In May 2015, James and I hit a minor roadblock. We were both ready to stop living and teaching in Korea for a multitude of reasons, but we wanted to stay together. Since neither of us wanted to return to our respective countries, we decided to hit the drawing board. After much deliberation, we decided to apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa in Korea
The extent of my knowledge of New Zealand went as far as the Lord of the Rings films. I knew there is lots of farmland and it offers some of the most breathtaking scenery on our planet. Had I imagined living and working in New Zealand? Not really.
As soon as we decided to apply for the New Zealand Working Holiday Visa in Korea, we discovered a few minor quirks that were involved in the process. Since I couldn’t find too much information about it at the time, I thought I would help out anyone who’s interested in taking the leap to Middle-earth!
Before moving abroad anywhere, it’s a must to compare travel medical plans. Getting stuck in a medical situation in a different country with no coverage can be complicated and scary, so always think ahead!
Applying for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa in Korea
Before we get started, there are a few things to consider. You are eligible to apply for the working holiday visa if you tick the following boxes:
- You are between the ages of 18-30
- You are a passport holder of these countries listed
- You are not pregnant and/or do not have children
- You are not a convicted felon or have a history of bankruptcy
Step 1: Use the online portal
This part of the visa process was easy. Too easy. What you’ll want to do is go to the New Zealand Immigration website and create an account. From there, you can browse several visa opportunities as well as find information about living and working in the country.
After creating the account, you can apply for the visa online using the website’s Immigration Online system.
The entire visa process took me about 10 minutes in total. After I’d completed it, I was actually a bit shocked that plugging inthe information was all it took. The best part about the process? Americans get into the country for free! For any British readers, James paid about 80 GBP (~$105.70 USD) for his visa. The only catch is that U.S. residents can only apply for a year-long visa, whereas Canadians and Brits can apply for two years.
Step 2: Make an appointment
Here’s where the application gets a bit tricky. Korea is considered high-risk for tuberculosis. Due to this, you’ll have to provide a chest X-ray with your application. There are only four approved hospitals in the entire country: three in Seoul and one in Busan.
I was a bit hesitant in this process as I’d literally never had a reliable medical situation in Korea, but it turned out okay. I’m fortunate to have lived in Gangnam, Seoul. If you live outside of the two major cities, you will have to travel for this part of the visa application.
Step 3: Get a chest X-ray
The chest X-ray was simple and required me to breathe in two or three times.
The rest of the process can get a bit stressful, though. The New Zealand government grants just a 15-day period between the visa approval date and receiving the chest scan results. Thankfully, this process gets sped up with the help of the eMedical program. You should still book in advance to secure a spot on the list.
The approved hospitals in Korea are aware of this deadline and should be understanding of the quick deadline. I went in for an appointment as soon as the hospital opened to ensure I was aware of each step of the process. As soon as my results came through, the nurse took me to the payment center. The chest scan cost me about 50,000 Korean Won, about $44.00 USD. Once the payment completed, I went back into the primary office and the nurse walked me through the eMedical process and I left for work.
Even if the eMedical seems sketchy, it isn’t. Don’t worry about sending the documents by mail; eMedical will send the forms electronically to the New Zealand government that day. You’ll be informed when the New Zealand immigration office receives the online documents.
What do I do after I’ve applied for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa In Korea?
Step 4: Refresh Google Chrome anxiously for several days
I think this speaks for itself. I refreshed my page religiously until one glorious afternoon when I discovered the good news. I was ecstatic when my visa had been approved. Bye, Felicia. *Sashays away.*
Step 5: Rejoice
No longer do you have to worry about how to apply for the New Zealand Working Holiday Visa in Korea! Once you’re granted the e-visa, you’ll have up to one year to enter the country. Be sure to print out a copy (or many if you’re like me) of the visa and keep it in a safe place. You’ll need it when you enter the country.
So, there you have it! Aside from the 15-day window of time, this visa application was easier than anything I could have imagined it to be. Once you’ve got everything sorted, you can begin the planning stages of the big move!
If you found this post hopeful or know anyone who is thinking of applying for the New Zealand Working Holiday Visa while they’re living in Korea, please share this! If you’re keen to spread the love, please PIN the image below to your favorite Pinterest board!