How to Apply for a Working Holiday Visa for Canada
The pool for this year's Canada working holiday visas typically opens around December. If you are over the age of 18 and considering a working holiday in Canada, you will need to get a working holiday visa so you can get a job while you're there.
An overview of Canada working holiday visas
You can apply for a working holiday visa for Canada through a program called International Experience Canada (IEC). IEC provides youth with an opportunity to travel and work in Canada.
An IEC work permit allows you to work while you are in Canada legally for 12 - 24 months. For EA Ski & Snowboard interns, this means you will be able to work at your chosen ski resort once you pass your instructor exams.
How to apply for a working holiday visa for Canada
The steps below will explain the application process for Canada working holiday visas.
Check if you’re eligible for the visa pool
You’ll need to verify you’re eligible to apply for an IEC working holiday visa using the Come to Canada tool.
You will need to confirm which country you are applying for and then the website will show you the available visa options for your country.
Once you have verified your eligibility for an IEC work permit, you’ll need to complete an online IEC profile to get a unique code to set up a CIC account (see step two).
Create a profile and submit it to the pool
Next, you’ll need to set up your CIC account and create an IEC profile. If you already have CIC account from a previous application, you can use it for this application too.
Once you have signed up for a CIC account make sure you follow the prompts for ‘International Experience Canada’ or ‘Working Holiday’. You’ll have 60 days to complete this form, but try to get it done as soon as possible - just to be safe.
Once each section is complete, you can submit your IEC profile into the pool.
How are IEC applicants selected?
After submitting your IEC profile to the pool, your name will go into a lottery and lucky applicants will get invited to apply for a visa. There is only a certain amount of visas made available for each country.
You can check how many are available for your country here. Unfortunately, there's no guarantee you'll receive an invite. The invite to apply for a work permit will be sent to your MyCIC inbox and you'll have to accept the invite within a specific timeline so make sure you keep checking in.
Documents needed for your application
You'll need to include the following documents in your IEC working holiday visa application:
You will need to provide a police certificate to prove you don’t have a criminal record and are not a security risk to Canada. You'll need to provide a police certificate from any country you have lived in for more than six months. For example, if you did a university exchange in a foreign country, you will need to provide a police certificate from that country.
You will need to get a medical certificate from an approved physician to prove:
A) You aren’t going to be a burden on Canada’s health and social services system
B) You aren’t a health and safety risk to Canadians
The exam must be performed by an approved Panel Physician. You can find your nearest approved physician here.
As of 2018, you will also need to include your biometrics and fingerprints in your IEC application. To do this, you will need to visit the nearest Visa Application Center in your country of nationality. You do not need to do this until your visa application is approved. But, it is an additional step to consider when applying for your visa.
Other documents you may need are are:
Family Information Form IMM5707
CV / Resume
Participation fee of $150 plus $100 for an Open Work Permit Holder fee
In the application, there is a ‘Letter of Explanation’ section if you need to provide any extra information about your application. Let's say, you don't have all your documents ready in time to submit your application (your police check hasn’t come back), then this section will be handy to explain why.
Once you have submitted your application, you’ll typically receive your Port of Entry letter (POE) within 56 days (8 weeks).
What to take with you to Canada
Congratulations! Your application for an IEC working holiday visa has been accepted and you’re now ready to jump on a plane and enjoy your stay in Canada.
You’ll need to take a printed copy of the following documents with you to present at customs in Canada:
Your Port of Entry (POE) letter
A copy of your travel insurance (valid for the intended duration of your stay)
A bank statement proving you have at least CAD 2,500 in your account
Handy tips for your IEC application
Be sure to fill in all form fields when completing the IEC working holiday application. If there is a question that doesn’t apply to you, enter “n/a" or "not applicable.”
Remember to add “not applicable” to the intended work/employment questions. Do not enter any job details in these fields, even if you do have something lined up.
Don’t leave time gaps in your CV or resume. The resume is NOT designed to be used in Canada to look for work, it is a document the IRCC use to understand your movements before your application. The immigration team use this are looking for gaps in the resume that may suggest travelling or working in other countries (and hence a police certificate may be required). If you leave gaps, it is very possible IRCC may request more information and this will delay your application.
If you have more than one document for a category combine documents into a multi-page PDF using an online converter.
Get your medical before you get to Canada. You can do it in Canada, but it'll be expensive.
Double check your documentation, even have a friend or family member check it all for you.
Don’t leave it until the last minute!
Make at least two copies of all your documents and letters. One additional copy to take with you and one to leave at home with your family as a backup.
If you have any questions or concerns around working holiday visas for Canada, don't hesitate to get in contact with our team.