Working Holiday Visas for Australian Citizens Over 30
Most countries only offer working holiday visas to eligible people aged between 18 and 30 years old (inclusive). But if you’re an Australian citizen aged over 30, there are a still a few countries that may offer you a working holiday visa. This allows you to live, work and travel in another country for at least a year!
Five of the 43 countries offering working holiday visas to Australians have an age limit above 30. Portugal offers working holiday visas to Australians aged 18-31 years old. Canada, France and Ireland welcome backpackers aged 18-35. And the USA does not have an age limit – although you would need to be a university or TAFE student (or a recent graduate) to apply for the USA.
The usual rules still apply. For example, you wouldn’t be eligible for most working holiday visas if you have dependent children. But you don’t necessarily have to miss out just because of your age. If you meet all the other criteria, there are several working holiday visa options for 31-35 year-old Australians!
You’ll find more information below about working holiday visas for Australian citizens over 30 in each eligible country…
Working holiday visas for Canada
The International Experience Canada (IEC) program is open to Australians (and people from many other countries) aged 18-35 years old who don’t have a criminal record and will not be accompanied in Canada by dependent children.
The main requirements to become an IEC candidate are:
- Aged between 18-35 years old (inclusive) at the time of application
- Have a valid passport which won’t expire during your stay in Canada
- Have at least CAD$2,500 (approx. AUD2,550) to cover your initial expenses in Canada
- Have health insurance to cover the duration of your stay
- Have a return plane ticket to Canada or enough money to buy one
Another great thing about Canada’s working holiday program is that visas are valid for two years.
Working holiday visas for Ireland
Ireland is another country offering working holiday visas to Australian citizens aged 18-35 years old (inclusive, at the time of application).
The Irish working holiday visa is valid for 12 months and is relatively easy to apply for. The only other visa condition is that you would need at least AUD5,000 in savings, or AUD2,500 if you have already booked a return flight from Australia to Ireland.
Working holiday visas for France
France’s working holiday visa is also open to 18-35 year-old Australian citizens. Valid for up to 12 months, the other main conditions are that you’d need proof of savings and a return flight booked from Australia to France. But as with Canada, this visa is not available if you have dependent children.
Working holiday visas for Portugal
For some reason, Portugal advertises working holiday visas as being available to Australians aged 18-31 years old, inclusive. This gives Australians an extra year to apply for a Portuguese working holiday visa, compared to most other countries.
The Portuguese Work and Holiday visa has a few more eligibility conditions, though, than Ireland, France or Canada. These include:
- Hold tertiary qualification/s or have successfully completed at least two years of university study
- Speak at least a functional level of Portuguese
- Have sufficient savings to travel to/from Portugal and support yourself initially
- Hold travel & health insurance to cover your entire stay
Again, you would not be eligible if you have a criminal record or dependent children.
The USA Summer Work Travel Pilot Program
In lieu of traditional working holiday visas, the United States offers a “Summer Work Travel Pilot Program” under its J-1 visa category. This allows full-time Australian students to live, work and travel in the USA for up to 12 months.
This program does not have a prescribed age limit. However, one of the requirements is that you need to be currently enrolled as a full-time university or TAFE student in Australia – or have recently graduated during the past year.
The UK will soon increase its working holiday age limit
The UK currently offers Youth Mobility Scheme (T5) visas to Australian citizens aged 18-30 years old. These visas are valid for two years.
But in June 2021, the Australian and UK governments signed and in-principle agreement to expand their reciprocal working holiday agreement to cover 18-35 year-olds, who will soon also be allowed to stay in the other country for three years!
While this is great news for the future, the new agreement has not yet come into effect. This could happen sometime in 2022 or 2023, but no fixed date has been announced yet. Until this happens, the current visa rules will continue to apply.
Digital nomad visas are another alternative for over-30s
If you’re over 30 years old and would like to live and work in another country for a year, an alternative could be to apply for a digital nomad visa.
Digital nomad visas have become increasingly more common over the past year. They’re designed for people working remotely who have a reliable income stream from an overseas source.
With this type of visa, you probably won’t be allowed to work for a local employer in the country where you are living. But you will be allowed to stay and live in your chosen destination for up to a year, and generally won’t have to pay local taxes on the income you’re earning from overseas.
The list of countries offering digital nomad visas is quite different to the list of countries offering working holiday visas to Australians. But there is a little bit of overlap. For example, Estonia, Portugal, Norway and the Czech Republic offer both types of visas to Australian citizens.
If you work remotely, a digital nomad visa also opens up the possibility to live in countries including Mexico, Georgia, Mauritius, the UAE and many Caribbean nations which don’t have reciprocal working holiday visa arrangements with Australia!