visas and immigration

INFORMATION FOR PEOPLE FROM OUTSIDE OF THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AREA (EEA*)

Entering the UK as a “general visitor” (tourist)

Since recent changes to immigration rules, the situation has become confused regarding non-EEA nationals who wish to enter the UK as general visitors (tourists) in order to WWOOF.

You need to be aware that there have been cases where such people stating at immigration they have come to the UK specifically to WWOOF, have been detained by immigration officers, refused entry to the UK, and put on the next available flight back to their home country. This is a traumatic experience, and it’s guaranteed to ruin your trip!

WWOOF UK is currently trying to resolve this confusion. At this time, however, you need to bear in mind that trying to enter the UK specifically to WWOOF may result in you being refused. There is a wealth of WWOOFers' advice and experience here on the WWOOF UK forum which we advise you to read.

For full details of the official eligibility requirements and the documents you may be asked to show, see:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visitingtheuk/visitors/

Please note that WWOOF UK can offer no guarantees that our help will result in you being allowed into the country and that WWOOF UK can in no way be held liable if you are refused entry to the UK.

You could avoid these difficulties if you are eligible for one of the visas outlined below.

We are frequently asked about the Tier 5 (Charity Workers) visa. We understand that this visa cannot be obtained for WWOOFing. Neither WWOOF UK nor its host farms can act as sponsor for Tier 5 visa applications.

Youth Mobility Scheme

If you are from Australia, Japan, Canada or New Zealand and aged between 18-30 years old, you might be eligible for the Youth Mobility Scheme. You can only get this kind of visa once in a lifetime, and if you have previously visited the UK on a working holidaymaker visa you will not be eligible for this scheme.

Visiting the UK on the Youth Mobility Scheme entitles you to stay in the UK for up to 2 years, and undertake whatever work you like, including voluntary placements – such as WWOOFing. To be eligible you must satisfy the following criteria:

  •  Aged between 18-30
  •  Have no dependents
  •  Be from a participating country
  •  Demonstrate that they have at least £1800 in available funds
  •  Obtain entry clearance

For more details, read:

http://www.lawfirmuk.net/immigration_e.html

To download an application form, visit the UK Border Agency website:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/workingintheuk/tier5/youthmobilityscheme

Other visas for volunteering in the UK from outside the European Union or EEA*

If you are coming to the UK principally for an activity other than volunteering (such as employment, studying, or as a spouse), it is possible that you will be able to volunteer with WWOOF as an additional activity. Please make sure to check your visa or entry clearance requirements, and make sure that you are allowed to volunteer on your visa.  

You can also check the UK border Agency website for the details of your specific visa or entry clearance:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/

* The European Economic Area (EEA) comprises the countries of the European Union, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.