Work and study in New Zealand with the working Holiday Visa.

How to Get a Working Holiday Visa?

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  • 1Working Holiday Visa, How Does It Work?
  • 2The Conditions to Get Your Working Holiday Visa.
  • 3How to Apply to a Working Holiday Visa?
  • 4Should You Register at Your Consulate or Embassy?
  • 5Our Advice About the Working Holiday Visa.

Working Holiday Visa, How Does It Work?

New Zealand has a low debt ratio and unemployment is low. If wages are lower than in Australia or rich European country, the exceptional quality of life largely offsets this disadvantage.

New Zealand has a very prosperous economy.

New Zealand is a country where the immigration policy is particularly strict. Fortunately, the “Working Holiday Visa (WHV)” allows to circulate and work freely during a whole year.

During this interval, you can also study for three months (this is optional, of course), and you can enter and leave the territory whenever you want and without limit. It's up to you to find jobs (of any kind) every time as opportunities arise.

Your visa allows you to enter and leave the territory as many times as you wish. This allows you to spend the holidays in France for example, if you have the means of course.

The WHV allows to enter and leave the territory without limits.

Of course, you sometimes need to struggle to earn some cash just to be able to continue the adventure, but the feeling of freedom is incomparable. New Zealand is particularly attractive for the beauty of its landscapes, and its economy is relatively untouched by the international crisis.

But back to basics. Before the departure to New Zealand, you need to get a precious pass.

The Working Holiday Visa (also known as WHV) is issued under certain conditions to young people from all over the world.

The main advantage of a Working Holiday Program in New Zealand is the legendary beauty of the two islands of the country. You will have the opportunity to discover many landscapes and you will practice sports activities like kayaking and even bungee jumping!

Imagine an entire year to explore dream landscapes ...

This article focuses on the formalities to get the visa. To find out how to find work, accommodation or even a used car, please visit our Working Holiday Visa section on Kiwipal.

The advice on this page (like any other on Kiwipal) are regularly updated. However, we suggest that you check the New Zealand Department of Immigration website to get the latest change.

The Conditions to Get Your Working Holiday Visa.

Since the abolition of annual quotas, it has become simple to ask a New Zealand working holiday visa. Provided of course to be eligible, and to have for example between 18 and 30 years (35 for Canadians).

Even if the quotas have been abolished, there are rules.

Let's start with some good news: the entry quotas have been canceled. In other terms, you are almost certain to get your visa if you meet the conditions set by the Department of Immigration. Some countries, however, are not eligible to the Working Holiday Visa, and you need to check this aspect on the New Zealand Department of Immigration website.

You can fill your application when you want in the course of the year, but do not forget the three golden rules:

  • A WHV is for single use in New Zealand.
    Once your year of visa is finished, you will never be able to claim a second New Zealand's WHV, but you will be allowed to apply for another WHV in another country.
  • An unused WHV is permanently lost.
    Once the Visa application is accepted, you have 12 months to enter the country. After this period, the visa expires and you will not be able to have it renewed.
  • A WHV is activated on arrival in New Zealand.
    In other words, a visa obtained on the 1st of January of 2018 is valid until midnight on the 31th of December of 2019. If you arrive in New Zealand on the 31th December of 2018, your visa will be activated until 31 December 2019 (which is fair play, one must admit it).

Requirements for obtaining a Working Holiday Visa:

  • You must be between 18 and 30 years old.
    You have until the day before your 31st birthday to apply (only Canadians are granted a special exception and can apply until the last day of their 35th year).
  • You will have to pay for your visa application.
    A visa for New Zealand implies a$200 fee (depends of your country origin). The amount will be collected regardless of the outcome of the request...
  • You must present financial guarantees.
    You must be able to prove that you'll have a minimum of $350 per month to live on. That's a total of $4200 for a whole year in New Zealand. You will also have to present a return plane ticket or be able to demonstrate that you will be able to pay for it.
  • You must travel alone.
    Your children or dependents will not be able to accompany you.
  • You must purchase multi-risk travel insurance.
    You will have to provide a proof of the subscription to an insurance covering both illness and hospitalization, disability and repatriation during the whole of your stay.
  • You must present two pieces of identification.
    The passport is compulsory and must remain valid three months after the date of return to your country of origin. The second piece of identification must be valid (national identity card, driver's license, etc.). Note that both IDs will be checked upon your arrival in New Zealand.
  • You must be in good health.
    You must not carry any contagious disease or be subject to a compulsory care regimen. A medical examination may be required in case of doubt and obtaining the visa will depend on the result. Note that you will escape the injections because no vaccine is required to enter New Zealand's territory.
  • You must be in good standing with your country of origin.
    Your criminal record must not necessarily be empty, but the least serious conviction is likely to result in your application being rejected.
  • You must be in good standing with New Zealand.
    An expulsion from the country during a previous stay or a conviction (even a minor one) may block access to the Working Holiday Visa. Some people even assert (but this is not demonstrated) that unpaid parking fines can be taken in account.

