Budget Travel

Work Holiday Visas (for Americans)

I don’t know how it happened, but getting a work holiday visa wasn’t something I was really aware, at least not until recently, of as an option for working overseas.  This isn’t an option that necessarily comes with a job lined up before you arrive at your destination, but it does let you pick a country where this is available and find a job once you’re there.  This does mean you need to have some money saved up to survive on when you first get there, so if this might be something you want to do, start saving!  I have outlined below where U.S. citizens are eligible to apply for a Work Holiday Visa.


U.S. passport holders can actually apply for an Australian Work and Holiday Visa online (http://www.immi.gov.au/Visas/Pages/462.aspx).

You have to be at least 18 but not yet 31 years old.

You can stay in Australia for up to 12 months, work up to 6 months with an employer (you can work another 6 months with a different employer).  This visa also allows for exit and re-entry.

You must have enough money to support yourself, which the website advises is about AUD $5,000 (currently this is about US $3,385), have enought money for a return ticket home, have at least a high school diploma, meet health requirements, have health insurance, and meet character requirements (must provide police certificate for each country you have lived in for 12 months or more in the last 10 years).

New Zealand


U.S. citizens can apply online!

Can stay and work for up to 12 months.

Must be at least 18 and not more than 30 years old.  Have a return ticket or sufficient funds for a return ticket, a minimum of NZD $4,200 (curretnly US $3,083) available to you upon arrival, have health insurance, and meet health (don’t have TB) and character requirements (not have been convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for 5 years or more, been sentenced to 12 months or more imprisonment in the last 10 years, etc.)

South Korea


Can stay and work for up to 18 months.

Be between 18-30 years old at the time of application.  Must have proof of round-trip airline ticket, proof that you can have enough money to support yourself for at least 3 months, have at least a college degree and have graduated within the last 12 months.

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View of Ilsan from Lake Park

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Lake Park, Ilsan, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea



Can stay and work for up to 12 months.

Must be a current college/graduate student or have graduated in the last 12 months, health insurance, and have either €1,500 (currently $1,697) and a return ticket or €3,000 (currently $3,393).



Live and work for up to 6 months.

Be between the ages of 18-25 and be either a current undergraduate or graduate student at a university recognized by the government of Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, or the United States.

Unfortunately, the U.S. doesn’t have much reciprocity as we don’t offer these visa’s to people from many other countries, so we are limited.  This isn’t something I will necessarily pursue, but I do have a few years until 30 so it’s definitely something I’ll be thinking about (especially for New Zealand and Australia).  For anyone who is in a position where they could take advantage of one of these options, go for it! If I end up applying for one of these visa in the next 3 years, I’ll be sure to write a detailed post about what the application process is like, but until then, good luck to anyone who decides to apply!



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