This post is all about Work-Holiday visas. These visas are different than your traditional employee sponsored work permit or your tourist visa, as they allow you to work within your chosen nation for an extended period of time as well as hold a job during your travels. Since I am American I will be including the various countries that are available to American citizens, as of the date of this blog post. It should be noted that If you are going to a non-English speaking country to teach English, you will typically apply for a work permit and temporary residency visa, which is provided through your future employer’s sponsorship. I should also note that if you have a fair amount of job experience in a field such as Engineering your skill might be listed under a national “Critical Skills” shortlist. If this is your situation it is fairly easy to obtain a work permit and temporary residency without the need for employer sponsorship. If you are interested in teaching English however, you will have to follow the steps I have listed below, but if you have a “critical skill” then skip to the “Apply for your Visa” step. The general way in which you would apply for a traditional visa goes as follows:
- Go to your target nation’s immigration website. My example for this step will be Canada’s immigration webiste which you can find here
- Apply for a number of jobs, and hope to get accepted
- Explain your situation to your employer and if they feel willing or if you have a skill like teaching English that is not easily filled by nationals from your target country have them sponsor you for a visa. It is important to remember that this would be a temporary visa, so you are subject to the nation’s current political whims
- Apply for your visa by:
- Ensuring that you have a passport
- Completing the necessary documents needed to apply for this permit
- Making sure that your employer follows through and gives you sponsorship
- If asked go in for an interview at the target nation’s consulate or embassy
- Wait from anywhere between a few weeks, to a few months to hear back from the immigration office
Work-holiday visas are an alternative to the way that visas have traditionally been handled. So long as you are willing to limit your options to Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Singapore, and South Korea, this could be an option for you if you would like to live abroad. I will include links on where you can apply for these visas along with other blogs that will help with this process.
Creator: 6 Countries Where It’s Easy to Snag a Work Visa
This page has information on a number of different visas along with work-holiday visas that might interest you. I know that it has information on business programs like one in the Netherlands that allows for entrepreneurs to receive temporary residency if they start a new Dutch business.
Go Overseas: The American’s Guide to Working Holiday Visas
I love the Go Overseas website as it has a lot of information about moving, living and working abroad. I got a fair amount of information from this blog post, which I incorporated and added on to with the information below.
I hope you enjoy this post, and if you have any questions or comment feel free to contact me or you can always comment below.
Caroline in the City: Working-Holiday Resources
Caroline in the City is another blog, and this post that I am linking to you has an extensive list about Work-Holiday visas for other nationalities. It also includes a number of travel resources for all of the countries that she has listed that provide Work-Holiday visas.
So long as you are between the age of 18 and 30, you should be able to apply for this holiday visa. The requirements for this permit are as listed below:
- Are at least 18 but not yet 31 years of age
- Don’t have a dependent child with you at any time during your stay in Australia
- Have a valid passport that is preferably valid for at least 6 months
- Be outside of Australia when your visa is granted
- Have not previously entered Australia on a Work-Holiday Visa
- Have proof of sufficient funds (AUD 5,000, or the equivalent in your own currency)
- Have a round-trip ticket
- Meet Australia’s health requirements (make sure that you have not had Tuberculosis or a few other illnesses and you should be alright)
- Pass a background check
- And pay a $420 AUD application fee
The great thing about this visa is that your application is that it is submitted online and a decision is usually made within a few days. With this permit you can reside within Australia for twelve months, and then renew it if you wish to say longer, but the one problem with this permit is that you can only be employed by one employer for the maximum of six months. After the six-month period is up you will then have to find another job for the rest of your stay if you want to remain in Australia for the duration of your visa.
The Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462) Website
This is the website for Australia’s Holiday-Work Visa and most of the information you need to apply for this visa is included here. You can also click here to access a pdf by the Australian government puts all of the information throughout the website linked above in a compact easy to understand document.
The Little Back Packer: Everything You Need to Know About: A Working Holiday in Australia
This a blog written by a woman named Jodie. This post that I have liked above has a fair amount of information on what you should do once you have arrived in Australia. She also has a good travel blog so I would recommend checking it out.
