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Work and Holiday Visa – Australia

Most of the information out there on the internet seems to be geared toward Europeans, Canadians and the few other nationalities that come on the Working Holiday 417 visa, but Americans have a different visa. For citizens of the United States, we can only get the Work and Holiday subclass 462 visa. This is the same visa people from Bangladesh, Chile, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Thailand and Turkey can come in and work on. Why? I don’t know, my guess is probably something to do with the reciprocal visa situation for Australians coming to the US. (Read about my experiences in Australia on the Work & Holiday visa.)

There are a lot of reasons to work abroad in Australia, but once you’ve made up your mind, it might still seem overwhelming. Here’s a breakdown on everything you need to know about getting the Work and Holiday visa and setting off on your adventure in Australia.

About the Visa

Regardless, if you’re an American thinking of coming to Australia to work for a year, you’re in luck. Why? Because  it used to be we could only come and work for four months! Still, there are restrictions on those 12 months (which begins from the day you enter the country, which can be anytime within a year from when your visa is granted). First and foremost, you have to be between the ages of 18 and 30 (and have graduated from high school) to get the visa. Second, you can only work at each employer for six months. However, you are allowed to undertake any type of work (though you should check if your field requires any special licensing or registration). I worked in telefundraising (basically a telemarketer asking for donations for major NGOs) and in a legit position in my field (marketing) as well as with a start-up company (also in marketing), so really anything is possible.

Also in those 12 months you are entitled to come and go from Australia as much as you’d like. That means visiting home or taking trips to New Zealand, the South Pacific, or even Southeast Asia, are all in the realm of possibility. There is no minimum or maximum amount of time you must work (aside from the previously mentioned six month rule). You can work anywhere you want, take just about any kind of job, and you can even study for up to four months on the visa. Jobs can be easy or hard to find, depending on your expectations and/or field of focus. There are plenty of jobs aimed at backpackers, as there are thousands of them working all over Australia at any given time. Read more about finding a job in Australia.

Applying

Applying for the visa is an incredibly easy process. You can apply online (though they do also accept paper applications) and once you’ve applied it can take as little as one day to a week (took mine a little less than a week and they were “backed up”). Their “standard” claimed on the government website is six days. They also claim you could be required to do an interview, but I can’t imagine this would ever happen unless you have something very, very strange or suspicious on your application or record.

The following is the list the government’s immigration website lists as necessary for your application, and those in bold are the ones that I (to the best of my knowledge, unless I have completely lost my memory) found that I actually had to include:

- Visa Fee ($230AUD)
- Certified copies of all biodata pages of your passport(basically the first page or two, I submitted everything online and I didn’t have anything certified)
- Certified copies of birth certificates or the family book, showing names of both parents (not required if in passport)
- If you have changed your name (eg by marriage or deed poll), a certified copy of evidence of the name change
- Two recent passport sized photographs (45mmx35mm) of you. (I don’t recall attaching this at all, but I could be wrong…)
- If you have served in the armed forces of any country, certified copies of military service record or discharge papers.
- Evidence of sufficient funds. Certified copy of a bank statement showing you have access to appropriate funds of at least AU$5,000.
- Evidence of relevant education qualifications. (I tried to attach my college diploma at the end but kept getting an error. I guess they didn’t care anyway…)
- Evidence of health insurance, if required.

So basically, not much is required! I would urge you to at least have access to all these things in case they do request it, but I wouldn’t stress too much about it. Otherwise they ask you some health and “character” questions, nothing too major.

A lot of people’s concern is the bank statement showing access to $5,000. There are rumors floating around the internet of this or that person being asked for it (in the application process or at the airport) so I was all freaked out because I had more like $3,000. But nobody ever asked me, and my plan if they did was one to do one or all of the following: a) say I don’t have a copy of a statement on me but can I use their computer to print one (if this is at the airport, hey probably wouldn’t bother) and/or claim I have my money spread among different accounts and don’t have all the statements on me (which would have been true), b) show my credit card with $2,000 limit to save my butt if I really hit rock bottom, c) resort to having the parents wire money into the account and/or showing their account statement and that they would bail me out if necessary.

