The Ultimate New Zealand Working Holiday Visa Guide

Mike Haycock
The Ultimate New Zealand Working Holiday Visa Guide
Author: Mike Haycock
17.04.2019 19:03PM

For those from the UK looking at working in New Zealand for a predetermined amount of time, such as a ski season or a gap year, an NZ working holiday visa will be required.

For most, the 12 months ‘Working Holiday Visa’ is perfect, especially as it allows people to work as much/little as they want within that time frame. For those looking at longer stays, you can also apply for a 23-month working holiday visa, however, you can also extend whilst you’re in NZ, so our suggestion would be to look at the 12-month NZ working holiday visa initially. Give yourself about 20 minutes to get through the entire application.


This is not a definitive guide and isn’t legal advice, each process may vary dependent on the applicant. If you’re unsure of specifics regarding the New Zealand working holiday visa, contact New Zealand immigration directly or your local embassy. The below information is based on the Working Holiday Visa process for UK passport holders and may vary for your country. All image credit goes to New Zealand immigration, and more information can be found directly on the Working Holiday Visa section of their website.

NZ Working Holiday Visa Duration Options

  • 12 months
  • 23 months (medical/chest x-ray required)

NZ Working Holiday Visa Criteria

  • Age: 18 to 30
  • Citizen of UK with sufficient time remaining on your passport
  • You cannot take dependents on your visa (children etc)
  • Must be of good health and good character (medical history and no criminal background)
  • For 23 months, you’ll need to provide a general medical certificate
  • Must have insurance for the length of your stay
  • Must not have been granted a NZ working holiday visa before
  • Sufficient funds to fund stay ($350 per month of stay and proof of funds for onward travel)
  • Can’t work for more than 12 months

Further criteria for the NZ working holiday visa can be found through the NZ immigration website, and it’s vitally important you look at the above webpage prior to applying, so you know exactly what is needed. If you have any questions on the above, our Smaller Earth team can guide you to the appropriate areas.

What You Need at the Time of Applying

  • Passport
  • Form of payment

1. Registering/Creating an Account.

This allows you access to the online services and takes roughly 5 minutes.

The first thing you need to do is create an online account with the NZ immigration services and their portal, called Online Services. This is fairly straightforward, and is your standard account creation type of information (address, date of birth etc). You can find the steps in the images and descriptions below:

1.1 - Click through to online services

After checking your eligbility and the criteria, click through to create an account (image credit: NZ Immigration).

1.2 - Select working holiday scheme, create an account

See the ‘new users’ part in the bottom left? Click on ‘create an account’ (image credit: NZ Immigration).

1.3 Registration Page

This part is as straightforward as possible, so get your account information in (image credit: NZ Immigration).

1.4 - Registered, Confirm Your Email

Go onto your email and confirm the process. Yeah, it was that easy to get an account! Now it’s time to move onto the visa (image credit: NZ Immigration).

2. Use Online Services to Apply for the NZ Working Holiday Visa.

This will take around 15 minutes.

Now that you have an account, you are able to see the different options available to you. Bear in mind this may vary slightly depending on when you apply, it’s constantly being updated so use this guide as exactly that; a guide. You only need to be concerned with the working holiday visa, and you can find the images and descriptions below:

2.1 Apply through Online Services

Once you’ve logged back into Online Services, click on ‘Click Here to Apply’ on the ‘Working Holiday Schemes’ area (image credit: NZ Immigration).

2.2 Applying for your Country

The next page will provide the above info and a breakdown of countries, so make sure you select the relevant country working holiday visa application (‘United Kingdom’ will be the selection for UK passport holders). Once selected, it will allow you to click ‘Apply Now’, but it also has a link to the Terms and Conditions, should you want a read through first (image credit: NZ Immigration).

2.3 Completing Your NZ Working Holiday Visa Application Online

This is now the main crux of your working holiday visa application. This is where you’ll have to fill in the majority of your information, which covers ‘Personal’, ‘Health’, ‘Character’ and a few other specifics. Make sure you thoroughly understand the questions, and ensure you’ve filled everything in correctly. You must have enough funds to available based on the criteria outlined previous ($350 per month of stay). If you do not currently, but will do after saving up and before departure, ensure you click ‘Yes’. Your ski season length is 4 months, which will be the intended stay in New Zealand. Yet your working holiday visa runs for up to 12 months, so you’ll be able to stay above and beyond that 4 months if you wish (image credit: NZ Immigration).

2.4 Submit

Yep, the big red box means this page is important. Check the relevant info, check the relevant boxes, and get your New Zealand working holiday visa application submitted. It’s in! You’re nearly there, so it’s just time to get through, get the payment done, and then it’s a waiting game!


Now that you’ve applied for your working holiday visa, you’ll no doubt be eagerly checking your emails for updates! Provided you do not have a medical history or a criminal background, the process tends to be very slick for UK passport holders. It states that it can take up to 14 days, but your working holiday visa can arrive much earlier than this (mine was granted within 72 hours).

Once It’s Granted

Congrats! You’re now a huge step along in the process of getting to New Zealand! Programme decided and working holiday visa granted, you can really start telling people the good news. If you have any other questions on the process, get in touch with the team and we’d be happy to help.

About the author

Mike is the Editor-at-Large at Smaller Earth, and the founder of The Lost Lot, a self-development platform helping young adults find direction when feeling lost in life.

He focuses on the bridge between travel and growth, highlighting how both can be a catalyst for positive change in your life.

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