The Working Holiday Visa for Australia entitles you to live and work temporarily in Australia. The visa is valid for one year from the date of entry, but you can extended it under certain circumstances for another year. To get the visa, you need to meet certain conditions.
Before submitting your visa application
Attention: The visa fees are of $390 (it was $440 until 2017) – a nice amount of money. So please read the following tips so you do not make any mistakes and don’t lose your money.
Passport: Make sure your passport is valid for at least 1 year after your arrival in Australia. Otherwise, get a new passport and use the new one for you visa application. You can change your passport details later, but this is quite complicated and can be easily avoided.
If you have already applied for your visa and you will receive a new passport in the future, you can try to change your details online or at an office of the Australian immigration authority. The Working Holiday Visa is connected to your passport, and if these details do not match, you may not be allowed to board the plane.
Planning the trip: Book the trip (flights, accommodation, etc.) only after you have received the confirmation of the visa. You receive the confirmation via e-mail, often within minutes after the application has been sent.
Previous visa: If you have already been to Australia with a “no further stay visa”, you can not take part in the Working Holiday program anymore. You mustn’t have entered Australia before with a Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417) or Work and Holiday Visa (subclass 462).
All requirements for the 1st Australian Working Holiday Visa
There is some conditions which you have to meet to receive the WHV for Down Under.
- You must be outside of Australia at the time of applying and until the visa is issued. You also need a valid passport for the application.
- You must be between 18 and 35 years (30 years until 31.12.2017) when you apply for the visa. This is according Australian time, so send the application not only a few hours before your 35th birthday!
- You must be a citizen of a partner country of the work and travel program and have an address there. Countries participating in the Working Holiday program with Australia are Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.
- Your passport must be valid for at least one more year at the time of entry in Australia. Make sure that your passport does not expire while you are planning to be in Australia.
- You can not take “dependent” children to Australia. If you are accompanied by a “dependent” child, you can not enter with a WHV visa, however, you are allowed to enter with a tourist visa. If you have dependent children who are not living with you, you can nevertheless apply for the working holiday program. However, in such case not by online application, but by sending the required documents via mail.
Additional requirements for the Australian Working Holiday Visa
In cases, more information and certificates ca be required for the visa.
In certain cases, you are required to do a health check by the Australian Immigration Department. This happens from time to time, but don’t worry. A medical test can be necessary, especially if you want to work with children and in the care and medical sector.
The health check for the Working Holiday Visa requires, a general medical examination, an X-ray image of the chest and a HIV test. The physician can request additional tests.
If you are required to get a health test, you will be informed about that after the visa application. The medical examination must be performed by a so-called panel clinics or “migration medical services provider clinics“. Here is the list of certified clinics.
You will receive a Health Identifier (HAP ID) for the medical examination. In addition, you must do the so-called eMedical client process before the visit at the clinic. You get the exact steps for this by the immigration authorities, if the medical visit is necessary in your case.
You may be required to send a police certificate for the approval of the visa. If this is necessary in your case, it does not automatically mean that your visa application will be rejected. However, you will not pass the “character test” if you were for example imprisoned for more than 12 months.
Caution: If you are not truthful about committed offenses, this may mean that the visa application will be refused. Further information is available on the official website.
After you have received the Working Holiday Visa for Australia
Finally! You have received the Working Holiday Visa. You will receive the confirmation via e-mail. The number of the visa which is shown in the visa confirmation e-mail, is also linked to the number of your passport.
You will only receive a simple stamp in your passport that confirms your entry and no other “visa sticker”, even at the airport upon entry. The WHV is only finally granted when you have entered Australia. Caution: Do not bring food with you when you enter. This is prohibited in Australia under strict penalties.
Please be aware of the following points:
- The visa is usually sent to you by e-mail within 48 hours of the application. This may also take longer. Print this email at least 2 times, and take a copy in your hand luggage with you, as you could be asked for it when entering Oz. You can also be asked for it at job agencies, tax-back and superannuation. Save the e-mail safely in your mailbox and create a screenshot. We recommend all backpackers to create a Dropbox folder, to store the most important documents online and to have access to them all the time.
- You must enter Australia within 12 months after your visa was approved. For example, if the WHV is approved on the 15th of July, you have to enter Australia by the 14th of July of the following year in order for the visa to be valid.
- The visa is valid for 12 months from the date of entry in Australia, regardless of whether you leave the country in between. You can go to New Zealand, Fiji, Bali, etc. without any problems. At the latest 364 days after the first entry date you have to leave the country. However, you can of course enter again with a tourist visa. This means: Shortly before the visa expires you can fly to New Zealand or elsewhere and back to Down Under – and you can travel another 3 months on a tourist visa in the country.
- You can not spend more than four months studying in Australia on the Working Holiday visa. 4 months means 17 weeks, exclusive holiday and orientation time. One semester has about 15 effective university weeks in Australia. If you are going to Australia for an exchange semester, the working holiday visa may be appropriate – but check with your university in Australia how many weeks per semester they actually have.
- The working holiday visa entitles the employer to pursue any form of employment, but not longer than 6 months (12 months since 2017) for the same employer with the same Australian Business Number (ABN). McDonald’s stores therefore count as different employers since they have all a different ABN. In the second working holiday year, however, you can again work for the same employers of the first year. If this rule is not followed, the visa can be canceled.
- You must have AUD 5,000 available and enough money for a flight out of Australia or a return ticket already booked. You can print an account statement to prove that. However, we are not yet aware of any case where this condition was actually checked. Many backpackers get just in case a friend or family member to transfer the required amount of money into their bank account. They print out an account statement and return the money back to the friend or family member. Please note, however, that the account statement should not be outdated at the time of entry (older than 14 days). Even if this rule is usually not enforced, we recommend that you have the money, since it will make your start in Australia much easier.
- The visa is issued only once, but you can extend it for a second year if you do certain jobs in rural areas for at least 3 months. You don’t have to do that continuously. You can accumulate the required time over the year with different employers. Eligible jobs for the second year are in the farming and forestry industry, fishing, farms, the pearl industry or slaughterhouse.
Even if not required by law, you should also have travel insurance during your time in Australia, just in case something happens to you there.
What can you do with the WHV visa?
With the WHV you have all liberties in Australia:
- You can stay up to 12 months in Australia
- You can work for up to 6 months (12 months since 2017) for the same employer
- Study up to 4 months in Australia
- You can enter and leave Australia at any throughout the year
Here is an overview of what you should consider when applying for the Working Holiday Visa.
What is the difference between “Working Holiday Visa” and “Work and Holiday Visa”?
One more technical note, so you do not get confused. Often, the Working Holiday Visa is also called Work and Travel Visa. The correct name, however, is Working Holiday Visa.
There are 2 types of the WHV. The difference between the Working Holiday Program (visa subclass 417) and the Work and Holiday Program (visa subclass 462) is that more requirements must be met for the latter (subclass 462). For example you need a university degree, an English language certificate or a home country grant. This agreement covers countries such as Argentina, Thailand or Papua New Guinea.
The link to the official website of the Working Holiday Program of the Australian Government is available here.