SWAP United Kingdom

It's been a long work day, so naturally you gather at the pub with your mates. But this isn't just any pub - every nook and cranny has a story and the establishment is older than Canada itself. Not bad for a Monday night, yeah? With the exciting nightlife, bustling capitals, serene landscapes, and soaring power of the British Pound, it's a brilliant time to spend up to two years living and working in the historic United Kingdom.

When you go with SWAP, you'll receive guided support along the way, so you'll spend less time trying to figure out the complicated logistics and more time driving in double-deckers, deciphering accents, and downing pints across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

SWAP makes it easy to secure a bank account, phone, and provides assistance with accommodation and job searching during your entire stay. With Europe at your doorstep, your two year work permit means you can fund your adventures, festival fun, and weekend travels to just about anywhere in the continent. You'll come home with international work experience, new friends, countless stories from the trip of a lifetime, and if you manage your funds efficiently, some change in the pocket of your trousers too.


Program Information

Eligibility: Canadians from 18-30.

Registration: Apply at least 8 weeks prior to your intended departure.

Visa Duration: Any period up to 2 years.

Required Savings: £1890. You must have this amount saved in your account as of the day you submit your application. These are called support funds.


A two-year working holiday visa that allows multiple entries into the UK. To be eligible, you just have to be a Canadian, ages 18-30, have a valid passport, a clean criminal record, and not have children.

The UK government, responding to traveller needs, now include complete health care coverage by the National Health Service (NHS) for the duration of your visa.

The working holiday visa is currently $324 USD, and $92 USD for your required biometrics (participants attending biometric appointments in Toronto are exempt). Your comprehensive coverage by the world's best health care system is now only £200 a year. It's less than the cost of the average long-term travel insurance policy.

This visa can only be acquired once, making it (literally) once-in-a-lifetime!

Local Support in the UK

Get real support from our local staff for your entire working holiday. The staff are experts at work and travel and know the UK inside and out. They'll help you get set up, find a job and a place to live, be there to answer any questions you may have, or just to talk.

  • One of the most valuable parts of the SWAP UK program is the arrival orientation in London. The orientation provides vital information; you will receive tips on securing work, finding temporary or permanent accommodation and information on red tape issues.
  • A welcome party! Celebrate this new chapter in your life with other people who are in the same situation as you.
  • Our hosting centre is in central London, right in the middle of the action.
  • OPTIONAL: Sleep easy knowing your first 2 nights of accommodation are booked (see pricing below). If you want to stay there for a longer period, you can extend!
  • Assistance in setting up your new bank account at a major UK bank.
  • Free money transfer.
  • Your choice of UK SIM card.
  • Help in arranging your National Insurance Number.
  • CV workshop: local experts give tips on the perfect CV. The hosting centre can also forward your CV to employer contacts.
  • Employment advice from our local staff who know your situation.
  • Weekly job seminars.
  • Accommodation advice and assistance. Get information straight from people who live and work in the UK (instead of random people on the internet).
  • Access to our exclusive accommodation and job boards.
  • Membership to exclusive social events club.
  • Ongoing advice and support for your entire working holiday in the UK. Whether you come in on your first week wanting to know if a certain employer is reputable, or come in 2 years later wanting to know how to do your taxes overseas, our staff is there for you. Work, social life, travel - talk to us about anything!
  • 24-hour emergency support line.
  • Free wi-fi access at our hosting centre.
  • Access to computer/printing facilities. Print out your perfect CV (that you crafted at the CV workshop, obviously) or anything else you need.
  • A 3-day trial gym membership, because why not?
  • We have a no-expiry open door policy.

Social Events

One of the greatest advantages of going with SWAP is the immediate, built-in social network that you will be connected to as soon as you arrive! As early as your first orientation, you'll already be meeting fellow travellers in the same situation, and you'll get to know each other and meet many new people in the numerous social events that are held every month. It's the perfect opportunity to make new friends, find potential roomates, and network with people to find your next job. It's much easier (and more fun) than hanging out in a pub by yourself, or looking for roommates on Craigslist.

SWAP Support and Resources

We've been helping Canadians live and work in the UK since 1978, so we know how applying for a UK visa is a complex process that gets more complicated every year. That's part of the reason why thousands of Canadians choose SWAP to help ensure their application's success. Our dedicated visa experts will go over your application in detail and make sure it is perfect. If we notice anything, we'll work with you to make sure it's flawless before your paperwork is submited to the British government.

Over 37 years of UK visa expertise isn't the only thing you'll get on the SWAP UK program. You'll also get:

  • All the necessary forms, information, checklists, and special insight you will need to have your UK visa approved.
  • We'll be with you, advising on every step of the application process.
  • Your GO SWAP KIT, which has valuable information on your visa, as well as pre-departure preparation.
  • Our exclusive United Kingdom: The SWAPPER's Guide. This essential, full guide will prepare you for living and working in the UK. You will get both a physical and PDF copy of the guide.

How to Register + Pricing

Working and living in the UK with SWAP is easy. You can register online here, or do it in-person by visiting any of these Merit Travel locations and talking to a friendly travel counsellor. The choice is yours and our staff will be there to help you either way!

SWAP is proud to be a recognized organization for working holidays by Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs