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How to Move to New Zealand with a Working Holiday Visa

I moved to New Zealand on a working holiday visa in 2018. It was one of the best choices I’ve ever made. Let me teach you how you can do it too!

New Zealand may just be paradise on earth. The islands are full of white sand beaches, gorgeous hiking trails, sacred volcanoes, and wildlife that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world.

It’s no wonder that everyone wants to know how to move to New Zealand.

It’s a question I get asked a lot after I migrated south.

I moved in part because my therapist was born in New Zealand (I’m pretty sure she was slowly inception-ing me into falling in love with the country from her stories of Christmas clambakes and acres of nothing but grass and sheep) and partially to avoid a future I wasn’t happy with. That and my gap year in Europe was about to end so I needed a way to keep the full-time nomadic travel going.

In the span of two months, I figured out how to move to New Zealand from Canada with a Working Holiday Visa, found a $200 flight, and I never looked back.

Now, I’m going to share how you can do the same. Since most of the information is scattered across the web and super confusing, I’d like to make it easier for women like me to experience the magic of New Zealand first hand.

Save on flights with Skyscanner!

Nina living in New Zealand on her working holiday visa visiting Hobbiton

What is a Working Holiday Visa?

I’m surprised people don’t know about Working Holiday Visas. They’re offered by many countries for people ages 18 to 30 or 35 (depending on the country).

Working Holiday Visas are especially common among commonwealth countries; like Ireland, the UK, and Canada.

A Working Holiday Visa is essentially what it sounds like: a visa that allows you to work while you’re travelling in a country. You’ll be able to work full-time or part-time legally to help fund your trip.

Most countries have 12-month visas that allow you to stay for 1 year and work. Some, like New Zealand offer 23-month Working Holiday Visas so you can stay and explore for longer.

A lot of young professionals use Working Holiday Visas to do work exchanges in other countries.

Click here to apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa today.

Requirements to Get a Working Holiday Visa in New Zealand

Working Holiday Visas are for a limited period of time. New Zealand offers two types: 12-month visas and 23-month visas (the latter is for residents of the UK and Canada only).

Canadians can apply to extend the visa to 23-months once they have the 12-month version, but they will need to get a General Medical Certificate to do so. This is a physical performed by approved doctors. You can find these doctors around the world, usually in a capital city like Toronto or Vancouver.

To qualify for a Working Holiday Visa, you must:

  • be 18 to 30 (35 if you’re Canadian or British)
  • Have a passport valid for 15 or 26 months (depending on the length of your visa) when you enter the country
  • be a citizen of a qualifying country
  • be able to pay for a return ticket before you arrive (although you don’t have to book it yet)
  • have evidence that you have at least $4,200 NZD for the duration of your stay (to show that you have enough to live on. Note: this can be in your home currency)
  • be planning to travel primarily, with work being a secondary intention
  • not have travelled to a country deemed as having a high-risk of tuberculosis for more than 3 months in the last 5 years
    • If you have, you’ll be required to get a lung x-ray (which costs close to $300 CAD, as visa exams are not covered by our healthcare)
  • have health insurance for your trip
  • not have a criminal record

If you have children, they can’t come with you under this visa. Any partners need to apply for their own Working Holiday Visa.

visit new zealand to see the amazing plant life

How Much Does a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa Cost?

This was my biggest concern when I was planning to move to New Zealand. I had a fixed travel budget and wasn’t looking forward to the idea of blowing thousands on a visa.

Luckily, a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa for Canadians only costs $280 NZD for 1 year.

Since the New Zealand Dollar is almost always lower than the Canadian Dollar, that cost was closer to $250 CAD for me and typically hovers around this level.

This fee is waived for US citizens in many cases. 

How to Apply For a Working Holiday Visa in New Zealand

New Zealand is one of the best countries that I’ve ever dealt with for anything government-related. Their visa system is fully automated online and makes it incredibly easy for you to find out if you qualify and then to book your visa.

To apply for your New Zealand Working Holiday Visa follow these simple steps:

  1. Visit the New Zealand Working Holiday Visa website.
  2. Check if your country is on the approved list. If so, select your country’s name for additional information on requirements.
  3. On your country’s page, scroll to the bottom where you’ll see a pink button that says “Check Criteria”. Click this and fill in your Nationality and Location You’re Applying From. Click “View”.
  4. You’ll be taken to a page that lists the evidence you’re required to submit. Check the evidence you’ll need.
  5. At the bottom of the evidence page, click the button “Check Process & Fees”. If this is your first time applying, select “First Application”.
  6. You’ll be taken to a page with information on the Costs, Time Frames, and Step-by-Step Instructions for Applying.
  7. Click “Apply Now”. [Note: New Zealand has suspended the Working Holiday Visa during the pandemic, so this button is not currently visible. However, you can start preparing your documentation and funds for when it returns.]

