Europe Working Holiday Visas for Australian Citizens

Europe Working Holiday Visas for Australian Citizens
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.

25 European countries offer working holiday visas to Australian citizens (or 26, if you count Turkey as part of Europe). This provides lots of options for young Aussies thinking about having a gap year in Europe!

With a working holiday visa, you’re typically allowed to live, work and travel within the destination country for up to a year. You’re also free to leave and re-enter the country as many times as you like during the year.

There’s no such thing as a working holiday visa for Europe (as a continent) because these visas are issued by individual countries. But with a working holiday visa from a European country that’s part of the Schengen Area, you can travel throughout Europe during your gap year!

Here’s what Australians need to know about working holiday visas in Europe…

Countries in Europe offering working holiday visas to Australians

The following European countries have working holiday visa agreements with Australia. You can click on any country in the interactive map for more information about the country and its working holiday visa requirements:

Note that Malta is not shown in the map above, but also has a working holiday agreement with Australia.

21 of these countries are part of the European “Schengen Area”. But Cyprus, Ireland, San Marino and the UK are not parties to the Schengen agreement. (In fact, the UK left the European Union altogether following Brexit.)

Turkey and Israel also have reciprocal working holiday agreements with Australia. They are not technically part of Europe, but are located within close proximity to continental Europe.

The European Schengen Area

So, what exactly is the Schengen Area and why does this matter?

While there are 27 member countries of the European Union (EU), not all of these countries share a common immigration & customs area.

Inside the Schengen Area, there are generally no internal border controls between countries. Except in specific emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic, people can freely travel between Schengen Area nations without any passport checks or customs controls. This makes travel within Europe much easier!

Of the countries that form the European Union, five are not currently part of the Schengen Area:

  • Ireland
  • Romania
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus

The latter four countries recently joined the EU and are planning to join the Schengen Area in the future.

Similarly, there are numerous countries that are not EU members but are part of the Schengen Area:

  • Switzerland
  • Iceland
  • Norway
  • Liechtenstein
Schengen Area country map
The Schengen Area countries in Europe. Map created with (click on the image to view a larger version).

The borders of the small nations of San Marino, Monaco and Vatican City are also open, although these countries are not part of the Schengen visa-free zone.

Travelling inside the Schengen Area with a working holiday visa

A working holiday visa from one of these countries does not permit you to live or work in other Schengen Area countries. You can only live and work in the country that issued your visa or residence permit.

But you are allowed to travel to other Schengen Area countries outside of the country where you are a resident for up to 90 days out of every 180 days. This provides lots of opportunity to travel to other countries across Europe on weekends or your days off work.

With cheap air and train travel widely available in Europe, there really is a lot you can see all over the continent – even on a budget! In fact, European low-cost airlines like Ryanair, easyJet and Wizz Air often sell flights for as low as $10-20. Of course, this price excludes checked baggage so you’ll need to get used to packing light!

If you’re based in a non-Schengen country (e.g. the UK), you can still travel to Schengen Area countries as a tourist for up to 90 out of every 180 days. But you’ll need to clear passport control each time you enter or exit the Schengen Area.

Matt Graham

Matt Graham

Matt is the founder of Working Holidays for Aussies. Passionate about travel and always looking for great deals, he believes that gap years & working holidays are the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture and gain invaluable life experience. Originally from Australia, Matt has travelled to over 60 countries and has lived in New Zealand, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.

10 thoughts on “Europe Working Holiday Visas for Australian Citizens

  1. Hi Matt does the working holiday visa only apply for that country? for example if I have a german working holiday visa, can I go work in france aswell?

    1. All the working holiday visas are specific to each country. So if you have a German working holiday visa, this only gives you the right to live and work in Germany.

  2. Do you recommend any websites to find seasonal work for Australians in Europe?

    1. I don’t have any specific recommendations, sorry. But if anyone else does feel free to leave a comment.

      If you have a particular place in Europe in mind, you may have better luck searching for seasonal work on local Facebook groups or through country-specific job agencies.

      If you’re looking for seasonal work in winter, a lot of Australians work in ski resorts in France/Austria so perhaps try looking there.

  3. If I get a working holiday visa for Italy and want to travel to Scotland for example, will my visa still be valid after I leave to go to a non-schengen country and then return to Italy?

    1. With a working holiday visa, you can leave and re-enter the destination country an unlimited number of times while the visa remains valid. So, you could leave Italy and then return – that’s not a problem, as long as your visa didn’t expire while you were outside of Italy.

  4. Hi Matt, do you know which country has the fastest WHV processing time while already in Europe on the 90 day tourist visa?

    1. Most countries don’t let you apply while already in the country, but Germany and the Netherlands are exceptions. Of these, Germany is usually quite fast to process working holiday visas applications (while Netherlands can take 2-3 months).

      You may also be able to apply for an Austrian working holiday visa at the Austrian embassy/consulate in Munich, Bratislava or Ljubljana, and the processing times shouldn’t be more than a few weeks.

      I’m not sure about other countries.

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