No worries, you’ll be approved and on your way to Oz in no time!

Before/When You Arrive

There’s no harm in starting your job hunting and housing search from home, but most people (myself included) will tell you it’s better and easier to just wait until you’ve arrived in Australia. Book a few nights or a week in a hostel and give yourself some time to relax and enjoy your new surroundings a bit.

One other thing to be aware of when you first arrive, as soon as possible apply for your TFN (Tax File Number). You need this to start getting paid, and while it will likely only take a few days or a week to get to you, it’s better to apply as soon as possible. You can apply online, by phone, or in person. You just need your passport info and an Australian address they can send the number to (so somewhere you intend to be for the next few weeks).

You should also try to open a bank account as soon as possible, as you will need these details when you get a job, and it’s probably good to put some money in it and start spending from an Australian card. (The interest rates on the savings accounts are pretty good too!)

Extending Your Stay

So you might very well find that you love Australia (or maybe an Australian) and want to stay. Unfortunately, as mentioned before, Americans have slightly less options than others.

The one big downfall of the 462 visa versus the 417 is that we aren’t allowed to go pick fruit on a farm somewhere and extend our visa another 12 months. Americans can’t renew for a second year. However, if you do find that you really want to maximize your time in Oz,  there may be some ways to extend your stay. Most likely you will have to leave the country at least for a short amount of time (a good excuse for a New Zealand or Fiji vacation, or to head home and see some family!). But you may be able to apply for another kind of visa, such as a student visa to study or a work (Skilled Migrant) visa if you have certain skills. Or if you just want to do a bit more traveling around the country, you may be able to leave and come back on a visitor visa. Your best bet is to contact the immigration department directly and ask them what your options are.

Of course, there is the elusive sponsorship that you could aim for. Most companies won’t even go near the idea of sponsorship as it’s seen as a huge pain, but if you’re really something special at what you do, or you’re willing to do any kind of job just to stay in Oz, then you might be able to work something out. There are some backpacker-focused companies that do promise the chance of sponsorship if you stay loyal to the company. One that comes to mind is 2evolve, an organization based in Sydney that does face-to-face and telefundraising.

Finally, if you’ve met the love of your life during your time in Australia, you could also try applying for a partner visa. Brooke at Brookevstheworld did this, and from her chronicles it seemed to be a long and slightly frustrating process. But if you’re looking to make a long-term to commitment to Oz (and, of course, that special Australian), this might be your best bet.

Everything Else

Check out my other tips on job hunting, finding housing, opening a bank account, dealing with all the money, money, money (i.e. getting paid, paying super, taxes, etc.) and getting by while enjoying the occasional pleasure of eating out. Or just read my firsthand commentary from my own Work & Holiday adventures in Australia.

69 Comments leave one →
  1. July 2, 2012 12:08 am

    Stumbled upon your blog and am really grateful :) I am thinking about getting this visa, but I haven’t made up my mind yet. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Kayla permalink
    September 13, 2012 6:48 am

    Hi there, I was trying to find a way to extend my American’s Work and Holiday visa in Australia and came across your blog. The link you have for stretching it to 16-19 months doesn’t work but I thought I’d check to see what kind of information you have. Thanks for the help! :)

    • September 13, 2012 12:16 pm

      Kayla, thanks for letting me know! I will try to find an equivalent page. Probably the easiest way to extend your stay in Australia (for Americans) is to get sponsored by an employer. (Some backpacker-geared jobs, like call centers, will do this if you let them know it’s what you want.) If that’s not an option, you may be able to extend your actual Work & Holiday visa (though I think this is highly unlikely) or apply for another visa (such as to study). If you have certain skills and/or work in a certain job or industry, you might be able to apply for a straight up working visa. Check out this page: http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/

      Check if your visa was granted with a “No Further Stay” note. If it wasn’t (or even if it was), I would recommend getting in touch with Australian immigration to find out what your options are. You may be able to apply for another visa, but you might have to do it from outside Australia. Of course, if you just want to see more of Australia and not work, you can leave the country and then re-enter on a tourist visa.