Now that you're certain to meet the requirements, it's time to start your request with the online process.

How to Apply to a Working Holiday Visa?

You can apply by mail to the visa center in London. However, it is recommended to connect to the Internet on the Immigration website.

Visa requests now take place on the Internet.

The request for Working Holiday Visa can be made on the Internet. I will just present this method (if you still wish to make your request by mail, read the advice of Ben the Kiwi at the end of the page).

To simplify the task, I divided the procedure into several steps. It is just a one-hour work if you are well organized.

1 - Gather the Required Documents

Prepare your passport, your second piece of identification and a credit card (this is the only means of payment available online). Note that a valid e-mail address is required to follow the procedure to the end.

2 - Create a Free Account

Log on to the Immigration official website: You must create a free account to make a visa application. I do not dwell on the subject, you should not encounter any particular difficulty for this part.

3 - Fill in the Online Form

You will find the form to fill in the “Online Service” section. But it's not a speed race!

A button allows you to save the form current state to resume it later if needed.

The form is divided into four steps and you'll have to enter your personal, Health and Character information, and, of course, the type of Visa requested (the Working Holiday Visa, of course).

A visa application on the site of the New Zealand Immigration website takes just under an hour. This requires gathering the necessary supporting documents for the procedure.

Take your time to complete the form!

The requested arrival date is only an estimate. You have 12 months to start using your visa once it is granted. You may enter a date that corresponds to your personal project.

Please note that accented characters (éàô ...) are not always allowed in the input fields. If your name, surname or address has an accentuated character, replace it with its unstressed form (e.g. Chloé becomes Chloe).

This rule is valid even if your pieces of identification contain accents and your modifications will not affect the validity of your Working Holiday Visa request.

4 - Proofreading

Even if you are confident that you have completed the form correctly, do not validate it immediately!

Re-read the document quietly, if possible in the company of another person whose new eyes will be more likely to find an oversight or a mistake.

This step should not be sloppy, because your declarations engage you on honor with the Ministry of Immigration: you will not be able to fix anything later.

5 - Online Payment

Your credit card must allow transactions over the Internet. The cost of a Working Holiday Visa application is about $265. Fill in the required bank details and you only have to wait for the validation by the visa service.

6 - Printing of Your Visa

After an average of one week, you will receive the decision from the visa office.If your request is accepted, you must note your “client number” and “application number”. These two important references are to be found in the body of the email message.

The Working Holiday Visa is not sent by the Post Office. You will need to download a document from the Immigration Department and print it yourself. As surprising as it may seem, the visa is printed on a single sheet of A4 paper.

You will need to print the Visa yourself.

Your visa will not be mailed to you! It is up to you to retrieve it from the website where you have filled in your application.

Visit the “What's Happening” section (right column on the page) and you will find your visa to download for printing.

In the end, the long-awaited sesame is basically a simple A4 sheet to print. A fragile document that must be kept along with your passport.

Immigration services, like your potential employers, will be entitled to claim it.

Should You Register at Your Consulate or Embassy?

You are not obliged to report your intentions or the duration of your stay at your Consulate. But it is recommended.

Registration at the Consulate is recommended.

Enrolling in your country's consulate in New Zealand is in your interest. It is not because this approach is optional that you have to overlook it. But there is no urgency, you can handle it after your arrival in the country. Depending on your country of origin this registration is optional or does not exist, you must check.

The purpose of this recording is primarily to facilitate exchanges between the consulate and your family in case of emergency. The operation takes only a few minutes and can be performed in several ways. The process can usually be done by e-mail, from the Consulate website or by mail.

There is usually no form to complete (once again, it depends on your country), you are may be free to communicate the information you want, but it would be wise to indicate the following:

Information about your trip:

  • Full civil status (last name, first name, date of birth...)
  • Passport number
  • Working Holiday Visa client number
  • Contact address in your country of origin
  • Personal situation (worker, unemployed, student ...)
  • Date of arrival in New Zealand
  • Return date if already known
  • Itinerary
  • Full-contact details of the person to be notified in case of emergency
  • Your address in New Zealand (poste restante or fixed address)
  • A phone number if you have opened a line

I recommend that you attach a photocopy or JPEG scan of your passport. These elements can considerably speed up the process if the original is lost. Again, this step is optional and does not constitute a record. It is primarily a common sense security measure for a long-term stay in a foreign country.

Our Advice About the Working Holiday Visa.

It is not because you are free to do waht you want that you must behave inconsiderately. Prepare carefully your hikes and adopt a responsible attitude, especially in terms of respect for the environment.

