Apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa in Korea

Apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa in Korea

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!

new zealand working holiday visa in korea

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.

new zealand working holiday visa in korea

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!

Pin me, please!

Pin me, please!



  1. July 26, 2016 / 12:08 am

    This is really good to know and helpful for anyone looking on how to easily apply! I’ve always wanted to go to New Zealand, except now I think I will just have to visit! I’m turning 30 in a few months! 🙁

    • July 26, 2016 / 12:11 am

      You can still apply when you’re 30, but have to get here before your 31st birthday I believe. I would still look into it if it’s possible!

  2. July 27, 2016 / 7:26 pm

    This is a really fantastic post Laura! I remember looking into New Zealand a few years ago, as the idea of picking apples really appealed to me then (not so much now haha). I do think the process is a bit harder for South Africans (I think?) although I could be wrong!
    Dale and I were also thinking about going to work on a dairy farm in New Zealand as a lot of the dairy farmers here in South Africa base their systems on the NZ farms.
    Will be sharing this post with any friends I know thinking about heading over there 🙂

    • July 28, 2016 / 9:25 pm

      Thanks! Yeah, the idea of working on an orchard has never really interested me or my boyfriend. There’s plenty you can do here without working on a dairy farm or picking fruit which is what attracted us here as we can continue to bolster our resumes while not having to head back home! Thanks for reading, girl!

  3. July 28, 2016 / 12:14 pm

    When my husband retired from the Navy, he thought of moving from KOrea to New Zealand for a new job and lifestyle but then we changed our minds. I would love to liuve in NZ but someone tiold us it is expensive to live there.

    • July 28, 2016 / 9:27 pm

      It can be expensive, but I find it similar pricing to living in a larger city in America. The minimum wage here is far higher than it is in America, which makes it easier in my opinion. It’s been lovely so far and I can’t wait to explore more!

  4. July 29, 2016 / 12:43 am

    I live in New Zealand, I emigrated from the UK 10 years ago. It’s an incredible country. I strongly recommend anyone visiting or living here.

  5. July 29, 2016 / 6:54 am

    I’m far over 30 so can’t apply for this anymore. Ah well, the weather is too similar to my hone country anyway so I’m not interested to be there more than a few weeks. It’s fantastic that you wrote this post and helped to inform people how to apply, because I bet there are a lot of people in a similar situation as yours. Most people would just apply and forget about it. Well done.

  6. July 29, 2016 / 6:55 am

    This is such a useful post! There has honestly been a mass exodus of Scottish people to New Zealand and Oz recently haha! I would love to visit one day- my boyfriend is 31 so we wouldn’t be able to do a working holiday visa there so a holiday would need to do.I hope you and James settle into your new life there, can’t wait to read all about your adventures 🙂

  7. July 29, 2016 / 11:25 am

    All the best in your new home. We have been wanting to visit New Zealand as we are only living in Australia. Yes, very close but never had a chance to. One day, I know, we will be able to visit. This post would be really helpful for those who want to work in New Zealand as well.

  8. July 30, 2016 / 7:52 am

    Visa for traveler is really very vital in knowing the status and restrictions. New Zealand is a great country to visit because of its nature and praceful places.

  9. July 30, 2016 / 8:18 am

    I have always been dreaming of traveling to other countries. But New Zealand was not one of the top five until I saw the pictures here.

  10. July 30, 2016 / 8:23 am

    Loads of information in this post. Thanks for the lovely share.

    I wish to visit NZ for a quick family holiday one day. I am thinking it won’t be too impossible as we are only neighbours, hehe.

    It’s great to be here. Hope you have a fabulous weekend!

  11. July 30, 2016 / 5:47 pm

    Guess I’m too old to work there, dang! All the best in your New Zealand travels and let us know what you get yourself into!

    • August 1, 2016 / 5:20 am

      I have been thinking a lot about the age thing, and it does seem a bit strange. ALthough, I guess they had to make the cut-off at some point. Regardless, thanks so much for reading! I’m looking forward to exploring a bit more once I’m settled a bit more!