Click here to apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa today.

Additional Information on the Visa Application Process

The application doesn’t take long if you have all of your items with you. Many items, like your insurance and initial flight can be booked after you have your eVisa approved. However, you will need to list a start date on the eVisa. It’s best to make this start date your arrival date or before your arrival for ease of entry.

If you’re already visiting New Zealand, you can apply for a Working Holiday Visa while you’re in the country, too. In this case, you will get your medical checks and any government-related requirements done in New Zealand or at a local embassy.

Have your credit card handy to pay for your eVisa. I used my best rewards card to help put the cost of the visa towards a future flight.

Application Processing Time

The New Zealand WHV website claims that it can take 3-months for them to process your Working Holiday Visa request. 

Mine took about 6 weeks because I had to wait a couple of weeks to get my TB lung x-ray due to the time I spent in Morocco, Spain, and Turkey. Otherwise, I would have gotten it within 2-3 weeks in November 2018 (the high season for travel in New Zealand).

Don’t risk delaying your trip by assuming you can get it within the 2-3 week window. Always leave 3-months so you don’t end up missing your flight. 

Nina sitting on a dock looking at a pink sunet - New Zealand working holiday visa

Documents You’ll Need to Travel with Your Working Holiday Visa

Before you leave for the airport, get a manilla folder and have the following documents ready for your trip:

  • Your passport
  • Your ticket (and return ticket, if applicable)
  • Three copies of your confirmed Working Holiday Visa (they provide a printable when it’s been approved)
    • You may only need one but it’s good to have a few in case agents need to take a copy
  • Evidence of funds
    • A print out of your bank statements, credit card statements, travellers cheques, or bank drafts.
    • You need proof that this money has been in there for some time. A screenshot of your savings account statement works well.
  • Proof of insurance
    • Copy of your insurance certificate or an approval letter from the insurance company

Most airlines are used to dealing with people flying to New Zealand on Working Holiday Visas, but they will still need to check your documentation. I got pulled out of line in San Francisco because I didn’t have a return flight. I had to give up one of my copies of my New Zealand Working Holiday Visa for their files – which is why I always recommend having multiples.

If you travel outside of the country while on your visa, prepare to have all of this documentation again. I flew to Singapore and needed all of these items, especially when it turned out I’d inputted the ‘0’ on my passport number as an ‘O’ and nearly got stuck in Singapore’s airport (which is probably the best airport in the world to be stuck in).

Best Insurance for Working Holiday Visa New Zealand 

I get sick a lot. And I’m clumsy – which means I visit the emergency room at least twice per year (although lately it’s been more like 5 or 6 times).

That means I always get travel insurance when I travel for more than a weekend.

So I’ve gotten pretty familiar with various travel insurance providers around the world.

My favourite – and the best for a long trip like living on a Working Holiday Visa in New Zealand – is World Nomads.

They aren’t the cheapest option out there. I met a guy in New Zealand who had a plan that cost under $50 per month, but it covered nothing. He was working in Auckland and not adventuring as much as I was, but I was still genuinely worried for his health if he got ill.

World Nomads, on the other hand, covers everything. They cover 1 bungee jump, 1 skydive (which was a requirement for me because I knew I’d be skydiving in Taupo, New Zealand), hospital visits, lost luggage, prescriptions, and more!

I felt completely safe when I needed to find a doctor while travelling in Queenstown with an ear infection or when I decided I’d hike the Mangawhai Cliff Walk north of Auckland. I didn’t worry about hidden fees or denied claims, which made it so much easier to enjoy my trip.

