So you want to move to Australia? Congratulations for taking the plunge. It’s a pretty big step, but one I’ve found rewarding so far. I’ve been in Australia since September 2013 and it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made. I’ve met a lot of new people, visited numerous cities throughout Australia and had a chance to see what this side of the world is like. It can be quite a big challenge moving half way around the world, but if you’re up for the adventure it can really be one of the best things you’ll ever do.

The process can be a bit daunting and seeing as I’ve gone through it myself, I thought I’d make a list of the things to keep in mind when getting a working holiday visa for Australia:



Firstly, who’s eligible:

The good news is the working holiday visa is quite open, with people from Belgium, Canada, the Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom being able to apply for the Working Holiday Visa. If your name’s not on the list, don’t stress, there is a Work and Holiady Visa (Subclass 462) that’s open to the following countries: Argentina, Bangladesh, Chile, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey, the USA and Uruguay. I’m going to focus on the
Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417) as that’s what I got, because I’m from the UK.

What does the Visa allow?

Well, in order to be eligible for the visa you must be between the ages of 18 and 30. The visa allows you to live and work in Australia for a year. There is the possibility of extending the visa if you work in a rural environment or if your company wants to sponsor you to stay on.

How to get the visa:

Well, if you’re eligible for the visa for the first year you’ll have to apply for the visa outside of Australia. That means if you visit Australia and fall in love, you’re still going to have to leave to apply for it. You could apply for it at one of the Australian Embassies in New Zealand, but generally it is easier to apply for it at home. You need to make sure your passport is valid for the length of your intended stay and for at least six months after that. So, if you’re looking to stay in Australia for two years, it would be a good idea to make sure your passport is valid for at least 30 months when you apply.


Please note that generally on this visa you are not allowed to work for one employer for more than six months, you’re allowed to partake in up to four months worth of study and you can leave and re-enter Australia as often as you like during this year long period. If your country does not have reciprocal health care agreements with Australia, you’ll have to buy private health care insurance as well.

How much does the visa cost?

This will depend on where you applying for the visa, what country you’re from and a host of other little personal details which makes it very hard for someone else to estimate. If you lodge your application online it will cost you approximately $420 USD, whereas in person it will cost around $500 USD – there’s an $80 non-internet charge.

Can you bring a dependent child?

No, unfortunately this is an individual visa and does not cover family or spouses. For example, if you have a partner they can come with you but only if they apply for their own working holiday visa that is approved.

How long does the visa take to process?

That’s one of those questions that is similar to how long is a piece of string… well it depends on the string. Mine took just a few weeks, but it could have been a quiet time of year. For others, it might take a few months. My suggestion would be to apply for the visa at least 2 months before you’d like to travel to Australia as you have to ensure you’re not in the country when the visa is granted.

I hope this article has been really helpful and if you have any
questions about my experience please don’t hesitate to ask them below.

Good luck!

Photo Credit: Dustin BrettJosh Stewart and Fernão