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US-Ireland Working Holiday Agreement

Covid19 Notice

  1. I want to apply to travel to Ireland under the WHA. Can I do so?

  • Due to the COVID19 crisis, we are operating visa and consular services in cases of emergency only. Keep an eye on our website to see when routine services will resume.
  1. I submitted a WHA application before the outbreak of COVID19. What has happened to my application?

  • Applications already made will remain on file until operations resume as normal. You will be contacted once it has been processed.
  1. I am currently in Ireland under the WHA programme. Will my permission to remain be extended?

  • On 20 March, the Department of Justice and Equality announced that in light of the uncertainties caused by COVID19, permissions to remain in Ireland which were due to expire between 20 March and 20 May would be automatically extended for two months. Subsequently on 13 May, it was announced that permissions due to expire between 20 May and 20 July would be automatically extended for an additional two months. These extensions apply to those on permissions related to the WHA. 
  • For more information on these and future announcements, click here , and for a useful list of FAQs on immigration in Ireland, click here.
  1. I was in Ireland under the WHA programme, but returned to the United States due to the COVID19 situation. Can I return in the future on my current permissions?

  • If you have registered with the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service and have been issued with an Irish Residents Permit (IRP) during your initial stay, you may return to Ireland until that permission expires.
  • If you have not yet registered, you should contact the Registration Office at burghquayregoffice@justice.ie
  1. I currently hold a valid WHA but have not yet travelled to Ireland. Can I still travel? What if it expires?

  • Due to the current COVID19 crisis, both the Irish and United States governments advise against non-essential international travel
  • If your WHA authorisation letter states that you must enter during calendar year 2020, no further action is necessary. You may be able to travel ahead of the end of the year.
  • If your authorisation letter states that you must enter within 6 months of the date of issue of the letter, you may now enter anytime up until the end of 2020. Your original Working Holiday Authorisation letter will suffice for entry into Ireland, should you seek to do so after the original 6 month time limit.

The Working Holiday Agreement between Ireland and the US allows Irish and US citizens to work and travel in each other's country for up to 12 months.

In 2008 Ireland and the US signed a memorandum of understanding on a 12 month Intern Work and Travel Pilot Programme (a.k.a. the Working Holiday Agreement) that enables Irish and US citizens to work and travel in each other's country for up to 12 months. The agreement reflects not only the close historical and cultural links between Ireland and the United States of America, but also the vibrancy of the modern economic and commercial relationship between our countries.

The Working Holiday Agreement is intended to facilitate US citizens who wish to travel for an extended period in Ireland and to engage in employment as an incidental aspect of their holiday.   

Irish citizens who wish to avail of the provisions of the Working Holiday Agreement  to travel to the US should consult the websites of the US Embassy in Dublin and/or the US Department of State for more information about the Intern Work and Travel Pilot Program with Ireland  (a.k.a. Intern work/travel: Irish).

This programme is separate to and does not affect the operation of the highly successful Summer Work Travel or Intern visa programmes. For information on these, please consult the website of the US Embassy in Dublin and/or the US Department of State

Eligibility

Any US 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

may be considered eligible for the programme as long as they meet all other requirements. See “how to apply” tab for further details.

How to apply (US citizens only)

NB These instructions refer to US participants only. Irish citizens who wish to avail of the provisions of the Working Holiday Agreement  to travel to the US should consult the websites of the US Embassy in Dublin and/or the US Department of State for more information about the Intern Work and Travel Pilot Program with Ireland  (a.k.a. Intern work/travel: Irish).

US citizens wishing to travel to Ireland under the terms of the Agreement may apply for a US Working Holiday Authorisation (WHA) directly through the relevant Consulate General or Embassy.

Note: All commercial suppliers of assistance with the application should be treated with due caution. The Embassy and Irish Consulates are not represented by these commercial suppliers and do not vouch for their services.

The application process consists of two stages.

Stage 1:

The applicant must submit the following documentation to the relevant Consulate General or Embassy:

  • 2 recent identical passport-sized photographs with applicant’s name on the reverse;
  • Current CV/résumé (with at least 2 references)
  • Evidence that the applicant is currently in full-time post-secondary education, or has graduated within the 12 months prior to receipt of their application (see Eligibility tab) e.g. diploma, or if a degree or diploma has not yet been conferred, applicants can submit another form of proof such as their official transcripts or a letter from their university, to show that they graduated within the 12 months prior to receipt of their application by the Consulate/Embassy, or that they are still studying. In all cases original documents should be provided. These will be returned to you.
  • Original bank statement showing that you have access to at least $4,000;
  • The relevant non-refundable fee (see below) payable by money order, cashier's cheque or bank draft made out to the relevant Embassy/Consulate only. Please note that the postage costs are based on the average postage costs for the region covered by each office.