      Finally, if you want to stay because of a certain someone, there is a partner visa. It’s a long road and can get complicated, but if this is something your considering I would recommend getting in touch with Brooke at brookevstheworld.com as I know she has done this. Even if you aren’t looking to do the partner visa, she might be a good source because I believe she started on a Work & Holiday and extended her stay on a working visa or something else.

      I will do a little research and see if I can dig anything else up. Until then, good luck! Let me know if you have any other questions and let me know if you find out anything else helpful that I should include in the post :)

      Cheers,
      Rach

  3. Kayla permalink
    September 14, 2012 4:49 am

    Thank you so much for the response! I appreciate it a lot and I’ll have to keep researching to see what my options are. Thanks for the tips!

  4. Kelly permalink
    September 18, 2012 9:11 am

    You are so amazing. Thank you SO much. This is SO helpful.

  5. James permalink
    October 4, 2012 9:51 am

    Hey about extending your visa 16-19 months
    The link is unusable is there any chance u can send me as much information about this as possible the jargon on the website is really annoying to decypher and i need some help for a friend

    • October 5, 2012 3:23 pm

      Hey James. I am sorry about the broken link. I am still trying to find another good site with the equivalent info to link to. Are you an American? If so, I’m going to pretty much repeat for you what I told Kayla above.

      The easiest way to extend your stay in Australia is to get sponsored by an employer. (Some backpacker-geared jobs, like call centers, will do this if you let them know it’s what you want. If you want some names, let me know.)

      If that’s not an option, you may be able to extend your actual Work & Holiday visa (though I think this is highly unlikely) or apply for another visa (such as to study). Or, if you have certain skills and/or work in a certain job or industry, you might be able to apply for a straight up working visa. Check out this page: http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration.

      Check if your visa was granted with a “No Further Stay” note. If it wasn’t (or even if it was), I would recommend getting in touch with Australian immigration to find out what your options are. You may be able to apply for another visa, but you most likely will have to do it from outside Australia. (I am not sure if you would have to return all the way to the States or if you could just hop over to NZ or something for a bit.)

      Of course, if you just want to see more of Australia and not work, you can leave the country and then re-enter on a tourist visa.

      Finally, if you want to stay because of a certain someone, there is a partner visa. It’s a long road and can get complicated, but if this is something your considering I would recommend getting in touch with Brooke at http://www.brookevstheworld.com as I know she has done this. Even if you aren’t looking to do the partner visa, she might be a good source because I believe she started on a Work & Holiday and extended her stay on a working visa or something else.

      I will continue to try to do some extra research and see if I can find more info. If there are some other details to your particular circumstances, please let me know.

      Until then, good luck! Let me know if you have any other questions. Let me know how things work out, it would be good to include the info for other people like yourself :)

      Cheers,
      Rachael

  6. Andrew permalink
    October 16, 2012 12:54 pm

    Hello, I just stumbled across your site, and I have a question. I’m an American looking at doing a WHV, but I’ve read that living in the cities is prohibitively expensive. However, I’ve heard that you can make some serious money working in the outback like $15,000 on a 6 month contract. Im just wondering if I should focus my trip on backpacking up the east coast finding short jobs along the way, or trying to get a more-or-less “real” job?

    • October 17, 2012 4:28 pm

      Hey Andrew,

      Australia is expensive, but the wages are set to match the costs. Even short-term, minimum wage jobs will pay at least $15/hour. It’s really up to you and what you want to get out of your time there.

      If you want to get “real” professional experience and/or live in a city and really get immersed in the culture and living there, then go for it. It is doable. You can get a shared room in most cities for a relatively decent price. Getting a “real” job might take more time though, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience in the field you’re looking in.

      However, if the objective of your time in Oz is more focused on the holiday part and seeing the country, then it is plausible to backpack up the coast and do short jobs such as fruit picking/farm work, hospitality work, street marketing, etc. There are backpacker-targeted jobs like this, and sometimes you can even stay in the same company and travel on their dime to different cities to do marketing. Look on Gumtree for some opportunities.

