A Guide to Working Holidays in New Zealand

Interested in a working holiday in New Zealand? Find out about the working holiday visa scheme and how to get a visa before you go

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Photo courtesy of Flickr.com, by [Rupert Taylor-Price].

New Zealand is a spectacular destination and you may be considering working to top up your funds while you travel. But what visa do you need and what do you have to do to make it happen?

Who’s Eligible for a New Zealand Visa?

Every country's working holiday scheme has different criteria and processing fees. Being granted a working holiday visa in New Zealand can vary depending on what passport a traveler holds.

To apply you must:

  • Hold a valid passport for your country of residence; it must be valid for at least 6 months after your planned departure from New Zealand.
  • Be aged between 18 - 30 years old.
  • Be of good health and character.
  • Satisfy New Zealand Immigration that your main reason for traveling to New Zealand is to holiday, not work.
  • Not work for a period exceeding 12 months. (UK and Canada passport holders can work in NZ for up to 23 months)
  • Not engage in work that is permanent, illegal or provides sexual services.
  • Not travel with children.
  • Hold a return ticket, or sufficient funds to purchase return a ticket.
  • Have sufficient funds to live on during your stay in New Zealand. (The amount varies depending on the passport you hold)
  • Have full medical insurance.
  • Not have been approved for a visa or permit under a Working Holiday Scheme before.

Countries that can apply for the Working Holiday Visa include:

  • Argentina
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • China
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malaysia
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America
  • Uruguay
  • Vietnam

You will also have to meet health and character requirements, for example, you may require a chest x-ray due to possible tuberculosis exposure.

Note that you can't apply for your visa at any time of the year; New Zealand Immigration opens applications for working holiday visas at specific times during the year depending on the passport you hold so make sure you plan ahead to ensure you get the visa and avoid disappointment!

Working Holiday Visa Extension for UK & Canadian Travelers

if you hold a UK or Canadian passport, you can extend your working holiday visa by a further 11 months after the initial 12 month period, only if you didn't choose the full 23 months on your initial application. You can apply for the Second Work Visa either online or by printing and filling out the form to submit to New Zealand Immigration.

How to Get a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa

You can apply in one of two ways.

  • Online through the New Zealand Immigration website. You will need to create an account to fill out the application and have a valid Visa or MasterCard credit card for payment.

OR

  • Download a form from the site to fill in before posting or delivering in person to your local New Zealand embassy in your home country or New Zealand immigration direct.

Note:

Applicants from France and Uruguay must send their applications to the Immigration New Zealand receiving office in their home country.

For further information, visit the New Zealand Immigration website. If you have any questions about the process, email or contact the New Zealand embassy in your home country (if present).

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