  12. July 31, 2016 / 12:09 pm

    New Zealand is a beautiful country. It is one of my bucket list. These tips are very helpful for people who wants to work and migrate to New Zealand.

  13. July 31, 2016 / 1:20 pm

    Well, this is very much applicable for singles who have plans in giving a try of their fate on other countries such as NZ indeed. It’s just so saddening that there are qualifications before one can apply for an NZ working holiday visa. But nonetheless, this post is really informative!

  14. July 31, 2016 / 1:41 pm

    I always find it astounding when processes are actually straightforward and logical (especially being in Korea). Maybe working in New Zealand would mean my mum would actually come visit me! 😂😂😂

    • August 1, 2016 / 5:18 am

      HA! Yes, “logic” and “sensible” are certainly not two words I would ever associate Korean culture with. I was happy the medical bit was streamlined as I literally hated having to do anything there medical-related. New Zealand is awesome and definitely more inviting and tourist-friendly than Korea! <3

  15. July 31, 2016 / 4:02 pm

    Oh crap, I just turned 31! No…!
    Good to read about this though. I wish I had known earlier, but I got married at 24 so I doubt my hubby would let me fly alone there without a plan, haha!
    Thanks for sharing! I’ll keep this in mind in case another friend is bitten by a travel bug, haha

    • August 1, 2016 / 5:08 am

      Thanks, Jackie! We had half a plan when we came but I definitely understand your point. Happy belated birthday, by the way!

  16. August 1, 2016 / 1:34 am

    When your ‘Bye, Felicia’ link redirects to… I dont like Korea post. HAHAHA you crack me up. Girl, I bet your sashaying is ON POINT! Love the humor your inserted into a kinda post that is usually so dry. Also the beginning paragraph = the same exact issue with Tim and I but we all talked about that didn’t we 😛 We were gonna do Australia but Tim was already 31 at the time… so sad. Hahah I will keep this in mind just in case *heartbreak* happens *knocks on wood.*

    • August 1, 2016 / 5:15 am

      Oh girl you know I can sashay! It was basically like RuPaul running down the runway desperate to get out of the current situation. Awkward but necessary! The cut off of age does seem slightly ageist, but I suppose there has to be some sort of limit. You guys can always visit for an extended period of time. No breakups! <3

  17. August 1, 2016 / 7:54 am

    This is super interesting and something I could do in the future. I like how you highlighted the process and what you need to do so!

  18. August 1, 2016 / 8:43 am

    I’m surprised to see the Philippines here. This will be very helpful for some of our young ones who are interested to go to NZ on a working holiday visa. I will share this, definitely.

  19. August 1, 2016 / 2:07 pm

    It is my dream to migrate to New Zealand. I am already in my mid 40s so I am also careful and meticulous with my planning since time (and money) is essential to fulfil my goals.

    I probably would try to enter NZ as a student and start from there. 🙂 It’s never too late to start something…

    • August 1, 2016 / 7:17 pm

      You’re an inspiration! It’s definitely never too late! Keep me updated on your progress. You’re awesome, Ria! <3

  20. August 2, 2016 / 11:36 am

    I”m sure this post will help a lot of those who are in Korea and who wants to go to New Zealand. Great post.

  21. August 9, 2016 / 3:10 pm

    I’m loving that you’re in New Zealand right now. Its definitely a bucket list country and I’d consider living there in a heartbeat. Do you feel like it’s easy to travel to other countries from there too?

  22. August 12, 2016 / 3:15 am

    Travelling is already in my bucketlist and of course one of the paces I would like to visit is NZ! It is my ultimate goal however to bond with my eldest child in Japan should there be an opportunity for us to do so

  23. Jonnae
    October 18, 2016 / 4:34 am

    This is so helpful. I’m currently living in Korea and wanted to make the move to New Zealand, Didn’t know it would be this easy so thank you so much for this.

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