      I don’t know about $15,000 for six months, but it sounds possible. Some labor jobs out in rural areas might pay quite well. (Cost of living can be high though too since everything has to be brought it.)

      I do have specific posts about job hunting in Australia and getting paid in Australia.

      If you want to ask me some more specific questions and tell me a bit more about yourself and your situation, feel free to send me a message from my Facebook page or email me.

      Cheers,

      Rachael

  7. Holly permalink
    October 24, 2012 12:14 am

    hey thanks for the blog its great!

    I have a couple questions and was wondering if you could help

    Do you need proof of an outgoing ticket? I hope to stay the year and don’t want to buy the ticket until it gets closer to time to leave but i also dont want stress at the airport. I came to OZ on a tourist visa once and they just asked questions and didnt require any proof of anything. was wondering if 462 entry was any different.

    • October 29, 2012 12:51 pm

      Hi Holly,

      I’m pretty sure they didn’t ask to see any ongoing ticket. Especially if you show that you have enough funds to pay for a ticket home, it shouldn’t be a problem. (And it’s highly unlikely they would ask.)

      Looking back at the immigration site, it says this: “You should also have a return or onward ticket or the funds for a fare to depart Australia.”

      While again, I think it is highly unlikely they will ask to see a ticket or proof of funds, I can’t guarantee it. But you already need proof of funds anyway (though again, they never asked to see it), and that should be sufficient. (Technically, you just need enough to get out of the country — and a flight to NZ or Fiji isn’t so expensive! ;))

      I will say this, you might want to check that it isn’t actually cheaper to buy a round-trip ticket than one-way ticket anyways. There are actually a lot of cases where this is true. Then it’s worthwhile, even if you don’t use the trip back. You can even mess around with dates to find the cheapest return dates and then save a ton by just paying a fee to change the date later, rather than paying for a whole other one-way ticket. This way, you’re saving money AND you don’t have to sweat anything at the airport.

      Just a thought. Let me know how it goes, and feel free to contact me if you have any other questions! Enjoy your time in Oz!

      Cheers,

      Rachael

  8. December 4, 2012 10:40 pm

    Stumbled upon this and thought about how helpful this post is! Have been considering Australia now for a while and just might make the kangaroo leap over there within the next five years!

  9. Peter permalink
    January 21, 2013 10:39 pm

    so you only went with $3,000? if you went alone instead of with someone, would you have brought more money?

  10. Maria permalink
    March 4, 2013 8:12 am

    Hi Rachel
    Thanks for sharing—this is so helpful !
    Hoping you can help me answer a question about health insurance. Do you need to be covered in order to be approved for the 462 visa? Scared if I answer no, they’ll deny me it. Did you get coverage here, there or not at all?
    Thanks :)

    • March 9, 2013 10:10 am

      Maria,

      I kept my health insurance from the United States when I was in Australia, as there were a number of places I could use it while I was there. I don’t recall anyone ever asking to see proof of insurance, and I am not sure what the rules are in that case.

      If you are planning to go anywhere remote (i.e. the Outback) or do anything “adventurous” (hiking, scuba diving, or adventure activities), it might be worth looking into travel health insurance (like World Nomads), at least for part of the time.

      I wish I could be of more help. But I will say that while I never had a problem having only my insurance from back home, I never did use it at all. You might also want to look into if there is any kind of mutual agreement between the U.S. and Australia as far as healthcare goes. Australia has these kinds of agreements with a lot of countries (where you can go to the doctor in Oz very inexpensively), and perhaps since our recent healthcare reform there has been a change on this front.

      Good luck!

      Cheers,

      Rachael

      • Maria permalink
        March 10, 2013 1:34 pm

        tremendously helpful—thank you!

