The International Experience Canada (IEC) working holiday program allows young citizens of participating countries to work and travel anywhere in Canada without a job lined up in advance. The length of the work permit and age limit depends on the participating country, but for most, it is 18-30 or 18-35 and the work permit is valid for one or two years.

Each participating country has an annual quota of places based on reciprocal agreements with Canada. An exceptionally popular program with a hotly anticipated opening date every year, demand outstrips the quota in many countries such as the UK.

This guide is intended to help applicants prepare and apply for the IEC 2017. Other guides you may find useful:

Insurance Options for Working Holidays in Canada

5 Myths of Working Holiday Travel Insurance

The Ultimate Guide to a Working Holiday in Canada eBook (updated every 6 months)

Opening of 2017 pools, first round of invites

2017 pools for most countries opened 17th October 2016. The first round of invites started 28th November (not all countries). Applicants are selected randomly in the invite stage, so all candidates who entered before the first round have the same chance to be picked.

Overview of IEC application process

The IEC application process was completely re-worked in November 2015. Prior to this, the process was first come, first serve. The process is now as follows:

Applicants must complete the ‘Come to Canada’ questionnaire to first check their eligibility for the IEC program.

Eligible candidates then create a profile (with identity details, citizenship, current residence etc) which is put in a pool for the category they wish to participate.

CIC will regularly invite candidates from each pool to participate in the program throughout the following ten months unless the quota runs out sooner. An invite may take a week, a month, six months to arrive, or in the case of countries with more demand than places (such as the UK) not at all.

Once an invite is received, the applicant has to decide whether to accept or decline within 10 days.

After the invite has been accepted, applicants will then need to apply for a work permit submitting completed forms and documents such as police certificates.

IEC 2017 working holiday application process

Quick FAQs

My passport runs out mid-2017. Will this be a problem when applying for the program?
I\'m a British citizen and don\'t seem to be eligible to take part in the working holiday program
I turn 31/36 soon, how does this affect my application?
When should I apply for a police certificate?
Can I apply from within Canada?
When I receive final approval (POE), how long do I have to enter Canada?
What is an ETA, do I need one?
When will invites be sent out?

How to apply for the IEC working holiday program

Stage One: Check Eligibility, Create and Submit Profile

Come to Canada questionnaire

The first step for applicants is to check eligibility using the ‘Come to Canada’ tool. You can check the criteria on each country’s IEC program info page. 

For the working holiday program, use the following screenshots for help. Of course, you must change your country/citizenship/permanent residence as per your own current situation plus your date of birth. Note that the country of permanent residence is not in alphabetical order! (see screenshot for example)

The last two screenshots show the result if successful – a confirmation of eligibility for the IEC working holiday program and then a reference code. Follow the links in step 3 under the reference code to the next stage of the application.

Click the below screenshots to enlarge

Creating MyCIC account and starting e-service application

If you happen to already have a MyCIC account, you can use it for this application. If you do not have a MyCiC account, you will need to use the ‘GCKey’ link to open one.

Once signed up/logged in, select ‘International Experience Canada’ under the ‘what would you like to do today’ title. On the next screen, you will need to enter that personal reference code you got at the end of the Come to Canada questionnaire. Entering the correct code will take you to the e-service application.

Here there are four categories of information to validate and submit. You’ll notice that some of the categories are listed as ‘in progress’ and ‘complete’ – information submitted in the Come to Canada questionnaire has already been entered for you. Only basic contact and personal details are required for this section, along with information from your passport. Each section must be validated and then saved.

Once each section is complete, you can submit your profile for the pool(s). The profile must be submitted within 60 days of starting it. Once entered, the profile will remain in the pool for a year. Submitting your profile is free and you do not have to accept a place and continue on in the process if invited.

TIP – Even if you have a job lined up for your working holiday, DO NOT say that you have. This complicates Stage Two as IRCC will request documentation from your employer.

Waiting for an invite

The first round for invites was in November 2016. All eligible applicants in each country pool have an equal chance of being picked randomly.