Office

Fee

Return Postage

Total

Consulate General of Ireland, New York

(processes applications from US citizens resident in Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, New York, North & South Carolina, Pennsylvania and West Virginia)

$339

$13

$352

Consulate General of Ireland, Boston

(processes applications from US citizens resident in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont)

$339

$15

$354

Consulate General of Ireland, Chicago

(processes applications from US citizens resident in Alabama, Arkansas, North Dakota, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin)

$339

$13

$352

Consulate General of Ireland, San Francisco

(processes applications from US citizens resident in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming)

$339

$21

$360

Embassy of Ireland, Washington

(processes applications from US citizens resident in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia and Puerto Rico)

$339

$21

$360

 

Once the Embassy or Consulate has received and is satisfied with the documentation above, the application will be approved in principle and the applicant notified. The application then proceeds to stage 2.

Stage 2:

The applicant must then submit the following documentation to the relevant Consulate General or Embassy:

  • Return airline tickets; [see FAQ tab on airline tickets]
  • Certificate of medical/travel insurance valid for the duration of the trip (based on dates on tickets) (see FAQ tab on medical insurance)
  • The applicant’s original United States passport valid for at least a full year after ticketed date of entry

When the Embassy or Consulate has received and is satisfied with this second stage documentation, the Working Holiday Authorisation (WHA) will be issued.

You may submit your application documentation to us by post (mail) or in person. If you wish to submit your application by post/mail, we strongly recommend that you use registered (certified) mail or a reputable courier company. The Embassy/Consulates cannot be held responsible for documentation lost in transit. If you wish to submit your application in person, please check the visa section of the website of the relevant Consulate General or Embassy (Our Services/Visas) as some restrictions may apply (e.g. appointment times).

On arrival in Ireland

The market for short-term casual work in Ireland is highly competitive and adequately supplied by the large number of school leavers and other young Irish and EU nationals looking for work. Getting your WHA is not a guarantee of finding work. If you hold a Working Holiday Agreement you are permitted to work from your date of entry to the State once your passport has been endorsed by an Immigration Officer at a Port of Entry confirming the purpose is to “take up employment under a WHA”.

Immigration controls

Even if you have a WHA, you’re still subject to normal immigration controls when you enter Ireland. As a non-EU national, you must register with the Garda National Immigration Bureauto stay in Ireland for more than 90 days.  There is a fee of €300 for the issue of a Garda (police) registration card.  It is a criminal offence to not register within ninety days. Persons seeking an appointment for the purposes of registration may encounter delays in securing an appointment. Working Holiday Agreement holders may book their appointment before they leave for Ireland.”

WHA holders will also need to obtain a Personal Public Service Number (PPSN). Information on how to obtain a PPSN can be found on the Department of Social Protection.

Frequently asked questions

Please read this in conjunction with the information in the “eligibility” and “how to apply” tabs.

This advice refers to US participants only, Irish citizens who wish to avail of the provisions of the Working Holiday Agreement to travel to the US should consult the websites of the US Embassy in Dublin and/or the US Department of State.

What type of “post secondary education” must I be engaged in / have graduated from in order to be eligible for the programme?

I am studying for / have recently graduated with a professional qualification (e.g. nursing, accountancy etc), am I eligible to participate in the programme?

I am a US citizen currently studying outside the US, am I eligible to participate in the programme?

I am in high school, am I eligible to participate in the programme?

I have graduated from high school within the last 12 months but am not currently in full-time education, am I eligible to participate in the programme?

How is the date of graduation defined?

My course of study requires me to do an internship / professional training (in the USA or overseas). Can I avail of the Working Holiday Authorisation (WHA) programme to do allow me to do this In Ireland?

Is there an age limit for participation?

Do I need to have confirmed employment when I apply for a Working Holiday Authorisation (WHA) / in advance of my arrival in Ireland?

Are there any limitations on the type of employment I can take up once in Ireland?

Are there any limits on the number of hours I can work per day/week/month whilst in Ireland under the Working Holiday Authorisation (WHA)?

I would like to undertake a full time degree programme lasting more than 90 days in Ireland, can I avail of the Working Holiday Authorisation (WHA) to do this?

How long is the Working Holiday Authorisation (WHA) valid for? Is there a deadline by which I must use it?

Can I extend the 12 month duration of my Working Holiday Authorisation (WHA)?

I am already in Ireland / I am in a hurry to get to Ireland, can I enter Ireland under the Visa Waiver Programme or on a visa and have my Working Holiday Authorisation forwarded to me in Ireland? Can I change my immigration status after entering Ireland?

May I avail of the Working Holiday Authorisation (WHA) programme more than once?

If I am granted a Working Holiday Authorisation (WHA) do I also need to apply for a visa / employment permit / other document?

Why do I need to show evidence of health insurance?

What type of medical insurance is required?

I plan on travelling in Europe before/after my stay in Ireland – do I have to have return airline tickets directly from US to/from Ireland?

It is not possible to purchase a return flight ticket as my intended return date is too far away.

Information for Irish applicants

Irish citizens who wish to avail of the provisions of the Working Holiday Agreement  to travel to the US should consult the websites of the US Embassy in Dublin and/or the US Department of State for more information about the Intern Work and Travel Pilot Program with Ireland  (a.k.a. Intern work/travel: Irish).