If your Working Holiday Visa is approaching its expiration date and your nationality has visa-exempt visitor status in that country, you may be wondering if you can just stay a couple of extra weeks or months as a simple tourist. Take the following hypothetical scenario:

I’m a Canadian citizen on a working holiday in France. My WHV is expiring soon, but since Canadian tourists are permitted to stay in the Schengen space for up to 90 days in a 180 day period, can I just stay an extra three months after my WHV? Or do I have to leave?

There is good news and bad news.

The good news

The Working Holiday Visa is a long-stay visa, and days spent on a long-stay visa do not count toward your visitation allowance as a tourist. This means that even after your 12 month or 24 month working holiday, you technically still have all of your visitor allowance left (that might be 3 months, 6 months, or other period, depending on your nationality and the destination country). So it is very possible to stay longer in the country and cross off more entries on your bucket list.

The bad news

Unless otherwise stated for your nationality in your destination country, you should leave the country prior to your WHV expiry and then re-enter as a simple visitor. This is because you presumably last entered as a working holiday maker, and that status does not automatically switch over to tourist upon expiration of your WHV. You need to leave and re-enter the country in order for customs to newly recognize you as a tourist.

As an example, the WHV in France for Australians states:

If you want to stay in the Schengen space (for up to 90 days) at the expiry of your working holiday visa, you will have to leave France and the Schengen space and re-enter the Schengen area the following day as a tourist for 90 days within a 6 months period. You may leave the Schengen area (passport stamped at the border) by going to the UK for example. (Source)

If you overstay your WHV, that is exactly what you are doing – overstaying. There are anecdotes online of WHV holders and other visa holders doing this without having any immediate issues afterward, but it is certainly not something we recommend trying. Overstaying a visa by even one day can lead to problems when trying to obtain a visa in the future, not only to just to go back to the destination country but also to other countries, which may see in your records a past instance of overstaying. In other words, visa denial in one country can lead to visa denials in other countries. However small, this is a risk that most people will likely want to avoid.

So what should I do?

You should leave the country at the very latest on the last day of your WHV validity period. To be safe, come back as a simple tourist no earlier than the following day. If tourists of your nationality require a visa or authorization (electronic or otherwise) to enter the destination, make sure to get that too prior to re-entry.

If travel budget is a concern, pick a nearby country. For example, hop over from France to the UK, or Canada to the US, Australia to New Zealand.

    If you are on a working holiday in a country that is part of the Schengen zone (e.g., France, Germany, Spain, Italy), you must leave the Schengen zone entirely, not just that country.

    If possible, on the way in and out, try to obtain stamps in your passport as proof of your departure and re-entry. Do this by choosing to line up for a customs border agent rather than passing through an automated kiosk. In some countries where entry and exit records are digitized, there might not be a choice for you to make so just simply follow the signs; that is perfectly acceptable. When in doubt, just ask an agent at the airport.

    Unless otherwise stated by the government of the destination country for your nationality and visa type, the same guidance is true of all visa types, not just the Working Holiday Visa.


    In February 2023 I moved from Vancouver to Paris. Adventures await.
    En février 2023 j’ai déménagé de Vancouver à Paris. Des aventures m’attendent.

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