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Applying for a WHV

For some reason, the New Zealand working holiday visa and the process related to applying for it has something of a mysterious nature attached ..... as something with an almost certain ability to tie you in knots. Perhaps it is because it is hard to believe you wouldn't have to jump through hoops to come to work and play in such a wonderland.

However, the truth of the matter is the application process for a working holiday visa is incredibly easy and straightforward.

First Things First

Eligible Countries - Before you put in the effort though you will need to check first of all you come from an eligible country. At present there are 42 of these 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.

Quota-capped Countries - Even if you do come from an eligible country be aware many countries have annual limits to the number of visas awarded. Applications are only accepted at certain dates. As quotas are often very limited you need to get in at the very first opportunity to stand any chance of getting a visa. The dates for when these applications are open are clearly displayed on the NZ Immigration website under the page specific to your country.

Some things worth noting are - 

  • The application for a visa under the working holiday scheme is only possible online.
  • You don't have to complete all of the application in one go but can do it bit by bit, if you choose.
  • Remember to save as you go through each section of the online form.

Visa Check
Date of Birth:

The Online Application 

  • You will need to create an online account and register first on the NZ Immigration website.
  • Once you have registered you will get an email with a link which takes you back to the same place where you registered. But now, using your log in details you have set up, you can start filling in your application form. 

1. Logging in brings you to the page 'What can I do in online services?' There is a menu on the left hand side of the page here from which you will need to select 'working holiday'.

2. In this new window you can click on your country of origin in a drop down box. If you are from an eligible country with applications currently open you will then be given an option to click the 'apply now' button.

3. You will next arrive at a page which has four tab choices entitled 'Personal', 'Health', 'Character' and 'Working Holiday Specific'. You can complete these in any order you want.

PERSONAL - very straightforward personal details are required here – name, address and contact details along with passport details. 

HEALTH – The first part here is an optional box for details of any occupation you might currently have. In most cases the occupation box will be left blank.

A series of health questions follows which have a yes or no option. If you answer yes to any of these you will be asked for more details and in some cases supporting documentation.

CHARACTER – These are also a series of yes or no questions related to any criminal convictions and deportation/immigration transgression issues. As with the health questions should you answer yes to any of these you will be asked for more details and in some cases supporting documentation.

Example or electronic WHV
Example or electronic WHV

WORKING HOLIDAY SPECIFIC – This asks you the following:

  • Have you ever had a previous working holiday visa from New Zealand? – If you have you will not be allowed another. It is a once in a lifetime deal.
  • Do you have sufficient funds? – Because the working holiday visa is granted under the condition that all work undertaken is a secondary purpose for any visit here, you will need to show you have sufficient funds to support yourself. For most countries this is NZ$4200. There are a few exceptions (which can be found on our Country Specific Requirements checker).
  • What date do you intend to travel? - Many who complete this form will have no idea yet when they are travelling and certainly won't have got as far as booking a flight. No problem – just put your closest guess and should this be a totally different date when you eventually come to booking a flight it is not an issue.
  • What is the amount of time you intend to stay in New Zealand on your working holiday visa? - Again, you might not actually know this at this stage so just put your closest estimate.
  • Have you been to New Zealand before? - A simple yes or no and, if yes, then when.
  • Do you have sufficient funds to buy an outward bound ticket? - You may already have a ticket out of New Zealand in which case this counts as a 'yes' here. If not, you must be able to prove you have enough money to buy a ticket in addition to the sufficient funds amount mentioned previously.
  • Do you meet the specific requirements? - You will already have checked this (hopefully) through the immigration website as discussed at the very beginning of this article. However, you can click on a link in the application form at this point to be double sure.

The four tabs should now all show a green tick. If you have missed something the tab will show a red cross to indicate more is needed. If all is in order you can click next.

4. You will next come to the legal confirmation page which requires you to tick yes (there is not a 'no' box option anyway) to a series of statements such as 'I understand the notes and questions on this form'. 

5. After submitting the last page you will arrive at the fee section. You don't have to pay this now but your application process won't begin until you have. The fee you are required to pay is displayed on the screen and can only be paid by MasterCard or Visa credit card. The card doesn't have to be in your name – if you happen to have someone generous enough to pay your fees for you.

What's Next?

You will be advised by email – usually within 2 weeks - when your visa is ready (if you have been successful) or that is has been refused or that more information is required. You can check its progress online at any time by logging into your account.

To 'pick up' your visa, log into your account, click on 'My applications' and there will be your visa, ready to print from the PDF format. The visa is the bit on page 3. You will need this to get through immigration once you have arrived in New Zealand.

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