visas and immigration

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

Entering the UK as a 'general visitor' (tourist)

On 26th February 2015 changes were made to the UK Immigration Rules which clarify the type of activities all visitors to the UK are able to undertake. These changes take effect from 6th April 2015 and pages 209/210 of the Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules Hc1025 26 February 2015 state:

‘Volunteering

‘A visitor may undertake incidental volunteering, provided it lasts no more than 30 days in total and is for a charity that is registered with either the Charity Commission for England and Wales; the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland; or the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.’

WWOOF UK is registered with the Charity Commission, etc. as required, Charity No. 1126220.

The full Statement of Changes document can be found here.

The rules will be posted at Immigration Rules in April 2015. Guidance will be posted on the IDI site. It will inevitably take a long time for everyone to learn about new rules (including Immigration Officers), so it's recommended that you print out the relevant text and carry it with you.

If you are travelling before 6th April 2015, these changes will NOT apply.

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.