The New Zealand work-holiday visa is very similar to the Australian one. The primary difference is that their website is more user friendly and they provide prospective applicants with more resources to find employment before arriving in New Zealand. The requirements for this permit are as listed below:
- Are at least 18 but not yet 31 years of age
- Have a permanent address in the country you are applying from
- Have proof of medical insurance
- This must be the first New Zealand Work-Holiday Visa that you have applied for
- You must have at least $4,200 NZ (the equivalent in your own currency) and be able to prove that you have those funds
- You must have a return ticket out of New Zealand or have additional funds that you can use to leave the country
- A valid passport
- Pass a background check
- You must also be in good health; they can require you to have a chest x-ray or medical examination as proof that you are healthy.
- You must not have dependents such as children during your stay.
New Zealand is a beautiful nation and this permit allows you to work in New Zealand for up to 12 months, and study or train for up to 6 months. Just like Australia you cannot have dependents, which is a universal requirement for these visas as they do not want to provide services to your dependent while you are in the country. You are also unable to accept a permanent position within the country so if you want to have a contract it would be best to go the route of employer sponsorship. I should also note that this application is made online, so it will be easy for you to complete it and within twenty days you should receive a response.
New Zealand Immigration Working Holiday Visas –
This is the Working-Holiday visa application and resource page. There is a ton of information on the government website, along with resources about job placement. I should not that each country listed has a different Working Holiday Visa scheme, so click here for the United States variant, or if you are from another nation please find your nation listed on the webpage linked above.
New Zealand Now: Finding and Applying for Jobs
This is another New Zealand government website that outlines how to apply for a job in New Zealand as well as offers a variety of resources for your job search.
Spin the Windrose: Travelling to New Zealand on a Working Holiday Visa? Read this.
This is, “a blog about long-term, responsible travel on a budget,” which documents this woman named Abbi and her travels around the globe. The blog post that I am linking above describes how she applied for her visa, and the various steps she took after arriving in New Zealand.
Go Overseas: Insider Tips for a New Zealand Working Holiday
This is a Go Overseas blog post, which outlines the steps to apply for this working-holiday visa, as well as what you should do upon arrival. There is also review of New Zealand’s various major cities as well as a guides on setting up bank accounts, places to travel to and information on how to get around New Zealand.
If you want to live in Europe, and you are from the United States then Ireland is a viable option for you. With this visa there are no age restrictions, but you must be enrolled in a university or have graduated within the past 12 months. So you can apply for this if you’re in your sixties, but you will have to be a college student, or a recent graduate. The application process is a two-step process, but the general requirements are:
Step 1 –
- To complete and sign the appropriate paper work
- A passport that is valid for at least a full year after your entry
- Two passport photographs with your name on the back side of it
- Your current CV/resume with at least two references
- Evidence that you are currently a full time student or have recently graduated, this can be done by providing a diploma that has been issued within the past 12 months or official college transcripts
- A bank statement that shows that you have at least $4000 dollars USD
- To pay the $339 processing fee.
Step 2 – (Assuming that your consulate has approved you to move onto Step 2)
- To have purchased return tickets
- To have proof of medical and travel insurance for the duration of your trip. The duration will be determined by the dates on your tickets
- Your US passport will then be reviewed again to ensure that it will be valid for at least one year after your date of entry
Ireland does not use an online system to approve visas, so because of that you will have to submit your visa by mail. It appears that it takes around 2-3 weeks for your visa to be processed, however, according to Rachel in Ireland she was able to be approved within one week. So I guess it varies depending on how many applicants there are. One benefit to the Irish work-holiday visa is that there are no limitations to how long or where you can work. For New Zealand and Australia, you would be unable to gain a contract position and there were limited for how many months you could work under one employer, but for Ireland there are no restrictions so long as it is legal and respects Irish labor laws.
Consulate General of Ireland | Boston: US-Ireland Working Holiday Agreement
This is the Irish consulate in Boston’s website, which has information on their Working Holiday visa. As I am from Maine I pounced on the consulate in Boston, but if you are from a different part of the United States, then it would be best to consult the Irish Embassy’s consulate directory linked right here. You also can access the application form by going here, but the general information and requirements necessary to get this visa can be seen your area’s consulate’s page on the working holiday authorization.
Rachel in Ireland: My Irish Working Holiday
This is a blog post about how to apply for a working-holiday authorization for the Ireland. Rachel’s blog is based upon her time in Ireland, so because of that she has a lot of information about her time there, finding work, where to visit, and so on. I should also add that https://rachelinireland.com is her old website, and now it is http://celtandkiwi.com/
Go Abroad: How to Live and Work in Ireland on a Working Holiday Visa
This is a Go Abroad article that outlines the preliminary steps necessary before and right after your arrival in Ireland. This includes some information about opening a bank account, traveling and getting a phone. I’ve always found that Go Abroad is a good resource on world travel, since their articles outline a lot of the common issues and misstates that travelers make so you can have the best experience possible.
