Online Guide to Working Holiday Visas for U.S. Citizens

There are many opportunities for college students and grads who would like to work abroad and travel at the same time. To do so, you must first get a working holiday visa. A working holiday visa is a resident permit allowing the holder to undertake employment in the country they obtain the visa from. Having this type of visa enables the holder to experience living in a foreign country and earning money at the same time.

How Does a U.S. Citizen Apply for A Working Holiday Visa

Like the U.S. H-1B visa that allows US companies to employ graduate level workers in specific fields such as IT, finance, accounting, engineering, etc., other countries offer similar visas. But, these visas have restrictions on who can apply for them. Most countries have an age limit and want an individual with a good health history. Generally, they are open to young people between the ages of 18-30 years old.

So, if you are a U.S. citizen and a senior college student or a recent grad who is ready to move abroad, the working holiday visa is one option to move temporarily to another country.

Where can you get a Working Holiday Visa?

There are a few countries that offer U.S. citizens working holiday visas. Each has its own rules and regulations that every applicant must follow. Before anyone gets to approve, each applicant undergoes a process before approval. For some country, the process starts by completing the application online and later conclude by a one-on-one interview. Since the stay time is short, 6-12 months or sometimes a little longer, the individual must provide proof of finance to help with their stay for the given time.

At the moment, five countries offer working holiday visas to qualify U.S. citizens. These countries are:

Other nations provide other types of visas that have different requirements. So, if you want a visa that differs from the working holiday visa, start by looking at other countries and see what they have to offer.

What You Should Know About a Working Holiday Visa

Every country has its own sets of rules and requirements for an applicant who is ready to relocate. Once you meet all of these requirements, you will have an opportunity only a few will have in their lifetime.

First, you must have a clean bill of health. Remember, you plan to go and work. If you are unable to do so because you are sick, then you will be denied the visa. The next is to have a clean criminal record. Many countries have restrictions that do not allow felons with a passport inside their country. Again, this will disqualify anyone with a felony conviction who applies for the working holiday visa.

Australia’s Working Holiday Visa

Australia’s working holiday visa is known as Subclass 462 Visa and to get one you must meet these criteria:

  • Be a U.S. citizen between the ages of 18-30 years old
  • Prove to have sufficient funds for AUD 5,000 or $3,802 US
  • Pay the application fee of AUD 420 or $320 US

The application is available online to complete. You will have 12 months to work but can work up to 6 months with each employer.

Ireland’s Working Holiday Visa

The requirements are similar to Australia’s except there is no age limit. Here is a list of the criteria:

  • Applicant must be a U.S. citizen
  • No age restrictions
  • Applicant be a student in postsecondary education or recently graduated
  • Prove to have sufficient funds in the amount of €1500 or $2245.15 US
  • Have a return travel ticket or €3000 or $4490.30 US
  • Pay the application fee of €250 or $374.08 US
  • Provide proof of academic status

To apply, you can in person or by mail at the Embassy of Ireland in Washington or the Consulates General of Ireland in Boston, Chicago, New York or San Francisco.

New Zealand’s Working Holiday Visa

New Zealand post-study work visa has similar requirements to Australia. What change are the proof of funds and the cost of the application? Here is a list of the conditions:

  • Be a U.S. citizen between the ages of 18-30 years old
  • Prove to have sufficient funds for $4,200 NZ or $2,950.88 US
  • Pay the application fee of AUD 420 or $295 US

If you plan to work in agriculture or the horticultural sections, you are given an additional three months. So you overall stay becomes 15 months instead of the standard 12 months given.

The Republic of Korea’s Working Holiday Visa

South Korea’s working Holiday visa is known as H-1 Visa. Like the other participating countries, South Korea has restrictions like limitations on the type of work to apply for. Also, the fund’s requirements are more when compared to the other countries. Here is the list of conditions the country has in place:

  • Be a U.S. citizen between the ages of 18-30 years old
  • Must currently be a post-secondary student or graduated from a university in the past year
  • Must have funds to support up to three months and a total of $10,000 US
  • Must have a return ticket
  • Pay the application fee of $45.00 US

To apply, you must visit the Republic of Korea Embassy or Consulate near you. An interview may be required.

Singapore Working Holiday Pass

The criteria are somewhat similar to the other participating countries. Here is the list:

  • Be a U.S. citizen between the ages of 18-25 years old
  • Must currently be a post-secondary student or graduated from a university in the past year
  • The university must be in the top 200 for overall academic performance
  • Pay the cost of the pass which is $150 US

How Long Will it Take to Get a Working Holiday Visa?

Australia and New Zealand will give you response the same day or earlier since the application can be completed online.

Singapore’s pass can take up to 21 days since the application must be mailed in. It is suitable for six months, and the cost is more reasonable when compared to the others.

Ireland and The Republic of Korea have no set time since part of the requirement is to complete an interview at one of their embassies. So, it all depends on the applicants and how quick they can proceed with the process and finish it.

How to Get Your Working Holiday Visa

Australia and New Zealand give electronic visa. So, your visa is automatically linked with your passport. To provide proof of getting a visa, print your email with the visa approval and show it to an immigration officer at the airport and then when boarding your flight.

Singapore’s pass has to be pickup at the Employment Pass Center. Once you receive the approval and pay the fees, you must schedule an e-appointment to give fingerprints. Since the pass is for six months only, it is best to look for a job before going to Singapore. Also, you have up to three months after getting approval to get your pass. If the time overlaps, you will forfeit it and must reapply again.

Ireland and Korea will give you a visa once you complete the interview and get approval. The visa is stamped in your passport.

Jobs You Can Apply For With Your Working Holiday Visa

The most common job most people apply to is teaching abroad. Many non-speaking countries prefer higher Americans to teach English. If you prefer to go to one of these countries, then this is where you are most likely to go. There are other areas; if you have the qualifications, you can work. Sectors such as hospitality, restaurants, and bars. Some countries hire engineers and architects. Other professions will require a different type of visa. Make sure to apply for the one you want and not another.

Are you ready to Travel Abroad?

If you fit the criteria to work abroad, then the working holiday visa may be the right way to earn money while learning a new culture. A working holiday visa also gives you the opportunity to travel to two countries and work in a year. So, you this is something you plan to do in your senior year of college, start saving your money so you can get approval and go to your dream destination.

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