Australian Work Holiday Visas 101

Crash Course for Americans that plan on traveling to Australia

Americans have the ability to apply for a work/holiday visa in Australia for up to one year, as long as, you’re over the age of 18 and under the age of 31. *HOT TIP*  If you’re over the hill, like we are and very close to your 31st Birthday, you can apply before you turn 31--even up to the day before your 31st birthday.  You have one year to use the visa before it expires. So, you can technically go to Australia a few days before you turn 32 and the visa will still be valid.  It’s a very easy process that’s all done online and processed within a few days or weeks.  

Step 1: You’ll obviously need a passport. If you don’t have one, you’ll need to do this ASAP.  Passports can take up to 3 months to process. So, get on top of it.  You can apply for a passport at any post office in the US.  Also, if you’re a current passport holder make sure your passport doesn't expire for a few years, you may not make it back for a while.  If your passport does expire soon, don’t apply with your current passport you’ll need to wait to get your new one otherwise your passport number will be different on your visa and you will be denied entrance.  

Step 2: Visit the Australian immigration website

Step 3: Apply for a subclass 462 visa you will also be prompted to pay.  The visa runs about $355. (2017)

Step 4: Wait. The processing time is actually incredibly fast and can just take a few days.  

Step 5: Approval!  Once you’ve been approved, it’s time to start saving cash and booking flights.  *Note: Take advantage of the current exchange rates for USD and try to bring plenty of greenbacks with you.  Remember, you have up to one year to enter Australia before the visa expires.  

Working in Australia can prove to be very lucrative. If you’re able to land a job strait away, you’ll be surprised at how much money you’ll be paid.  The Aussie minimum wage is around $18-$22AUD per hour depending on the state you're in. This visa allows you to work up to 30 hours per week and up to 6 months, with one employer.  If you’re able to work with one employer for 6 months and get a good amount of hours, this will most likely be more than enough dough to save for traveling around Australia.  

Common jobs in Australia, for tourists, tend to be in the hospitality industry.  If you have any experience in the service industry in America, you’ll have no problem transitioning into any Australian work environment.  You’ll actually find it to be a much easier, less stressful work environment. We have a high standard of service in America, compared to Australia, so you’ll probably exceed everyone's expectations.  If you don't have any service industry experience, lots of travelers work in agriculture, retail, and hostel work, which usually trades you room and board for your work.  We were able to find work pretty quick, in Surfer's Paradise, working in bars. Note that some clubs in Australia can stay open till 5am. So, be ready for long nights, if you want to work in the bar industry. 

You’ll also be able to find heaps of travel tips and vanlife advice on this blog. So use it as a resource to help plan your trip.