6 ways to get your working visa

Katherine Price looks at the visas available to help you fund your travels around the US, UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and India

7 mins

So many countries offer working holiday visas these days, allowing you to earn some extra money while you travel and take in the culture. Here are the countries that offer such visas and how to go about applying for them – and, for those that don't, the other visas that are available to you.

1. Australia

Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship

Australia's Working Holiday programme allows people aged between 18-30 to travel and work within the country for 12 months. Travel is open, you can enter and re-enter as much as you want during this time, but the employment must be the secondary purpose, and only be for six of the 12 months. Employment can only be extended in exceptional conditions.

Visitors from America apply for the Subclass 462 visa, while travellers from the UK, India and Canada for the Subclass 417 visa. New Zealand passport holders can work in Australia without restriction.

For non-US applicants, generally you can apply for a second working holiday visa after completing three months of work on your first visa. Working holiday visa holders are permitted to undertake any kind of temporary or casual work.

2. UK

UK Border Agency

The UK's Youth Mobility Scheme is available to nationals of Australia, Canada and New Zealand aged 17-30, allowing holders 24 months to work and travel during the full two-year period. Although this is a time limit which cannot be extended or put on hold, travel is open for you to leave or re-enter the country to your heart's content.

There are no restrictions on the type of work you are allowed to do, except that you can't start up your own business, work in professional sports or as a trainee doctor. You also don't need a UK sponsor.

Indian citizens require a general visitor visa for tourism, which extends to no longer than six months and does not include employment. However, if you visit the UK on a regular basis, you can apply for a multiple-entry, long-term visa for one, two, five or ten years.

You can also apply under British ancestry if you are want to work in the UK and are a Commonwealth citizen and can prove that at least one of your grandparents was born in the UK. This allows you to stay and work in the UK for five years or more.

3. America

American Visa Bureau

Those hoping to visit America just for travel from the UK, Australia or New Zealand can be covered for three months' travel under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), as long as an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) application is completed. Under the B2 American Tourist visa, you can extend this up to six months, however no employment or financial gain is permitted. The J1 visa does cover on the job training for the extent of an exchange program, both for casual and more specialised work environments.

America unfortunately does not offer work holiday visas, but there are temporary employment and tourist visas available. The H1B required a bachelor's degree (or equivalent) in the specialty, the relevant work experience and any lisence, registration or certificate needed to authorise practice. These are generally issued for three years, and may be extended. L1 applicants must be related to an American organisation, have continuously worked for the organisation for at least one year in the past three and be a person of specialised knowledge.

There are 10,500 E-3 visas open on a first-come, first-serve basis to Australian nationals, provided they have an offer of specialty employment already in place. These are valid for two years and can be renewed indefinitely on a two-year basis. Canadians can also be employed under a TN visa as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

4. New Zealand

Immigration New Zealand

Conditions for a working holiday visa in New Zealand vary from country to country, but Australian nationals are able to live and work in New Zealand at any time for any duration. Working holiday visas are available for US, UK and Canadian citizens. British eligibility requires that applicants be between 18-30, and can apply for a 12 or 23-month stay, although must not work for more than 12 months of this time.

Americans and Canadians have the opportunity of 12 months with a working holiday visa. Applicants from the US must be between 18-30, whereas Canada extends this up to 35. Most travellers can also enrol in one training or study course of up to three months during this time. Visa holders are free to leave and re-enter the country at will during the allotted time.

For purely tourist purposes, Canadians can visit New Zealand for up to three months without a visa. British citizens for up to six months.

5. Canada

Canadian Visa Bureau

Canadian working holiday visas, or International Experience Canada (IEC) work permits are open to nationals of Australia, New Zealand and the UK, and the age restrictions, type of work allowed and duration varies.

New Zealanders between 18-35 can apply for a year's work permit, while British nationals between 18-30 can apply for a year. Australians aged 18-30 can apply for a visa for up to two years.

In terms of temporary work visas, not all jobs require a visa (such as clergy, film and media crew, public speakers, judges etc), although may need a temporary resident visa. The Canadian Visa Bureau has also advertised that certain IT workers can have their work permits processed faster, due to demand.

Most don't need a visa just to visit Canada, although Indian nationals do. A temporary resident visa may be required. Under NAFTA, US citizens are also able to access Canada more quickly and easily for business.

6. India

Indian Visa Application Centre UK

India unfortunately does not offer working holiday visas; those hoping to visit the country must instead apply for a tourist or an employment visa.

Employment visas for India require that you be employed by an Indian company or do honourary work with registered NGOs in India. The visas will have limited validity, irrespective of the length of contract you have with your organisation, but can be extended for up to five years.

Tourist visas are available for three months, six months or a year, and are non-extendable and cannot be converted into any other type of visa. Depending on how often you plan to leave and re-enter the country, you must apply for a single, double or multiple-entry visa.

This visa advice has been sourced for citizens of the UK, US, Canada, India, New Zealand and Australia. Many visas are open to other nationalities. Please see individual visa application websites (above) for further info.

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