A lot of freedom, but also a lot of responsibility.

These few formalities are the price to pay for an extraordinary experience on the other side of the globe. But to the impatience of the departure is often mixed with the anxiety to have to leave a family and friends.

Rest assured, New Zealand is one of the safest countries on earth. However, pay close attention to insurance matters. During a whole year, you have little chance to dodge all the usual galleys (dental care for example).

The prospect of looking for small jobs can frighten some people. If nothing forces you to work, removing the W capital letter from the "WHV" acronym would be a regrettable mistake.

Working will demonstrate your adaptability and your capacity to face unexpected events. Your curriculum vitae will be better after such an experience.

Working during a Work Holiday Program not only serves to earn some cash, but especially to acquire experience with lany different jobs.

Finding work is essential to pursue the adventure.

In any case, there is a high probability that you will become a Working Holiday Visa fanatic. And if you want to extend your adventure, there is a solution that might interest you ...

Demonstrate that you have worked for at least three months in the horticulture or viticulture sector, and the Visa Department may grant an extension for your current Working Holiday Visa.

Working in horticulture or fruit picking during your stay may allow you to request a visa extension. In this case, you will be allowed to stay during three extra months in New Zealand.

Some jobs can grant you a visa extension.

However, this “Working Holiday Extension (WHVE)” will cost you about $200 and will only be valid for three months.

But if you have saved enough money, this extension can offer you a dream vacation to conclude your stay.

I promised to concentrate on the formalities and it's done. Now, I invite you to read our other guides about jobs, accommodation, transportation in our WHV section. In the meantime, I pass the mike to our friend Ben for his traditional question and answer section.

William, Kiwipal
A Guide Written by William.
Founder of Kiwipal, New Zealand Travel Guide.

Questions & Answers.

What can I do for you? Ask me any questions about the formalities of the Working Holiday Visa. Remember that the official website is not always very intuitive, so do not forget to print your visa!

Ask a question to Ben

  • All topics ... 39 answers in total
  • Conditions 11 answers
  • Online Request 6 answers
  • Working in New Zealand 5 answers
  • General Issues 5 answers
  • Problems With the Department 4 answers
  • Required Documents 3 answers
  • Other Visas 3 answers
  • English Level 2 answers


  • What are the quotas for the WHV?

    There are no quotas since 2009. If you have read this information on the Internet, I advise you to consult Kiwipal where the information is updated more regularly.

  • Can I apply for a WHV if I am approaching 31 years of age?

    You can request a Working Holiday Visa until the last minute (but remember that it is the New Zealand time zone that is taken in account).

  • Can I apply for a WHV because I'm turning 18 soon?

    You will have to wait until you are adult to complete your application.

  • What are the health conditions to get a WHV?

    It is a sensitive subject, I prefer to let you consult the official website.Healt Requirement

  • Can Ireturn to my own country during a WHV?

    You can enter and leave the territory as often as you like. Especially for spending the Christmas holidays with your family if you want. You will not have to justify yourself.

  • Can I study during a WHV?

    You can, but only for up to three months.

  • Can I be accompanied by my spouse?

    Each visa is individual. Your spouse will have to make his own visa application.

  • Can I request my WHV by mail?

    Knowing that the nearest visa office is in London (and at the risk of being considered a Kafka follower), I invite you to download the form on the website of the Ministry of Immigration.

  • Can I renew my WHV?

    No, you can just extend it by three months if you have been working in the agricultural sector for three months. Ask for a certificate from your employer.

  • Can my WHV be suspended?

    You can even be expelled from the territory with a fine if you commit any offense. Drug use, for example, will lead to this sanction. You will not be able to return to the country before many years (including for a tourist stay).

  • What happens if I forget my visa before departure?

    Sometime the visa will be checked initially at the airport in your own country, you will most likely miss the plane.

Online Request

  • How much does an application for WHV cost?

    At the time of writing, the price of the visa is $165 New Zealand. Rates are updated on the Department of Immigration website.Minister of Immigration

  • How long does it take to complete the application?

    If you have collected all the necessary papers and have read the advice of Kiwipal, it should take you about 45 minutes.

  • Can you fill out the form for me?

    No, and I advise you to check that those who propose it are well accredited by the Department of Immigration of New Zealand.

  • Can I be refunded if my application is rejected?

    You have paid an administrative fee and not a visa. You will not be eligible for a refund.

  • Is there any translation of the visa application form?

    I fear that not, alas ...

  • I cannot find the WHV application form!

    Make sure your Internet browser allow popup windows to be displayed on the Immigration website. This setting is available in the advanced options of your browser. If this is not enough to resolve the problem, contact the site's support.

Working in New Zealand

  • Can I find a job without having any experience?