While waiting, consider whether to apply for any police certificates (check processing times for each country you may need one for) and/or have a medical. Remember that unless you are from Australia (unlimited quota), there is no guarantee you will receive an invite for the program.

It is a requirement to complete a medical if you plan to work in certain occupations in Canada. If you are considering looking after/teaching children or working in the health services, start looking into how the medical process works i.e. where the nearest doctor to you is, how long the wait is, how expensive it is etc.

If you do not complete a medical before arriving in Canada, your work permit will state that you are unable to work in these sectors. It is possible to do a medical in Canada after you have arrived but you will have to go to a border to have your work permit details changed after the medical has been processed. This loses you time on your work permit.

Receiving an invite

An invite to apply for a work permit will be sent to your MyCIC inbox. Applicants have 10 days to decide whether to accept or decline the invite.

TIP – Clicking ‘Start Application’ shown in the screenshot below accepts the invite, waiving whatever is left of the 10 day period. As soon as the application is ‘started,’ you’re on to the next stage straight away. So if you have multiple/complex police certificates to apply for and/or a medical (or just need more time in general) consider holding off clicking the ‘Start application’ button for 7-8 days.

Stage Two: Apply for a Work Permit via MyCIC

You will have 20 days from accepting your IEC invite to complete a work permit application via MyCIC. Completing the application first involves submitting more information regarding your work/education history, citizenship info, communication details (email address, phone numbers etc). A fair amount of this info is pre-loaded from stage one (profile) and is not possible to change.

Your answers to the work permit application questions will determine a list of required documents to be uploaded as part of the work permit application. For most people the list will include:

Family Information Form IMM5707

Police Certificates


Digital Photo

Police Certificate

Passport/Travel document (scan of photo page plus all stamps)

If you do not have the required documents within the time you need to submit them (police checks, medical proof if applicable) you can upload a ‘Letter of Explanation’ (self-created) to explain why. Upload as much as you can and provide as much proof as you can regarding the missing documentation. If you do not upload a letter of explanation and the 20 days runs out, your application will be cancelled and you will have to start again.

There is a $126 participation fee that needs to be paid in this section as well as a $100 Open Work Permit Holder fee if taking part on the working holiday program.

MyCIC will guide you through the process to download/complete/upload the forms and complete the payment.

Once you have submitted your documents, you’re almost at the finish line. It is waiting time again.

CIC states that you should receive an assessment within 56 days. If successful, you will find a ‘Correspondence Letter’ in your MyCIC inbox. This is your Port of Entry Letter of Introduction (referred to as a POE or LOI). Congratulations! 

Print this letter and bring it to Canada along and travel/backpackers insurance covering the length of your trip (True Traveller covers working holidays including those 24 months in length for Brits and other Europeans) plus proof of funds ($2,500) and you should receive your IEC work permit in your passport.

More information about arriving in Canada, proof of funds and insurance (and everything else you need to know such as how best to transfer money) can be found in my ebook, the ‘Ultimate Guide to a Working Holiday in Canada.’ 

Stage Two tips

General IEC FAQs

I\'m from a country that has more than one IEC program. Can I apply for more than one?
Is there a template for the resume/CV?
I\'ve been asked for a Court Record/police report, why is this?
I\'ve just received an email which says something has changed in my application, but there is no update. What\'s going on?
I\'m currently in Canada/I\'ve lived in Canada before - do I need a Canadian police certificate?
I have participated in IEC twice before 2015. Now that is now a 24-month work permit available for British citizens, can I apply again?
Should I use BUNAC/SWAP/other working holiday company to help with my application?
Do I need proof of insurance when I apply?
Do I need a medical?
What if I decide I want to work with children or in the health services when I\'m actually in Canada? I don\'t want to get one before I go.
I lived in Australia for over 6 months. CIC says I need a traffic report (driving history) as well as the police certificate since I lived in Queensland and/or Victoria. I did not drive in Australia nor had a Australian license while I was there so what do I do?
I said I already had a job in Canada in the first stage and now it says I must provide information including an employer number for this job. What do I do?
Help! My Letter of Introduction (POE) is blank?!
I have previously lived in Canada and CIC have requested a RCMP Criminal Record Check. How do I get this?
I didn\'t submit my work permit application within the required 20 days. What happens now?
What kind of travel insurance do I need to buy?

