New Zealand Working Holiday Visa requirements
Working Holiday New Zealand

What are the requirements for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa?

October 15, 2018

So you are interested in how to get a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa? Well of course, first of you need to meet the requirements for it and we are happy to help you find out more!

New Zealand Working Holiday Visa requirements and costs vary from country to country, so you’ll always find most up to date information checking the Immigration New Zealand website directly. The website will tell you everything you need to know. You can directly check your eligibility not only for the Working Holiday scheme but a range of other visas that allow you to work in New Zealand as well. Though keep in mind, you can be granted New Zealand Working Holiday Visa only once in a lifetime. Therefore, even if you received WHV for New Zealand in the past and didn’t use it, you won’t be able to apply for it again.

The general Working Holiday Visa criteria

  • Age

In general, New Zealand’s Working Holiday Visa is available to people aged 18-30 or aged 18-35 in a few lucky countries (Argentina, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, and Uruguay). If you’re at the upper age bracket, note the limit applies at the date of application, so you can be 31 (36 if you come from one of the exception countries) when the visa is granted.

  • Application quota per country

Some lucky countries have an unlimited quota, so passport holders of these countries can apply all year round. However, majority countries have a limited quota of visas and a specific date and time during the year when the application opens up. Can’t speak for other nationalities, but we as Lithuanians have only 100 spots per year, which disappeared last year in under 4 minutes since the application opened. For country-specific quota check the Immigration New Zealand website.

  • Criminal records and offenses against immigration

You must be of a good character to be granted a visa. Therefore, during the application, you’ll be asked a series of questions related to this. That is to prevent applicants with recent or serious criminal records and/or offenses against immigration in any country. Usually, the answers in the application are enough, though in some select cases applicants might be asked to provide police certificates translated into English for a proof.

  • Passport validity

If you wish to avoid unnecessary fees for an express processing of a new passport, make sure to check the expiry date of your passport well in advance to the application day. Your passport must be valid for at least 15 months after your arrival in New Zealand (you have to indicate an intended date of arrival in the application). Since I checked mine just one day before the application, it cost me an extra 70 € to get a new passport in a day.

  • Visa application fee

If you’re successful with the visa application process (acceptable answers in the form and manage to fill in the application until all spots within the quota are filled), you will be taken to the payment page for the visa application processing. Currently in 2018, the fee is 208 NZD, however, it may differ for your country or at the time you are reading this, so always check official New Zealand’s immigration website for most up to date information.

  • An acceptable standard of health

If you pass the initial application process and pay for the visa, you might further on be asked for a proof of an acceptable standard of health. Depending on your origin country and countries you have traveled to within the past 5 years, you might have to pass a medical examination and possibly provide a chest x-ray. If so, you will be required to use one of the approved panel physicians and provide it within 15 consecutive days. Only if your country doesn’t have a panel physician, you can use any registered doctor. In this case (or in case eMedical is not available in your country), it will be a bit more complicated process to provide the medical certification.  However, nothing to worry about as you will receive precise instructions via email from your appointed immigration officer, once your online application goes through.

  • Sufficient amount of funds

You must have a sufficient amount of funds to support yourself in New Zealand. The amount varies from country to country, though for most nationalities including Lithuania the amount is 4200 NZD (check immigration website for your country specific). You may not always be required to provide the proof, though you might be asked for a recent bank statement upon your arrival in New Zealand. Make sure you have it printed. In addition, you must either already have a ticket out of New Zealand, or you must be able to prove you have enough money to buy one in addition to the funds for supporting yourself. Keep in mind, you are not required to provide the proof of funds when applying for a visa but would have to have the money upon your arrival in New Zealand, thus it is up to you to save up before the trip.

  • Dependents are not allowed

If you are applying as a couple, both of you have to apply for a visa separately as there are no dependents or partner visas granted for Working Holiday Visa holders. If you have and wish to bring your children, then Working Holiday Visa is probably not for you, but you can check out other visa options or choose to come here on a tourist visa for up to 3 months.

  • Travel Insurance

You must be able to provide a proof that you are fully insured, including cover for hospitalization. There are various companies specializing in travel insurance and even specifically working holiday travel insurance.

We personally use Orbit Protect travel insurance specifically designed for New Zealand Working Holiday Visa holders and it cost us around 195 EUR for a year (bought at the end of 2017). From options we have looked into, this was the cheapest and quite well lined up. Luckily, we didn’t need to use it, though I’ve called for inquiry about the services and the customer service representative was very informative and helpful.  They also offer an option to insure your baggage and personal belongings up to a value of NZ$1,000 per item and to a maximum total amount of NZ$5,000. For that, you will need to pay an additional premium of 15% of your period of insurance.

I actually just checked, and it seems that Orbit Protect insurance for a year would cost around 160 EUR (on working holiday visa) and around 190 EUR, if insurance for personal belongings included. I think it is a pretty sweet deal, don’t you think?

If you feel Orbit Protect travel insurance might fit your needs, you can use our link provided to buy it and we will get a small kickback from the company at no extra cost for you. Check Orbit Protect website to get a quote and compare prices if you consider different options.

  • Visa validity

If you’ve been successful in the application process and have been granted a Working Holiday Visa, you’ll have one year to arrive in New Zealand for the visa to be activated. If at the time you’re granted the visa you are already in New Zealand, your visa will be automatically activated as of that date.