You can decide whether you need the basic plan or the extensive plan. See what they cover below:

World Nomads Standard vs. Explorer

Emergency Medical Expenses$5,000,000$10,000,000
Emergency Dental$1,000$2,000
24/7 Worldwide Emergency Medical AssitanceIncludedIncluded
Worldwide Security AssistanceIncludedIncluded
Emergency Transportation Home$500,000$500,000
Covers Non-refundable Expenses if Trip is Cancelled$2,500$5,000
Travel Accidental Injuries$10,000$25,000
Stolen or Damaged Travel Gear/Luggage$1,000$3,000
Replace Lost, Damaged or Stolen Documents$200$1000
Sports Gear Lost/Stolen/Damaged$1,000$2,500
Adventure Traveller's HotlineIncludedIncluded
Skydiving1 Jump Covered1 Jump Covered
Bungee Jumping1 Jump Covered1 Jump Covered
Abseiling, Black Water Rafting, Boating, Camping (Up to 6,000 Metres), Canyoning, Glacier Walking, Hiking (up to 6,000 metres), Horse Riding, Hot Air Ballooning, Mountain Biking (up to 6,000 metres),Running, Sailing, Scuba Diving (to 40 Metres), Snorkeling, Surfing, & Zip LiningCoveredCovered
Nannying, Office Work, Retail Work, Scuba Guide, Teaching, Manual Work, Hospitality, Farm Work, & WWOOFingCoveredCovered
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price

For 1 year of World Nomads Standard Plan in New Zealand, it cost me about $900 CAD.

That sounds like a lot, right? But when I calculated all of the costs that I would have had without them, it totalled over $1000 CAD. So I actually saved money!

I used my travel insurance to cover:

  • Emergency room visits
  • Doctor’s visits when I got a severe sinus infection
  • Prescription medications
  • An x-ray for potential scoliosis 
  • A lost camera bag
  • Changing a flight due to illness
  • To get assistance finding a doctor nearby

Get complete coverage for your Working Holiday Trip to New Zealand now:

👉 Find out how much it costs to protect your trip today with World Nomads travel insurance.

Bank Account

In order to apply for jobs in New Zealand, you need an IRD Number, which is the equivalent of a SIN or SSN in North America. This is your tax or social security number that allows you to get paid.

Oddly, in order to get one, you need a bank account. However, to get a bank account, you need an IRD number.

It’s a headache that took me forever to unravel, but in the end I managed to make it work.

I’ll teach you my trick:

  • Open a bank account online before you around with ANZ (they’re the only bank that allows this)
  • Use the Bank Account number from ANZ to get your IRD number
  • When you arrive in New Zealand, visit the ANZ bank office to activate your account with your IRD number. 

You can transfer money into your account ahead of time.

Alternatively, you can also open a virtual bank account with Wise.

Wise is a brilliant service that I used constantly to send money to myself in New Zealand (and later around the world) while I travelled. Now they have a function where you can create virtual bank accounts with real information.

There’s no hassle, no need for citizenship, and no paperwork to fill out. Pay a small one-time fee (for example, I paid $42 CAD to open a US account) and within 3 days you’ll have a bank account.

Opening a bank account is so much EASIER by creating a free multi-currency account here.

IRD Number

An IRD number is a New Zealand tax number. You will need this to work and open a bank account.

The process to get an IRD number is quite confusing due to the bank account issue.

Once you have a bank account number to offer, it simplifies the process significantly.

Like the rest of New Zealand’s WHV application, you can file for an IRD number online. 

Click here to apply for an IRD number.

To apply, you will need:

  • Your Passport
  • Your Immigration New Zealand Application Number (on your e-Visa)
  • Your overseas tax number (SSN, SIN, etc.)
  • The account number of your New Zealand bank account

It takes about 2 weeks to receive your IRD number. In times with lower tourism, you may be able to get it sooner.

You do not need to wait to travel to receive your IRD number. It’s only purpose is making you a taxable citizen. So you’ll need it to have a bank account and receive your paycheck.

I love the IRD number system as it tracks your wages for you. At tax time in June, you won’t need to file anything! Your IRD does all the work for you and automatically tells you how much you owe or gives you a refund. 

It’s one of the pros of living in New Zealand.

milford sound new zealand

Working Holiday New Zealand Jobs

When you’re applying for your New Zealand Working Holiday Visa, you’ll notice that it says “No permanent jobs”.

But what does that mean?

I really struggled with this when I moved to New Zealand and no one online could answer it for me, which was incredibly annoying. It made hunting for a job that much harder, since I wasn’t even sure what kind of job I was allowed to have.

I emailed with a few people in the government offices trying to understand, but they weren’t very clear.

So it was up to me to figure it out. But don’t worry, I’m not going to leave you in the same boat.

A permanent job, in this case, means having a long-term contract. When you get hired for a standard job, you usually get a contract without an end date. That would be “permanent”.