Communication – how can I contact IEC?

As a government organisation, IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) is notoriously hard to get in touch with. There is a Canadian call centre but to be honest, like many call centres, they simply repeat information from the website. They cannot really offer much in the way of advice and updates on your individual application.

If you’re looking for advice on applying for the program the best resource is the IRCC website and the Applying for a Work Permit Outside of Canada guide (Stage 2). Other than that, Facebook groups are a great resource for advice from others who are currently applying or have done before.

If you are refused or need to add anything to your Stage 2 application, use this IRCC webform.

Final notes and disclaimer

For more on working holidays in Canada, purchase my eBook ‘The Ultimate Guide to a Working Holiday in Canada’ (updated August 2017) – available to purchase online in our store. More information, including content list, can be found here. Ultimate Guide to a Working Holiday in Canada 3D ebook

Any questions? Leave a comment or check out the O Canada IEC Discussion & Support Facebook group!

If you’re feeling generous and have money to spare, consider helping out my caffeine fund 🙂

Buy Me A Coffee :) @

Note: I do not work for IRCC. The information here has been gathered from personal experience/online research as well as second-hand information from previous applicants. If you follow the advice above and in the comments below, you are doing so on the understanding that is peer-to-peer advice. Please be aware that I cannot be held liable for you, an applicant, experiencing any problems with your IEC application. All opinions are my own but some links are affiliate links. This means that there no extra fees for you when using these services, but I make a very small percentage. This helps maintain this website. I would never recommend a service I have not personally used or would not use. 

Thank you to Cathy and Joe for their help and support!


One half of a Canadian/British couple currently living in Penticton, British Columbia. Gemma is happiest with a paddle in her hand, on the trail or planning the next big adventure.


  1. Hi Gemma i have a weird question i cant find the answer to online.

    Im Australian and I activated a 24month IEC visa last year whilst on a 10 day ski holiday in February 2016. I returned back to Australia afterwards, I havent actually worked in Canada and am not planning too.

    However i want to go back for another ski holiday same time next year around February. As my work visa will still valid would i still have to leave the country before the expiry date/or enter after it expires? Even though I am only coming as a tourist for a 1month stay? Thanks for your help and good luck to everone applying this year 🙂

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Max

      You should be able to enter Canada again on your work permit just fine.

  2. Hi, I turn 35 in September 2017. Could I still apply for a working holiday visa?

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Joan,

      If you’re a citizen of one of the participating countries that has an age limit of 35, you have until your 36th birthday to receive an invite.

  3. Hi,
    I have been trying to search the deadline to apply for the IEC 2018 . Would you happen to know?

    thank you !

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Paula,

      There is no stated deadline available at this time – the end date for the IEC program changes every year. Last year, the last round for the UK was in July followed by all other countries by the end of September.

  4. Hey Gemma,
    I have a problem:
    I applied for a ICE and know I realized that I did a mistake: I said I would like to work in Canada for jobs where I need a medical exam, but I don’t want to do that. I didn’t realized that I ticked the work selection.
    Now I they tell me I that I have to do the medical exam. But I want to change this my selection because the medical exam is not needed for the jobs i want to do….
    Maybe you know what to do…

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Selina,

      I would just upload an explanation in that spot that you made a mistake when first applying and that you don’t expect to work in a profession where you need a medical.

  5. Hi Gemma,

    Really helpful guide, thanks.
    I am planning to travel to Canada just to visit and wondered if I am invited to IEC whilst there can I do this from Canada, or can I do it if I leave the country ie I fly to the USA or do I have to do it from home (UK)?

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Sorry for the late reply Lydia, my site flagged your comment as spam for some reason!

      Yes, you can apply from Canada. If you are approved while still in Canada and you want to activate your permit, you’ll have to ‘flagpole’ at the border.

