The Netherlands Working Holiday Visa was something of a surprise!
I was in Wellington, New Zealand, and trying to figure out what to do about a working visa in Europe. I went to the German Embassy at 8am to ask some questions about what my Canadian passport can do in Germany. Of course the German Embassy in New Zealand knows little about Canadian/German visa relations. I suspected my questions would be out of their range. It seemed that it would be very difficult to get a German working holiday visa without being on Canadian soil and from what they could find it would cost $460 to apply for it from Canada. They were very friendly. I went to the Canadian Embassy to ask some of the same questions, but as I expected they knew also very little of Canadian/German visa relations as they are New Zealand/Canadian visa experts. The Canadian Embassy was also very friendly and were apologetic that they could not provide me with any information.
Next, I went to the British Embassy. A security guard stood at the front gate before I could even get to the building. He took away my mobile phone. He took my Swiss-Army knife. He took my i-Pod. He took my backpack. He made me walk through a metal detector and nearly made me take off my belt. I told him I had not realized that I was at the American Embassy. He did not think I was funny. I commented on how paranoia breeds paranoia. He told me he was just doing his job. I went into the British Embassy and there were cameras everywhere. A British girl at the front of the line at the window was there because she wanted a new passport as hers expired in November and she has a flight booked to London on Thursday. This was on a Monday, in January. Some people are idiots.
To get a British working holiday visa they informed me that I would have to apply from Canada and do it before I am 31 years of age. To apply the UK require biometric fingerprints taken. There are several pages of forms to fill out. I have to provide an insane amount of information including previous passports. I have to provide bank information with statements of the past three months. The cost for that visa if I was in Canada would be $415.
I left there and went to the Dutch Embassy at 10am. The front door was open and a tall blonde lady welcomed me with a friendly “Hello!” in person. She asked me where I was from. I told her, “Canada.”
I inquired about the one-year Netherlands Working Holiday Visa that I found out about on the internet last night.*
The lady asked me in her awesome Dutch accent, “Do you want one?” I was kind of surprised and I asked her what the price for the visa was. She said, “It is free!”
“Wow! Why not!”
The lady nearly bent over backwards to help me:
•I had to find a bank statement for her that showed proof of support funds of at least $3000 or $5000 if I had only a one-way flight into Europe.
•She required my flight information so I gave her my flight itinerary from Auckland to London which was sufficient.
•She needed a copy of my travel insurance that showed I was covered.
•A passport photo was also necessary, which I did not have, so she sent me away to get one taken. While I was gone she went through the single-page front-and-back sided application form for me to make sure I had filled it out correctly, and she filled in what was missing so that it was ready once I returned with the photo. I had no idea that all of this was going to happen so fast.
•The embassy would have to keep my passport but she said the visa would be ready and in the passport for collection by the afternoon. Now that is a fast turnaround time.
•I told her I was heading northbound out of town after lunch. She told me it was no problem and she would send my passport to Auckland for me. We visited about my travel plans. I thanked her profusely, left the office and drove north from Wellington. She called me at 4:30pm to tell me my visa had been approved and it was now a full-page sticker in my passport that had been sent to Auckland and would be there for me to pick up tomorrow. Wow!
Do plans ever change! Wow, good people are so great to be around. Good people sure influence plans… Well, it looks like I am moving to Amsterdam, Netherlands, for a year. A Netherlands Working Travel Visa… Holy crap! I hardly knew where Holland was 24 hours ago. I am thrilled. I have been in a great mood all day since it appeared I would be heading to this presumable cool European country. Awesome. Thanks tall blonde Dutch lady. You made my day! If the people there are anything like you, I am going to love your country!
*This visa activates as soon as you arrive in one of the Schengen countries, so be cautious of this because the clock starts ticking immediately. If you spend time traveling around Europe before you arrive in The Netherlands, you will have lost that amount of time on this visa.