A non-permanent job is a contract or a fixed-term position. This can be covering a maternity leave, a temp job, or a contract position. It can cover freelance roles as well, although these are a bit more difficult to determine the permanence of.

A New Zealand Working Holiday Visa lets you work in any of the following jobs, and more:

  • Temp worker for an agency or a business (that’s how I got started in New Zealand)
  • Barista or waitress
  • Hostel employee
  • Tour guide
  • Contract employee at a business, like a bank or a law firm
  • Uber driver
  • Chef, fixed-term or contract
  • Freelance writer or blogger
  • Cleaner
  • Construction or trades positions
  • As a paid Workaway employee (see my Guide to Workaway for more information on how to get paid with Workaway)

With a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa, you’ll be set to get any of these jobs when you move to New Zealand. All you need after that is your past experience to let you apply for these roles.

What You’ll Need to Get a Job in New Zealand

You will need the following:

  • An NZ-style CV
  • An NZ-style cover letter 
  • An IRD number
  • A Bank Account
  • Persistence! 

It’s easy to find a job in New Zealand if you craft a strong resume, are diligent about applying, and don’t give up.

It took me over a month to find work, because I arrived in December. The whole country closes down for 1 month for Christmas, so nowhere was open to accept my applications until January 10th when they returned to work.

Plan when you’ll arrive so you don’t get caught in a similar predicament, and you’ll be fine!

You can find helpful tips about where to find jobs, what types of jobs are available, and how to succeed in applying for jobs on the New Zealand Now website run by the government.

New Zealand Work Regulations

To get a job in New Zealand with a Working Holiday Visa, you must:

  • Not accept permanent jobs (without an end contract period)
  • Have a bank account and IRD number
  • Pay tax

Beyond these simple regulations, you are free to work like any other New Zealand resident. In fact, you can even work multiple jobs in different sectors to supplement your income.

Note that New Zealand’s minimum wage is $18.90 NZD an hour. Ensure that you don’t accept jobs that pay below this as they are technically illegal.

Transferring Money to New Zealand

To move to New Zealand, you’ll need to transfer some money to live off of until you get a job. 

The best way to transfer money with the lowest fees is to use Wise.

I used Wise to pay rent for the first two months, transfer money for a Kiwi Experience bus tour, and ensure I had money for food until I got my temp job in New Zealand.

I recommend transferring enough money for at least 1 month into your New Zealand WHV bank account before you arrive. You won’t be able to access it until you arrive and unlock the account, but this will help you get by until you find work.

Wise takes a few days to transfer the money, so doing this in advance will ensure that it’ll be waiting for you when you arrive. 

Get the lowest conversion fees with!

New Zealand beach

Best Locations to Live and Work in New Zealand

Finding a spot to live in New Zealand for your one or two year Working Holiday Visa is a tricky choice. Many people choose to travel for 2-weeks to 1 month first so they can get to know the different regions before making a choice.

Where you end up living will depend on the type of work you want to do.

  • Businesses are primarily based in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland
  • Farming work is out in the wop-wops/countryside
  • Hostel work is around the country, but incredibly popular in Queenstown

I recommend starting your search in Auckland or Wellington. They have the highest rate of available jobs and job postings, which makes them easy hubs to begin your search for work. 

Walk around the cities looking for job postings, apply to online listings, and sign up with temp agencies for more opportunities. 

Finding a Place to Live in New Zealand

People who move to New Zealand with Working Holiday Visas have a number of choices of accommodation. You can choose to stay in:

  • Hostels
  • Airbnbs / Vrbos
  • Homestays where you look after the place
  • Subleased Homes and Apartments
  • Apartments
  • Workaway
  • Exchange accommodation for work

I opted to stay in Airbnbs for my 1 year in New Zealand. This is the most expensive option, I later realized, as it involves paying extra fees.

It’s much easier to find an apartment that’s shared on Trade Me (New Zealand’s version of Kijiji/Craigslist).

When I first moved down, I stayed in a student rental flat that was absolutely horrible. If at all possible, do not rent a place sight unseen! You’ll want to visit and get a lay of the land before committing to a long-term lease.

It’s smart to stay in a hostel for your first week, even if you’re not touring, so you can have time to visit places before making a decision. Plus, this will help you meet travel buddies!

Getting Around New Zealand

New Zealand is a small country but all of the amazing things to do are quite spread out. It takes about 2 weeks to travel through the hot spots of the North Island and South Island.

