The Country of pizza, art, history, aperol spritz, gelato, sunshine and love. A place that everyone dreams of visiting one day.
What better chance to see this beautiful country, than spending 365 days immersed in their culture & language?
Fortunately for us New Zealanders, a Working Holiday Visa Agreement was signed between Italy and NZ in 2001, allowing New Zealanders between the age of 18-30 to live in Italy for one year, with the ability to work for a total of 6 months (no more than 3 months with each employer).
I have written a guide below on how to apply for an Italian Working Holiday Visa. If you are intending on applying for an Italian Working Holiday Visa yourself – I hope these steps help, as I wish I had something like this to follow when I was applying for mine 🙂 *Please do note this is purely based on my experience
A full list of the requirements can be found on the Embassy of Italy in Wellington website.
The applicant must
- Be a New Zealand citizen resident in New Zealand;
- Satisfy the visa officer that his/her primary intention is to holiday in the Italian Republic, with employment being an incidental rather than a primary reason for the visit;
- Be aged between 18 and 30 years inclusive at the time of application;
- Not be accompanied by children;
- The applicant must enter Italy within 3 months from the date of issue of the visa; if not, it will automatically expire and will no longer be able to be used.
General Requirements for all applicants:
- National Visa Application Form. Application must be signed in front of a Justice of the Peace (J.P). You can find more information on how to fill out this application form below.
- A passport size photograph
- Bank cheque (not personal cheque) payable to the Italian Embassy to cover the visa fee. This can be organised at your local bank. This fee can change from quarter to quarter. You can check the amount to be paid following this link. At the time of my application, the fee was NZD $191.
- Passport valid at least 90 days after the final departure from Italy.
- Prepaid self-addressed courier envelope with attached “Courier with Signature” label (to be purchased separately). For Rural deliveries please include also a “Rural Delivery label” (also purchased separately). This is for them to send your passport pack after sticking in the Visa.
- Certificate of insurance confirming full unlimited medical and hospital cover for the entire validity of the visa (or up to Euro 30.000). The travel insurance must to be bought for 365 days (from when you arrive in Italy) regardless the length of staying in Italy as the W/H Visa will be granted exactly for 365 days and multiple entries
I purchased my insurance through World Nomads. This was the best option for me because I was actually spending a month in USA prior to my arrival date in Italy. Most insurance companies only offer 365 days from the date you leave your home country, and I needed to purchase more than this. World Nomads was great as it gave me the option to book as far in advance as needed to cover the 365 days in Italy.
- A credit card/bank statement in your name showing the amount of NZD $5500 or an international bank draft made payable to the applicant in Euro for the equivalent of NZD $5500. Please add an extra NZ$ 1000.00 if return ticket has not been purchased.
I purchased a one way ticket so I needed proof of NZ$6500 in my bank account. At my bank (Westpac), I asked for them to print a copy of my bank account with the available funds visible. They then were able to stamp and sign this as an official document.
- Travel itinerary/copy of airline ticket showing the point of entry in Italy
I Caught a train from Paris to Milan and then a train from Milan to Florence. I printed a copy of all these bookings and put them in order of date and highlighted dates.
- Confirmation of hotel reservations or of alternative accomodation with addresses. You must provide confirmation of accomodation from the date you arrive in Italy and for approximately the first 10 days you are in Italy.
I booked a Hostel for my first week in Florence, and then had an Airbnb booked after the Hostel. I wasn’t able to book the Airbnb early enough as it wasn’t available. For these, I printed my email confirmations and highlighted the dates.
- The flight from NZ to Italy. The Italian Embassy in NZ states they can only accept flights direct to Italy and not to other countries in the Schengen Area. This means as soon as you arrive in Europe, you must go straight to Italy and not spend a few days in another country before arriving.
I flew from Auckland to Los Angeles, Los Angeles to New York, New York to Paris, Caught a train from Paris to Milan and then a train from Milan to Florence. I printed a copy of all these bookings and put them in order of date and highlighted dates.
A one way fly ticket can be bought (this is what I did), as long as the applicant has sufficient funds. In this case, a bank statement with at least NZD $6,500 must be presented to the Visa office.
National Visa Application Form
- Surname at birth (If different)
- First name and middle name
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Country of birth
- Current Nationality/Nationality at birth (If different)
- Sex (M/F)
- Marital Satus
- Skip if over 18
- National Identity Number (I left this blank)
- Type of travel document
- Passport Number
- Issue date of Passport
- Expiry date of Passport
- Who the passport was issued by
- Home address, email address and telephone number
- Skip if only a resident in NZ and not another country also
- Current occupation
- Employer and employers address
- Main purpose of journey – I selected other and wrote Tourism
- City of destination – This will be your city of choice for your arrival in Italy. Mine was Florence.
- Member state of first entry – Specify the country where you will be entering the Schengen area. I flew from New York to Paris, so I put France as my Member State.
- Number of entries required – select multiple entries
- Duration of intended stay – write 365
- Skip if you have not been issues any Schengen visas in the past 3 years
- Skip if skipped #26
- Intended arrival date in Schengen Zone
- Intended departure date from the Schengen Zone
- Cost of travelling and living is covered during stay – I just wrote yes
Tick by the applicant himself/herself and tick your means of support – Mine were cash, prepaid accomodation and credit card
- n/a if you don’t have a family member in the EU
- n/a if you don’t have a family member in the EU
- Place and date *** Please wait to do this until you have a Justice of Peace present as it must be signed in front of them
- Signature*** Please wait to do this until you have a Justice of Peace present as it must be signed in front of them
Once you have filled out the application and triple checked it to make sure all the information is correct, find a local Justice of Peace so you can sign your application.
I have completed all the requirements – Now what?
By now you should have all of the requirements to be eligible for the Working Holiday Visa. If it is 3 months or under until your departure date, you can send everything to the Italian Embassy. Make sure you photocopy everything before you post it. I put all my documents etc in order of the requirements on the Embassy’s Website. I also made a table of contents and added sticky notes to mark each section. (Anything you can do to make the Embassy’s job easier will help things work in your favour).
Embassy of Italy
34-38 Grant Road,
Good luck!! Please don’t hesitate to ask for help if you have any questions regarding your visa application. They say the process time takes up to 15 days but I received my passport back with the Visa after 3 days. Please let me know how you get on with your visa in the comments 🙂
Please keep in mind that once you arrive in Italy you will have to apply for a Permesso di soggiorno (Residence Permit). This process can take up to 6 months. Without this residence permit you cannot open a bank account. Fortunately a receipt of application is valid enough for work (if needed). The application for the Permesso di soggiorno is a whole nother process and I found this much harder than the application for the visa. I will write some advice on how to apply for this in another post.