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Complete guide to obtaining a working holiday visa to participate in youth exchange programs in Ireland

University students and recent graduates can come to Ireland and work for up to a year through the Ireland Working Holiday Visa.

However, there are restrictions in regards to the eligibility of the candidates, such as age and nationality. Ireland has a Working Holiday agreement with ten countries.

In order to go to Ireland through a Working Holiday Visa, you have to get Working Holiday Authorization from the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Who is eligible for the Ireland Working Holiday Visa?

You can apply for an Ireland Working Holiday Visa if you are currently a higher education student or you have graduated less than a year prior to the date of application, and you meet the nationality and age restrictions set below.

Country Age limit
Hong Kong18-30
New Zealand18-30
South Korea18-30

Keep in mind: If you are from an EU/EEA member state or from Switzerland, you do not need a Working Holiday visa (or any other type of work permit) to come work in Ireland.

Ireland Working holiday rules

  • You must have citizenship from one of the countries above.
  • You cannot stay longer than the duration of the Irish Working Holiday Visa.
  • You cannot apply for a Working Holiday Authorization more than once.
  • You must have valid medical insurance for the duration of your stay.
  • You do not need to find a job before travelling – you can look for work once you are in Ireland.
  • You must have the necessary financial means to support yourself for the initial period of your stay (while you look for work).
  • You are allowed to pursue short-term studies of no longer than six months.
  • If you are from Australia: You cannot work for the same employer for longer than six months.
  • If you are from Hong Kong: You cannot work for the same employer for longer than three months.

Ireland Working Holiday Visa Requirements

When you submit your application for the Working Holiday Visa for Ireland, you must have the following documents:

  • The completed and signed Working Holiday Authorization application form.
  • The signed and dated agreement to Terms and Conditions.
  • The signed and dated Insurance Declaration
  • Colored photocopy of your passport, showing your personal details, your signature, and the validity. The passport must be valid for at least one year after you intend to travel to Ireland.
    • If you are from Canada, the passport must be valid for at least 30 months after entry.
  • Two recent, passport-size pictures in line with Ireland photo requirements.
  • Your current CV.
  • At least two references.
  • Proof that you are either a full-time, higher education student or that you have graduated less than 12 months from the date of application. For example, school transcripts, an official letter from your university, or your diploma/certificate, as applicable.
  • Original bank statements proving you can financially support yourself. You will need to have about €3,500.
  • Proof of travel medical insurance, valid for the entire duration of your trip (1 year).
    • If you are from Canada, you must sign a declaration promising to purchase private medical insurance in Ireland for your second year.
    • Medical insurance must cover €29,000 for accidents, disease, and hospitalization.
  • Payment of the postage fee.

How to apply for a Working Holiday Visa for Ireland?

In order to apply for an Ireland Working Holiday Visa, you have to download the application form for a Working Holiday Authorization (WHA) from the website of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFA). Look for the application form specific to your country. There could also be a Declaration form and Insurance form which you have to print, sign, and date.

You cannot apply for a Working Holiday Visa in Ireland – you must do it from your home country.

Where to apply?

Once you complete the application form, you have to submit it along with the required documents (see below) to the Irish embassy/consulate in your country.

If you are from Taiwan, you have to apply through The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS).

If you are from:Submit the application at:
ArgentinaThe Embassy of Ireland in Buenos Aires
AustraliaThe Embassy of Ireland in Canberra
CanadaThe Embassy of Ireland in Ottawa
ChilleThe Embassy of Ireland in Buenos Aires
Hong KongThe Consulate General of Ireland, Hong Kong
JapanThe Embassy of Ireland in Tokyo
New ZealandThe Ireland’s Honorary Consulate in Auckland
South KoreaThe Embassy of Ireland in Seoul

If you are applying from the USA

The Consulate General New York if you are from:

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North & South Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • West Virginia

The Consulate General Boston if you are from:

  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont

The Consulate General San Francisco if you are from:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Guam
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • Oregon
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

The Consulate General Chicago if you are from:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • North Dakota
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Oklahoma
  • Ohio
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin

The Embassy of Ireland, Washington DC if you are from:

  • The District of Columbia
  • Maryland
  • Virginia
  • Puerto Rico

You can either mail the application form along with the required documents to the address of the specific Irish embassy/consulate or you can drop them off yourself. For details of the embassy/consulate’s working hours or address, you will have to visit their website.

Waiting for processing

The Ireland Working Holiday Visa processing time is 6-8 weeks. If your application is accepted, you will receive it via mail to your address.

After that, you have 12 months to actually use your Working Holiday Authorization. The WHA will be activated once you land in Ireland. If you do not activate the WHA within 12 months, it will no longer be valid.

Taiwan citizens

If you are from Taiwan, you must download the application form for the Working Holiday Authorization from INIS’s website. Once you complete it, you must gather the required documents and register your interest in the Ireland Working Holiday scheme by contacting Taiwan’s Ireland handling agent via email.

The agent will then contact you back to inform you they have to conduct an initial assessment. After that, you will have to send the application form along with the required documents and paid fee to the address specified on INIS’s website.

After arriving in Ireland

Once you land in Ireland, you will have to go through Border Control, where the immigration officers will decide whether to grant you entry. Therefore, you will need to have your Working Holiday Authorization and copies of your documents with you.

Once the immigration officers grant you entry to Ireland, they will put a stamp on your passport which states the number of days you are allowed to stay in Ireland.

Before those days are up, you have to register at the Garda Naturalisation and Immigration Bureau (GNIB) and get your residence permit.

Everyone who wants to stay in Ireland for longer than 3 months has to get an Irish residence permit. You have to make an appointment with the immigration office and take your Working Holiday Authorization, your passport, and health insurance documents, as well as any other documents they specify in your appointment email. You will also have to pay a €300 registration fee.

Ireland Working Holiday Visa working hours

An Irish Working Holiday Visa allows you to work in Ireland full-time (up to 40 hours a week).

Ireland Working Holiday Visa duration

The Working Holiday Visa for Ireland is valid for a maximum of 12 months, unless you are from Canada.

If you are from Canada, the Working Holiday Visa is valid for 24 months.

Can you get an Ireland Working Holiday Visa extension?

No, you cannot extend your Irish Working Holiday Visa beyond the date it is issued. Once your WHV expires, you have to leave Ireland, or you will be staying illegally.

In addition, you cannot apply for another Working Holiday Visa again.

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