  • Work limitation

The visa allows you to travel and work in New Zealand for up to 12 months counting from the entry date (or up to 23 months if you are coming from UK or Canada). However, you cannot take up any kind of permanent work and based on your nationality there are different limits to how long you can work for the same employer (in most cases it is up to 6 or up to 3 months).

If you meet the requirements listed above, you are already one step closer to your adventure in New Zealand and can start the preparation for your working holiday visa application!

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  1. Reply

    Chelsea Turgeon

    November 28, 2018


    This post is so informative! Looks like you have put the arduous, unglamorous process of visa paperwork to good use by sharing with us your experience. Thank you for the helpful tips and walking us through the process step by step. It is crazy how many little loop holes and rules there are to all of these things, but I am sure it is totally worth it to spend the year in New Zealand!

    It is truly so nice when people share all of these practical aspects of traveling so that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel for each trip!

    I hope it is going well for you so far and am excited to follow along with all of your New Zealand adventures.

    Keep up the good work.

    <33 The Turquoise Traveler

    • Reply


      January 8, 2019

      Thanks Chalsea for your feedback! Glad to put all my research to use and hopefully help someone else get closer to their dream year in NZ 😉


Ruta & Algirdas

We're Ruta & Algirdas - storytellers, world travelers, photography and filmmaking enthusiasts. Our best days are spent admiring planet Earth - exploring, tasting, breathing in all it has to offer. Now, after a year spent living van life in New Zealand, we're enjoying the hustle and bustle of Vietnam. Packing bags and embarking on an adventure is easier than it may seem - just have the courage.

  • Back in November we did the Tongariro Norther Circuit track and it was nothing less than glorious and felt exactly like stepping right into the #MiddleEarth. 
All those dark rocks and wastelands, steaming mountain slopes, the smell of sulfur in the air and just that feel of something bigger than you. 
Even though, we got some rain, cold winds and annoying sandfly attacks (at the first campsite by the stream), the track was mesmerizing and magical every step of the way. As beside the latter, it also offered the most beautiful night sky I've ever witnessed and the most breathtaking views. Though sadly, for all its beauty, the mountain also claimed the sacrifice of beloved #rayban sunnies. 😎

We did the track anticlockwise and if I had to choose I would do so all over again. Mostly because I prefer the solitude in our hikes and this option allowed us to enjoy it for most of the way during the 3 days on a track. Though this spot at Emerald lakes was exactly the place where we had to pass the crowds of day walkers doing the Tongariro crossing. While I have nothing against it, it is much more enjoyable wandering the mountains all by yourself (well, maybe sharing with few others) rather than walking in a crowd of hundreds  of other people (who are always always somewhere in your shot). Lucky for us, we only shared the track with others for an hour or so while passing through the crowd at the Red Crater. The crowd finally passed and we got back to our solitude of enjoying the view of Emerald Lakes, Red Crater and mountain peaks which were followed by the way down the Devil Stairs and incredible sunset with a stunning view of Taranaki at a distance. 
Anyway, I guess what I wanna say is - if you ever have a chance, go and do the Northern Circuit!
  • When I get the feeling that something's going wrong, I just take a stroll through my photos and they immediatly bring me back to those special moments when everything in the universe lined out just as it was supposed to and nothing could ever ruin it! And that's enough to just grab and hold on to that happiness that will forever be mine.
  • Well here's one more photo of this amazing lady and her heart-warming smile! I sure miss those evening strolls by the river in Hoi An where life never stops.
  • How really relative is time? 
Seems like over the past year and a half of travelling I've lived more than a decade. Yet it has been nearly 3 months since we got back home, settled in new home and started new jobs. Even though time flies by, life seems stuck at one place, like living the same day over and over again. It is hard to get over traveling and facing the steady life reality - like getting over an addiction for new exciting experiences when you itch for a new 'dose'. Yet can't deny that stability has its own perks. 
Still, funny when you think how relative time really is. Sometimes a month can fit experiences of a year and another month can fly by in an instance and you realuze that nothing really happened. Anyway, I've been gone for the past few months but I guess it was part of dealing with my post-travel blues settling in a new steady routine. 
How have you been lately?
  • Wandering those beautiful ancient streets of Hoi An, I couldn't take my eyes away from the beautiful old ladies selling water lanterns. So many stories they could tell, so many people they've met, so many troubles they've endured and yet they greet you with a wide smile from ear to ear offering to buy a wish in a form of a river lantern costing just a few cents. No matter what, every night you'll find them in their usual spot - day after day, year after year just trying to make a living. It amazes me how after all their troubles and worries, and all the rude passers by  encountered, they still manage to smile at you with all their kindness offering to buy that one lantern for a wish which eventually will help their family wishes come true, or at least will let them put a meal on a table. Even if you don't buy, don't forget to treat one another with a kindness and a smile.
  • So this one finalize my series of the camping shots I took back while doing the Tongariro Northern Circuit. 
Funny story: while I spent the night outside shooting stars, a guy came out of a nearby tent. I silently said "isn't the sky just incredible?" He got startled as appearantly didn't notice me before. Then he took a look up and said 'yeah, it really is'. After a few minutes just staring at the sky he went to the outhouse toilet and back to sleep. 
Only in the morning I heard him telling a story to his friends how he woke in the middle of the night wishing to quickly take a piss just outside the tent as was too lazy to go to the toilet. But it was when a girl out of nowhere interrupted him and made him look up at the stars. Eventually he ended up having to go to the toilet in the middle of the night but if it wasn't for me, he said he may have never seen the beauty of that incredible sky.

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