The UK Youth Mobility Scheme (T5) Visa for Australians

The UK Youth Mobility Scheme (T5) Visa for Australians
London, UK. Photo by Matt Graham.

The United Kingdom (UK) is one of the most popular working holiday destinations for young Australians, who have the opportunity to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years!

Many young Aussies dream of living and working in London. Thanks to the UK’s Youth Mobility Scheme visa, which is the UK equivalent of a working holiday visa, you can! In fact, thousands of backpackers travel each year between Australia and the UK – countries with strong cultural, economic and historical ties.

This page contains information about the UK Youth Mobility Scheme (T5) visa for Australian citizens, as well as living in the UK. It was last updated on 28 August 2021.

Please note that COVID-19 may impact your ability to travel to the United Kingdom at this time.

The UK border is currently open to Australians, but COVID-19 entry restrictions apply depending on which countries you’ve been in during the past 10 days (including airport transits). See the UK government website for the latest information.

Key facts about the UK

  • Population: Approx. 68 million
  • Official language: English
  • Capital city: London
  • Largest cities: London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow, Liverpool
  • Currency: Pound sterling
city road people street Edinburgh
Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo by Anna Urlapova on

UK Youth Mobility Scheme visa (T5) requirements

The UK offers Youth Mobility Scheme visas to citizens of Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, San Marino, South Korea & Taiwan. See the UK government’s website for more information.

This information is applicable to Australian citizens and may be different for citizens of other countries.

To apply for a UK Youth Mobility Scheme (T5) visa as an Australian citizen, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Aged between 18-30 years old (inclusive) at the time of application
  • Have at least £2,530 (approx. AUD4,700) in savings

You cannot apply for this visa if you:

  • Have dependent children who live with you and/or for whom you are financially responsible
  • Have already completed a working holiday in the UK under the same scheme

More information is available on the UK government’s website.

Documents needed to apply for this visa

When applying for a Youth Mobility Scheme visa for the UK as an Australian citizen, you’ll need to provide the following documents:

  • A valid passport
  • Bank statement showing you have at least £2,530 or equivalent in savings (you must have had the money in your account for at least 28 days in a row, and the 28th day must be within a month of your application)

It costs £244 (approx. AUD460) to apply for a Youth Mobility Scheme visa.

However, you will also need to pay a £940 (approx. AUD1,770) Immigration Health Surcharge, bringing the total cost to around AUD2,230 for a 2-year visa application. See below for details.

Immigration Health Surcharge

You will have to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) at the time of applying for your visa. (This would be refunded in the unlikely event your visa application is not approved.)

You can use the UK government’s calculator to determine exactly how much you would need to pay. But an Australian coming to the UK for two years on a Youth Mobility Scheme visa could expect to pay around £940 (approx. AUD1,770). While this is quite a lot of money, in return you will have access to free medical treatment through the National Health Service (NHS) while in the UK.

How to apply for a Youth Mobility Scheme (T5) visa for the UK

You can apply for a UK working holiday visa up to six months before your intended arrival date in the UK. It generally takes around 3 weeks to get a decision (so ensure you leave enough time), although you can pay an additional fee to get a faster turnaround time.

You’ll need to apply online on the UK government’s website for this visa before arriving in the UK. You’ll then also need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre (in Australia, this generally means visiting a VFS Global office).

Upcoming changes to Australia’s working holiday agreement with the UK

In June 2021, the Australian & UK governments created a new Free Trade Agreement which will include more flexibility for Australians travelling to the UK on working holiday visas. Once the agreement is finalised, Australians will be able to stay in the UK on a Youth Mobility Visa for up to 3 years. The scheme will also be open to Australians aged 18-35.

These changes have not yet come into effect. If you apply now, you will be subject to the current Youth Mobility Scheme rules and will only be able to stay in the UK for 2 years.

See here for more information: UK to Offer 3-Year Working Holiday Visas to Australians

Arriving in the UK

When making your visa application, you’ll need to provide your expected arrival date in the UK. You must collect your biometric residence permit in the UK within 10 days after your nominated arrival date.

If it’s not already printed on your biometric residence permit, you might also need to apply for a National Insurance Number after arriving. You’ll need this if you want to work and/or open a UK bank account.

If you wish to open a bank account, you may need a local address. But some banks no longer require this. You could also consider opening an online bank account, e.g. with Monzo.

Speaking of your address, you’ll need to find somewhere to live. Rental properties can be notoriously expensive in London, but may be more affordable in smaller cities and regional areas – as well as various boroughs of London.

London Tube Tottenham Court Road station
Many Londoners commute on the Tube. Image by Michele Mex on Pixabay.

If you do want to live and work in London, be prepared to commute to work every day. (Luckily, public transport in London is very good and you can even tap on & off the Tube using your credit card.) But don’t be afraid to live in other parts of the UK – there’s more than just London!

Spare Room and Badi can be useful websites for finding spare rooms and rentals with flatmates. Or you could try websites like Right Move or Zoopla if you’d like to rent a whole apartment.

After arriving you should also consider purchasing a UK SIM card and registering with a local doctor.

The Aussies in London website and Facebook group may also be useful resources for you.

While best efforts are made to keep this information updated, we do not guarantee its accuracy. If you spot an error, would like to suggest new information to be added or simply have a question, please let us know in the comments and we’ll endeavour to respond or update the article as quickly as possible!

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