    Yes, absolutely! If we except surprises, you will essentially find some small jobs that will pay your stay. See our Working Holiday Visa guide about employment.

  • Should there be a promise of hiring to apply?

    No, it's not mandatory and you will not be asked for it.

  • Can I work in the country with a tourist visa?

    You incur a fine and eviction if you do not have a work permit. Never accept undeclared work even if you have a Working Holiday Visa in your pocket.

  • Can I work in New Zealand without a WHV?

    This question is out of the question, but so often asked that I will answer it briefly. The process of obtaining work visas is both complex and demanding. In this point system, it is necessary to justify a promise of hiring, an IELTS certificate (proficiency in the English language) and substantial academic degrees (except if the job appears on the short list of trades published each year by the ministry Of Immigration).

  • Can I get an internship with a WHV?

    There is a specific visa for aspiring trainees: so take advantage to spare your Working Holiday Visa (consult the website of the Ministry of Immigration because the conditions are very specific). But you can, however, find an internship with your Working Holiday Visa if you wish.

General Issues

  • Can you tell me more about the WHV?

    This page is devoted to formalities. Have you consulted our other guides about the Working Holiday Visa? All subjects are treated in the smallest detail.

  • What is the difference between WHV and other visas?

    These designations all refer to the Working Holiday Visa. The term WHV is quite widespread on the Internet.

  • How to know if I am the profile for a WHV?

    Know thyself say the saying. Do not leave on a whim, on pain of coming back after a few weeks. I would say that resourcefulness must be the first quality of any good candidate for the Working Holiday Visa. First of all, read our many guides to make yourself an idea. If the wanderlust is still present afterwards, chances are you are a serious candidate for the Working Holiday Visa.

  • Is WHV recommended to women alone?

    New Zealand is a country with a much better quality of life and security than in most countries in the world. But I would not recommend the practice of hitchhiking to women alone. For a normal road trip, there is no particular fear to have. Check out our safety guide if you need more details.

  • Is the registration at the Consulate mandatory?

    No, but it is highly recommended.

Problems With the Department

  • What should I have commited an error while filling the application form?

    Try to contact the immigration department, but you are unlikely to be able to re-establish the situation, especially in case of emergency.

  • What should I do in case of rejection?

    If your application has been refused because of a simple mistake on your side, you can try again (and pay again the fees, sic). Otherwise, you may not have sufficiently studied the requirements, and a second attempt will result in a new reject.

  • What if I do not receive my confirmation email?

    Make sure it is not already in the SPAM folder of your mailbox. It takes an average of three to seven days to get an answer. But it rarely happens that the delay exceeds two weeks. Wait or contact the Immigration Department if the waiting time seems excessive.

  • I was accepted, but I cannot find my visa?

    This is normal, it does not appear in the confirmation mail. You will need to print it from the site where you applied.

Required Documents

  • Should I travel with two proofs of my identity?

    Yes, it is mandatory.

  • Can I apply if I do not have all the required elements?

    Some documents will only be requested upon arrival in New Zealand. As long as you have the requested parts to complete the online form, you are not required to have all the elements at this stage.

  • How do I get a birth certificate?

    You can usually request it on the Internet from your town hall of birth.

Other Visas

  • Do I need a WHV to visit New Zealand?

    Most European citizens do not need a visa for a tourist stay of less than three months.

  • What are the different types of visas?

    In addition to the Working Holiday Visa, there are also the Student Visa, Work Visa, Visitor's Visa and Silver Fern Visa. But this is quite off-topic, I invite you to dig the question on the website of the Immigration Department.

  • What is the Silver Fern Visa?

    It is a special visa designed to attract young graduates looking for a job in the country of kiwis. There are only 300 places allocated per year (any nationality combined) and it is not certain that this type of visa is still valid at the present time. Note that the level is very high (minimum HEC required for France) because it aims to attract elites.Silver Fern Visa

English Level

  • Do you need a good level of English?

    Unlike traditional work visas, the Working Holiday Visa does not require you to speak English. But if it is possible to survive with some rudiments of the language, only a correct level of English will allow you to easily find work in New Zealand.

  • Will I improve my English with this trip?

    Beginning the stay with language courses (you are allowed to study for three months) would be a great idea. If you add some professional experiences in an English-speaking country (do not stay between compatriots), your English level will improve at full speed.

Photo showing Guillaume in New Zeland

Ask Questions to William.

New Zealand Expert

Registering to the Working Holiday Visa takes about 45 minutes on the Internet (it is not a speed contest).

Take the time to answer and save your form regularly.

Note that I am always happy to answer questions about the Working Holiday Visa but that I cannot do all the work for you.

Also make sure that the answer to your question is not already existing on Kiwipal.

william Ask me a question

Useful Links

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Photo showing Guillaume in New Zeland

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