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How to apply to work and travel new Zealand

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Mountains, beaches, kiwis and Hobbiton. This is a beautiful far-flung destination in the pacific ocean. If you want the opportunity to travel New Zealand while you work to support yourself, you’re in the right place.

It’s a country with a very laid-back atmosphere and friendly locals. A destination small enough to road trip the whole country, but big enough for you to experience many different landscapes. And some unique landscapes at that!

Many major movie and television franchises have used New Zealand as their inspiration and it’s no wonder why.

Country:New Zealand
Currency:New Zealand Dollar / NZD
Do you need a visa to visit as a tourist?Check here

Don’t forget to get travel insurance to cover you if something bad happens. One company I have personal experience with is Safety Wing. Not everyone needs the same coverage, so make sure you get a personalised quote that suits you and your trip plans.

If you’re only planning on staying in New Zealand for a short time you can order an eSIM to use as soon as you arrive which is downloaded straight to your device. This can sometimes be easier than trying to get approved of a 2 year contract when your visa isn’t valid for that long.

What is a working holiday visa?

If you don’t know already, a working holiday visa is one of the best ways for young adults to travel long term. It’s a great way to travel to a new country while also partaking in work to continuously fund your trip.

Since there are limited ways for people to legally work in another country, this visa type is truly one of the easiest to acquire and one of the most flexible!

If, like me, you have a UK passport you will have access to multiple countries on a whv. Other nationalities have different countries available to them but you can check these out here.

Want some New Zealand travel inspiration?

Graphic of new zealand map

Who is eligible to Work and Travel in New Zealand?

So you’re excited to get yourself a visa to work and travel New Zealand, but are you eligible? Before you dive in and spend the time and money applying, you should check the requirements.

  • Must be between 18 and 30 years of age (35 if other nationalities)
  • You should be a UK citizen with a British passport
  • You must not have had a New Zealand working holiday previously
  • Visa holders must enter New Zealand within 12 months of approval
  • Proof of either a travel ticket out of the country or enough money to purchase one
  • Proof that you have at least $350NZD per month of your intended stay in New Zealand

brick wall with painted sign stopping visa restrictions

Visa & Employment restrictions

As with any visa type, there are always some restrictions on what you can do with regards to work. The New Zealand working holiday visa is no different.

If you are lucky enough to be approved the whv to work and travel in New Zealand then you will need to be aware of what you are not allowed to do so you don’t risk losing the visa. Of course you can’t break the law, so it makes sense you can’t work in jobs that are illegal.

You cannot bring dependents with you

Since this is an independent youth experience visa, you are not allowed to take children or other types of dependents with you. You are allowed to travel with other adults (partners or friends), however they must have their own visas and cannot piggyback off of yours.

You cannot get a permanent job

Since this is only a temporary visa, New Zealand doesn’t want you taking a permanent job that a resident or local could do. This means you need to accept only contract or temporary positions during your time on the working holiday visa.

If you are unsure how to apply for temporary positions or are struggling to find appropriate and eligible work, why not try out a recruitment agency? They specialise in helping people find work and they will be able to do the hard work of job hunting on your behalf so you have more time to relax!

You cannot work more than 12 months

Even though you have a visa that is valid for 23 months, you cannot work for more than 12 months total. This does not mean you need to work an entire year before taking the following 11 months off. In fact, you can simply break up the work you do.

For example:

You enter New Zealand in January and find a job mid month. Then you could work all of January and February before taking 3 months off. You can then work every other month until your 12 months are up. It is completely up to you!

Sex work is not allowed

So this rule is not uncommon for work visas around the world. Sex work is generally banned while you are in the country on this type of visa. This means while you work and travel in New Zealand you cannot do the following jobs:

  • Prostituation or escorting
  • Pole dancing in a stripping establishment
  • Adult Massages at a massage parlour

Similar to not being able to work in the sex work industry, you are also no able to invest in or manage sex work establishments while on this visa. This means if you get caught doing so, then you may have your visa revoked.

Laptop showing the new zealand immigration website to apply for work and travel visa

Step-by-step guide: apply to work and travel New Zealand

So, you’ve checked the eligibility requirements and restrictions for the visa. You have been able to determine that you’re allowed to apply and now you’re ready to do so!

Step #1: Decide on visa length

Since there are two options to choose from with regards to the working holiday visa for Brits, you’ll need to make a choice. You have the opportunity to work and travel in New Zealand for up to 23 months total. However, if you don’t want to be away for that long, then feel free to just apply for the 12 month visa.

Luckily, if you opt for the 12 months and then want to stay longer, you can easily apply for the remaining 11 months later on as long as your visa hasn’t expired.

Please Note: If you decide to do 23 months from the start or later on, you will need to pay for a medical to prove you are in good health. You can get these from your family Dr.

Step #2: Access the website & make an account

Click here to access the New Zealand government website.

