NZ working holiday visa. Great for freelancers and digital nomads.

Roberto Efflandrin

If you are a freelancer, digital nomad or simply love to travel the world and also be able to work, New Zealand offers a working holiday visa that may just be what you need. While not specifically called a digital nomad visa, it allows you to travel to and legally work in New Zealand for a while.

If we’ve piqued your interest, keep reading to learn more about what this visa is, how to apply and some other key information about this visa scheme. We’ll also introduce you to Wise, a modern way to easily pay abroad in local or foreign currency.

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What is a working holiday visa in NZ

The working holiday visa in NZ is a visa designed to allow individuals of up to 41 nationalities who are aged between 18 and 30 to live and work in NZ.¹ In some cases, certain nationalities aged up to 35 may also be eligible. This visa is usually valid for 12 months, but this can vary with nationality.²

Although this visa is not technically a digital nomad visa, eligible individuals can apply for this visa to live and work as a digital nomad in New Zealand or find local casual employment in NZ.

Main benefits provided by this visa type

The main benefits provided by a NZ working holiday visa include³:

  • Working is optional if you have enough funds for your stay
  • You can take on a 6-month study program during your visa
  • Applicants can easily travel around NZ and experience a new culture
  • You can take on multiple jobs in NZ as long as no position is permanent

From these benefits, you can see this visa is a great option for digital nomads as they can easily work and live from anywhere in NZ or combine freelancing with casual work opportunities across NZ.

Requirements for a working holiday visa in New Zealand

The main requirements to apply for a working holiday visa in New Zealand are the similar across the list of eligible nationalities. Let’s go through the main eligibility requirements.⁴

  • Be of a nationality that is one of the 41 eligible NZ working holiday visa nationalities (you can see the list here
  • Be aged between 18 to 30, or up to 35 for certain nationalities
  • Proof that you have at least $350 NZD per month available to live in New Zealand
  • Be of good character and health
  • Never had a NZ working holiday visa granted previously

Another thing to know is that there may be a cap on how many visas are granted each year for certain nationalities. This can affect whether it is possible to apply for a working holiday visa if application numbers have exhausted the caps.²

It is important to check the NZ immigration site, and the relevant nationality working holiday visa scheme to see if applications are still open or if any caps are exhausted or if there are any further requirements that need to be met for some nationalities.

How to apply for a working holiday New Zealand

It is possible to apply for a NZ working holiday visa inside or outside of NZ. You will need to apply online through the New Zealand immigration site. Here are the steps to apply online.

1. Visit the NZ immigration site here 2. Provide all the required documentation and evidence 3. Wait for the decision on your visa

If you are from the UK or Canada, you can apply for a 23-month visa, but you will also need to attach to your application:

  • A New Zealand postal address
  • Provide a chest x-ray and medical exam certificate as part of your application

Visa approvals are sent via email, so make sure to keep an eye on your inbox or your junk email if you don’t see a response.⁵

Documentation required

There are a few documents that you may need to have ready to meet some of the requirements for a NZ working holiday visa. Documents include⁴:

  • Passport
  • Inward travel ticket
  • Outward travel ticket or proof you can afford a ticket out of NZ at the end of your visa
  • Past passport as evidence you will be a genuine visitor to NZ
  • Medical certificate
  • Proof of funds which could be a bank statement
  • Police certificate if your time in NZ will exceed 24 months
  • Onwards travel ticket or proof of extra funds for onwards travel after visa expiration
  • Proof of your residency in your home country

The NZ immigration authorities may ask you for more documentation that is not listed here at any time to support your application.

Read more: New Zealand Skilled Migrant Visa. The requirements, cost and time.

Application costs and fees.

Once you have gathered all the required documents listed above, you’ll need to pay for your visa to be processed. We’ll use the United Kingdom fees as an example. Your own nationality may vary from the below fees.

For a citizen of the United Kingdom applying for a 12-month visa, the fee will be $455 inside or outside New Zealand.⁵

How to pay for your visa application.

To pay for your visa, you can use a valid Visa or Mastercard through the online NZ immigration visa application portal.⁵

If you want to save on conversion fees when paying in the local NZD, you can check out how Wise can help you save on paying international fees.

Meet Wise

Decision times needed to process and get a working holiday visa

Decision times can range from 16 days for 50% of applications or up to around 52 days for 90% of NZ working visas to be processed.⁶

Visa and immigration contact details

You can find all the ways to contact NZ immigration here. You can also call their information line:

  • on 09 914 4100 or from within NZ
  • on +64-9-914-4100 from overseas

FAQ about the working holiday visa

Looking for more information about the working holiday visa? Check out these common FAQs below.

How long is this visa valid for?

Most NZ working holiday visas are valid for 12 months. However, there are discrepancies to this rule. For example, citizens from the United Kingdom or Canada can extend their visas up to 23 months while applicants of Austrian nationality can only apply for a 6-month visa.⁷

Can my children or family apply for this visa with me?

Unfortunately, your partner or children cannot travel with you to New Zealand on this visa. They will require a visa of their own to travel.⁷

What are my obligations to be eligible to obtain this visa?

There are certain obligations that you must meet even after you have been approved for a NZ working holiday visa. These obligations carry through to your entry into NZ and thereafter. You will need to⁸:

  • Enter NZ within 12 months from your visa approval
  • Complete an arrival card on entry into NZ
  • Continue to meet certain character requirements on entry
  • Not take on a permanent position during your stay in NZ on a working holiday visa
  • Leave NZ as soon as your visa expires

Can I travel out of and back into New Zealand with this visa?

Yes, after you arrive into the country, it is possible to travel out and back into New Zealand on this visa, as long as the visa is still valid upon re-entry.⁸

Wrapping up.

If you’re looking at moving to New Zealand from overseas it’s likely that you’ll have to convert foreign currency to NZD. This is where Wise can help.

With Wise, you can send and receive money internationally with no hidden fees. You don’t have to worry about poor exchange rates either, because your money is exchanged using the mid exchange rate, just like you see on Google.

If you choose to open a Wise Multi currency account, you can convert and hold 53 different currencies through a single account. You can also get local account details for 10 different currencies, including NZD, that enable you to transact like a local.

Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up-to-date pricing and fee information.

If you’re intrigued, take a look at Wise for yourself - you might just find it’s the answer to your foreign currency exchange needs.

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Best wishes for your visa application.


  1. NZ MFA eligible nationalities
  2. NZ immigration age requirement
  3. NZ tourism FAQs
  4. NZ WHS conditions & documents,
  5. NZfees & steps to apply
  6. NZ processing times
  7. NZ visa validity Austria
  8. NZ multiple entries and arrival requirements

Sources checked on: 19 October 2022

Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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