Want to travel but need to work? Or perhaps you have started a job where you know you’ll be traversing the globe as part and parcel of the role itself. Either way, you’ll need to know all about the working visas available and how to obtain the one you need. If you’ve got a college degree, as an American, you may be able to get hold of a Working Holiday Visa that allows you to spend some time working in Australia, Ireland, Singapore, New Zealand, Canada, and South Korea.


To be eligible for a WHV, you must:

  • Be aged 18-30
  • Have a valid US passport
  • Be able to prove you can fund yourself during your stay

You will need to find out what the specific requirements are for the country you wish to visit, as each has its own stipulations. For example, some countries may ask for character references. 


You will want to learn about any time limits the country of your choice imposes on Americans with a WHV. For example, New Zealand will let you work there for up to six months, while South Korea gives you a maximum of 18 months. 

Application process

Familiarise yourself with the application process before you start and get tips from anyone you know who may have done this before you. Be aware that the visa may cost between $200-$400, depending on the country you are applying to work in.

Most countries will let you apply for the WHV only once, so use your opportunity wisely. Check which industries you can work in and how many hours per week you may work.

And, of course, double-check check this is the right visa for your purposes. If you’re doing something more specific, like entering Australia as a member of a maritime crew, another visa may be more relevant to you. For example, in this scenario, you would need the Maritime Crew Visa for Australia (MCV), which can be obtained from AUVisa.org. 

Working Holiday Visa Application
Working Holiday Visa Application

The benefits of having a Working Holiday Visa

Decided that the WHV is the best fit for your circumstances? Great! There are loads of personal benefits you can expect to get from your time abroad:

Cultural exchange

A working vacation is an amazing way to immerse yourself in a new culture and gain a new global understanding. You’ll spend longer than you otherwise might if you were simply vacationing abroad, so you’ll get to live your day-to-day life like a local. 


You’ll get to grips with new skill sets, such as managing your finances, navigating foreign environments, and adapting to new situations. 

Personal growth

You’ll step out of your comfort zone. Along with new challenges, you’ll be able to establish new friendships and network with colleagues in your temporary place of employment. 

And if you are thinking of moving abroad permanently, this could be the foot in the door that you need.

Creative inspiration

New environments and experiences can stimulate creativity, thanks to neuroplasticity. Such an experience keeps you on the ball and helps you sharpen your problem-solving abilities.


Don’t be afraid to branch out and see what it’s like to work in another country! No matter how temporary or long-term the experience turns out to be, you’ll have some great memories and a colourful new addition to your resume.