  6. Hi Gemma!
    Firstly, great article. I have been searching for this information for a while.
    My boyfriend and I spent a month in Canada in November last year and since then we have wanted to go back.
    Do you happen to know when the pools open for 2018 applications (applying as British Citizens). Also, I was told that if one of our applications was unsuccessful that we could be added to the successful applicants form as a spouse providing that we have proof of having lived together. Do you know if this is true?
    Sorry for the long winded questions!
    Many thanks

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Zoe,

      The IEC program changes from year to year so no-one knows when the 2018 program will start. For the last few years however it has opened in October/November. If you plan on going to Canada in the next year, I would highly recommend getting in the pool now and seeing if you get lucky. You’ll have a year to enter Canada if successful.

      No, you can’t add a spouse onto a successful applicant’s form in that way. The only way both of you can get work permits through the program (if only one of you is successful) is the person with the IEC work permit getting a skilled job while in Canada. At this point, the unsuccessful person can apply for an open work permit.

  7. Hi,

    I’ve been accepted for the IEC program and received a working permit for Canada.
    Do I have to go to the customs to arrange a visa? Do I need to prepare something in advance in order to enter Canada or is it on arrival ?

    Thank you,


    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Thomas,

      It sounds like you have been issued your POE for your IEC work permit, it may have been labelled ‘Letter of Correspondance.’ This is the document you take to Canada and present to immigration on arrival. They will issue you a work permit then and there as long as you have all the required documents (insurance for the length of your intended stay, passport, proof of funds etc). No visa needed although you would have been issued an eTa along wth your POE (check page 2) which means you have pre authorised clearance to fly to Canada.

  8. Hi,

    I have been accepted for the IEC visa. My POA letter expires on 26 May 2017 but I am unlikely to be able to enter Canada by this time. My question is: if I do not trigger my visa by entering Canada by this date, can I begin the whole visa application process again (or is this my only shot at the IEC visa?)
    Many thanks!

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Victoria

      Even if you do not activate you work permit, it counts as using it. So unless you are from a country that allows participation through another IEC route (Young Professionals or International Co-Op) OR you have dual nationality with another country that has IEC participation, it will be your ‘only shot.’ Sorry! 🙁

      If I were you, I’d get a return flight to Canada plus insurance for the full length of your potential IEC work permit length and go and activate it. Then you could return home (make sure to buy insurance that allows this) and go back to Canada when you are able to go on the actual working holiday.

  9. Hi Gemma,
    I’m looking to apply for the iec, but I do not have the funds available currently but will do in the next few months. Should I begin my application now, even though I won’t have the money ready?


    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Emily,

      It really depends where you are from (whether there is high demand for your country’s program) and what you mean by not having enough money. If you are referring to not having enough money for your actual working holiday in Canada (NOT just the application fees) I would apply now and then delay your application as much as possible i.e. if you get an invite, accept it on day 7 of 10 rather than accepting right away. Then, in the second stage I would again submit documentation towards the end of the required period. Once you receive approval, you’ll then have a year to save up before you actually go to Canada.

  10. Hi Gemma,

    This information was extremely helpful, thank you!
    I’m a teacher from Australia and looking at coming over later this year but have heard that you can’t work in any education related job on a working holiday visa. I can’t find a definitive answer to this anywhere and have emailed and called every number I can find. Do you know the answer or have any advice on where I can find it? I realise it is extremely challenging to find work as a teacher in Canada but want to keep my options open for working in education.


    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Clare,

      There are no limitations for work on the IEC working holiday program aside from sex work. Working with children or in the health services is also prohibited if you do not get a medical.

        • Hi Clare,
          Im interested in the same thing. Im curious to know about your experience gaining teacher registration? was it an easy conversion?

          • Hi Sophie,
            I’m just beginning the process of gaining my British Columbian Teacher Certification so I’m not too sure. It looks like a fair bit of work but manageable. The worry I have is that it’s not easy to gain a teaching job over there so it might all be for nothing!

