how to move your life abroad this year with a working holiday visa

How To Move Your Life Abroad This Year! [Working Holiday Visa]

Living in a foreign country is a dream for so many people. Unfortunately, they don’t know where to start. This guide is going to show you exactly how to move your life abroad by applying for a working holiday visa. Don’t worry, it’s a lot easier than you think!

When I was in high school, nothing excited me more than the thought of travelling. The idea of being in a completely strange country where I didn’t understand anything or anyone was such an exciting concept.

After my first trip abroad, I realised that a couple of weeks overseas just wasn’t enough time to see everything I wanted to see and do everything I wanted to do.

I started to dream about living overseas, speaking a foreign language every day and living amongst a completely new culture. By living abroad I wouldn’t have to rush around trying to see all the tourist attractions but could instead immerse myself into a new way of life.

After high school, I thought “enough is enough, it’s time to do something about my dream of moving abroad.” I decided I wanted to move to France and do something completely different than what all of my friends were doing.

But how was I going to move to France by myself, with no money when I was barely able to string two words of French together?

I wasn’t sure, but I was determined, so I kept looking.

After countless hours of researching different visa options, I stumbled upon Working Holiday Visas!

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What is a Working Holiday Visa?

what is a working holiday visa

A working holiday visa is simply where you’re given permission to live in a foreign country for up to one year. If you’re aged between 18-30 years old then it’s possible for you to apply for a working holiday visa.

The great thing about the Working Holiday Visa is it allows you to work, as the name suggests. This means you don’t necessarily have to save a lot of money before arriving abroad. In fact, this is how I managed to survive when I took my Gap Year to France when I was 18. I found myself a job as a waiter and started integrating into society.

Working allowed me to have enough money to fund my language studies while saving up enough to explore new countries. Wouldn’t you much rather spend your time working and saving in a foreign country, learning a new language and integrating with new people, than working in your home country and trying to save there?

If you prefer working online, you could start a travel blog or write articles online to fund your life abroad.

Which Countries Offer Working Holiday Visas?

There is an extensive list of working holiday visa countries (more than 50) that offer a working holiday visa, however, not all of them have agreements with every country. Therefore, depending on where you’re from, the countries that have agreements with your home nation will vary.

If you’re interested in learning which countries offer working holiday visa agreements, you should check with your local embassy.

For a quick guide on how to get started with a working holiday visa in Australia, check out this post!

Working Holiday Visa Requirements

working holiday visa requirements

Although the requirements for each country are different, there are some basic guidelines you’ll need to consider in order to successfully apply for a Working Holiday Visa.


You must be aged between 18-30 years old (up until the day before your 31st birthday)


These visas are valid for 1 year (which can be extended to 2 years in Australia)


You’re able to work full time. In some countries, you aren’t able to work for more than 6 months for the same employer.


You’re allowed to study but can only attend short-term courses including language classes. This means that you won’t be able to attend University classes that last longer than 17 weeks.

Health Insurance

For a successful application, you’ll have to show that you have some form of health/travel insurance in case of emergency. Your national healthcare system won’t likely cover you abroad so you’ll need to look into additional coverage. Travel insurance is your best option as it will cover you for unexpected medical expenses that you incur abroad.


To apply for a visa you must have a valid passport that doesn’t expire until at least 6 months after you plan on returning from your time abroad.

Proof of Sufficient Funds

You will need to show a bank statement showing you have enough money to live abroad for a few months after you arrive. This amount is generally around $5,OOO AUD/ €3,500.

(Note: If you don’t have this amount of money, keep reading below as I show you how to get around it)

Not Previously Had a Working Holiday Visa

You’re only able to use a Working Holiday Visa once per country. However, you can get another Working Holiday Visa for another country.

How To Apply

how to apply for a working holiday visa

Step 1

Find out which countries have Working Holiday Visa agreements with your home country.

