Everything You Need to Know About a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa
Are you planning to backpack across New Zealand? If you want to make money on your travels, you’ll need a New Zealand working holiday visa. Learn more here.
Do you want to extend your stay in beautiful New Zealand beyond six months? If you’re under 30–you can.
A New Zealand working holiday visa allows you to stay for a year and earn money to fund your travels.
These visas are easy to apply for and receive, and they open up a world of opportunities to travel, earn some cash, and learn something new. Are you ready to live your best life in Middle Earth?
Here’s what you need to know about the working holiday program.
Who Can Get a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa?
New Zealand’s government limits working holiday visas largely to young people who want to spend a year or two working in the country.
In most cases, you need to be between 18 to 30 to apply for the visa. In a few countries, you can apply up to age 35.
British and Canadian citizens have special privileges in New Zealand. While all other nationalities can only stay for 12 months, Brits and Canadians may apply to come and travel for up to 23 months.
What nationalities are welcome? You can find a complete list of working holiday programs offer on the New Zealand Immigration government website.
Can I Launch My Career in New Zealand?
Working holiday visas differ from traditional work or business visas.
On a working holiday visa, the government expects that you primarily want to travel the country or enjoy a year or two of the relaxed life Kiwis love so much.
As such, the visa entitles you to work in seasonal jobs, temporary jobs, or in another low-key position.
You cannot apply for a full-time job with a permanent contract under the working holiday visa. You can learn more about work visas in New Zealand here.
What Do I Need to Get a Working Holiday Visa?
If you meet the age and nationality requirements, you’ll need to spend some time planning your trip before applying for your visa.
The government requires you to have enough money to pay for a return ticket before you leave. However, immigration may also ask to see proof of funds to confirm that you can support yourself when you arrive.
You’ll want to show that you have around NZ$4,200 for your 12-month stay in New Zealand.
In most cases, you will provide proof of your income with a bank statement.
Visa Application Fee
Additionally, you’ll need to pay your visa application fee. The amount due depends on your nationality and your country of residence.
For example, American citizens residing in the United States don’t pay an application fee.
Canadians pay NZ$245 when they apply for a one-year visa (first application). If the Canadian citizen wants to extend their stay for the full 23 months, they must pay:
- NZ$245 (initial payment made with application)
- USD$165 (balance application costs)
- USD$37 (VAC service fee)
- USD$30-60 (courier fee)
The currencies change because further applications are made to the New Zealand office located in Washington D.C. in the United States.
New Zealand requires some applicants to provide proof of medical insurance or travel insurance before arriving in the country.
Citizens of the United States may be asked to provide evidence of their medical insurance when they arrive at the airport in New Zealand. Canadians also need to provide proof of insurance.
Applicants from the European Union rarely need to provide this information.
Can I Apply in New Zealand?
Did you travel to New Zealand and fall in love? The good news is that you can apply for a working holiday visa even if you’re already in the country.
To apply, you’ll need to meet the age and residency conditions for your country. You’ll also need to pay the application fee and demonstrate your ability to provide for yourself.
Keep in mind that a working holiday visa takes longer to process in New Zealand than it does if you apply from home. It can take up to four weeks to get the paperwork back. You need to make sure you have plenty of time on your tourist visa to avoid overstaying your visa.
Should I Choose a Working Holiday Program?
A working holiday visa is open-ended. You can arrive with no job prospects at all, a job offer in your pocket, or with no real interest in working for the first few months.
Some people choose to enroll in a working holiday program.
Working holiday programs offer services that help you make the most of your year there if you intend to get a job. They might help you with seemingly simple but actually complex tasks like:
- Setting up your IRD number (for tax purposes)
- Opening a bank account
- Holding your mail
- Offering job advice or support
- Procuring a SIM card
- Setting up accommodation for your arrival
They also offer things like support before you arrive and airport transfers to answer any questions and calm any worries.
Should you use these services? The government doesn’t require it. It all comes down to how industrious you are, how quickly you want to begin work, and whether you have time to do the research required to work legally in New Zealand.
What Kind of Jobs Can I Do?
As a working holiday visa holder, you can do almost anything as long as your work is (1) legal and (2) not permanent.
Many employers happy to hire working holiday employees offer work in:
- Travel and tourism (usually hostels and tour companies)
- Domestic work (au pair)
You can also work across the north or south island–your visa is good for the whole country. Don’t be afraid to pick up temporary work as you go. Just make sure your employer is legal.
Spend a Year Falling in Love with New Zealand
As a nation of travelers, Kiwis understand that sometimes you have to give in to wanderlust. The New Zealand working holiday visa is the country’s gift to young people of the world.
A simple visa allows you to come to New Zealand for a year to work and play.
Have you applied for a visa or are you curious about what kind of jobs you’ll do on your year abroad? Check out our backpacker job board and start planning your trip today.