How I Got My UK Tier 5 Working Holiday Visa

I’ve decided to create a mini Moving to London Series for those of you who want to move to the UK and for those of you who are just interested in my experience. This post is about the Tier 5 Visa application process. It won’t be super technical, as I am no expert, but it’ll give you a glimpse at what you can expect to deal with when applying.

UK Tier 5 Working Holiday Visa - Pinterest

What is a Tier 5 Working Holiday Visa?

It’s a 2-year visa which allows you to live and work in the UK.

Who Can Get a Tier 5 Working Holiday Visa?

You must:

  • Be between the ages of 18 – 30
  • Be from one of these countries: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Monaco, Japan, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, Taiwan
  • Have £1,890 in savings

All this info is on the Gov.Uk website.

Should You Register Through a Third Party?

If you are Canadian, is a good organization to help you deal with visa arrangements and all the post-arrival stuff. This is a pricey option at $395. I was initially going to go with them but the visa process seemed straight forward enough and I found another company to help with the post-arrival stuff, for less money.

I opted to sign up for 1st Contact’s Kickstart Package instead. In Canadian dollars, it cost me about $120. This package includes your National Insurance Number, setting up a bank account, a free money transfer, job & CV assistance, and more.

These third parties aren’t necessary but they do save a whole lot of stress! Decide whether it’s right for you – fully aware that sounds like a medical commercial.

Before You Apply

Figure out the day you want to move.

You will need to declare this on your application. Note that the day you state is when your 2 years will start. So make sure you can leave on that day to take full advantage of your time given. Also, I’d recommend picking a day based on flight prices (using Google Flights).

Gather all the required documents.

Make sure your passport is new enough (aka it won’t expire within the next 2-3 years). If it’s cutting it close, getting a new passport might be a safe bet.

The application does ask about all your old passports and where you’ve travelled in the past ten years (and when), so have all your old passports handy!

You’ll need a bank statement to prove that you have at least £1,890 in savings. It has to be obtained no more than a month before you apply. Make sure to have the document stamped and signed. I also added my latest tax return, just to be safe.

Online it says to provide UK passport photos that meet the UK standards. I did this but once I went to my appointment (discussed later) they said I didn’t need them because they take them there. I don’t know if all locations do this, so it’s a good idea to still get them unless stated otherwise.

The Application

The application process was long but fairly straightforward. The most tedious part was logging all my trips in the past 10 years, including the dates that I went (thank God I put my trips in my iCalendar).

When you reach the point where you need to give them your UK address for your Biometric Residence Permit, you can just give the address of your hotel or hostel. It will send your permit to the nearest post office and you can collect it there.

Once you submit everything online, you set up an appointment.

I will note the visa application does cost £230.00 with an additional health surcharge of £300.00. This covers your medical insurance for the duration of your stay.

The Appointment

Make sure to bring printouts off all the emails you receive after submitting your application (this includes proof of payment and proof of appointment).

You will also need to bring a printout of your online application.

At the appointment, I was given a checklist to organize all the required documents to send to New York.

After that, they took my fingerprints and a photo of me for my visa (they weren’t going to use the passport photos I brought in).

Then off my files went to the New York office to (hopefully) be approved.

The Waiting Game … Then Your Visa Approval

My appointment was on a Thursday and by the next Friday, I received an email that my visa was approved! Three business days later my visa arrived in the mail.

So it basically took two weeks to receive my visa after sending my application.

Once your visa has arrived and you officially know what day it starts, feel free to book those flights!


That’s it for the visa application process. If you have any questions about it, please remember I’m not an expert on the matter (I struggled myself) but I will try my best to help!

23 thoughts on “How I Got My UK Tier 5 Working Holiday Visa

  1. a travelling gypsy says:

    Thanks so much for talking about your experience :) It’s really helpful to read about someones experience because I think that beginning to figure out all the visa stuff, as well as the post-arrival stuff that you mentioned, can be pretty overwhelming. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Endlessjourney91 says:

    I’m so excited for you! I really want to relocate to Europe after I complete my undergrad. I can’t wait to read more about your journey. Good Luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Chloe says:

    Try to enjoy every second! I’ve only got 8 months left, which has come around insanely quickly! I’m interested to see how you get on in London – there was absolutely no way I could have afforded living there, especially when trying to save money for trips to Europe too. Still, Edinburgh is lovely! Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Samantha Faloon says:

      Thanks! Ya it might be tricky but I’m more focused on getting full time post grad job rather than a job that lets me travel so fingers crossed that’ll help!! :) Edinburgh is my next choice if London doesn’t work out!


  4. jesh stg says:

    Thanks for the like on my blog. There are many things to like about London, but I’m a big city fan. Many times in transit there, but actually visited one time. Lived in Berlin, the Hague, went to the uni in Amsterdam, and Los Angeles.
    Maybe because I’m Dutch I think Brexit was the right thing, and I hope/wish Holland is going to do the same! Hope you find your niche in London!


  5. keepcalmitsonlylife says:

    Do you know whether there is a cap on the number of visas they grant per year? I’m just wondering what the likelihood of getting rejected is.



    • Samantha Faloon says:

      Not sure, but just be really thorough with your application! They are more likely to reject something that is wrong with the application vs. a cap. Plus it’s the beginning of the year! I applied for mine at the end of July


  6. mycountryepoque says:

    Thank you for stopping and visiting my blog today. It was nice to read from you about your journey of two years in the British land. With a big Brexit on the horizon, who knows? I hope it will be great for you, hence they don’t want the Europeans like themselves, I wonder how they cope with outsiders. I have lived in Britain for the past 20 years, life was great, jobs, fun, friends, – with lots of regrets at the same time. That is the thing when you embrace a new horizon, in time one learns that staying for so many years, one can have regrets one day of being in the same place for a long time. I have traveled extensively, yes, but with great efforts, leaving was the best happiness of all time after 20 years. I have done my time in the British society and I don’t regret leaving. I wish you good luck and hope you will love Britain. “My advice to you is to keep seeking horizons and don’t stick at one place, remember that Life is a journey, where the winds shall take you Go!” – who knows!

    Liked by 1 person

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