Working Holidays New Zealand: Preparations before the trip
Guide to obtaining visas, travel insurance and cheap flights
We lived in New Zealand for over half a year, traveled, worked on an apple farm, and met a bunch of great people. I would like to share some useful tips and information with you that could make your traveling and beginnings in New Zealand much easier. In the following article, I will focus on everything important you should know before going to New Zeland.
Getting Working Holidays Visas
Unlike the new 2016 process for Canada, New Zealand follows the same method of previous years. So, on a specific day, generally, at the beginning of March each year (March 2, 2016), an annual quota is opened for Czech citizens, and a frantic clicking battle begins. The winner is the one, who manages to fill out the form as soon as possible, sends the application and successfully pays the fee. It also depends on your good luck, that the system lets you send the request correctly. System failures are common, and when you log back into the application, the quota may be already filled. You have 1,200 spots per year (depends on the country you're from), and the quota is usually filled within 20 minutes after opening (in 2014 it took about 45 minutes).
Be prepared and practice in advance on the German application form (Germans have no restrictions) so you spare yourself unwanted surprises once you do it live.
In 2014 I got unpleasantly surprised as well. Due to the fact that New Zealand has not been so popular in recent years and that vacancies have still appeared a few months after opening, I didn't stress out and wasn't online at the announced hour of opening quota. I logged into the visa application system 40 minutes after opening, and to my surprise, the quota was already filled. 1,200 places distributed in 40 minutes! I didn't really expect such high demand!
In such a situation, I can recommend the following - don't stop trying. During the process of filling out the application form, many people might get kicked out by the system and you will get a little further. After two hours of uninterrupted page refreshing, the system let me proceed to fill out all the information, but I got stuck before making payment. Before entering the payment gateway page, the system lastly checks for vacancies and, if the capacity is filled, does not allow any payment.
An unpaid application is not a valid application, as I later got confirmed in the communication with the immigration office.
Do not despair! I didn't give up, and for a period of the next four weeks, I regularly (constantly) checked the Czech Holiday Work Scheme page. Believe it or not, but exactly 4 weeks after the capacity has been filled, ONE free spot reappeared and I was able to pay for the visa and finish off my application!!
On the Czech forums, there was a mention of another 1-2 such released places. I recommend not giving up and trying as hard as you can!
What are the necessary prerequisites for obtaining a Working Holiday visa?
- 18-35 years (at the time of filing the application), impunity, buy a return ticket (or have the money to purchase such a ticket), buy travel health insurance for the entire duration of your stay, disposable 4200 NZD (about 2,830 USD).
- Working Holiday visa can be used only once in a lifetime.
- Pay a fee of NZD 208 (check the fee: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas/apply-for-a-visa/tools-and-information/tools/office-and-fees-finder
If you have traveled around the world in the past and have spent longer than 3 months in one or more countries that are not on the list of countries with a low risk of TBC over the last 5 years, you will need to supply the Chest X-Ray Certificate. More on health assumptions here: http://www.immigration.govt.nz/NR/rdonlyres/DD2D2D27-DD49-4A62-96CC-3A1F32223C8E/0/INZ1121.pdf
Where can I get the X-ray?
And visit one from the panel approved physicians: link here
According to information from March 2016, there is only one certified doctor in Prague (Dr. Patočková in Prague). In 2014, I received my lung X-ray from Mudr. Abdul Salam Alazani at Kartouzske 6 in Prague for 1000 CZK (44 USD), which is unfortunately not on the panel of authorized doctors any longer.
There has been another significant change made in the last two years. It is no longer required to send the paper form of the certificate by post to London. This will be done by the doctor through the online channel. The doctor will now send all the information directly to the immigration office.
When do I get the visa?
There is nothing else you can do now but wait. Delivering lung x-rays through online services significantly reduces processing times. In my case (sending by post), I have been waiting for almost 2 weeks until the letter arrived in London and a positive decision to issue the work visa has been made (almost immediately). Now I would expect the decision should be made within one week tops.
The visa is multi-entry, for 12 months, and you have up to one year from the date of issuance of the visa to visit New Zealand.
