I first want to start this post off by explaining that I am not immigration nor am I the source of “official” information when it comes to getting your working holiday visa for Australia. However, I have done the working holiday visa (well, Work and Holiday Visa since I’m American), and I can write about my personal experiences with getting one.
When it comes to applying for a visa in Australia that allows you to stay for any significant time up to 12 months, the health requirements must be met. This includes the application process for a working holiday visa.
The reason I am bringing this up is because the majority of working holiday visas to this country are processed in a matter of days, with 2 days being the amount of time I hear from other travelers (no health exam necessary). However, some people do not have it so easy, and I was one of those people.
If you’re an adventurous soul who likes to teach English in former Soviet countries or learn Russian in Kyrgyzstan — the type of slow travel that causes you to live abroad for months on end — then you will have to list these countries on the application. I believe I had to list the countries I had spent a total of at least 3 consecutive months in (outside of my home country) in the last couple years, and my list consisted of Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan with jaunts to Kazakhstan in the mix. Obviously, immigration is going to see red flags with such lesser-known locations, but more specifically because these countries are considered to be high risk for tuberculosis.
So, with my application, I was required to get a chest x-ray.
This is where it got difficult for me because I was applying while still in Ukraine, and because of that, I had to visit a panel doctor to get an x-ray in that country as well. It was one of the most frustrating ordeals, to first off locate the only panel doctor in Ukraine, and then to make an appointment (the website talked about appointments being booked up for weeks). Luckily, I was able to finagle my way into a “secret” Friday slot and get the process well on its way.
I remember being very confused about whether or not it would all work out, but it did, and I got my visa — but not without jumping through hoops. This is a point that I wanted to post about just in case you are someone looking to get a working holiday visa to Australia but have also spent significant time in risky parts of the world. Time and preparation for applying will vary significantly because of this and should be factored into the process, just in case you are applying while on the road.
I would suggest to have a look at the official Australia Immigration site for further health requirements. There is also a list of panel doctors around the world where you can get your health examination if necessary. Note: You must get your examination by a panel doctor in most cases or else Australia will not accept the results.
In addition to the topic of this post, you must also be covered by a decent travel insurance.