Travel Features

Working Holiday Visas: What You Should Know

Growing up, somebody somewhere got it in your head that the world is your oyster and is yours for the taking. While this is somewhat true, a sometimes irritating word called “visa” can prevent you from visiting a country for too long, living in it past a certain age and working where you wish. Have no fear, young adventurer: We’ve attempted to break down some of the more common working holiday visa requirements so you don’t arrive at your next destination only to be turned away.

Working Holiday: General Requirements

Working holiday visas important information

Working holiday visas are geared toward  people aged 18 to 30 and give you a year or two to stay and work for a limited time in the country of your choice. In some places and with some visas, you can work for up to six months for the same employers. In others, it’s three months. You can also study for a limited period in certain countries. In general, work is only supposed to supplement the costs of traveling and being a holidaymaker.

To apply for this type of visa, you usually have to show proof of sufficient funds to get you there and buy you a return ticket home if you need it, a high school or college diploma and health and/or travel insurance. The countries currently offering work/holidays are: Argentina; Australia; Belgium; Canada; Chile; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Hong Kong; Ireland; Italy; Japan; Malta; Netherlands; New Zealand; Norway; South Korea; Sweden; Taiwan; United Kingdom; and the United States.


If you hope to trek to Oz, you can apply for Working Holiday Visa Subclass 417 or the Work and Holiday Subclass 462. The first subclass is mostly for Europeans, Canadians and residents of Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong and the Republic of Korea. Subclass 462 is for Americans and those from Bangladesh, Chile, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Thailand and Turkey. On both visas, you can work up to six months for one employer and study for as long as four months. The main difference between the two visas: those who’ve been on a 417 visa and have completed three months of specified work in regional Australia can apply for a second visa. Those on the 462 cannot.

Most likely if you’re living in Oz, you’ll journey at some point to nearby New Zealand. If you do, immigration must have your visa information in its computer system, and you must possess a return flight leaving the country.

New Zealand

Working holiday visa for New ZealandNew Zealand has several different work/holiday schemes depending on where you’re from: it has working holiday visa agreements with  Belgium; Czech Republic; Denmark; Finland; France; Germany; Italy; Malta; Netherlands; Norway and Sweden. The general requirements for all visas specify that you can’t: take up permanent employment , unless you get a regular work permit, while there; work for more than 12 months or exceed a total period of six months of study.

The country encourages working holiday makers to take up to jobs in grape growing or farming, and like Australia, those who have worked in these areas may be able to extend their stay past a year.

United Kingdom

The UK’s Working Holiday Maker scheme has been replaced by the Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS), or Tier 5 of the points system, aimed at offering reciprocal youth mobility and cultural opportunities for youth of certain nations. This new program offers a stay of up to 24 months, under which participants can only work for 12. The scheme can only be issued once and can’t be prolonged. Participating countries include Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco and New Zealand, though British Overseas Citizen, British Overseas Territories Citizens or a British National overseas can also apply. Individuals must document that they have £1600 one month before application.


There is no working holiday for the European Union. Residents of the UK or other EU countries do not need visas to work in the EU. Other countries have working holiday agreements with certain EU nations, and the terms are specific to that agreement. Australia, for example, has working holiday arrangements with Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Rules will vary by country, but many allow individuals up to 30 to reside for at least 12 months and work or study for limited periods.

Special Note: The Schengen Area

The Schengen areas is made up of 15 European countries. Generally, if you’re only visiting one of them for 90 days within a six-month period, you don’t need a visa for countries which are parties to the Schengen Convention. Those who think they might stay past 90 days are advised to contact the High Commission, Embassy or Consulate of the country or countries involved to inquire about the appropriate visa. Visitors must get their passports stamped in the initial Schengen port of entry: some countries may require registering with local police when you get there.

Schengen EU working visa map

To see the requirements for your country of citizenship and your destination country, check out If you want more information about working holiday schemes or working or travelling abroad, check out BootsNAll’s Working Holiday Visas & Work Programs Links.

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