The first thing to do is go to the New Zealand government listed above. Since visas are a form of legal document, it is the government who approves (or declines) them. Once you have entered the website you will need to look for your country in the working holiday list.

type fields to create an account on the immigration website for the new zealand work and travel visa
Registration form for an account on New Zealand government site

This will then give you requirements and details of the visa and have a pink “apply now” button at the bottom of the screen. Clicking this will allow you to log in (if you have an account) or will let you register for one now. Make sure you remember the password and email address you use as you will need this every time you log in.

Step #3: Fill out your application

After logging in, you will need to select the application form for your country. This is when you will also find out if your country’s scheme is open or not.

This form is split into 4 sections:

  • Personal information
  • Health status
  • Your Character
  • Working holiday specific information
#3a: Personal information

In the personal information section there are three tabs. The first of these tabs you will need to input your full legal name, date of birth, contact details and residential address. The second tab is for your identification documents. They require you to use your passport followed by a secondary form of ID. This can include a driving licence, birth certificate or national ID. The third and final tab asks about your employment status and history.

Make sure everything you type is accurate so you don’t run into issues later.

#3b: Health Status

This is where you will be prompted to answer 8-9 questions about your health. These are general questions you need to answer so the government can see if you are of a “healthy nature”. This is simply because the New Zealand government wants to make sure that working holiday visa holders don’t bring infectious diseases into their country that could harm the locals and wildlife.

#3c: Your Character

This section requires you to answer 8-9 questions about any potential criminal activity you might have been involved in. These include if you have been arrested or spent any time on bail or in prison. If you answer “yes” to any question, then you will be expected to type in an explanation of the charge or arrest into the large text box. This will help the government officials understand if you are of “good enough character” to qualify for a visa.

#3d: Working holiday visa specific information

This final section asks you about your New Zealand visa itself. It will ask what date you are planning to enter and leave (these do not need to be exact) to give them an idea. Have you been issued this visa type before? Do you have the minimum amount of money needed to support yourself?

Step #4: Pay your fees

The cost to apply for the working holiday visa is $245 NZD (roughly £127 GBP). However this cost is subject to change at any moment. This is generally paid by card onl

Step #5: Wait for your approval

Luckily for you, most work and travel visas for New Zealand are approved within just a few days. It is only a few visas that take longer (up to two weeks) to be approved. Although you will get your email notification when it comes through, you will also be able to check your application status in your account.

page to check the status of your work and holiday visa
This is an example of what you will see when checking your visa status

suitcase ready to move to new zealand on a work and holiday visa

Preparing to move to new zealand

Congratulations! Your visa has been approved so your next step is to prepare to fly to Middle Earth! You’ll need to consider the following things:

  • Flights – You will need to fly to New Zealand and you can check out flights on SkyScanner. I always advise finding the itinerary you like, and then booking directly with the airlines!
  • Tours & Activities – My go-to brands for things to do are Viator and Get Your Guide. However, one I highly recommend for New Zealand specifically is Grab One. This is similar to Groupon in the UK.


It’s no surprise that you will need somewhere to stay when you arrive in the country. Make sure you get at least your first few nights of accommodation booked in advance. This way, if you are unable to completely avoid jet lag, you’ll at least be able to recuperate. Below you will find two of my favourite accommodation brands:

If you are travelling alone, or if you just want the chance to meet new people easily, I would highly recommend staying in a hostel. You can book these on hostelworld and they are often the most sociable option.

If a hotel or different type of accommodation is more your style, don’t forget to take a look at Booking below. They have one of the largest selections of accommodations from apartments, guesthouses, hotels and more.

Money transfer

If you’re planning on moving to New Zealand you’ll probably want to transfer some money when you’ve opened your foreign bank account. For 8 years I have used Wise (formerly Transferwise) as they have some of the most competitive transfer fees.

You can sign up using my link: Transfer money using Wise

So there you have it! A step-by-step guide on how to apply for your working holiday visa for New Zealand. Why not check out this post to see the pros and cons of living in New Zealand for a year before you go?

Check out these fun hikes you could experience:

Have you applied for your visa yet?

Need help planning your trip?

Check out how to plan a trip abroad & see my travel resources for more.

WayAway – Great for booking flights. They even have a cashback feature for those who fly frequently.
Skyscanner – A comprehensive comparison website showing where to purchase flights.
HostelWorld – The biggest selection of hostels & sociable accommodations.
Booking.com – The largest collection of accommodations worldwide.

Safety Wing – A travel insurance brand for long-term travellers and nomads.

Airalo – An eSIM card company that lets you stay connected during your trip.
Wise – Perfect for transferring foreign currencies.
iVisa – For applying for tourist and visitor visas.

Viator – Great for finding tours and activities worldwide.
Get Your Guide – Another company for finding activities.
Klook – Have some of the best activity deals in Asia.

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