Singapore might not be the first country that you would think of for a work-holiday visa program. While New Zealand, Australia, and I believe Ireland do not have a quota for the number of visas they might grant, Singapore does. They appear to be rather selective and only grant 2,000 visas to individuals who have attended some of the world’s best universities, specifically you must have attended one that is among the world’s top 200 universities. The general requirements for this visa is that:
- You are between the ages of 18 and 25
- That you a graduate or under graduate from one of the world’s top 200 universities. You can see if your university makes the mark by visiting this website
- You must have been a resident and full time student of the University if you have gradated and if you are currently a student you must be a resident and a full-time student who has been enrolled for at least three months.
- Submit the required documents
- Provide a letter from the university stating your matriculation, name nationality, gender and date of birth
- Provide a copy of your diploma or a copy of your transcripts if you have graduated
- If you have yet to graduate, then provide a copy of a student card that has been issued by your university
- It should be noted that all documents must be in English, or translated into English, which then should be accompanied by the proper translation certification
- Pay the $150 USD issuing fee
Applying for this visa appears to be more involved, but Singapore has many opportunities, and this six-month visa would allow you to taste what Singapore offers. It should be noted that takes around three months for this visa to be processed, so it is best to plan ahead. I would like to add that since Singapore’s Working Holiday Program is more selective than many other nations it was challenging to find other blogs and links about it. Below I have two links and one of them is a blog that I found, which has more information about its specific Work-Holiday visa if you are interested.
Ministry of Manpower: Work Holiday Programme
This is the Ministry of Manpower’s Work Holiday Visa Program’s website, which has all of the pertinent information necessary to apply for this permit.
Travel Dave: Singapore Working Holiday Visa
Dave is an adventure traveler that has traveled all over the world, and one of his blog posts is about the application process for a Singaporean Work-Holiday visa. He provides some detailed information about how to use an agent to help you with the application process for this visa, along with what you should do after arriving in Singapore.
South Korea also has a Work-Holiday visa program, which allows for US citizens to remain work and travel in Korea for 18 months and other participating nations for 12 months. I found the ineligibility conditions to be rather comical as they included, “Dancer, Singer, Musician, or Acrobat.” If you are not a dancer, singer, musician, acrobat, work in an adult entertainment-related business, requiring specific licenses or skills, a foreign language instructor, seeking training or education, interested in a career related to journalism, religion, or research, or if you intend to go to South Korea for the primary goal of working, then you can move onto the general requirements for this permit. The general requirements are:
- Between the ages of 18 and 30 at the time of the visa application
- Intend to enter South Korea within 12 months after the visa’s issuance
- Have a valid passport
- A recent photograph that has been taken within the past three months
- Proof of a round trip airline ticket
- Proof of financial support or other documents that show you have sufficient funds to support yourself for at least 3 months. This totals around $10,000 USD
- Proof of your student status, or diploma from an accredited University. If you have graduated, you will have had done so within the past 12 months to be eligible
- Additional documents such as a Criminal Report, and Medical Exam might also be required as required documents differ from embassy to embassy, so they suggest that you contact your embassy for further details as these requirements are subject to change.
- You may be asked to be interviewed at a South Korean consulate, so keep that in mind and it should be noted that all documents you provide will not be returned.
This visa is available to Australian, French, Canadian, Japanese, New Zealander, and American citizens. Unlike the other visas where it is generally acceptable to go to these countries to work and sustain yourself, which can then be followed by some vacations, this visa appears to be primarily for those who wish to spend more time in South Korea and pick up side work to supplement their travels. If South Korea interests you, this can be an excellent option to spend some more time exploring the nation while participating in some side jobs that can give you a unique cultural experience.
Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in New York: H-1 Visa (Including WEST Program)
This is the Consulate General in New York’s page on the Korean Working Holiday (H-1) Visa. I could not find a blog on the process for applying for this Work-Holiday visa, so if you can find one that would be great, but in terms of applying for this visa the link above should give you a good start to the process.
I hope that this will provide you with a good introduction on applying for Visas, and what a Work-Holiday visa entails. If you have any questions or comments, please either comment below or send me a message through the “Contact” tab above.