  11. Hi Gemma, thanks for all the info. I originally applied for my IEC visa on my British passport and got my POE letter which I am meant to activate by this June. However, I also have an Australian passport and have decided to reapply on this one as I plan to go to Canada at a later date now. When doing my new application will I need to declare I have applied under my British passport and will this affect anything? I turn 31 in November but as Australia has an unlimited quota I am hoping all be ok. Thanks, Lucy 🙂

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Lucy,

      Yes you ca appy on your Australian passport – you will need to answer no to the question about previous participation but yes to have you ever applied to come to Canada before. You can add a Letter of Explanation with a short note about previously applying on your British passport.

      • Sorry Gemma another quick question. When I applied last year on my British passport I got a police certificate from the uk and for Australia. As I live in Australia and haven’t lived back in the U.K. Will I need to get another uk certificate, or can I use the one I got around May last year? I understand I would have to get an up to date Australian one. Thanks 🙂

        • Gemma
          Gemma Reply

          If you haven’t spent time in the UK since getting your UK police cert, you don’t need to get a new one. One less thing to do!

          • Thanks Gemma. I was back there for a week last September :-/ I entered and left on my uk passport thought so I wonder as I would apply on my Australian passport for the IEC if this would matter. Thanks

  12. Hi Gemma,

    Just a quick question really as I have been scouring the internet looking for answers.

    Myself and my husband have submitted a express entry profile but our points are just below what they are generally been drawn at and look like the point boundary is now going back up. Therefore looking at the possibility of canada working holiday visa’s. We are both eligible (age 23 and 28, no children, I work in HR and husband works as a carpenter).

    We are currently on a working holiday in New zealand,I just want to know if we both managed to get a IEC visa, are we allowed to travel anywhere in canada and look for our own employment and we can work with that employer for the duration of our visa?. I was always under the impression that the canada working holiday visa didnt work the same as the nz or australian visa’s so just after some clarification. 🙂 We are looking to move to Kelowna or around that region.


    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Jade,

      Yes, you can travel and work anywhere in Canada for the two years. There is no limit on how long you can work for any one employer (unlike the Australia working holiday program). There only limitations with the IEC is no work allowed in the sex trade and if you want to work in the medical services/with children, then you need a medical.

  13. Hi Gemma,

    Thanks for this site and for answering everyone’s questions!
    I’m a British citizen who has just been invited to apply for the IEC but I’ve been travelling around Australia and America for the past six months, living in hostels. My UK police report is asking for proof of my current address but obviously I have none as I’ve been travelling! Do you know what I can do?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      hi Ryan,

      I’m guessing you don’t have a drivers license or bank account in Australia? If so, these would be the obvious ones to use even if the address they are registered to is a hostel. If you have proof of your last address in the UK I would use that.

  14. Hi Gemma,

    I have applied to the IEC as an Australian and was wondering about the medical examinations. I am going to be working at a Canadian Summer Camp and was wondering if I need to get a medical as part of my application? I have looked up the information and it seems to be extremely costly. Also does the medical need to involve a chest x-ray and pathology as well? Is it best to get the medical done before getting my IEC pool invitation?


  15. Hello! Great site
    My question is: once you get the POE, when is the deadline to go to canada?
    I mean, i’m about to get it now, but I definately wanna go to Canada after next winter. Is that possible?

    Thanks in advance

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Samuel,

      You have a year after your POE is issued to go to Canada. One exception – if you had a medical then your POE would expire a year after your examination.

  16. Hi Gemma,

    great Site! Just to make sure that I got everything correct:
    I’m from Germany and I’m turning 35 on Apr 27 this year.

    Am I fine if I apply for the IEC Visa just before turning 36 or do i have to be approved by that time OR do I have to activate the IEC before turning 36 to get the full 12 month duration?

    Lets say i’m applying in January 2018 for the IEC (I’m Age 35 by that date), they approve it by … lets say March 2018.
    Do i have time until March 2019 to activate the 12-Month IEC or do i have to activate it until i turn 36 in April 2018?

