Working Holiday Scheme

Working Holiday Scheme

This visa if for you if your main reason for coming to New Zealand is to holiday, but you want to work or study while you’re here. The WHS allows you to work in New Zealand for up to 12 months and study or train for up to 6 months in total. If you’ve been working in the horticulture or viticulture industries for 3 months, you may be able to apply for a Working Holiday Extension Work Visa while you’re in New Zealand.


To be eligible for a work visa under this scheme, you must:

  • be a citizen of the the United States of America
  • be aged between eighteen (18) and thirty (30) years, both inclusive, at the time of application
  • be able produce evidence that you hold a minimum of NZ$4,200, enough money to buy a ticket home and have comprehensive medical insurance on arrival to New Zealand

How to Apply

An online application can be made from anywhere in the world via Immigration New Zealand(external link).

You will need access to the internet and a credit card (Visa or Mastercard) to pay for the application. The application process and rules for approval are exactly the same as for a manual application. If your application is approved, your visa or permit will be issued electronically.

More information on the Working Holiday Scheme

  • You do not need an offer of employment to apply for a working holiday scheme visa
  • You must arrive in New Zealand within 12 months from the date of issue of the visa
  • You will be issued with a multiple entry visa, so will be able to enter and exit freely during your 12 month period. Please remember however, that your permit is valid for 12 months from the initial date of entry only. The 12 month period is not accumulative.
  • You may not undertake permanent employment in New Zealand
  • You will not be eligible to return to New Zealand for a further working holiday under the scheme
  • You must not have any disease or infirmity that may endanger public health, order or security, and may have to obtain medical certificates demonstrating this, if requested.
  • You must be able to produce good character documents if requesteD
  • Partner: Your partner can apply if they also meet the criteria. If a couple wishes to apply, each person must make a separate application, which will be considered individually.

There are also two private companies that offer an exchange programme for young United States citizens wanting to work in New Zealand:

  • BUNAC(external link) offers a work exchange programme for United States citizens aged between 18 and 35.
  • CCUSA(external link) offers a work exchange programme for United States citizens aged between 18 and 30.

See the Immigration New Zealand website for the rules and regulations of the working holiday scheme(external link) and information on looking for work in New Zealand(external link).


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