Live & Work in Ireland with the Working Holiday Authorisation (WHA) Programme
News08 September 2022
A road on the Inishowen Head Loop
Live & Work in Ireland for up to 12 Months!
The Working Holiday Authorisation (WHA) programme is a joint initiative of the United States and Ireland which allows eligible U.S. and Irish citizens to travel and work in each other’s countries for up to 12 months.
Who is eligible to apply?
The WHA programme is open to any U.S. citizen over the age of 18 who:
a) is currently in full-time (i.e. not part time or online) post-secondary (i.e. post high school) education, inside or outside the US, leading to an Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctorate degree, or;
b) is currently in full-time (i.e. not part time or online) post-secondary (i.e. post high school) education, inside or outside the US, leading to certificate/diploma leading to a degree described at a) above, or;
c) has graduated from a programme of study described at a) or b) above within the 12 months prior to receipt of their application by the relevant Consulate/Embassy; and who
d) meets all other requirements to be eligible for the programme.
How is ‘Graduation Date’ defined?
Applicants are considered eligible for the WHA programme if their application form and initial documentation are received within 12 months of the date of the conferral of their degree, or the date on their diploma, whichever is earlier.
How can I apply?
The application form and a list of required supporting documentation can be found at https://www.dfa.ie/irish-embassy/usa/our-services/visas/working-holiday-authorisation/ Applications may be submitted by mail or in person. The Consulate in Atlanta does not process visa applications, therefore:
- U.S. citizens resident in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina can apply via the Consulate General of Ireland in New York
- U.S. citizens resident in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee can apply via the Consulate General of Ireland in Chicago.
What is the application fee and how should it be paid?
The WHA application fee is currently $339. The fee, plus additional return postage, is payable by money order, cashier's cheque or bank draft made out to the relevant Consulate General of Ireland. Please check with your nearest Consulate General for the postage charges in your region.
Do I need to have a job lined up before applying?
No. It’s not necessary to have confirmed employment in Ireland before applying for a WHA or before travelling to Ireland.
For how long is the authorisation valid?
Once approved, you will receive an working holiday authorisation (WHA) document which grants authorization to work and travel in Ireland for up to 12 months. This period starts on the date of the applicant’s arrival in Ireland which, in turn, must be within six months of the date of issue on the WHA document. If the applicant does not use their WHA document to enter Ireland within this six-month period, the authorization is considered void and the applicant must apply again if they still wish to participate in the program. The authorisation cannot be extended.
I have received my authorisation document. What should I do before I leave for Ireland?
Within 90 days of arrival, you must register with the Garda Naturalization and Immigration Bureau (GNIB) or your nearest Garda Síochána District Headquarters to receive your Garda (police) registration card. We recommend scheduling your appointment before entering Ireland.
What should I do upon arrival in Ireland?
Within 90 days of arrival in Ireland, you must obtain your IRP (Irish Residence Permit) card. There is a fee of €300 for issue of this card. We recommend you schedule an appointment before you depart for Ireland. Information regarding registration for the IRP card can be found here: www.irishimmigration.ie
Are there limitations on what type of employment I can secure?
No. The WHA programme does not impose any restrictions on the type of work participants can engage in, as long as it is in line with Irish law.