To get around, consider the following:

  • Rent a car or campervan
  • Sign up for a rideshare service
  • Use buses
  • Take the train
  • Use hop-on hop-off bus tours through the country
  • Find tour companies who do long tours
  • Fly between major cities

For the most part, you’ll need a vehicle to get between cities in New Zealand. Only major cities like Auckland and Wellington have an operational bus system. 

I used Kiwi Experience, a hop-on hop-off style bus tour throughout the country to see all of the major sites. It was expensive, but it allowed me to avoid my fear of driving on the other side of the road.

If you’re braver than I am, consider renting a car or campervan to save money.

WHV holders can purchase vehicles in New Zealand. You’ll need a valid driver’s license from your home country to do so.

Looking to get around via car? Find the cheapest car rentals here!

Nina on her New Zealand working holiday at Cathedral cove smiling in front of the ocean

Tips for Moving to New Zealand with a Working Holiday Visa

  • Get travel insurance
  • Transfer money at least 1 week in advance
  • Print multiple copies of your documents
  • Have enough money to survive for 1 month without a job
  • Plan to tour. Take advantage of the beautiful country you’re living in by exploring it before you settle
  • Stay in a hostel for the first few nights
  • Learn Kiwi slang before you visit
  • Try the best Kiwi foods
  • Pack for multiple climates. Find out more about New Zealand weather and the best time to visit. 
  • Don’t overpack. One suitcase and a carry-on is more than enough!
  • Get a SIM card, as there isn’t reliable internet around the country and limited free internet options
  • The country closes down for major holidays. From December 15th – January 15th, you’re unlikely to find work. For the week of Easter and Anzac Day, you’ll find most Kiwis take flight for longer holidays
  • You’ll get 4-6 weeks of holiday, even at an entry-level job, so make use of that time off to explore

Why Would I Want to Move to New Zealand?

Because it’s New Zealand!

That’s the easiest way to put it, to be honest. There’s nothing about the country that puts people off visiting (well, maybe the cost and the flight duration).

New Zealand is one of the best destinations in the world for solo female travellers. It’s safe, easy to get around, and has a million things to do. You’ll feel comfortable on bus tours, camping, or sleeping in a van as you travel around the island nation.

Because New Zealand is so far away from other countries and the flights are long (and expensive!), it’s a great idea to move down for a year or two and work to cover the cost.

Living in the country is very different than visiting. I travelled from the northernmost point of New Zealand, Cape Reinga, all the way to the southernmost tip, but I didn’t feel like I truly knew the country until I moved to Auckland and started working with the locals. You’ll make lifelong friends with the amazing Kiwis (the people, not the birds or the fruit!), discover the New Zealand food you must try, and come to understand the culture in a different way.

While I think New Zealand should be on every solo female travellers’ bucket list, I actually think people would be better off living in the country for a year rather than racing through on a backpacking tour.

For more inspiration to help you decide if you want to visit New Zealand, check out my guides to the country:

This is my favourite tour of New Zealand!

View over the Mangawhai cliff walks in New Zealand

Is it Worth it to Move to New Zealand with a Working Holiday Visa?

My only regret about moving to New Zealand with my Working Holiday Visa was that I didn’t get the 23-month option.

You’ll quickly fall in love with the country, which is why so many people end up applying for a Working Holiday Visa from New Zealand when they’re travelling.

Not only is a Working Holiday Visa a great way to start making money while you travel and begin a digital nomad lifestyle; but it’s also an amazing way to slow travel. That’s where you stop counting countries and take the time to visit a place slowly, really getting to know the culture.

Living in New Zealand let me meet some of the most amazing people in this world, discover more of the beautiful islands and their unique wildlife, and see spots tourists often miss. I got to learn that Mean Girls wasn’t a hit in New Zealand like it was in Canada and that Auckland’s “winter” barely requires a jacket.

Earning money while I lived there let me travel beyond my first tour of the North and South Islands to visit the smallest blue penguins in the world in Dunedin and make my most expensive travel mistake (also in Dunedin) without going broke.

Yes, It’s Worth It!

I don’t think my experience in New Zealand would have been as complete or life-changing as it was if I didn’t work in the country. Those 4-weeks of touring definitely didn’t let me see the real New Zealand that I did when I worked full-time in Auckland.

So if you have the flexibility to get a Working Holiday Visa and stay in the country for 12 or 23-months, it is so worth it. 

