As a young professional, in my mid-20s, long term travel was out of the question. I was so busy trying to get the next promotion, I left no time to explore the world. Instead, I explored the world of different cubicles in Santa Monica. Sad but true. Womp Womp!
After a few years of working my butt off, I thought, “What am I doing this for? I am young, and I have yet to do something amazing.” I wanted adventure, I wanted to test the boundaries, but instead I kept to the 9 to 5 grind.
When my boyfriend told me about the Working Holiday Visa in Australia, I knew deep in my gut, I had to live there. I overcame whatever BS was keeping me in Santa Monica and ventured out of my comfort zone.
The Australian WHV was an opportunity to move abroad to travel and not fear being broke. A chance to have work-life balance! A chance to feel excited about walking around every new corner! As a young professional that’s exactly the motivation I needed to break free from my cubicle.
Here’s everything you need to know about applying for the Working Holiday Visa so you can live in Australia and break free from the walls of your office!
Why You Should Move to Australia For a Year
Hopefully, you’re selling everything you own, packing your bags, and buying a one-way flight to “Oz.” But if you’re in need of more encouragement here's why you should apply for the 462 Visa right now!
WORK IS OVERRATED
My whole life I knew I had to get a job, work hard at that job, and eventually I would have enough time and money to travel. After taking the leap, I figured out that is BS! I’m a firm believer that we should be prioritizing living for now, not for the future. Or more reasonably a combination of 80% Yolo 20% future.
Once I was in Australia, I realized that life is less about work, multi-tasking, or checking phones for new emails. In fact, life is about slowing down, focusing on one task at a time, finding a balance between work and life, being with friends and family, and smiling A LOT. It maybe hard to believe, but once you start living and working in Oz you’ll understand what I mean.
WHEN ELSE WILL YOU BE ABLE TO LIVE IN AUSTRALIA
Seriously, in what other lifetime will you be able to live in Australia? After your kids go to college? Dear friends, you can only apply for the Australian Working Holiday visa between the ages of 18-30. After age 30, a company will need to sponsor you. In which case, you or the company will need to pay a pretty penny for a sponsorship. It’s not impossible, but it can be a lot of work.
Waiting for all aspects in your life to line up perfectly is a waste of time. We must take advantage of the opportunities we are given today! If you need a change of scenery, let Australia be that change! Don’t get a new job, or move to a new apartment, gain some perspective and move to the other side of the world!
YOUR DREAMS CAN BECOME REALITY
Think of these scenarios: Hiking through beautiful untouched Tasmania. Swimming with beautiful whale sharks off Coral Bay. Taking a Helicopter ride through Darwin. Drinking wine in the Yarra Valley with amazing new friends.
If you can’t imagine it, then Google it and tell me you don’t want to do each of those things?
WHY THE HELL NOT?
There are millions of reasons why I told myself that I couldn't move to Australia for a year. My parents are getting older. I’ll miss my nieces and nephews growing up. I’ll miss my friends. What about my career progression? What do I do with my stuff? What will I miss out on?
Life was going to happen regardless of my location. But as long as I kept in touch with my family and friends, I would be okay. I sold my stuff and stored my treasured items with family. My boss told me I always had a job if I came back.
What is the Working Holiday Visa?
The official name of the visa Americans need is the Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462). It's a visa that allows young people from the US to holiday and work in Australia for a year. This benefits Australia as it contributes to their economy. What can you do on the WHV?
- Stay in Australia for up to 12 months
- Work in Australia for up to six months with each employer
- Study for up to four months
- Leave and re-enter Australia any number of times while the visa is valid.
Before you apply you must meet some basic requirements:
- You must be between the ages of 18-30
- You must have a valid US Passport that is not expiring within the next year
- You must have graduated High School or completed an equivalent qualification
- Evidence of sufficient funds $5,000 AUD in your Bank or Credit Cards
- No dependent children
Read the rest of the requirements border.gov.au
WHAT DO I NEED TO APPLY
- Not be in Australia! You must apply OUTSIDE of Australia. Or else it effs everything up.
- Application fee $440
- Passport photos x2 (45mm x 35mm)
- If you’re going to be working with kids, be a doctor, or you’ve spent more than six months in a third world country you will need a health check. Once it's complete, the doctor will send a note to Australia clearing you from major illnesses. Once the government receives the clearance, your application will process.
APPLYING FOR THE VISA
First you must create an account at IMMI.gov.au
Once logged in, create a new application for the 462 Work & Holiday Visa. The total application takes anywhere between 30 - 40 minutes. The process can make you anxious, but I promise it's easy! Want proof? Get the preview of the application below.
What Happens After I Apply?
As long as you meet the basic requirements and you are not a felon you are likely to be approved for the visa. Make sure to
- Not apply for the visa while you are in Australia. Be in any country except Australia.
- Do not visit Australia when your visa is processing.
WHEN DO I GET MY VISA
When you apply, they will ask you if you want to receive your visa approval by email or post. Always choose Email!! If you do choose email, visa approvals will range from within the hour to a month after you apply. My boyfriend got his in 30 minutes, I got mine in 3 hours. I’ve read stories of others getting their approval in two weeks and four weeks. So be patient.
If you choose post, good luck! It sounds like it will be sent by ship then given to a man on a donkey to get to you. You will wait for ages!
WHEN DO I GO TO AUSTRALIA
You can enter Australia as soon as you get your approved visa. Woohoo! Don’t forget these documents when you go through customs if asked.
- Certified copies of your passport (notarized)
- Certified copies of your birth certificate (notarized)
- Two recent passport sized photos
- Evidence of sufficient funds AUD $5000
WHEN SHOULD I GO?
Right now!!!! Or once you have saved enough to buy your flights and meet the minimum requirements. If your budget is tight and you want to make money as soon as you land, go to Oz in July. Why?
- July is the start of the Australian Tax Year
- It’s Winter in July, and there won't be as many people competing for jobs
- It will be cold, especially if you go to Melbourne or Tasmania, but it's a great time to get your foot in the door.
What if I’m 31? For now, you have missed your opportunity. While there is talk of extending the age to 35, as of now any person over the age of 31 cannot apply for the visa. So if you’re close to turning 31, apply now (read below as to why). Don’t wait. It’s time to enjoy life and Koalas!
Can I use my Working Holiday Visa if I was approved when I was 30, but am now 31? Yes, you can still enter Australia on a working Holiday Visa if you are 31. Just make sure to apply and get approved while you were still 30. You have one year from the approval date to enter Australia.
Do I need to have evidence of the $5k AUD when I apply? You don’t need to have it when you apply, but they might ask you to provide evidence of sufficient funds when you arrive. My boyfriend and I were not asked and I know a lot of people who were not either. Luck of the draw.
Can I use a credit card to prove sufficient funds? Yes, you can use a credit card or a combination of credit card and bank.
Why do I need evidence of sufficient funds? Australia wants to know that you can afford to live/travel in the country, but also to get home.
Should I pay someone else to apply? NO! The process is super easy. Plus you can save your application, log off, and get back to it later. Double check if you answered all important information correctly!
What is an electronic visa? When you get approved for a visa, Australia adds your visa number to your passport in their system. Now when you go through customs, and immigration scans your visa, your visa approval will appear. Easy peasy!
There you have it! A complete guide to the Working Holiday visa.
How soon will you be applying for the 462 Working Holiday Visa?