By the time I began looking into how to get an Ireland working holiday visa I had graduated from a college that not only offered but required a study abroad program. I had surpassed all requirements with three study abroad experiences by graduation.
In my sophomore year I did a three week, winter break, Spanish intensive in Cuernavaca, Mexico. In my junior year I did a spring semester in Limerick, Ireland through IFSA-Butler. And my final semester of college was spent in Meknes, Morocco through ISA.
When I graduated in 2011 I knew there was little chance I would be sticking around the United States. While the world of work visas was still entirely knew to me I had, somewhere along the road, heard about the working holiday program in Ireland. So I applied.
Ireland’s working holiday visa for residents of the United States is only available during a very specific time in your life. You are eligible to apply only if you are currently enrolled in full time post-secondary education. Online or part time students are not eligible. You are also eligible to apply if you have completed a post-secondary education within the past 12 months. I was a part of the latter group.
If you fall into one of the categories eligible to apply, the next step is to send a bundle into your nearest Irish consulate general or embassy. You can find very straight forward information on what that bundle has to include on the Irish Department of Foreign Trade and Affairs website. Perhaps the most daunting piece of the application package is the need to have access to a bank account with at least $4,000. As a fresh graduate or current student your accounts may not be looking quite so healthy. But there are two possibilities to fudge slightly on this one. First; you don’t need to be the only name on the account. If you have a joint account with a parent, or if they would add you to one of their accounts, that would do fine. Alternatively, the money only needs to be there as proof during the application process so if a parent, a friend, or an enemy, could plop the money in your account for a short period while your application gets processed you can then send the money back no harm, no foul.
That’s step one. Once you’ve passed that phase, you’ll send in a second package including your health insurance (if you’re not insured and need to buy travel insurance I very highly recommend World Nomads), a return ticket back from Ireland, as well as your original passport.
The length of time the whole process takes can vary, but as visa’s go this one is incredibly straightforward. I returned from my final semester of school in Morocco just before Christmas and my application was completed, accepted, the Ireland visa was in my passport, and I was back on Irish soil by March.
What did I do there? Read about my time working on an Irish horse yard…
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