  11. Nitu Mishra permalink
    March 6, 2013 5:26 am

    Cheapest Caravans in Australia. Cozy Caravans

  12. Alex permalink
    March 8, 2013 12:23 am

    Thanks so much Rachel! Very helpful info… i am planning go to Australia this year :) Thanks again

  13. Fuhi permalink
    March 8, 2013 8:40 am

    I am an American on WHV and I am currently working. I am just a bit confuse about working only 6 months. Is it that I can’t work more than 6 months or I can’t work more than 6 months with one employer?? I am confused cause some one told me today that you can only work 6 month & can’t work anymore…… Can somebody please help me! Thanks!

    • March 9, 2013 10:06 am

      Fuhi,

      You can work every day you are there if you want, but you cannot work more than 6 months at one employer.

      You can work 12 months – 6 at one employer and 6 months at another. You could work three different jobs for four months, 12 different jobs for one month – anything you want for the year you are there, so long as you do not exceed the six-month limit at one employer.

      (In my case, I worked 6 months at one employer, traveled for a few months, then worked 3 months with a second employer.)

      I hope that helps!

      Cheers,
      Rachael

  14. Adex permalink
    March 10, 2013 5:15 pm

    Very interesting adventurous strory, and i promise to follow your process mentioned thanks. Pls may i know you?.

  15. Michelle permalink
    March 17, 2013 4:07 pm

    Hi Rachael, I’ve come across your blog, and I’ve also worked in Australia on the same visa, but now i’m back in America. Wasn’t sure if you knew anything about this, but I’m trying to figure out how to file my tax return back in the States. – Or do we have to? Any help you have would be GREATLY appreciated! :)

  16. Liz permalink
    April 1, 2013 5:58 am

    Hey Rachael!

    I had a friend who went to Australia on a work and holiday visa a few years back and she said she was able to frontload everything for easy processing, but things have possibly changed since she went on her trip.

    I just filled out my application online and I didn’t see a place to include scans of any of the required documents. My question is: At what point in the application process do they request all of the documentation (ie. passport scans, diplomas, bank statements…etc)? Do they request it in a seperate email?

    Hope you can answer! Thanks! :D

    • Molly permalink
      October 6, 2013 9:20 pm

      I would also very much love to know the answer to this! Thank you:)))

      • November 6, 2013 6:10 pm

        Hi Molly (and Liz),

        So sorry for the very delayed response!

        I remember there being an option to upload documents with my application, but I believe it wasn’t actually working. In the end, I didn’t upload any documents and I still got my visa approved. You may find that you don’t need to provide anything scanned unless they specifically ask you for it. If you’re still worried, your best bet is going to be to contact someone on their end (and cross your fingers they get back to you!)

        Best of luck!

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  19. thehaltertops permalink
    May 2, 2013 11:11 am

    Thank you for taking the time to help those out that are wanting to get a visa. It’s so helpful to hear someone’s point of view that has been through it. Once I figure out health insurance, I will be filling the visa out and then on my way. I haven’t read everything, but I’ve bookmarked this page. Thanks again!!

  20. Andrew permalink
    May 9, 2013 3:16 pm

    Question- I have dual citizenship with both the USA and Germany.
    Although I have never lived in Germany and the US is my permanent residence, would it be a good idea to maybe apply with my German passport or should I play it safe and use my US? I know I can stay longer with my German passport!

    Any advice would be grand. Thank you!

  21. Andrew permalink
    May 9, 2013 4:04 pm

    Also, what do they mean on the application when they say Identity Number? Social Security Number?

  22. Emily permalink
    May 12, 2013 8:16 pm

    Hey quick question for you!

    I was granted my working holiday visa (subclass 462) and now I am just worried about this “sufficient funds” nonsense. I will have the money shortly but was wondering…if I plan to enter Australia in early June, how far in advance should I print or obtain a copy of my bank statement so when I enter and they ask to see my proof they accept it? I just don’t want to get over there and be denied entry because my bank statement was too far back in time. I hope this question makes sense!

    Thank you!!

  23. May 13, 2013 12:59 pm

    Thank you for the advice!!, I’m an American Citizen from Puerto Rico, and I went to Australia in April this year, I loved it so much that I got my work & holiday visa, and hopefully will get to australia in June and look for jobs. I’ve Seen a lot of jobs but is better, like you say, to apply when arrive. Hope everything goes great! Thanks for the tips!

