WHV General Requirements
Why would anyone opt for a working holiday visa? Why not just go the simplest route for a visitor visa? Well, just as the reasons for each of us deciding to travel differ enormously so too do the reasons why some of us nomads decide to go for a work/play combo. There are without doubt though some definite advantages of having a Working Holiday.
Although the requirements and eligibility for a working holiday visa vary depending on your circumstances and your country of origin there are a few general requirements which apply across the board. These are listed below.
- The main purpose of your visit to New Zealand must be tourism. The working holiday scheme is intended to give young visitors a taste of New Zealand life through some work experience or study time in a different culture and country with the added bonus of helping to supplement the travel funds. Primarily, you must be here as a visiting tourist with any purpose to work being secondary.
- You must hold a passport from one of the eligible countries. There are currently 42 countries with which New Zealand has an agreement, allowing its young citizens to enjoy a work/holiday experience. These are Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Republic of Korea (South), Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay and Vietnam.
- The working holiday visa is granted only once in a lifetime. If you have previously been awarded a working holiday visa you can’t get another – under any circumstances. However, extensions to existing working holiday visas are possible if you are already in New Zealand and your existing working holiday visa has not yet expired.
- You must be aged 18-30. If you come from Argentina, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary or Uruguay the age range is 18-35. It is worth noting, should you be towards the upper age bracket, the age limits apply at the time of application. You may be 31 (or 34 if from one of the countries with exceptions) by the time the visa is granted and may even be 32 by the time you enter and work in New Zealand (as the visa is valid for a year and only begins once you enter the country).
- You must be able to prove you have sufficient money to support yourself throughout your stay in New Zealand. For passport holders of most countries this is NZ$4200 but a handful of countries are less or more. You may not always have to show this proof – most typically in the form of a bank statement – but if you do then generally speaking this will be at immigration once you arrive in the country.
- Dependants – in other words children – are not allowed to come with you. If you are one of a couple who want to work together you must each apply for a visa in your own name.
- All smart backpackers have good travel insurance but if you intend to work under the working holiday scheme in New Zealand it is compulsory and one of the conditions of your visa. This means taking out comprehensive travel insurance which includes hospitalisation clauses and complete medical cover. You will need to check some of the small print of certain insurance companies because they exclude backpackers or gap year takers on a working holiday scheme. However, there are plenty around that will cover you and the fierce competition means prices are competitive.
- You are not allowed to take up any kind of permanent work. Additionally, under most of the visa conditions relating to different nationalities, there are time limits for how long you can work for just one employer, in most cases 6 months. Remember – you are here primarily for tourism and not work under the conditions of your working holiday visa.
- You must have already bought your means of onward travel from New Zealand. In other words a plane ticket or the like. (If you don’t have this you must be able to prove you have enough money to buy one in addition to the funds to support yourself mentioned at 5). You may or may not be asked to show your ticket or proof of adequate funds when you pass through immigration on entry to the country.
- You must be of good character. You will be asked various questions relating to this on your application form. Basically this aims to exclude those with serious or recent criminal records or offences against immigration in any country. What you enter on the form is usually enough but should further proof be required you will be asked for police certificates.
- You must have an acceptable standard of health. Medical certificates and chest x-rays (anti TB measures) are not usually required, especially if you will be in New Zealand less than 6 months. If you come from or have recently spent time in a high risk TB area you may be asked to provide chest x-rays. The application forms are fairly clear where and when you need to do this but should you miss something you will be sent an email telling you what is needed after you have submitted your application.
- You will need to pay a fee. As of September 2016 this is NZ$208 (fee plus immigration levy).