Travel websites and tour companies get a lot of mileage out of the phrase “like the locals”.
Travellers, especially those with a strong adventurous spirit, are drawn to any promise that an experience will be authentic to the country they are visiting.
But do you know the most foolproof way to experience a destination “like the locals”? Become one.
A working holiday visa is an ideal option for getting closer contact and finding a new perspective on not just the country and culture you’re visiting, but on life in general. You can travel longer, leave sooner and generally get a chance to settle and really let your unique experiences sink in.
However, while plenty of countries offer the visa, your options are largely dictated by the country you were born in and it can be a little tricky to navigate the process and make the right choice.
For anyone that is thinking of getting working holiday visa there are some things that you should need to know, regardless of where your end destination might be:
- There is an age limit on these visas which will vary from country to country. These permits are designed for younger people and the range on average is between 18 – 35. But please check with desired destination to make sure.
- There are a usually a limit on the type of employment, the length that you can work, and the amount of money that you can earn on these types of visa. Again, the specific guideline will vary depending on the country that you are visiting – so please check before applying.
- The visa holder is expected to have enough money to survive whilst they are looking for work. No help will be provided to a holidaymaker whilst they search for work.
- This visa holder should have health or travel insurance cover for their stay. Not all countries will provide you with free health or medical care.
- Most places need proof of saving, to ensure you can feed and home yourself for the first three months – so some saving is necessary.
- Most countries also want proof of a return flight or equivalent savings for the flight.
To help you on you journey to a new life beyond the seas, here is a breakdown of the eight most popular countries to visit on a working holiday.
NOTE: For consistency’s sake, all costs will be in US dollars regardless of whether American citizens can apply for the visa. Because of this cost may only be a rough estimation.
Canada has something for any type of traveller.It has both the bustling metropolis scene and expansive tracts of untamed wilderness to discover.
If you like nature, there are superb working -holiday opportunities for you in the form of summer camps for teenage children. In particular Canada offers camps for troubled teenagers, in an effort to take them out of their regular environment and provide them with confidence and self-control.
These camps are always on the lookout for new residents to help organize activities, to lead team building exercise and to care for the teenagers whilst trekking across the countryside.
Of course there is also the more standard type of working-holiday where you just apply and find a job on arrival.
- Age: 18 -30 although can change due to country.
- Visa Cost: US$170
- Visa Length: Generally 12 months (this also changes based on nationality).
- Eligible countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong SAR, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Ukraine and the United Kingdom
Japan might be a tiny island nation but there is a lot to discover in every corner. Japan has some of the biggest and most technology advanced cities in the world, whilst have areas of unspoiled beauty like around Mount Fuji. It is also becoming an increasingly popular destination for those that love the snow with some of the best slopes you’ll ever find while being relatively affordable compared to other resorts around the world.
Japan has a huge demand for English teaching jobs, and people who can teach English as foreign language will find work relatively easy if you have a TEFL or CELTA qualification.
The working holiday participants are strictly prohibited from working at bars, cabarets, nightclubs, gambling establishments and other premises affecting public morals in Japan which may make find a temporary workplace harder.
- Age :18 to 30
- Visa Cost: US$29
- Visa Length: 12 months with extensions for Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
- Eligible countries: Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, South Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, United Kingdom.
- US$2000 dollar savings required
The Czech Republic has sprawl metropolis like Prague as well as the most beautiful national parks, Bohemian Switzerland is a popular destination for artists that are trying to capture nature’s raw beauty. The area offers lots of temporary work in both the countryside where English Teachers are very popular or as a café worker in urban areas.
The Czech Republic is one of the cheapest EU countries to live in, and is central to other European countries, and as such is the perfect base camp for an extended European holiday.
- Age: 18-30
- Visa Length:1 year
- Visa Cost: US$100
- Eligible Countries: Canada, Chile, Taiwan, New Zealand, and South Korea.
- $2,800 required for living expenses.
Australia is another popular country to visit with a working visa, as it has a unique and versatile ecosystem that is amazing to experience first-hand.
There is plenty of work available for both skilled and unskilled workers. Many travellers spend their visa working in hotels, bars, gardens and stores, but there are more rural positions in the untamed Australian Outback if you are looking for adventure – working on sheep or cattle farms or even caring for horses.
- Age: 18-30
- Visa Cost: $US316
- Visa Length: 1 year
- Eligible countries: Argentina, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Poland, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States.
- US$3700 savings required
South Korea is a little different for the other countries on this list as there are quite a few more restriction. It is a fascinating place to live as, although it is one of the most technologically modern countries in the world, its modernity is relatively recent and the rapid rate in which it has occured has produced a unique melting pot of culture.
South Korea is another country where teaching English as a foreign language is in great demand, and is very well paid compared to other jobs, such as bar work. (Although you’d have to apply for an E-2 as teaching is restricted on a H-1)
- Age: 18 -30 (25 for some nationalities)
- Visa Cost: $US45
- Visa Length: 12 months (24 for Australia, Canada and US)
- Eligible countries: Austria, Australis, Belgium, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Sweden, Taiwan.
- Other: acrobats, dancers, musicians and singers are all excluded. South Korea doesn’t want to be entertained. You also must not work in Journalism, medicine or law.
- Must prove your student status.
- US$1000 savings required for the first three months.
- A schedule or a plan trip is required.
The United Kingdom has come up with a way to help working holiday visas to extend their stay through the Youth Mobility Scheme. The Youth Mobility Scheme is designed to help with the cost of travelling outside the one of the most expensive capitals to live in, London and find working employment in the other stunning locations in the country be as bartender in the highlands of Scotland or as a hotel worker in the valleys of Wales.
The more standard visa of applying then finding work is also available but ber warned: London is not the type of city you want to stay in for too long unemployed.
- Age: 18 -30
- Visa Cost: US$300 to apply
- Visa Length: 24 months
- Eligible countries: Australia, Canada, japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, Taiwan
- US$2,400 in savings required
Vietnam is a country in rapid development and has many ancient, and beautiful cities to discover, a culture that is deeply rooted in Buddhist teachings and a stunning countryside that is just waiting to be explored. It is the ideal location to travel other Asian countries too, so there is a whole lot to find during your breaks and holidays.
Teaching English is a strong option for your working holiday in Vietnam and is something that is best worked out before you leave.
- Age: 18 -30
- Visa Cost: It’s hard to find a specific price on any website. Best to ask your embassy.
- Visa Length: 12 months
- Eligible countries: Australia and New Zealand
New Zealand is one of the most beautiful places in the world when it comes to nature. It is known for its majestic fjords, giant glaciers, volcanic landscape and of course being the land of hobbits and elves on the silver screen. Friendly and laid-back, the New Zealand people are often mistaken for Australians when they travel abroad but they have their own rich history and identity that is a pleasure to discover and its location also acts as the gateway to the smaller Polynesian islands.
It is relatively easy to get a working travel permit if a new life in New Zealand is beckoning.
- Age: 18 -30
- Visa Cost: US$145
- Visa Length: 12 Months (23 for UK citizens)
- Eligible countries: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia. Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Poland, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Vietnam.
- Not to be Accompanied by Children.
- No previous Visa or Permit under a Working Holiday Scheme.