How We Started Our Australian Working Holidays
Gap year Australia! We all need a break sometimes. Why not take one in the Southern Hemisphere?
Disclaimer: Prices and specific steps are geared towards getting a Working Holiday visa from the United States (where I’m from), but the process is generally the same for other countries.
Cool. So you’ve thought to yourself, “I do want to travel, but it seems expensive. And also hard to figure out.” I promise you those are the first thoughts that cross anybody’s mind when they first decide they want to travel - you are not alone. Luckily if you’re from a country in the list below, you can apply for a Working Holiday Visa! What is a Working Holiday visa, you ask?
There are two types of Working Holiday visas:
Subclass 417 which applies to these countries:
- Republic of Cyprus
- Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (including British National Overseas passport holders)
- Republic of Ireland
- Republic of Korea
- United Kingdom
And Subclass 462 which applies to THESE countries:
- China, People's Republic of
- San Marino
- Slovak Republic
A working holiday visa is exactly what it sounds like - it enables you to take a “holiday” to a country, but it also allows you to work while you’re doing it! This helps to solve the “it seems expensive” dilemma because you can move from, let’s say the United States, to Australia and then just get a job there. Now you’re simultaneously in a brand new country AND earning money! Magic. Once you’re there, you’re free to take weekend trips to explore Australia and now you’re suddenly much much closer to New Zealand and all of Southeast Asia. It’s a great first step to get you to a completely different part of the world and gives you much easier access to countries that might have seemed out-of-reach at home. This specific visa is generally good for one year, although most countries will allow you to extend it for a second year.
Alright. Cool. Sweet. Now you know that you can travel to a new place and then get a job to fund your travels. So let’s take the “but it seems expensive” excuse off the table. Isn’t getting this “Working Holiday” visa super complicated? Tons of paperwork? I have to get shots, write my will, and a 10,000 word essay right? Nah - applying for and actually receiving your Working Holiday visa is probably the easiest thing you’ll do after deciding that you want to travel.
1. You need to have your passport. (Don’t have your passport? Apply here.)
2. If you’re from the United States, click here to apply for your visa. (This does NOT take long. I literally did this while at my office job, while I was supposed to be working).
- For a list of exactly what documents you’ll need, click here - (the application fee is around $330 USD).
3. Buy your plane ticket to make it official.
You might think I’m oversimplifying, but it really is as easy as that. Both Kenyon and I can attest to the fact that it took less than two hours to apply for our visa and have it approved. Once your visa is approved, the literal only thing left to do is to buy a plane ticket. (And then also get on that plane….)
A Working Holiday visa is the perfect option for people who want to travel but don’t have $20,000 in the bank to fund their travels for a year. You can move to a brand new part of the world, try out a job you might not do at home, earn money, take trips, make new friends - all with relatively little start up money.
Yes, your visa will cost a little bit of money. And yes, you’ll need to buy a plane ticket. Also yes, you will need some money saved to get yourself set up in a new city. But that’s a relatively low cost for the adventure of a lifetime. Skip out on Happy Hour for a month. Only go out once a week instead of three. Stop shopping. Stop giving Starbucks $6 for a shot of espresso and some milk. Put aside $X/week into an account that you don’t have access to (Digit really worked for me. It sets aside small amounts of money periodically to help build your savings). All of these things add up and will make a difference if you’re serious. You can do it :)
If you have any questions about the visa process, want tips on how to save money, or want any other recommendations - shoot us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to help.