That sense of relief when your visa finally arrives in the post and you can officially book your flights & prepare for the journey to the UK is amazing. I love the photo and just know these two will have a blast teaching & traveling in the UK.
So, on to the visas. There are a few different options for visas to work in the UK.
- UK Ancestry Visa - If you are a commonwealth citizen and are lucky enough to have a grandparent born in the UK, this is the visa for you. It gives you 5 years in the UK and you have to jump through a few hoops to get the correct paperwork, but it is by far the best visa for Canadians to get. No, it can't be a great-grandparent, and yes, it can be a parent. Although if your parent was born in the UK, you should just go for a UK passport. It takes a few months, mostly just for you to get your paperwork in order.
- Youth Mobility Visa aka Tier 5 and formally known as the Working Holiday Maker Visa - Again for commonwealth citizens, but this time with a few restrictions. You have to be under 31 years old when you apply and have 1600 GBP in your bank account. It gives you 2 years in the UK. This visa can take a few months to get, but most of our teachers & teaching assistants find they get their visas in hand (like Amie & Morgan above) within about 2 weeks of applying.
- If you don't qualify for either of the two above, then your only other option is the Highly Skilled Migrant Visa. This is for people who are very serious about being in the UK and requires you to jump through plenty more hoops. It's a points based system, which means that you get points for certain skills, education, language & age. Just do the calculator and work out if you qualify and then apply online. If you don't qualify, figure out what you can do to earn more points (ie - you can study in the UK and that will get you points for earning UK qualifications).
- Sponsorship (aka Work Permit) - If you can't get a Visa, then you can try to get sponsored by a school. Be warned though - it's near impossible these days & if you're not in the UK, the schools are highly unlikely to even look at your CV, let alone sponsor you. If they do, I would make the assumption that they can not get any of the thousands of teachers already in the UK to take the job. Read between the lines and then decide if that's the kind of school you want to work in.
If you have an EU passport, you don't need a visa. Lucky you!
Any other questions about visas? Please ask below. Also, if you have any advice for other Canadians or Americans applying for their visas, please let us know in the comments section.
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