scheme visa:

1. Check If You’re Eligible

You must:

  • Be aged 18-30 (18-35 for nationals of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Korea)
  • Have at least £2,530 in savings
  • Be a citizen of an eligible country (see full list below)
  • Not have dependent children under 18
  • Not have previously been in the UK under this scheme

British overseas citizens, British overseas territories citizens, and British nationals can also apply without needing to meet other eligibility criteria.

2. Enter the Ballot (If Required)

If you’re a national of Hong Kong, Taiwan, or (previously) Japan/South Korea, you’ll need to enter an online ballot to get an invitation to apply.The ballots typically open for 48 hours in January and July. You enter by emailing the required information during the ballot period. If selected, you’ll be invited to apply within a specified timeframe.

3. Apply Online & Pay Fees

If eligible, you can apply online up to 6 months before your intended travel date. The application costs £298.You’ll also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge of £470 per year, so £940 for the 2-year visa.

4. Attend Biometric Appointment

After applying, you’ll need to attend an appointment at your nearest visa application centre to provide your fingerprints and supporting documents.

5. Get Decision Within 3 Weeks

You’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks of your biometric appointment. If approved, you’ll have 90 days to enter the UK.The visa allows you to live, work, study, and travel freely in the UK for up to 2 years (3 years for Australians, Canadians, New Zealanders).

Opportunities Available With the Youth Mobility Visa

The YMS visa provides extensive opportunities to live and work temporarily in the UK. Here are some of the main options available:

Work & Travel FreelyNursing Abroad 1000p 371bce7dc83817b7893bcdeed13799b5 1671801899 4633

You can work in most jobs, be self-employed in certain circumstances, and travel in and out of the country. There’s no need for employer sponsorship.It’s an excellent way to gain work experience, save money, and travel around the UK and Europe.

Study on the Side

You can study part-time or full-time while in the UK on this visa. However, for some university courses, you may need additional clearance under the Academic Technology Approval Scheme.

Explore Starting a Business

If you want to start a business, you can become self-employed under the visa if you meet certain conditions related to premises, equipment, and employees.The visa gives you flexibility to test business ideas and entrepreneurial ambitions while in the country.

Switch to a Long-Term Visa

Before your YMS visa expires, you may be able apply from within the UK to switch to another long-term visa such as the Skilled Worker visa if you secure a eligible job offer.So it can be a pathway to staying longer-term if you wish. But there are no guarantees, so have a back-up plan!

Eligible Countries & Annual Visa Quotas

Each country participating in the Youth Mobility Scheme has an annual allocation of places. For 2024, these are:

Country Annual Quota
Australia 35,500
Canada 35,500
Japan 6,000
Monaco 1,000
New Zealand 35,500
South Korea 5,000
Taiwan 1,000
Hong Kong 1,000
Andorra 100
Iceland 100
San Marino 100
Uruguay 500

There is no annual limit for British overseas citizens, British overseas territories citizens, and British nationals.When the quota is met for a particular country, no further visas will be issued until the next year. So it’s advisable to apply early in the year if possible.


The UK’s Youth Mobility Scheme provides an excellent opportunity for young people from eligible countries to live and work in the UK temporarily.Recent changes in 2024 have expanded access and made it easier to apply.

There are also generous annual visa quotas available.It can be a life-changing experience and the visa offers lots of exciting options to work, travel, study, or even start a business during your stay.
To recap, you’ll need to check your eligibility, enter the ballot if required, apply online and pay fees, provide biometrics, and wait roughly 3 weeks for the visa decision.
If you meet the criteria and conditions, it’s worth considering applying for this special visa category to make the most of your 2 years (or 3 years for some nationalities) in the UK!

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