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Marco

      You MUST receive an invite before turning 36 (so before April 27th 2018) to qualify. Once you turn 36, your profile will be automatically taken out of the pool and you will no longer be eligible. It doesn’t matter if you turn 36 during the application process (after you have accepted an invite) or before you go to Canada. In your example, you would have until March 2019 to activate it.

  17. Hello!

    I have just finished filling in my form and the personalised document checklist tells me that I need to upload a medical exam form. However, I have lived in the UK for the past 11 years and haven’t travelled to any of the countries that require a medical exam. I have also specified that I am not applying to any of the job positions that would require a medical exam. Could this be a mistake that was made based on the country of my citizenship (Lithuania) which needs a medical exam, even though I have not been there since I was 15?

    I am planning to go through with the medical exam anyway, but I am wondering if I should attack a letter of explanation telling them that I haven’t been outside the UK for 11 years? Without medical exam processing times, the application should take less time, so should I tell them? Or would that just annoy the officer dealing with my application?

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Irma,

      It does sound like the medical request is due to your citizenship. If you don’t plan to go through with the medical, I would upload a Letter of Explanation with your situation. You are correct in thinking that if you do not do the medical, your application is likely to take less time.

  18. Hi Gemma
    I have submitted my working holiday visa application and am waiting to hear if I’ve been successful. However, I plan to fly to Canada in two weeks time. Should I go ahead and apply for my eTA, or will this delay / complicate a response to my application for the working holiday visa?

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Lydia,

      I don’t think applying for an ETA should delay your application. Have fun in Canada!

  19. Hi Gemma,

    Awesome blog! Just a quick one and I”m sorry if it was already been answer.

    Today, I received my POE and it expires 2018/04/26. I turn 31 on July 24. Will I be able to use my working holiday visa after I turn 31? Will I still be allowed in say this next year? Or must I enter the country before I turn 31?

    Thanks so much in advance!

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Huhu,

      No problem – your age only matters when you are waiting for an invite at the first stage. Once you have an invite, it doesn’t matter whether you turn 31 while the application is processing OR before travelling to Canada. You are fine to enter Canada after turning 31.

  20. Hi Gemma,

    Thank you for this amazing post, it was really useful. I still have a few questions I’d like to ask – I’m Italian and I received an invitation to apply and send my documentation on April 14th – deadline on May 2nd. Unfortunately when I received my invitation I was abroad and I just got back home yesterday. I have requested my criminal records today as I couldn’t do it by mail but they won’t be ready before Tuesday which means I won’t meet my deadline time. Can I still send a letter attaching the receipt of the payment I made? Will it be accepted?
    Also if I pay my fees but my application is declined, can I get my money back?

    Last but not least – since my criminal records won’t be ready before next week should I decline my invitation and then try again next week or should I still send all my documentation along with the explanation letter?
    If I decline my invitation, how long must I wait before I can be accepted again?

    Sorry for all the questions!


    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Illaria

      Yes, definitely submit a receipt of your police cert. CIC will then give you an extension. There are very few spaces left on the Italian program so I would NOT decline your invite! It looks unlikely that you would get another one.

  21. Hi Gemma,
    I have been approved for a second WHV in Canada on my dutch passport, after having participated on my NZ passport last year.
    I want to fly to the USA (from NZ) and arrive into Vancouver on land. I can’t apply for a ESTA for this travel through the USA because its counted towards the 90 day limit for the visa waiver.
    Could I enter the USA on my NZ passport (already has a multiple entry tourist visa) and then cross the border into Canada with my Dutch passport? Is this allowed? Any tips on how to navigate this. Otherwise I guess i’ll just have to fly direct to Canada?
    Thanks, Simone

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Simone,

      Yes, travelling through the USA before arriving into Canada can be tricky due to the visa waiver requirement to leave North America after 90 days. One way around this issue is to book a fully refundable flight out of the USA before the 90 days. After you have arrived in Canada and then activated your IEC you can then cancel the flight and get your money back.

  22. Hi Gemma,

    What a brilliantly informative site – you\’ve already answered about 12 of what I thought were obscure questions. Thank you!

