Fine. You can! Really easily, to be honest, if you’re under 31 and have a bit of money saved up. I should probably note that “really easily” means “really easily… as long as you do everything EXACTLY the way they want it and without any exceptions.” Having made more than my share of sad trips to the Worldbridge Toronto offices only to return to my home with more paperwork to fill out in a different type of pen, I have endeavoured to outline exactly how to get into that damn country with the most minimal of hassles.
So, head to Visa4UK and start an application for a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme visa. You can have two years to live, work, and adopt an incredibly obvious fake accent wherever you please in the United Kingdom! You can apply for this visa even if you have previously lived and worked in the UK under a student visa. Here’s how:
In Toronto, you can only pay the £194 fee online. Get out the credit card and watch the exchange rate to pay on a good day.
While some parts of the application can be filed online, the really important bit is the appointment at Worldbridge Offices, at Suite 2500, 1 Dundas St, above the Eaton’s Centre. You can book an appointment using the online booking service after you have paid your application fee. You will need your application fee receipt number, which they will email to you, and your passport number. You can alter or cancel your appointment up until 24 hours prior to the appointment, but be warned that the application will be considered null if you do not get your forms and supporting materials sent off within 30 days of payment.
You can fill in the required forms online, but you will still need to print all the pages of it and bring them with you to your appointment. Print everything they give you, and bring it. When in doubt, bring EVERYTHING. If you notice a mistake on the way, you may correct it in RED PEN, and initial the change.
Any photo place can take a standard UK visa photo for you. Full colour, front-facing, nothing in your hair or on your face (including an expression. Think passport photo.).
The points-based system is theoretically designed so that you don’t waste the application fee on a visa application that is doomed for failure. You will need a total of 50 points for a successful application. 30 points are for being a Canadian citizen (bring your passport). 10 points are for having the appropriate money (£1,600 in available cash funds) in the bank. The final 10 points are for being under 31 at the time of your application. There will be a piece of paper where you can check these points off and add them up. Print and bring it with you to your appointment.
This is the easiest place to eff up. Bring the originals of everything—passport, photos, etc. When in doubt, bring a back up too. The banking stuff sounds tricky, but it isn’t really. You need to be able to prove that you have £1,600 in your name, in available cash funds. Stocks and stuff (do you guys have stocks?) or your line of credit do not count. You can order a letter from your bank, dated the day of or within the week of your application stating that you have that amount of money in your account. You can also (and I did both, because I’m hardcore) get your monthly statement stamped, signed and dated by your bank. £1,600 sounds like a lot, but if you’re saving for a plane ticket and planning to move to another country entirely, it is pretty reasonable. Start saving now! Also, give yourself some leeway in terms of the exact number—the company will calculate the exchange rate for your Canadian dollars on the day they process your application.
Biometric Data Extraction
This is a futuristic Big Brother-y term for taking your fingerprints and another, somehow even less flattering, photograph. This will happen on the day of your appointment and is pretty hassle-free, as long as you’re okay with the UK government having a copy of your fingerprints in perpetuity. If you have already provided your fingerprints, new ones will be taken.
After all this, visa application stuff will be sent to process in New York (why not, I guess?), and will be returned to most applicants within 10-12 business days. At your appointment you can choose to pick up the materials yourself (between 4 and 5pm at the same Dundas offices), or for a small fee you can have everything shipped to an address of your choice.
There we go, MATE! You’ve got a visa, INNIT?
Bonus advice: once you’ve got the visa, do try to look into what bank company/account type will suit you best, and see if you can arrange it from over here. Banking in England is what the Brits call “a full-on goddamn nightmare”, and I am inclined to agree.
~ Monica H.