Take the time to see the country slowly. You’ll be able to explore for 4 weeks during their Christmas holidays (because, yes, New Zealand takes a month off for Christmas – and it’s in the summer) and during the week-long Easter holidays. There’ll be time to travel with your 4 weeks of annual leave and more money to do so when you’re working in the country.

Take the risk and you won’t regret moving to New Zealand with a Working Holiday Visa.

Wanaka tree

FAQs About New Zealand Working Holiday Visas

How Much Money Do I Need for a Working Holiday in New Zealand?

This varies depending on your nationality and the length of your visa.
Typically, you will need the following:
$280 NZD for the WHV application fee
$1000 NZD for travel insurance
$4,200 NZD for 12 months to meet minimum cost of living requirements
Funds to cover your flight to New Zealand
Total = $5,480 NZD + Flight Costs
These are the legally required costs to enter the country; however, cost of living in New Zealand is more than $350 NZD per month. If you do not get a job, if you plan on taking a bus tour or a road trip around the country, if you plan on excursions like Black Water Rafting in the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, or need additional funds for other travels, you will need more than this amount.

What Form is the New Zealand Application?

New Zealand’s WHV application is entirely online. You will need a printer to have physical copies of the document for travel, but otherwise all you need is a computer and an internet connection.

Can my Working Holiday Visa be Denied?

Yes, like any visa application there is a possibility that your WHV application could be denied. This may be because it does not meet their requirements, you did not fill it out properly, you failed a TB test, or you did not provide the proper information.
If you believe that your visa was denied by accident, contact Immigration New Zealand.

What Do You Need to Do When You Arrive in New Zealand?

Your New Zealand Working Holiday Visa is not technically active until you arrive in New Zealand. To activate it, you will need to have it processed by an immigration officer or the Smart Gate at the airport when you enter. 
To do this, you need:
Completed arrival card (given to you on your flight)
Your WHV
Ticket to leave New Zealand or proof of funds to purchase one
This is a very simple process that feels almost exactly like going through customs normally. Have your documents easily accessible to make a breeze.
After you’ve entered the country, you will still need to do the following:
Activate your bank account
Get a SIM card for your phone
Learn some Kiwi slang to ensure you’ll fit in!

Can I Head to New Zealand on a One-Way Ticket?

Typically, you cannot visit New Zealand on a one-way ticket. This is due to their tourist restrictions to ensure that people don’t illegally settle in the country.
If you have an NZ WHV, then you are entitled to arrive without a return flight. All you need is proof of enough savings to show that you can afford the flight when the time comes.
Have a print out of your bank statements to show in case the border guards need this proof.
Alternatively, I know many people who try to cheat the system. They buy cheap flights from New Zealand to other countries that they have no intention of taking.
In my opinion, it’s much easier to print out a bank statement (even if your parents need to transfer some money into your account for the proof). 

How Long Can I Stay in New Zealand with a Working Holiday Visa?

The length of your stay in New Zealand depends on your WHV. If you have a 12-month Working Holiday Visa, you can stay in the country for 12 months. There is some wiggle room around this if you switch to a tourist visa, but for the most part it is a 12-month limit.
If you have a 23-month visa, then you are entitled to stay and work in New Zealand for 23-months.
During the period of your WHV, you are able to enter and leave New Zealand as often as you like. However, time does not stop on your visa when you are away. For example, if you go to Bali for 1 month, you will not gain a month after the fact on your WHV. 

How Do I Find a Job in New Zealand?

Finding a job in New Zealand with a Working Holiday Visa isn’t very challenging. 
New Zealand is known for its welcoming attitude to foreign workers, so most employers are more than willing to create contracts that will allow you to work for them.
First you’ll need to decide what type of job you’re looking for.
Start your job search by updating your CV and creating a cover letter template that fits the New Zealand style.
Search the following places for available jobs:
Trade Me
Backpacker Board
Sign up with a recruitment or temp agency
Walk the city and look for help wanted postings
Search the major companies in the city you’re in and then find their careers pages
Homestay / Trusted Housesitters
Hostel postings
Many jobs in New Zealand require interviews. Plan to have a nice interview outfit with you that won’t easily wrinkle in your hostel.
It takes some diligence and persistence to find a job in New Zealand, like it does anywhere else. You’ll need to be patient and ensure that you have enough money to live off of while you wait.

What if I Don’t Find a Job on my Working Holiday?

