Working Holiday Visas

One of the first questions I’m asked when I tell people I’m moving to New Zealand is, “Why New Zealand?” This is an understandable question. How did I choose this country out of all the other countries in the world?

When I originally came up with my plan to move to another country, I wanted to move to Ireland. I loved just about every aspect of studying abroad there, from the people to the food to the sheep.

I decided that visiting for only three months (the maximum time you can spend in the country without a visa) was not enough time, so I started researching what kind of visa I would need to live and work in Ireland. In the process I discovered a visa called a Working Holiday Visa. With further research, and a handy BuzzFeed article, I found out that the U.S. has a deal with five countries where Americans can easily get a Working Holiday Visa.

2871134419_b1f52134d6_bThe five countries are Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea.

The general rules for a Working Holiday Visa are that the applicant must be between 18 and 30 years old, they can work for about 6 months, and can be in the country for up to one year. Pretty cool, right?

This visa was perfect for what I wanted to do. It would allow me to immerse myself in a new culture while not going broke. Win-win.

After much thought I decided that since I had already lived in Ireland, I should try another country (or two).

I settled on New Zealand because it has penguins. Okay, that’s mostly not true.

I’m pretty sure watching Frodo, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Sam, Merry, Pippin and Gandalf traipse all over New Zealand in The Lord of the Rings sparked my initial interest in the country. However, my fascination has grown the more I’ve learned about it. There’s amazing hiking (tramping), beautiful scenery, delicious food, great people, and lots of ice cream. Or so I’ve heard.

I applied for my Working Holiday Visa online through the New Zealand Immigration website, and 48 hours later I was approved. Easiest visa application ever.


If you’re thinking about applying for a Working Holiday Visa, do it! Just make sure you check the requirements of the country since each one has a slightly different set of hoops to jump through.


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