  24. Streets permalink
    May 17, 2013 10:04 am

    I’m currently in OZ on a WHV and tell you the truth, I don’t want to go back to the states. I’m making $1000 a week from working as a Youth Worker. You can make a shit load of money if you’re ready to work. Check out Youth work on Seek.com and see if it interest you. Basically Youth Work is working with kids from abuse and neglect backgrounds in residential homes. You will need to have previous experience in the industry so my advice to anyone interested is to begin volunteering as a Youth Worker in America for at least six months prior to you arrival. The downside to it is that Aussie kids are spoil and can be extremely disrespectful as compare to America kids (at least from my experience). But once you’ve got a tick skin and can put up with being call a “slut” or a “poofter”, then you’d find youth work much rewarding.

    • Holly permalink
      August 24, 2013 7:29 am

      I’m working in youth work in QLD. Easy as. Got a sponsor to. Were are you at?

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  26. Mariana permalink
    June 6, 2013 4:19 pm

    And now I go apply for my visa! :D

  27. Holly Mitchell permalink
    June 9, 2013 2:10 am

    Ok this was one of the most helpful blogs I read before coming to OZ so I would like to contribute some answers I found hard to come by. Oh if you have plenty of funds then disregard.

    When you apply for the visa they ask if you have insurance. I was not checked and have yet to hear about anyone getting checked. However better safe then sorry. I regretted not having insurance for the first time while going down the Tully river in grade four rapids. Not a good time to be worried about that. Just say you have it when applying and get some cheap travels insurance if you cant afford anything better. If you get seriously hurt without insurance they may kick you out of the country and send you home (Hawaii) and hit you with a fine and a three year restriction. It also makes it harder to get a visa in another country. If your seriously broke laser jet something that looks official, I brought my insurance cards from my job that were no longer valid so if the asked I had something but they were never checked so ill never know.

    The proof of the $5K. Well get your friends or family to lend you the money and then transfer it back once you get through immigration. Oh the immigration officer didn’t even look at me (Whew). But again better safe then sorry. Credit Cards also count for proof of funds.

    Australia is expensive!!! Learn to eat like a local quickly! Don’t eat out and drink lots of water. Sydney has Paddys Market, in OZ Bi Lo and Coles grocery stores are cheep also a lot of groceries will put stuff on discount after 8pm, crazy clarks and discount chemists are good for hygiene and other odds and ends. Cotton On and Jay Jay are good for cheap cloths but they are not durable. Bring your electronics! Have cloths that can take a beating and be worn more than a hundred times (because they will be). A good backpack (camel back), and sneakers would be a good idea. Although it depends on where you are. In the gold coast whitsundays etc you generally don’t wear more than flip flops (thongs) and your swim gear. Oh Enjoy some Goon. I cant drink it its gross and should be outlawed but its part of the OZ experience.

    Jobs Jobs Jobs. They are very easy to get but you have to be patient and open minded. Food and Beverage jobs are easy to find, anything in hospitality, tourism, marketing, sales and farming. As American forgive me but F*^# farming its not worth it for us because we can not get a second year visa.

    I have had several jobs since coming here and have been very lucky. Average pay is 17/hr. Some helpful sites are seek.com, indeed.com and gumtree.com.au. If you plan on working in the city good luck not really my thing.

    I spent most of my time so far living in the Whitsundays and Queensland. Remote work (food and beverage, store clerk, stewarding, housekeeping etc) means on an island or in the outback. They pay more and you have nothing to spend it on because there are no stores, restaurants and generally only one pub. I saved 7k in three months. Another helpful hit is something called “work for accommodation” its classified as a volunteer position. Your ability to find them will depend on the city.town/hostel/area etc. If you start having serious money issues just walk around the hostels and ask if they have any work for accommodation available. You work generally two -three hours a day about 10-15 hours a week (again depends on the hostel). In exchange they give you accommodation. Some hostels will even include a meal. Talk to everybody about it you will be very surprised what you learn. Not something we generally do at home but print off a bunch of Resumes and walk around handing them out for bar work, housekeeping, kitchen hand etc. Ummm for those of you that lack integrity don’t worry about experience. Because of the lack of a tipping culture (my opinion) or something similar the standards of customer service are ….odd…working at a five star resort back home I could never do I’m too outspoken and not charismatic at all. In OZ its like working at McDonalds. They order you bring them there food and that’s it. So don’t be worried about fluffing the ol resume with some experience. But research it and network so you can answer questions and have an idea of what is expected.