Step 2

Visit the embassy website of the country you wish to visit with your working holiday visa.

The best way to do this is to do a google search for “(country you want to visit) embassy in (country you’re from).” For example, if I want to get a Working Holiday Visa for France and I’m from Australia, I would search “French embassy in Australia.”

Step 3

See what the specific requirements are to obtain the visa for that country.

Step 4

Make sure all of your documents are in order. This may take a few weeks but it’s important that you have everything ready once you visit the embassy.

Step 5

Make an appointment at the embassy to apply for your visa.

Step 6

Play the waiting game. During your appointment, they will tell you if your application is likely to be accepted or not. If you’re missing documents, you should be able to post them to the embassy to add to your application.

The application process following the appointment can take anywhere between 1 week to 3 months but will normally only take a few weeks.

Step 7

Once your visa application is accepted, start getting ready to move abroad!

Difficulties To Overcome

As you know by now I used a Working Holiday Visa when I first moved to France in 2011. However, I had some difficulties with the application process because some of the requirements seemed impossible given my situation at the time (a broke 18-year-old boy who had no idea what he was doing).

Health Insurance

Most countries want to know that you’re covered in case of any medical emergency. Because you don’t necessarily know how long you’re going to be staying abroad, you should consider purchasing health insurance that you can extend monthly. I recommend taking a look at World Nomads Insurance as you can update your insurance plan monthly, even if you’re already abroad.

In my case, I tried to get student health insurance because I had enrolled in a language course. Unfortunately, once the course finished after 2 months I was no longer covered and left vulnerable.

Proof of Funds ($5,000)

It was impossible to prove that I had $5,000 in my bank account because I didn’t even have $500. There are a few different ways you can get around this:

*Get someone to send you the money, print out a bank statement showing that you have that amount in your account, and send the money back.

*Get a credit card, send $5,000 to your bank account, print out a bank statement, pay off the card and cancel it (you won’t need it if you’re going overseas).

*Ask someone close to you to act as a guarantor in case you run out of money. This process normally entails a written contract with proof of the guarantor’s income (their last 3 payslips).

Pre-Booking Flights

One of the requirements for my visa application was to prove that I had booked a return flight home. They ask for this because they don’t want you staying longer than your visa is applicable. Nevertheless, it’s frustrating because you never know when you’re going to be coming home, and it’s expensive to buy a ticket.

The process I used was to visit flight centre (or any other travel agency) and ask them to make an itinerary, for both flights to and from France. By doing this I could show the embassy that I had booked a ticket out of France. However, it was just an itinerary and I didn’t have to book my flight, rather hold a seat for a week or two (which was completely free).

Proof of Accommodation

How do you show proof of accommodation for the length of your stay when you don’t know how long you’ll be staying?

*The best way to show proof of accommodation is to book a hostel for 6 months or so. Use Hostel World to book a room so you can prove to the embassy that you have permanent accommodation abroad. For around $2 you can purchase cancellation insurance at the time of booking, which means you can cancel your booking after your visa is accepted.

*If you don’t want to book a hostel, consider joining a language school and booking accommodation through the school. This can all be done online before you arrive, which makes the process super easy.


That’s all there is to it!

You can see how easily anyone can move abroad. If a broke 18-year-old (that was me) can find a way to live his dream of moving abroad then you can too.

There is no better time to do something new and exciting with your life than now. See which countries have working holiday agreements with yours and start preparing.

What are you waiting for!

Have you already lived abroad? What type of visa did you have?

37 thoughts on “How To Move Your Life Abroad This Year! [Working Holiday Visa]”

  1. Hi Lewis,

    I enjoyed the visa info. It is a pity I am over 30.

    I will just have to enjoy the Outback. It will get a bit wet taking it to another country but you make traveling sound so much fun it will be worth getting a bit of sea water in the cupboards.

