Jobs Abroad

Complete Guide to the Australia Work & Holiday Visa 2024

Your comprehensive guide to the Australian Work and Holiday visa program and how to make money while traveling throughout Australia.

Travelers all over the world are drawn to Australia’s natural rugged beauty and its culture of fun and adventure. If you’ve been wondering how you can stick around in Oz for longer than a week’s vacation, you’re in luck. Australia’s Work and Holiday visa lets you work and travel freely for up to three years.

Read on to find out if you qualify and learn how to apply for this fabulous opportunity!

What is the Australian Work and Holiday visa?

Australia currently has two working holiday visas: the Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417) and the Work and Holiday Visa (subclass 462). The one you need to apply to depends on your nationality. The Australian Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa is open to citizens of more than a dozen countries worldwide, including the US and countries across Asia and Latin America. This is the visa we’ll be referring to in this article.

On this temporary visa, you can:

  • Stay in Australia for up to 12 months
  • Work part-time or full-time jobs
  • Study for up to 4 months
  • Travel to and from Australia as many times as you want

This visa can be renewed up to three times (3 years total) if certain requirements are met.

Cost of the Australia Work and Holiday visa

The visa costs $635 AUD ($416 USD) and can be paid for online.

While this covers the cost of the visa, you may need to set aside extra money to cover health checks, background checks, and biometrics (electronic registration of fingerprints and facial recognition). These additional requirements vary based on your nationality to be sure to become familiar with what you need for your visa application.

Don’t forget to secure health insurance if your country doesn’t have a reciprocal healthcare agreement with Australia! You will be responsible for any medical costs while abroad.

How to apply for the Australia Work and Holiday visa

A man works in a busy cafe.

Compared to other countries, the Working Holiday Visa process in Australia is pretty straightforward. Best of all, it’s all done online!

Here’s what you need to do to navigate this important part of your gap year journey.

1. Meet the basic requirements

This visa is open to citizens of a number of countries and the basic requirements may vary. For US passport holders, you’ll need to meet the following:

  • Be between the ages of 18 and 30
  • Have a valid passport
  • Show proof of $5,000 AUD ($3,280 USD) in your bank account
  • Have a minimum of a high school degree
  • Have a clean criminal record as evidenced by a police background check
  • Be physically and mentally healthy

Citizens of other countries may need to provide additional documentation like letters of support from their government and proof of a good level of English.

2. Gather your documents

Before you start your application, be sure you have all the necessary documents. Some of these may take some time to get so make a timeline for yourself and request what you need early. All documents must be in English and scanned in color.

  • Photo page of your valid passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Bank statement showing proof of $5000 AUD ($3,280 USD)
  • Return flight ticket or proof of extra money to cover flights
  • Educational degree certificates
  • Background check

If you haven’t purchased your roundtrip plane tickets yet, you’ll need to show more than the allotted amount in your bank account to cover your flights. While the amount above is the minimum needed for approval, it’s always better to have a bigger financial safety net if possible. Initial costs to get settled can set you back. You don’t want to be living paycheck to paycheck while you’re there!

3. Apply online

To apply online, you’ll need to make an account on ImmiAccount. Here you can enter your personal details, attach the above documents (in color!), and pay your application fee. The application fee is $635 AUD ($416 USD) and can be paid by credit or debit card, or PayPal.

Don’t forget to make a note of your transaction reference number after your payment and application are submitted.

4. Wait for approval

Applications for the Work and Holiday visa are normally processed in 14 days. You’ll be notified in writing if your visa is approved. You’ll need to take this document with you when you travel to Australia. It will contain your visa number, start date, and the conditions of your visa.

You won’t need to go to the local consulate during any part of this process! What could be easier?

5. Get ready to go!

Now that the most stressful part is over, you can focus on preparing yourself for travel.

  • Plane tickets: read up on tips and tricks to book cheap flights to get the best deals!
  • Packing: remember that the Northern Hemisphere’s summer is Australia’s winter! The climate varies across the country so do your research before packing your bags.
  • Credit cards: if you don’t already have a credit card, you may consider applying for one to have for emergencies. Better yet, use it to buy your plane tickets and rack up some rewards!

Be prepared but don’t stress too much before you go. You’ll be able to find most things you need while you’re there. Even if you don’t have your favorite brands, just think of it as a chance to find your new favorite Aussie products!

Popular Australia Work and Holiday visa jobs

A man waterskis in Australia.

With a Working Holiday Visa, you can apply for any job you’re qualified for. That said, some fields are more popular than others for gappers spending a year in Australia. These include:

  • Au pair
  • Seasonal farm work
  • Hospitality & hostels
  • Sport & fitness instructor
  • Retail

Keep in mind that if you’re licensed or certified in a certain field in your home country, it may not be automatically accepted in Australia. You’ll need to check with the licensing board to determine if you can get your credentials verified and accepted beforehand should you wish to work in a more specialized position.

Thinking about which types of jobs to apply for? Take a look at our global job board -- your dream job in Australia might be waiting for you!

Consider joining a Working Holiday program

While you can do the Work and Holiday visa process completely on your own, some may wish to join a program that helps you through it. Some advantages to going through a Working Holiday program are:

  • Assistance navigating the visa application
  • Guaranteed job placement
  • Help meeting people and getting situated in the country (ie. bank account & tax support)
  • Access to a dedicated trip coordinator for support and guidance during your time abroad
  • Additional group tours and/or excursions

Global Work & Travel and BUNAC are two trusted Working Holiday programs in Australia to explore.


Work and travel in Australia!

The Working Holiday Visa program gives you the best of both worlds: experiencing Australia as a tourist and a professional! Earning extra money along the way is not only a perk but a way to make your resume shine. Spend your gap year in the Land Down Under and come back richer in more ways than one.