Well, we have the visa in our pocket. Now it's the time to fulfill one of the basic prerequisites for entering New Zealand, and that is the purchase of travel insurance (for the entire length of stay).
Note: the following info refers to Czech citizens only. Conditions vary by country.
I have already several times used the AXA travel insurance for my long journeys. Take a look at the online comparison of all insurance companies to have a clear idea about the prices and conditions:
AXA was the cheapest annual insurance on the market. Thank God so far I haven't had a chance to test the assistance services. If the low cost is your main condition, Slavia (3.5 million CZK) or VZP (2 million CZK) annual insurance starts at 7300 CZK.
When you travel to New Zealand under the Working Holiday Scheme, it is assumed that most people leave the Czech Republic for more than 6 months. Therefore, there is a possibility to sign out of the Czech health insurance and not to pay 1803 CZK per month (as OBZP). Just go to the insurance company, fill out the form, return the insurance card and that's it. Upon arrival back to the Czech Republic, it is needed to provide the insurance company with printed information about your valid travel insurance for the entire stay outside the CZ (can be the email travel insurance confirmation). If you legally work in New Zealand, your employer should pay for your health insurance.
What about the flight tickets?
When purchasing a ticket, don't use any mediocre intermediary agencies. They might offer you a better-priced return ticket with a stopover/layover option with a hotel included in the price, that's true. But If you google a bit, you will find out that most of the well-known airline companies anyway pay for the accommodation if the layover time is longer than the predetermined minimum time. Detailed information on the conditions of paid accommodation by airline companies in case of longer stopovers you can find here:
I also recommend considering the option of purchasing a one-way ticket only. An overwhelming majority of my Czech friends in New Zealand has bought a "well-priced" return ticket with a departure in 12 months for a great 23-25,000 CZK (1,100 USD). At first glance, this bargain purchase has its downsides too. You can book your flight ticket for the next 12 months at most - airlines upload tariffs for the following 12 months only. So let's say, if you buy a ticket in advance half a year before your departure to New Zealand, you might be able to buy a return ticket for a date not exceeding a 6 month period following the date of your arrival in New Zeland. If you want to stay for one year, you might need to postpone your flight for more than 6 months. That means you might need to change your booking and settle the related fees.
Many people have loved New Zealand so much, that they've decided to extend their stay for another three months (after full year is completed). Not to mention the people who have decided to travel around Oceania or Asia after finishing their visa in New Zealand. In such cases, the purchased return ticket wholly forfeits.
To have an idea, I share my flight ticket costs (one-way ticket for one person Prague-Auckland).
Flight Prague - Dubai - Bangkok for 2,209 CZK (97 USD) with Dubai Emirates (airtickets24 deal)
In Dubai, we slept in the airport and had a whole day to explore the city. After that, we stayed for 5 beautiful days in Bangkok.
Flight Bangkok - Melbourne - Auckland for 7,045 CZK (310 USD) with Jetstar (deal 2 for 1)
In total, for all flights on the route Prague - Auckland we paid as low as 9254 CZK (407 USD)!
All you have to do is search regularly for deals. Find out what are the cheap routes, and you can find your bargain ticket too.
To find cheap flights, I recommend:
The best deals you will get on the routes via Bangkok (3.5-6,000 CZK, 154 - 264 USD) and Australia (Bangkok - Australia from 7,000 CZK, 308 USD). Also consider low-cost destinations such as Kuala Lumpur, Singapore or Bali (Bali Denpasar - Auckland from 8,000 CZK, 352 USD). On this clear example, I'm proving to you, that you can get cheap tickets without any intermediaries and have absolute freedom to decide for yourself when you're gonna fly back.
Before your departure, think about your obligations to the state. E.g., sign out of health insurance, file your tax report, create a data box for possible communication with the authorities (if necessary), issue a power of attorney to someone from the family to pick up your mail or to act on your behalf if needed.
In advance, it is advisable to scan important documents in case of loss. Go to the doctor to get some preventive checks done, especially to the dentist. Purchase pills and contraceptives.
I recommend opening both current and savings account (for example, with Airbank) and having most of the funds on the savings account - in case of misuse of your payment card (linked to the current account only).
Unsubscribe from any call bundles and other services in the Czech Republic.
Do not forget the international driving license!