    There are also opportunities to have a great time for free or for pay. Working on a cattle station for food accommodation and horseback riding, four wheeling and other out back activities. Working on the boats in Airlie Beach. go around to the Abel Point Marina and tourist shops on the Escapade and ask about Volunteer sailing trips. In exchange for a couple hours of work a day (generally some kind of cleaning) you can sail, snorkel, bush walk, etc etc. Trips that generally cost hundreds to thousands become free. I spent a month sailing/camping the Whitsundays area on several different boats and paid nothing. A week sailing will cost 1K.

    Drink water!!! Wear 50 spf sunscreen!!! Oh and Sunscreen with Insect repellent deserves a Nobel prize!

    Jobs are easier to get once you are here. But follow the advice above and sort out banking, tax stuff etc before coming. Oh and some American banks have deals with OZ banks so talk to your bank. (eg Bank of America and West pac). Select your hostel in OZ and start using its address as your OZ address and get your TFN (Tax File Number) if you cant get it in the mail when it comes don’t worry there is a number you can call and you can also check online. Its really just important to know it. Get OZ bank account ASAP! I bank with ANZ and there ok.

    Cell Phones and Communication. Welcome to the dark ages. The best international call plan I have found is Vodo phone which is 14 cents a min to the US but it tops out at $1 so you can talk for hours for a dollar. Optus for within OZ $2 a day plan is unlimited everything. Telstra is the Verizon wireless of OZ they were once owned by the government and had a monopoly. They have the best coverage but it will cost you. In the cities you will be fine with an carrier once you leave the major hubs you will lose reception very quickly. You can get unlimited voice to USA for $9 a month with Skype. But internet can be very tricky to find and it generally sucks. You can put apps on your cell that will help Skype, Facebook messenger, Gmail hangouts, twitter etc. My advice find a really nice UNLOCKED smart phone. All phones use sim cards so you can just swap out the cards. I have cards for Telstra, Optus and Vodo. Telstra for island and off shore use, Vodo for international and Optus is my main line. Sim cards cost $2.

  28. lindsey permalink
    July 24, 2013 8:34 pm

    what insurance coverage did you get when you went over there?

  29. Mike permalink
    August 17, 2013 6:19 am

    I just thought I would let people know that you CAN extend your Work & Holiday VISA in Australia if you are an American. Your passport however can NOT be marked ‘No Further Stay’. If your VISA letter is marked with this, then you can NOT extend for a Second 462 VISA.

    • Jessica permalink
      August 31, 2013 10:23 am

      Can you please provide us with more info? I have tried everything. Made appointments with many Migration Agents and even called the Immigration office here in Australia and they all tell me it’s not possible. Thanks.

  30. Caitlin permalink
    August 21, 2013 2:43 pm

    This was a great post! I am leaving for Melbourne on the 462 Sept 3 and can’t wait! Currently looking into travel insurance but everything seems so sketchy! Any tips?

  31. Holly permalink
    August 24, 2013 7:19 am

    Insurance is like anything else go with a name brand research the reviews. I don’t know a lot about it. But most of what I read has you flying home if anything serious happens. The only thing I needed since iv been here was birth control. Call the sexual health office in any major city they are like planned parenthood just cheaper. Wish I knew more. Good Luck!

    • Holly permalink
      August 24, 2013 7:26 am

      Oi Mike!
      Did you extend your 462. I was wondering how?

  32. September 9, 2013 10:03 pm

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  33. October 24, 2013 3:51 am

    I really love your website.. Great colors & theme.
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  34. November 16, 2013 10:51 pm

    great travel health insurance, esp if you’re planning on scuba, snorkel, etc – World Nomads.

