While U.S. passport holders can visit just about anywhere, settling in is a bigger challenge involving visas, immigration and a little forward planning. So if you’re wondering what travel limitations will confront you in 2014, worry no more. Here’s where – and how – you can relocate internationally on a working holiday visa.
*Due to the discrepancy between the number of working holiday visas available to Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders and many Europeans, I’ve focused only on the lesser-known, lesser-available options for American citizens. However, follow the links to each immigration site and you’ll find information for applicants from every eligible country.*
- Australia: Travelers between the ages of 18-30 are eligible for Work and Holiday Visas. These allow you to live and work in Australia for up to 12 months, with any one employer for six months. Though residents of most European countries may extend their visa for a second year through outback farm work, Americans are ineligible for this visa extension. Applications must be lodged outside the country, and can be done online or via post at the nearest Australian immigration office. Approximate cost: $420 Australian dollars.
- Canada: While opening its borders to Australians, Kiwis and Europeans for 6-24 months as part of the International Experience Canada, Canada only allows American post-secondary students or recent graduates to apply. However, applicants may submit their application on their 30th birthday, as long as the visa is utilized prior to their 31st. Canada has a reputation for strict background searches, and visas are quota-based, granted on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis. Approximate cost: 150 Canadian dollars.
- Ireland: Once again, US passport holders must be post-secondary students, or recent graduates, in order to apply for a work and travel visa. Citizens participate in a special US-Ireland relations program, which differs from the working holiday program provided to residents of other countries. Applicants are limited to 12 months of employment. Applications should be directed to an embassy or consulate in the United States. Approximate cost: 250 Euros.
- New Zealand: Arguably one of the easiest temporary work visas to get, New Zealand Immigration’s Working Holiday Scheme allows 18-30-year-old Americans up to 12 months in the country. Approximate cost: free, if applying online and outside of New Zealand. (Mine was received and approved, via e-mail, within 24 hours!)
- Singapore: University undergraduates and graduates between the ages of 18-25 are eligible for Singapore’s Work Holiday Pass. Pass holders may live and work here for up to six months, and are not restricted to specific types of employment. However, the program supports a limit of 2,000 passes. Approximate cost: 150 dollars.
Please note that in every location, other things are required to obtain working holiday visas. You will typically need to organize health insurance prior to arrival, as well as your own transport into and out of the country. It’s common for airport Custom officials to ask for proof of an exit flight, or a copy of your bank account, “proof of adequate funds.” And you always need a valid passport. More on these requirements, next post!
~Until the next adventure! ~Kelli