    1. That’s awesome! Hope you’re enjoying australia!
      If I was you I would look into doing a working holiday in Canada or Japan for your next working holiday visa. Being from the Uk you have many options for work in the EU but have working holiday visa agreements with Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, N.Z, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea. Good luck for your future travels!

    1. Thanks Emma! Travelling to many countries and experiencing new cultures is amazing, but sometimes it’s nice to settle in somewhere, work and integrate into a new society. Hope you’re able to find a working holiday soon!

  2. Ah, I’m over 30 so have also missed out on this as well, but there’s stacks of good advice here, not least in getting round the difficulties that the attendant bureaucracy that comes with visas can throw up. Booking a hostel for six months? Hahaha, now there’s a thought 😉

    1. The aim is to only book the hostel for 6 months. You don’t actually have to stay there for that long. After your visa is accepted you can cancel your booking and find other means of accommodation 🙂

  3. Ahh, it makes me mad all the time that I didn’t know how working holiday visas until I was 31! They seem like such a wonderful way to see the world.

  4. Hi Lewis,

    Dang I wish I read this back in March. My dream since college was moving, living and working in Italy to learn from the best pastry chefs. Unfortunately no one would hire me, they wouldn’t even let me work in the kitchen for free! This visa sounds like I could have made my dream become a reality. Regardless we were able to find another great work/volunteer program and we lived in Italy for 1 1/2 months and traveled Europe the remaining time. Check out our website we have some great posts about how we managed to live over in Europe for 77 days with no paychecks coming in! Looking forward to reading more of your stuff!

    Our Sweet Adventures

  5. What a great way to get started with your travel goals. So true what you said about working in another country to save money rather than work at home to save money.

  6. Great info! I’ve lived and worked in 6 different countries and never used a working holiday visa – but this would have been a great back up had my other options fallen through. It’s such an amazing experience to live and work in a different country – everyone (between 18-30) should do it – at least once!

  7. Nikki The Traveling Ginger

    There are plenty of people who do this where I’m from and where I live! Many South African youths escape abroad to work in different countries, and in Florida here where I live now there are 100s of them. It’s definitely worth it to travel!

  8. Very resourceful! Seems like you found a work-around for every requirement. One thing that stood out to me is that your suggestion to cash-advance from a credit card to show money in a bank account would involve a fee of at least 3% ($150). Not a huge sum, but a factor…also, there’s no need to cancel the credit card, since young people will benefit from establishing credit-worthiness and many cards now offer “no foreign transaction fees.”

  9. I bet its one of the best experience’s of your life. I am really hoping our kids decide to pursue a working holiday visa when they turn 18. Its an experience that can change your life

  10. I have never lived abroad, so I have tremendous respect for people like you who take this bold step. The information provided by you is invaluable for anyone looking to relocate to a foreign country for educational or work purposes.

  11. I had a working holiday visa for New Zealand and I loved it. I lived in Auckland for 10 months and travelled the first 2 months. I tried also to go away every other weekend so I could see the bits I missed. I had an amazing time there and would always encourage everyone to try it. I was very lucky as I managed to get a job with the same company I worked for in the UK, though it would of been nice to try something different!!

    1. I think the main advantage is that you don’t have to work for the same company the whole time you’re there. For example if you are sponsored by a company, you won’t be able to quit and find another job in another city like you would be able to with a working holiday visa

  12. I started looking into these working holiday visa’s the last couple years. I wish more countries would offer the 35 year old option. But there are a few great countries that over 30s can still get the working visa! You have inspired me to start hunting again! thanks!

  13. Yes to all of that! This is something I had started out with (in New Zealand), I know lots of people who would appreciate this help. Such a comprehensive article, thanks!

  14. ooh, I did not know of these countries and the working holiday visa bit. Thanks for enlightening me. It makes travel so much more easier and simpler and affordable. And your tips are quite handy too.

  15. Thanks, Guys The information provided by you is invaluable for anyone looking to relocate to a foreign country for educational or work purposes.

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