So, you want to apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa to travel and explore the Land of the Long White Cloud.
Awesome choice. New Zealand is as diverse in culture, as it is rich in stunning landscapes. If you have a craving for the outdoors, stunning landscape diversity or a hunger for nature, you’re definitely coming to the right place.
Plus if you have a hunger for anything else, the food here is amazing too. And don’t even get me started on the awesomeness of the coffee.
There are a few important things to remember when applying for this visa, so this post will walk you through the process of how to apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa, step by step.
How to Apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa: What is a Working Holiday Visa?
A New Zealand Working Holiday Visa (or WHV) is a visa available to young people, that allows you to live and work in New Zealand for up to 12 months. (Or 23 months if you’re a UK or Canadian citizen).
So you can experience the culture of New Zealand and fund your travel adventures by being able to get a job in New Zealand.
The purpose of the Working Holiday Visa as defined by New Zealand Immigration is “You should be coming mainly to travel, with work being a secondary intention”.
So keep that in mind that you are expected to spend most of your time travelling, and supplement that travel with work. You can’t use it solely as a Work Visa.
Although technically there is nothing stopping you working for 99% of the 12 months. It’s just not what the visa is designed for – so it’s a bit of a grey area.
How to Apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa: Who can get a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa?
New Zealand Working Holiday Visas are available to anyone between the ages of 18 and 31, but also to anyone between the ages of 18-35 in some select countries like Canada. The age of eligibility depends on your nationality.
Some countries only offer a certain quota of New Zealand Working Holiday Visa applications per year. These are offered on a first-come-first-serve basis. You can check if your country has quotas and the opening time for quotas on the New Zealand immigration website.
New Zealand has Working Holiday Visa scheme agreements in place with 45 countries, all of which are listed below. You can apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa if you are from any of the following countries:
New Zealand Working Holiday Visa Schemes
How to Apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa: Requirements
New Zealand Immigration state that it is a requirement of the Working Holiday Visa “that you have at least $350 NZD to live on for each month of your stay in New Zealand”.
So saving around $4,000 NZD is a good amount to aim for. Again this amount is different depending on which country you’re from. So make sure you check your country of citizenships requirements.
There’s a chance immigration can ask you to produce evidence of funds when you arrive in New Zealand. Whilst its important to be prepared, I have never known this to happen to anyone I know – nor has it ever happened to me.
When you apply for the extension for the 2nd year (UK and CAN citizens only), you will definitely be asked to produce evidence of funds. I was working and earning money so I sent a photocopy of my bank statement with the visa application.
When you apply your passport must be valid for at least 15 (or 26 months if applying for the 23 month visa) after you first arrive in New Zealand.
Due to New Zealand’s strict onward flight requirements, you must have a flight ticket to leave New Zealand or enough money to buy one, in addition to the funds you have to live on.
You will definitely be asked for proof of an onward flight when you check in for your flight to New Zealand at the airport. I have been asked every time I’ve flown into New Zealand, on every visa I’ve been on.
The airline have a duty of care to ensure you have a return or onward flight ticket, before they’ll even let you check in. Because if New Zealand Immigration refuse you entry, it’s the airlines responsibility to fly you home.
How Long is a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa for?
This visa allows you to work and travel in New Zealand for up to 12 months, (or up to 23 months if you’re from the UK or Canada).
So if you’re from the UK or Canada, you can get one for up to almost 2 years. For all other nationalities you can get a Working Holiday Visa for 12 months.
You can either apply upfront for the whole 23 months or you can apply for the 12 month visa first and apply for an extension once you’re out there.
If you apply for your 2nd year extension whilst you’re on your first 12 months Working Holiday Visa, don’t worry you won’t lose any remainder of the visa you’re on. The 2nd year starts when your 1st year finishes.
How to Apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa: What is the Cost?
The price of a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa depends on the country you’re from. If you’re from the UK, Europe or Canada the application cost or fee for the first 12 month Working Holiday Visa is currently $208 NZD / £114 GBP / €125 EUR / $185 CAD.
These prices do increase every couple of years so always check the current Working Holiday Visa fee or costs on the New Zealand immigration website.
How to Apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa: How Long does the Visa take to be Approved?
There’s no definitive answer for this. How long it takes to get your visa approved, is dependant on which country you’re applying from. It also depends on if your country has a visa quota and depends on if you’re applying for a 12 month or 23 month New Zealand Working Holiday Visa.
If your country has a quota, you will know if the quota has already been filled for that year, by checking the NZ immigration website.
NZ Immigration have a great visa fee finder tool on their website. Simply select the Working Holiday Visa scheme for your country, your nationality, then select the country you’ll be living in when you apply. This fee finder then gives you the exact cost or fee and the processing time.
To give you a rough guideline, if you’re from the UK or Europe and applying for the first 12 month visa, processing time is around 20 working days. Some people have received theirs even faster – I received mine within a week.
*TIP* – As long as you have provided all the information they’ve asked for, your application is considered ‘application ready’ and this always speeds up visa processing times.
What you will Need to Apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa Online
To apply online you will need:
- at least 15 months validity on your passport
- your full name as it appears in your passport
- your passport number
- full postal address where you can be contacted in your country of residence
- valid email address
- an Online Services NZ Immigration account (see below on how to get this)
*TIP* – If you are from the UK or Canada and you’re applying for the full 23-month Working Holiday visa in your first application, you most likely WILL be asked to provide a full immigration medical with your application.
As an immigration medical in my country (the UK) are expensive and take a long time to get, my advice is to apply for a 12-month WHV visa (no medical required). Then apply for the second year extension once you’re in New Zealand.
You’ll still have to provide a medical but it makes the application process quicker.
How to Apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa: The Application Process
The process for getting a Working Holiday Visa for New Zealand is relatively easy and for most countries, you can apply online.
The three main steps are:
- The first thing you need to do is set up an account with NZ Immigration Online Services. This is a section of the New Zealand immigration website where you can apply for visas online, plus you can also use it to check the status of your application.
- Once you’ve registered, login to your Online Services account and you’ll see a few options.
- Pick the ‘Working Holiday Schemes’ option, apply and make payment.
After your New Zealand Working Holiday Visa Application: What to Do Next?
Once you’ve applied for your New Zealand Working Holiday Visa, all you have to do is wait to receive confirmation.
You’ll most likely be emailed your notification of visa grant, so keep an eye out for an email from NZ Immigration Online Services over the next few days.
Whilst you’re waiting start thinking about booking your flight to and accommodation in New Zealand! Planning your trip is always the fun part. YAY.
To get some inspiration check out my Travel Resources page where I share all the best websites I use when I’m booking flights, hostels and hotels. Plus I share the websites and brands I recommend when buying travel gear.
Don’t forget travel insurance, you need peace of mind you’ll be covered when you’ve booked your trip.
I use World Nomads Travel Insurance – I just find them the best for comprehensive cover anywhere in the world. Think travel insurance isn’t worth it? Read my post on travel insurance here get all the facts and make an informed decision.
Spoiler – It’s ALWAYS worth it.
Happy and Safe Travels and Kia Ora! 🙂
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