There’s no guarantee that you will find work during your WHV in New Zealand.
I was very frustrated after 1 month without work when I’d expected to find an amazing job immediately. My hubris made it so depressing when I had to wait and transfer myself more money from Canada.
But I was being very picky. I wanted to work in an office, not as a waitress (as I’d just finished a summer of waitressing in Canada).
If you’re alert, constantly applying, and flexible when it comes to types of jobs, you’re very likely going to find work. You’ll just need to give it time.

Is it Scary to Do a Working Holiday Visa Alone?

People get really worried about the idea of long-term solo travel. The fact that New Zealand is on the other side of the globe from most people doesn’t help.
I moved to New Zealand from Toronto, Canada. That put my 18 hours ahead of my friends and family (and my therapist). I was literally living in tomorrow while they were living in yesterday.
But honestly, I didn’t get lonely.
With Skype, Zoom, Facetime, and Whatsapp, there are so many ways to stay in touch. Get a SIM card with a fair amount of data so you can make calls on the road or on your lunch break when your friends are having dinner.
With some minor maneuvering, it’s easy to stay in contact with your loved ones.
New Zealand is one of the most friendly places I’ve ever visited. The Kiwis are a jovial, enthusiastic bunch who will embrace you with open arms.
If you’re worried about meeting people, check out my guaranteed ways to make friends while travelling.
So yes, in some ways the idea of moving to New Zealand with a Working Holiday Visa can be scary. But that scariness is on par with any other unknown that we throw ourselves into. 
And there are low stakes, because if you’re not enjoying it ,you can always leave early. There’s no requirement to stay for the duration of your visa. 
Do yourself a favour and try a New Zealand WHV. You never know, you might end up loving it as much as I did!

This is my favourite tour of New Zealand!

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Working Holiday Visa NZ

Living Abroad Travel Planning Guide

🚑 Should I buy expat travel insurance?

100% YES! — With basic coverage averaging just $5-10 USD per day, enjoy peace of mind with a plan from World Nomads!

🌎 What is the best country to live in as an expat?

It depends – the best country to live in as an expat will depend on your unique needs. I developed this free quiz to help you figure out where is right for you!

📍 How do I pick a country to live abroad?

It depends – picking a country to live in is hard. That’s why I developed this $7 course to share all of the steps I’ve taken when deciding to move to 20+ different countries, and how I handle homesickness when I get there.

Ultimately, making the choice of where to move is going to be hard. But the hardest thing is deciding to move abroad at all!

💼 How do I get a job as an expat?

You can find work abroad via local job boards or temp agencies. My favourite way to work is remotely, so I always look for jobs on when I live abroad. They hire for 100% remote roles only.

If you’re looking to teach English abroad, Premier TEFL has the best online course to get you great work!

💰 How do I open a bank account abroad? offers free global accounts, and the cheapest money transfers. Since it can be a headache to open bank accounts in different countries (it took me 2 months in the UK!), is a great solution.

I actually use it as my primary bank now worldwide due to the multi-currency debit card. (Read more)

👯‍♀️ How do you make friends abroad? – Meet likeminded people who share a similar hobby with Meetup! It’s free to join, but some activities may cost money, like if you go to a cafe and get a coffee.

🙀 I don’t speak the language. Can I still live abroad?

Learn languages in no time with iTalki! Moving abroad is an opportunity to learn the language. You don’t need to know it before you leave home.

💻 Do I need a VPN?

Yes!VPNs allow you to access more of the internet. From US Netflix in the UK to social media sites banned in Asia. It’s a really helpful and cheap thing to ensure your online activities aren’t restricted.

🧳 What’s the best luggage for living abroad?

This is my favourite luggage set for long term travel. You can read more about my review of types of suitcases for travel here.

🏡 How do I tell my friends and family I want to live abroad?

Take this $7 course and learn the exact script I used to tell my family I was moving abroad … and then when I did it again. I even include tips for prepping your family, and for how to handle family who aren’t supportive.

✈️ What’s the best site to buy cheap flights?

To find cheap flights, I recommend Skyscanner. (Read more)

🏨 What’s the best site to find cheap hotels?

To find cheap hotels, I recommend (Read more)

Or stay for free with Trusted Housesitters!

🚗 What’s the best site to rent cars abroad?

To find cheap rental cars, I recommend Discover Cars.

🚗 What’s the best site to find tours?

To find epic tours, I recommend Viator.