What is the New Zealand Working Holiday Visa?

U.S. citizens between 18 and 30 have access to a Working Holiday Visa in New Zealand, which is a government authorization letting you travel and take on paid seasonal work for up to one year. You can read more on the concept of a working holiday or drop us a line - we’re the experts!

What types of jobs are available?

Most jobs on a working holiday tend to be short-term and seasonal. These jobs are typically in fields of travel and tourism, hospitality and resorts, food and beverage, retail, manual labor, event set up, etc. Jobs can range from one day to a few months. That being said, it is possible to find more professional work. Just speak with our in-country partners about your work goals and they can point you in the right direction and provide resources for your search. You can work for the same employer for the full year, or change jobs as often as you like.

How do you help me find a job?

Our partner maintains a jobs database of positions throughout New Zealand including warehouse work, hospitality, office temping jobs, farm work, and other positions, allowing you the freedom to work for a few weeks or months and then take time to explore the country! When you need extra help, friendly staff are available in person (Auckland or Christchurch) and of course by phone and email.

Many jobs don’t require specific skills so don’t worry if you don’t have a ton of experience. If you have applicable experience or skills, there are jobs that would help boost your resume (e.g., wait staff and chefs). Our partners in New Zealand can help you format your resume to suit Kiwi employers.

How long will it take me to find a job?

Participants who stay engaged with the support staff in Auckland and Christchurch usually land their first position within 1-2 weeks. Keep in mind that many positions are very short term and most people string together various jobs through their program to make it work. It’s very possible to fund all of your in-country expenses, and as long you aren’t an excessive spender, to put money aside for some adventures!

Can I get a job placement before I get to New Zealand?

Most employers will not hire before a participant is in the country and often with a face-to-face interview. You’ll have access to the jobs database before arrival and it never hurts to do some initial searching and outreach beforehand.

Additionally, our partner in New Zealand is able to line up an interview for you before you arrive in the country. Just let us know if you’d like to take advantage of this!

How much will I earn in New Zealand?

The amount of money you earn depends on the type of job you do. The minimum wage in New Zealand is NZD $18.90 but many jobs pay upwards of NZD $20.00 per hour. Certain jobs (like farm work or resort work) may adjust pay to some extent if housing is included.

How do I find housing?

Most people stay in hostels here and there while they travel around, but if you are planning on settling into a city for a few months, you might want to arrange a place for a longer stay. Many shared rooms in apartments rent week to week or month to month, so you don’t have to sign into anything for too long. Here are some other accommodation options you can consider. WWOOFing is also a great add-on option, especially if you like being outdoors.

How much does housing typically cost?

The bigger cities are generally the most expensive for accommodation. You’ll probably pay around $150-200 NZD for a shared room per week if you are in short-term accommodation. If you want your own room, it’ll cost more.

If you are staying in a town or city, it’s worth thinking about staying in an apartment, or sharing an apartment. It’s generally cheaper to do this, and you’ll be paying by the week rather than by the day. The support teams in Auckland and Christchurch can help you find housing and even arrange apartment viewings.

What other costs are there to consider?

  • Airfare
  • Travel medical insurance before you travel. Check out [these affordable options]((/article/working-abroad/travel-medical-insurance-providers/).
  • Support funds: within the visa application or at the border, you may be asked to show that you have support funds of $4,200 NZD.

When can I start?

You can arrive any day and stay as long as you want (up to one year) but the optional Welcome Week begins on specific dates in Auckland. Many participants purchase a one-way ticket initially, allowing ultimate flexibility. The only time we would not recommend arriving is during the December holiday season and the first few days of the new year (about Dec 20 - Jan 4). You don’t have to stick to a specific end date either. We’ll ask for your best estimate so that we know when to send your alumni materials but if you decide to change this while you’re in the country it’s totally fine.

What’s the Welcome Week?

The Welcome Week in Auckland gives you extra nights of accommodation (six total) and a bunch of exciting outings with new friends! With our standard program you can arrive most dates throughout the year, but the Welcome Weeks have specific start dates, so check the link above or contact us for more information.

What happens when I arrive in New Zealand?

You’ll be transported from the airport to a modern hostel in Auckland or Christchurch, where you’ll get 4 nights (six nights on Welcome Week program in Auckland) to recover from your journey and connect with fellow international travelers. The hostels organize fun social activities to help you acclimate to your new home! If you’d like to book additional nights at the same hostel, let us know and we can easily arrange that for you.

How does the application process work?

Our online application is free to start and easy to complete. Just a few forms and documents and we’re always here if you have any questions.

Can I leave New Zealand and re-enter?

Yes. The Working Holiday Visa is a multiple-entry visa, which means you can leave the country and come back during the 12 months your visa is valid. Make sure you are aware of entry/exit requirements for any other countries you visit. This would be a great time to hit up Australia or Fiji!

Do I have to stay in New Zealand for 12 months?

No. You can stay as long as 12 months, but there’s no minimum stay. We recommend staying for at least 6 months in order to get the full experience. If you can only do 3 or 4 months, you might want to contact us for some ideas so we can make sure you’re ready to hit the ground running when you arrive.

Can I extend my Work and Holiday Visa?

No, U.S. citizens are only allowed to receive this visa once with no opportunity for an extension.

Can I take classes while on a Working Holiday Visa in New Zealand?

Yes, you can study or train for up to six months.

Can I work for the same employer the entire time of my stay?

Yes, you can work for the same employer for up to 12 months, but most jobs don’t last that long.

U.S. Department of State-Designated J-1 Visa Sponsor
Alliance for International Exchange
Exclusive partner of the Erasmus Student Network for J-1 Visa sponsorship of internships in the U.S.
European-American Chamber of Commerce New York
Generation Study Abroad
Global Ties U.S.
International Au Pair Association
WYSE Travel Confederation