I’ll be totally honest and say that Australia has never been really high on my list of places to visit, let alone to live in. However, lately I’ve been having a strong urge and sense of excitement when I think about Australia. For those of you who don’t know, I’m from the U.S. and I have a boyfriend from the U.K. We both have found it super difficult to get jobs and working visas in each other’s country, but we realized we can both easily get visas for Australia! It’s called the Australian Work and Holiday Visa.
(By the way…looking at all the Australia photos on Unsplash has made me EVEN MORE excited. IT’S BEAUTIFUL!)
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This visa has two versions:
- The Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417): mainly for people from Europe and some parts of Asia
- The Work and Holiday Visa (Subclass 462): mainly for people from the Americas and some parts of Asia
They’re both very similar, they just work for people from different countries and have slight differences in terms of getting a second-year visa.
For the sake of keeping information as correct as possible, I’ll be writing about my experience applying for the Work and Holiday Visa (462).
Why did I apply for this visa?
Seeing that my boyfriend and I were both having trouble getting working visas in the U.S. and the U.K., we decided to apply somewhere we’d both be able to live and work. The Work and Holiday Visa was made to encourage people to travel around Australia (since it’s far from most places). The country is trying to boost tourism, which in turn, made them come up with a visa that allows people to travel around the country and work. It’s pure genius! Why don’t more countries do this??
The main purpose of the visa is for visa holders to travel and use the funds earned from working to support their travels (because Australia ain’t cheap!)
Anyway, some of the benefits of this visa are that you can:
- Travel around Australia for a year
- Work in Australia for a year (but are limited to working with the same employer for up to six months)
- Study for up to four months
- Leave and re-enter Australia anytime within the 12 months (means lots of opportunities to go to Asia!)
- Extend the visa for an extra year (if you work in Northern Australia for three months doing farm work, construction, or working in hospitality)
- PLUS you can see a bunch of animals (and huge insects…) that you can’t see in most places!
Now, two of the reasons my boyfriend and I decided to apply for this visa are because:
- We could both start on the same level — in a country we don’t know, with no family or friends to make one of us feel like we “belong” more than the other.
- There is an age-cap for the opportunity to live in Australia!
How do you qualify for the Work and Holiday Visa?
- You have to be between 18 and 30 years old (might as well go while you can!)
- Not have a dependent child with you
- Have a passport from the U.S. (or from a list of other countries you can find here)
- Be outside of Australia when you apply
- Have at least AUD 5,000 (~$3,950 USD) before applying and have enough money to get a flight home
- Be able to speak English (no need of proof if you’re from the U.S.)
- Be at least a high school graduate (if from the U.S. — higher education is required from other countries)
Sounds like a super easy visa to apply for, right?! Well…IT IS!
If any of you know about my visa struggles in Spain… then you should know how HAPPY I was applying for this visa. It was the most straightforward, quick, and easy process ever! (Granted, it’s easier for people from the U.S. than for people from other countries, because some countries require a letter of support from the government, a language proficiency exam, etc.)
How was the application process?
Now, I was watching my boyfriend fill out his visa application (the Subclass 417 with a U.K. passport), which was even easier than mine! He literally filled out a few fields, answered yes or no questions, and hit ‘submit’. He was accepted IMMEDIATELY. We were both surprised and confused because we thought, “No way, it can’t be granted already.”
Then I decided to apply. I made an account here, and then started the application process. There are 16 pages to fill out and they’re not that long.
The questions are really easy as well. You fill out:
- Background information (Name, birthday, address, citizenship/nationality, etc.)
- Education information (you have to list your universities, degrees, and dates of attendance — which my boyfriend didn’t have to do with the 417)
- Psychological, health, and criminal history questions
Something that was a bit annoying that I had to do, (which my boyfriend wasn’t asked for), was to upload documents at the end of the application.
I had to upload:
- My birth certificate
- My passport front page
- Proof of my education level (diplomas, degrees, transcripts, etc.)
- Proof of sufficient funds
- A passport picture
Here is where I got worried. The site said I needed certified copies of my passport and birth certificate, and that’s when I thought, “Dang, I can’t apply today. And when I do apply, it’ll take a few weeks to hear back.”
But there was a note that said if I didn’t have everything uploaded, I could still apply and then upload the documents later. So I decided to go for it anyway.
I uploaded the uncertified documents, paid the AUD 440 fee ($360 USD) and hit ‘submit’.
Then guess what happened…
I was immediately accepted!
Just like my boyfriend, I received two emails: one stating that my application has been submitted. And another saying that my visa had been granted!!! We were in shock. And we were both even more confused now. Were we really accepted that quickly? Did we really have our visas already??
So I double-checked and triple-read my letter, and yep! I even went on the online portal and there it said my visa was granted and active.
So now, we have one year from our acceptance to go to Australia. And once we step foot in the country, we then have one year to stay, live, and work. Now the question is…when do we go?!
What happens next?
We are BEYOND ecstatic about this opportunity because we get to experience life in another (English-speaking) country (sorry Spain!), and we get to see another part of the world, work in another part of the world, AND work on our relationship.
I will say the sucky-ish part about it, is that I will be away from home again, and that we can’t really do full-on professional-working-on-my-career type of jobs…well kind of. If I get a job in hospitality then it’s okay for me really. But, the jobs would most likely be temporary and I’m kind of interested in working odd jobs — maybe bartending, walking dogs, shearing sheep, picking fruit, working in a cafe, etc.
I have NO idea why — since I’ve always been more of the “I need to figure out my life NOW” type of person… but I actually really want to have this year to do random things! Jobs I probably won’t get a chance to do when I’m older. It would be great to have all these experiences that can make me more well-rounded, have great stories, and have an awesome year.
Let’s see what happens!!
Have you thought about living in Australia??
Are you interested in/have you applied for the work and holiday visa? Any tips or questions are welcome!