Twenty-somethings itching to explore the world beyond the typical vacation have an envy-worthy option available to them. Working holiday visas are a special type of residence permit that allow travelers to spend an extended period of time in a country while supporting their travels with local jobs. Below are just a few countries with robust working holiday programs, listed with the basics of their program rules.
The land down under is king among working holiday nations, and has a reciprocal agreement set up with many countries around the world. Citizens of the UK, South Korea, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, Japan, Taiwan, Ireland, Malta, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Hong Kong, Finland, Cyprus, France, Italy, Belgium, Iceland, Greece, Andorra, Estonia, and Latvia between ages 18 and 30 can spend up to 12 months in Australia, supplementing travel funds with short-term employment. Citizens of Argentina, Bangladesh, China, Chile, Indonesia, Malaysia, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, the United States, Uruguay, and Hungary can also apply if they have university education. During the year of the working holiday, no more than four months can be spent on study or training. Visa holders also can’t work for the same employer for longer than six months. Want to spend more than a year in Australia? Spend three months working in a designated rural area of the country and apply for a second-year extension.
There are several iterations of the Canadian working holiday visa. Citizens of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Ukraine, and the UK, but the criteria vary from country to country. For example, Polish citizens can apply until they’re 35, but Ukraine citizens are only eligible until age 25. United States citizens must be full-time students to be eligible. The program is first come, first served and very competitive.
Because of the way the Schengen Area is set up, getting a working holiday visa in any of its countries also covers the visa holder for travel throughout the whole region. Countries that have both Schengen agreements and working holiday programs include Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden. Eligibility requirements, however, vary from country to country.
Japan’s working holiday programs have been growing since 1980 and place a strong emphasis on mutual cultural understanding. Citizens from Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, South Korea, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, and the UK between ages 18 and 30 can apply for a one-year visa. Australians are eligible for a six-month visa, but they can apply for up to two more six-month extensions. Citizens of New Zealand and Canada also receive a six-month visa at first, but can only apply for one extension.
These are just a couple highlights from the number of countries that have working holiday programs. Other countries that welcome foreigners for working holidays – with varying eligibility and requirements – include Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Latvia, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Peru, the Philippines, Romania, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, UK, USA, Uruguay, and Vietnam.