A working holiday visa is a residence permit which allows travellers to undertake employment (and sometimes study) in the country issuing the visa for the purpose of supplementing their travel funds. For many young people, holding a working holiday visa enables them to experience living in a foreign country, without undergoing the usual costly expenses of finding work sponsorship in advance or going on expensive university exchange programmes.
Most working holiday visas are offered under reciprocal agreements between certain countries, to encourage travel and cultural exchange between their citizens.
There are often several restrictions on this type of visa:
- many are intended for young travellers, and as such have an age restriction (usually from 18 to 30 or 35)
- there are usually limits on the type of employment taken, or the length of time the traveller can be employed.
- the visa holder is expected to have sufficient funds to live on while they seek employment
- the visa holder should have some kind of health or travel insurance for the duration of their stay unless the country they apply for will cover them
- if the visa-issuing country is a Schengen Agreement signatory, working holiday visas for a stay of over 90 days will be a "D type" national visa, allowing the holder to stay and work in the issuing country during the period of validity of the visa and to travel in the rest of the Schengen Area for up to 90 days in a 180 day period.
- usually there is no problem in obtaining multiple visas running parallel, for example you could take a Working Holiday Visa for Sweden and Germany concurrently, or allow them to overlap somewhat.
- the visa is usually a sticker from the country in which you apply for that goes in your passport.
- you can apply for another visa in any country which you hold a current residence permit (D-Type Visa that should come with your Working Holiday Visa) for example, an Australian with a German Working Holiday Visa can apply for a Swedish Working Holiday Visa whilst living in Berlin at the Swedish consulate in Berlin, you don't need to return to Australia to apply for the additional permit, this makes it easy to stay overseas and move to another country once your existing permit has expired
- many consulates merely complete the paperwork and forward it onto the destination country for processing, so, it can take quite some time to get a response and it's often difficult for the local consulate to gauge how long the response will take, so plan ahead generously.
The originating countries in this were Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, which all wished to allow their young people to visit the United Kingdom.
In Japan there is a Working Holiday Maker Alumni association, which gives seminars and orienteering to Japanese working holiday goers.
Read more about Working Holiday Visa: Countries and Territories Offering Working Holiday Visas, Non-participating Countries
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