I get asked all the time how I went about going to Australia and what the process entails. Majority of countries have the same, if not very similar process as this one so hopefully this helps you out.
The first step is to apply for your visa. You can do this online very easily at the immigration website for the country you are applying to.
Here is the information for applying for an Australian Visa:
Now when applying you may ask yourself, “what kind of visa do I want/need?”
Odds are the type of visa you want is a Working Holiday Visa. This visa allows you to work to afford your holiday in that country (pretty self explanatory). You must be outside of the country to apply for the visa, and once accepted the visa does not “start” until you have entered the country. You do not get any paperwork in the mail for this. Visas are automatically linked to your passports so when they are scanned at the airports your visa is on record.
The Australian visa costs 400 AU (aus dollars). You must pay this in full when applying for the visa. Using your credit card is the easiest way. I applied for my visa late at night and when I woke up in the morning I had been granted the ability to work in Australia. It really is that easy. Of course other countries are going to be different, but the process is usually the same.
When arriving in Australia on a working holiday visa, you must have 5000 AU in your bank account at the time of arrival. You must bring with you a bank statement printed no later than a week before you arrived, which proves you have the proper funds to support yourself in case you cannot find a job. (Pay close attention to the time of year you are going to Australia. In Sept-Nov the Australian dollar is usually less than the Canadian dollar, meaning you’ll get more for your buck. However when I went in February, the dollars were at par and I lost money because of bank fees.)
You must also have either a plane ticket out of the country or prove to have the money to support yourself to leave the country after your visa is up. If you do not have a flight purchased they expect you to have roughly 6500 AU in your account. Now the working holiday visa subclass 417 allows you to stay for a year. If you want to stay for a second year you must do three months of agricultural work helping the environment in Australia and then you are eligible to apply for a second year visa. The cost of this one however is upwards of 1500 AU.
I’d just like to point out that I did not have a plane ticket home or enough money to buy it. The man at the border never asked me to prove how much money I had in my account either. This does happen often though. A friend of mine who had arrived in Australia a few months before me was not asked for this information either. I believe being a young women helps in this aspect haha. Also depends on what time of day you are arriving. I arrived at 10am. This means that the person at the border has not been at work for very long, and odds are has not had too stressful of a day just yet. I would not rely on this though. Save your money. Save the 5000 AU. You’ll need your money. You’ll be paying 3-4$ for a bottle of water or coke instead of the 1-2$ you were spending at home. Deodorant can cost you around 10$ as well. A 26er of liquor is upwards of 45$ as well.
When working in another country you must have MEDICAL INSURANCE. I went through Marlin Travel and bought a package for 500$ that granted me insurance coverage for a year abroad. Now the disadvantage with this one is that if you come home after one month, you do not get any money back. There are other insurance deals where you pay more but you get refunded for the days you did not spend abroad. However this cost substantially more.
If you do not know where you are staying permanently while away, PACK LIGHT. I brought a 40L backpack and a duffle bag. If I could go back, I would have left the duffle bag at home and settled for a smaller bag. It is not easy dragging that thing around the airport, trying to put it in our shoulder when your back pack is already there. But if you know where you are staying and you have a place to keep your things I would recommend taking a large suitcase or two, as well as a travel back pack. This way you can keep your suitcases at home and use the backpack when you are traveling around.
Buy an unlocked cellphone. I brought both my unlocked nexus 4 and my iphone 4 when I was abroad. With my nexus I got an Australian phone plan to talk to my friends in Australia, and i used my iphone on wifi to talk to people at home. When you are traveling abroad it is extremely expensive to have a phone unlocked in another country. So the key is either to buy an unlocked phone or have your phone unlocked before you leave.
Research about the country you are heading to. Research, research, research. Do this by reading books, online, asking people etc. I asked a friend of mine from Canada who was in Australia for things I should know that I would not have thought of. For the ladies, in Australia they do not have tampon applicators. Only the tampons and you have to shove those things in there yourself… so with this information I stocked up in Canada before heading over there. I even got to enlighten some of the girls I met on the tampon applicator. LOL.
The process for working in another country is a lot easier than you may think. So stop making excuses for why you cannot do it. You can.
SIDE NOTE: Check your bag before you leave the airport! A strap on my backpack broke during one of my transfer flights and the top opened up. I lost all of my toiletries, my birth control pills, my medicine, expensive perfume and a couple articles of clothing. But because someone put the strap back together I had no idea to check. I did not notice until I got to my friends house and went to have a shower and I had NO toiletries. My insurance could not do a thing for me because I had already left the airport before realizing. SO PLEASE, check your bags.
When booking a flight, keep in mind other countries by the one you are going to that may save you money if you make a stop there. Eg. If heading to Australia. It is cheaper to fly Toronto->Honolulu (stay in hawaii for a few days, a week etc) and then fly Honolulu->Sydney. At certain times of the year, it costs $300 to fly to Honolulu and then about $500-700 to fly to Sydney. If you were going to fly direct Toronto->Sydney you are looking at $1100-1500. So you’ll end up spending around the same amount of money if you spend a week in Honolulu on the way to Australia. Not too shabby.