If spending a year Down Under is on your hit list, here’s how to go about getting a Working Holiday visa (subclass 417).
We’re not surprised to learn you’re dreaming of a long trip to Australia. After all, it’s quite easy to imagine long summer days travelling along the coast, spending the cooler months soaking up the outback or Top End, and immersing yourself in the scene in any one of a number of cities. Applying for a Working Holiday visa (WHV) gives you the chance to earn some extra cash to keep your travels going or do some study while you’re here.
Note: Tourism Australia is not the Australian government visa granting authority. The visa granting authority is the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs. For up-to-date information, please refer to their website: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/work-holiday-417.
The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult with an Australian qualified immigration lawyer or migration agent if you are seeking legal advice.
Am I eligible for a working holiday visa in Australia?
If you’re aged between 18 and 30 (or 18 to 35 for citizens of Ireland) and hold a valid passport from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland, you are eligible to apply for a WHV subclass 417.
If you're a resident of another country, you may still be eligible for a working holiday visa. Use the Department of Home Affairs Visa Finder to find out more.
What documents do I need to apply?
Applying for WHV 417 is a straightforward process. Go online, create an ImmiAccount and fill out the details. You’ll need a number of documents to hand to aid in the process, including:
- the pages of your passport showing your name, personal details and passport issue and expiry dates; and
- a copy of your birth certificate showing both parents’ names.
Anyone who can’t provide a birth certificate should provide a copy of the identification pages of one of the following documents:
- a family book showing both your parents’ names;
- government-issue identification; or
- a court-issues document that verifies your identity.
If you’ve ever changed your name, you’ll also need to provide a marriage or divorce certificate, change of name documents from a relevant overseas authority, and documents showing other names you’ve been known by.
You should have copies of your bank account showing you have adequate funds to support yourself (usually the equivalent of AUD $5000), as well as a return air ticket or extra funds to be able to pay for your journey home.
You may be asked to provide character documents, including military records, but someone will contact you if they’re needed.
How long will the process take?
You need to first to create an ImmiAccount, which is easy and allows you to save your application at any time and go back to it later if you realise you need extra information or different documents. Set aside a couple of hours to make sure you fill out the form correctly, and add all supporting documentation required.
What should I know before I start?
All documents you attach to your WHV application must be in English. Those that aren’t have to be supplied with a translation that includes the translator’s details. You’ll need clear, colour scans or photographs of each of these documents. If a document has more than one page, it should be saved as a single file.
How long until I get a response?
Many applications are processed within 12 days, but it can take longer if you don’t fill out the online form correctly or forget to attach the right documents. If we need to verify your information or get more details from you, it can take longer. Ninety per cent of applications are processed within 34 days. Once your visa has been granted, you have 12 months to fly to Australia and begin using it.
How much does it cost?
When you apply for your WHV, you’ll have to pay AUD $450. There may be extra costs relating to health checks, police certificates or biometrics (facial photograph and finger prints).
What are the healthcare requirements?
If you’re applying for a WHV from a country with a high risk of tuberculosis, you may need to undergo a medical examination and chest X-ray.
Ultimately, you’re responsible any health debts you run up while you’re visiting Australia. Our public healthcare system, called Medicare, has reciprocal agreements with some countries (Belgium, Finland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Ireland, Slovenia, Sweden, and the UK) that will cover the costs of care from illness or injury that can’t wait until you return home. For visitors from New Zealand and Ireland, non-hospital care is not covered. This reciprocal arrangement only lasts for six months for Italian and Maltese citizens.
Otherwise, you must have sufficient travel or health insurance to cover the costs of illness and accidents while you’re travelling and working.
How much money do I need to save?
You should have savings equivalent to AUD $5000 – be prepared to show proof of the money you have in your bank account. On top of your savings, you should have a return air ticket or enough funds to pay for a flight home.
How long can I stay?
This WHV allows you to stay in Australia for 12 months from the day you enter the country. You can either stay for the entire 12 months or leave and re-enter as many times as you like during that period.
What are the work restrictions and requirements?
The idea of the WHV is to allow you to take on short-term and casual jobs to fund your travels and help you pay for your holiday. For the most part, you can stay in one job for a maximum of six months, although this can be extended with special permission if you work for the same employer but in different locations, in plant and animal cultivation (everything from picking fruit to shearing sheep), or in certain industries (like aged care, disability services, construction and tourism) in northern Australia only.
Check out the full list of exemptions from the six-month rule here.
Can I extend my working visa?
You can apply to stay for an additional year in Australia with an extension on your WHV if you have undertaken at least three months of specified work in approved industries including plant and animal cultivation, fishing and pearling, tree farming and felling, mining and construction. To find out how to do it, head to our hints and tips here.
How old can I be?
Whether you’re applying for your First or Second Working Holiday visa (subclass 417), you need to be aged between 18 and 30 (unless you’re a citizen of Ireland or Canada – then you have until the age of 35). If you apply for the visa when you’re still 30, but turn 31 before the application has been approved, the visa may still be granted. Similarly, Canadian and Irish citizens who apply at 35 and turn 36 while their application is outstanding may still have their visa approved.