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First Year Working Holiday Visa – Complete Guide

a backpacker in front of Sydney Opera House with the text First Working Holiday Visa Complete Guide

Looking at travelling to Australia and trying to apply for a first year Working Holiday Visa? 

Excellent news! You’ve found yourself in the right place. I understand the process can seem a bit confusing. But fear not, I am here to lend a hand! I have created this guide which contains all the information you need to apply and get your first year working holiday visa accepted. 

The process is easy to do yourself and if you follow my tips and steps in this guide you’ll have your visa in no time.

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1. Requirements

To make things a bit clearer for you there are two types of working holiday visas: the subclass 417 and subclass 462 visa. Depending on which passport you hold will determine which visa you should apply for.  I cover these in more detail below.

1.1 Eligible Countries

Australia is constantly extending the eligible countries that can apply for a working holiday visa. Which is great news! You can only apply for a visa if you hold a passport from one of the eligible countries.

Subclass 417

If you hold a passport from one of these countries you can apply for a subclass 417 visa. 

Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan and the UK

Subclass 462

If you hold a passport from one of these countries you can apply for a subclass 462 working holiday visa

Argentina, Austria, Ecuador, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mongolia, Peru, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay, the USA and Vietnam.

Please note: If you aren’t from an eligible country don’t stress there are other visas you can apply for to work and live here in Australia see our complete guide here.

1.2 Age

You must be between the age of 18 – 30 to apply for both subclass 417 and subclass 462.

If you hold a passport from the following countries the age increases to 35 years old for subclass 417:


The application date can be up to one day prior to your 31st or 36th birthday (if you’re from an eligible country). Although I suggest giving yourself more time.

If you turn 31 or 36 (eligible countries) while a decision is being made you can still be granted the first year visa. But note you won’t be able to gain a second or third you working holiday visa.

1.3 Have Enough Money

You may need to provide evidence of $5,000 AUD to show you can support yourself and purchase onward travel when your visa expires.

1.4 Health Checks

Our goverment requires you to meet a minimum health standard before a visa is granted. Different countries require different health checks. To see which health checks you will require follow the steps here.

1.5 Other Requirements

1.6 Extra Conditions for Subclass 462

There are some extra conditions for subclass 462 which we list below. If you are applying for a subclass 417 working Holiday visa you can skip to the next section.

1.6.1 Tertiary Education

To be eligible for a subclass 462 working holiday visa you need to have complete post-high school study, usually at least 2 years. Here you can see a full list of requirements for your specific Country.

1.6.2 Level of English for Subclass 462 Working Holiday Visa

The Australian Government states you must have Functional English to apply for a working holiday visa subclass 462. See here for more information on what is Accepted.

1.6.3 Annual Limits for Working Holiday 462 Subclass Visa

For the working holiday visa subclass 462 there is an annual limit on the number of applicants that can apply and be accepted. Once the annual amount of visas has been granted the applications are closed and you will need to wait for the next allowance usually on 1 July.

Here you can see the current status of Annual Country Limits.

Here’s a video that answers the common questions when getting a working holiday visa in Australia.

2. How long can I stay in Australia with a Working Holiday Visa?

The first year working holiday visa allows you to stay in Australia for a 12-month stay after the date it is activated. 

However, did you know you can stay in Australia for up to 3 years on a working holiday visa? 

Once you have been granted your first year working holiday visa you can apply for a second and third year working holiday visa if you complete the eligible 88 days or 6 months of specified work.

Just like this guide, I have also made a simple and easy-to-follow guide for you so you can get your second year visa and third-year working holiday visa easily.

3. Costs

The cost to apply for the second-year visa is $635 AUD. Your application won’t be processed until this amount has been paid.

4. Health Insurance

It is recommended that you take out adequate health insurance during your stay in Australia.

Some countries have reciprocal agreements with Australia. Check to see if you’re from an Eligible Country before you purchase any insurance.

There are so many cool places and things to see and enjoy in Australia, whether you’re surfing, hiking, mountain biking or in the outback it’s best to be covered should you require healthcare assistance.

The Australian Government provides details on what they consider Adequate Health Insurance Cover to help you decide on which health insurance coverage you need.

5. Application Process

The visa can be applied for inside or outside of Australia. It can be done by post but I strongly recommend that you do the process online.

Applying online is a relatively simple process, all relevant documents can be submitted online.

Watch this video and learn the basics of working holiday visas and what mistakes you should avoid.

5.1 Required Documents

To make your application an easy and smooth process, get all your documents together. If you are submitting online, you can supply a clear colour photo or PDF.

Required Documents you will need are:

A second form of Identification 1 of the following:

5.1.1 Proof of Funds

You will need to show proof of funds of $5,000 AUD of available funds in your bank account

5.1.2 Character Documents

5.1.3 Translation

All non-English documents must be translated into English using a translator that is 

Accredited by the National Accreditation Authority of Translators and Interpreters

5.2 Applying Online

Once you’ve got all your documents follow these steps to apply:

  1. Log in or create an ImmiAccount
  2. Attach documents
  3. Pay the application fee
  4. Take note of the Transaction Reference Number.
work holiday visa application process infographic

6. After you Apply What Happens?

You’ve submitted your application, well done! Now what happens? The visa processing times are relatively fast for the First Year Working Holiday Visa subclass 417 and subclass 462. As of April 2023, processing times are listed on Immigration Australia as:

Processing times for the first year working holiday visa subclass 417 Working Holiday Visa are as follows:

If everything is in order you are highly likely to have your result in less than 2 weeks. 

Processing times for subclass 462 are slightly longer and are as follows:

However, you will need to closely monitor your application to see if you are required to supply more information. Additional information that may be required is:

6.1 Entering Australia

Once your visa has been granted you will have 12 months after the date it is granted to enter Australia to activate your visa.

Your visa starts on the date you enter Australia not on the date the visa is granted.

You don’t need to obtain another visa to enter Australia. When you arrive here, you only need your approved working holiday visa.

7. Tips/Important Bits

7.1 Check the dates that the Visa applications open for 462

The dates and allocations vary from country to country, make sure you are up to date with the date that you are required to apply. You can check the Annual Country Limits here which also shows the dates to apply.

An infographic list of important tips for Australian First Working Holiday Visa

7.2 Make sure you are using an Official Government Website

These days there are a lot of scammers all over the internet and the world. Australia is no exception. Any government website will have at the end of its domain name. If it doesn’t have this it is not an official government website and could be a scam. All the websites and links I have supplied throughout this article are official Australian Government websites.

7.3 Australia is a Huge Country

You will most likely arrive in one of the major airports Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne. Keep in mind that Australia is a huge country pretty much the same size as Europe (excluding Russia). It can be a few days of driving if you’re going from Melbourne to Brisbane. Keep this in mind when you’re making your work and travel plans.

7.4 Don’t Lie on Your Application

Although it’s tempting, don’t lie on your application, it can lead to you getting denied a visa and may prevent you from being able to get a first, second or third-year working holiday visa in the future.

8. FAQ

No, you can’t apply for a first year working holiday visa if you’ve already been issued one before with a different passport.

No, leaving the country for any length of time doesn’t change the visa expiry date.

Yes, not a problem you can leave and come back as many times as you like within your visa period.

The first year working holiday visa lets you stay in Australia for 12 months. However, you can extend your stay for up to 3 years if you complete a certain number of days of specified work.

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