Working Holiday Visas for Irish citizens

What is a working holiday visa?

Ireland has working holiday agreements with a number of different countries. These allow young people to travel to another country for longer than a tourist visa and to work while you are there to support your travel expenses.

The criteria vary from country to country but generally the programmes are open to young people between the ages of 18 and 30 or 35, who hold private health insurance and can provide proof of funds to support themselves.

In most cases you can find casual or temporary work once you arrive in the country and can also study while you are there. The main purpose of your trip should be to holiday and the work or studying should be supplemental. If you are traveling primarily to work or to study you should look into other visas.

Note: Most working holiday agreement programmes have been suspended during the Covid-19 pandemic and many countries are not processing new applications at this time.

What countries take part?

Ireland has working holiday agreements with:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Republic of Korea (South Korea)
  • Taiwan
  • United States of America.

You should note that the application process and requirements for the USA differs significantly from the rest. See ‘USA – intern work and travel programme’ below.

Irish citizens do not need a working holiday agreement to live and work within the EU/EEA, Switzerland and the UK.

Eligibility and requirements

The details of who is eligible and what you will be entitled to do vary country by country. The table below has some of the details for each country. You can get more information by following the links for each country.

Working holiday visas for Irish citizens
Age How long can you stay? Application cost Can you study?
Argentina 18-30 6 months, possibility of renewal to 9 €50 Up to 3 months
Australia 18-35 12 months,

Possible to get a second and third

$495 AUD Up to 4 months
Canada 18-35 Up to 24 months CAD participation fee $156, working permit $100 Yes
Chile 18-30 12 months Contact embassy for visa fees Yes
Hong Kong 18-30 12 months Free No
Japan 18-30 12 months Free You can only study Japanese for up to 3 months
New Zealand 18-30 12 months $280 NZD Up to 6 months
Korea 18-30 12 months $60 USD Up to 6 months
Taiwan 18-30 12 months €86 You can only study Chinese for up to 3 months

See also ‘USA - Intern work and travel programme’ below.

How to apply

For most countries you will gather your documents and submit an application form either online or at the country’s embassy. The application and required documentation vary but you will most likely be asked for:

  • A passport
  • Proof of private health insurance
  • Proof of funds to support yourself
  • Either a plane ticket home or the funds to purchase one
  • In some cases you will be asked for a letter or essay explaining why you are applying for the programme

USA – Intern work and travel programme

The application process and requirements for the USA varies significantly from the other countries. Instead of being called a “Working Holiday Visa” their programme is called the Intern Work and Travel Programme. You are eligible for it if you are a current student or if you have graduated within the past 12 months.

While other programmes specify that travelling should be your primary goal and any work you do should be to cover your expenses, for this programme you will need to find a job or internship that is related to your field of study and that requires a minimum of 32 hours a week. You may not work in unskilled or casual labour positons, and your internship must not require more than 20% clerical or office support.

How to apply

Before you can apply for a visa you must apply for a DS-2019 form through an approved sponsoring organisation. If your DS-2019 form is approved by the sponsoring organisation your next step is to apply for a J-1 Exchange Visitor visa at the US Embassy.

Where to apply

You can find application forms and instructions on the immigration or Irish embassy page for the country that interests you.

Page edited: 25 April 2022