Europe Working Holiday Visas for Australian Citizens
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.)
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:
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:
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.