    But I have to counter a lot of what’s been said here – I’ve been traveling around the centre and east coast of Oz for 2 months and lived and worked in Sydney for 8 months. Getting work is NOT easy in cities, period. The majority of whv people I’ve come across trying to get work in the office, restaurant, bar, hotel, etc, are having a very hard time. The economy is getting a bit harder here, trust me. If you want a better chance at work in a city or major area, you HAVE to get there just BEFORE the start of either summer or winter. I saw a good amount of hiring in Sydney and Darwin mid-end September and early October. Nov – March seems to be a harder time to find work. I asked the convention center in SYD when I arrived about hiring- evidently they hire in Nov-Dec but don’t actually have work for anyone until the end of January.

    Finding. Work. Is. Harder. Than. Advertised.

    Best jobs to find work in on WHV – construction, evidently youth workers (if you have prior experience), and whatever you have a little previous experience in in the restaurant cateogry. Even retail can be a tough gig to land.

    Good luck.

  35. Taty permalink
    November 19, 2013 2:27 am

    Hey, i was just wondering if husband n me find work online, n we dont have visa, can we get visa cuz we online found job in Australia ?
    Or we have to apply for visa then if we granted find job n rest there ?
    Thx ;)

    • Holly permalink
      November 20, 2013 5:37 pm

      It depends what visa you want. If you find an employer willing to sponsor you it shouldn’t be a problem. A sponsor is very hard to get and it depends on your work experience/education. You can also look at the points test to see if you can get a skilled migrant visa.

  36. Chase Dillon permalink
    November 24, 2013 11:17 am

    Hi there! I came upon this post and it has been very helpful. I plan on moving to Australia with a de facto partner visa but starting with a work and holiday visa. I was just wondering if you can give me a couple more details on the process of getting the visa and if you have any advice. I’m just wondering about the whole what you need to prove or attach to my application and what your personal exp

    • Chase Dillo permalink
      November 24, 2013 11:18 am

      Experiences going through this process were. *sorry I accidentally hit post*

  37. December 8, 2013 10:46 pm

    Work Enjoy Australia are an American company who arrange work for Americans prior to landing in Oz! They have placed hundreds of young Americans in roles across Australia including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane & The Great Barrier Reef! http://www.workenjoyaustralia.com

  38. December 15, 2013 8:29 pm

    This post was really helpful in planning my working holiday, and your blog overall has been quite inspirational and useful to me! Thanks!

  39. January 2, 2014 8:03 am

    How likely are you too be declined a visa, I dont want to risk the non refundable application fee if there isn’t a decent chance, thanks :)

  40. January 13, 2014 1:30 pm

    I’m currently in Bali and was on a student visa in Perth. My fiancé is in Brisbane and I’m just waiting on my work and holiday visa to be approved. It said 6 days but it’s been 7 working days now and I’m growing impatient. They have all the info from my student Visa on file I would assume so I only applied online and am just waiting! Please hurry! Lol

  41. nasir permalink
    February 15, 2014 3:00 am

    what are the ways to extened the WHV ?

  42. March 8, 2014 5:47 am

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    it has pretty much the same page layout and design.
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  43. March 18, 2014 10:49 pm

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  44. Ari permalink
    March 21, 2014 7:48 pm

    Hi. I wanted to know if you attached your birth certificate or just the passport was enough. I don’t see parents names in a USA passport. Also, did you attach bank statement?

  45. holly permalink
    March 22, 2014 5:46 pm

    I only attached passport. They expect you to have supporting documents if they ask and for you to have them for boarder security. I was never asked.

  46. holly permalink
    March 22, 2014 5:50 pm

    I got Permenant Residency 187 visa! Thanks for the help!

  47. priya permalink
    March 26, 2014 7:31 am

    I wana use dis visa I m frm Fiji hw cn I use it or apply plzzzz cn any1 tell.

  48. priya permalink
    March 26, 2014 7:33 am

    Hw to apply dis visa

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