    My IEC application was accepted and I have been given until April 2018 to arrive/activate my work permit. Within this letter, I was also given an eTA number.

    I intend to arrive/active in April 2018 so that I have ample time to save up some money. But, if I travel to Canada before then, say Sept 2017 for a short recce to research my desired city (neighbourhoods etc), can I use the eTA number already provided, or could this risk me activating my work permit before I\’m ready?

    Many thanks,


  23. Hi Gemma 🙂 just wanted to ask, once the 2018 application pools open, provided you’re invited, how long do you have to get there? Would it be a year?

    Thanks 🙂

  24. I received my POE letter today, it says I have until the 8th of May, 2018 to enter Canada. Is this also the expiry date on my work permit or does my work permit commence once I arrive in Canada? Also if it is the expiry date of my work permit I am wondering why I only have one year when people from Ireland can get up to 24 months. Thank you so much for your help

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Your work permit starts when you arrive in Canada. So as long as you have 24 months of insurance in addition to your proof of funds, you should receive a 24 month work permit.

      • Hello Gemma
        I am from Germany and would like to move to Canada. i am planning to move there by Holidays visa which is for 2 years. but in between if someone provide me job contract so can i change my holidays visa to work permit to stay there forever. Thanks

  25. Hi Gemma. Thanks for the great advice. I’m just wondering if you know the average waiting time after applying till you receive the POE letter? Or is it usually within 8 weeks of applying? Thanks

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      No problem! It seems to be a 2/3 week processing time right now.

  26. Hi Gemma!
    I’ve been looking online for an answer to this for a while now with zero luck.

    I’m currently in Canada on an IEC working Holiday (yay!) but due to an unwell family member, it’s looking like I might have to return home to Australia for a while, probably several months.
    Will the clock keep ticking on my working holiday even while I’m residing back at home again? Or can essentially press ‘pause’ and use this time spent back home in Australia when I return back to Canada to have my full 2 years there?

    Any help is very appreciated!

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Cailin,

      Sorry to hear hat you may have to return to Australia. Sadly there is no way to ‘pause’ your IEC, the time will continue to tick down while you are away.

  27. Hi Gemma,
    I recently have activated my IEC but I have returned to my country. Just wondering, I’m still up in the air about returning as I have some family things I need to work out, can I cancel my health insurance (and maybe purchase new insurance again once I am ready to go back) or will that get flagged as different health insurance (even though i already have the visa granted).

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Jim,

      Sorry to hear that you may need to return home. You are not usually able to cancel travel insurance once it has started, I would check with your insurance provider. If you return to Canada on a difference insurance policy it should not be an issue but be aware that most policies require you to be resident in your home country for a certain amount of time before taking out the policy. More info here

  28. Hi Gemma,

    Could you help me answer this questions please;

    I am Australian and was issued a 1 year IEC visa from SEP 2016- 2017 at the time I was 30 y/o. I turned 31 in JAN 2017.

    I would like to work and stay for another 12 months. Is it possible for me to have the full 24 months allocated under the IEC program. OR is it because I turn 31 during the 24 months I was only issued a 12 months visa? In short is it because of my age that 12 months is all this Aussie is eligible for?

    I wish I found your blog before I started my application! So helpful!!

    Thank you

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Juju,

      Do you know why your work permit was limited to one year on arrival? Did you have the required $2500 proof of funds and 24 months of insurance? Age would not be a factor as it is only important on application – you must receive an invite before your 31st birthday (36 in some countries) to be eligible for the IEC program. Your age on arrival to Canada does not matter. If you had 24 months of insurance on arrival, you may be able to get your work permit extended. Have a look at this link and use the ‘expiry date on my work permit is wrong’ reason

      • Hi Gemma,

        Thank you for getting back to me.

        I don’t know why it was limited to one year on arrival? Money is fine but now that you mention it may be cause of my 12 months insurance. All though I never remember them saying you can not stay the full 24 months without 24 months insurance… I could have of course missed this key point.

        So, I got one years insurance and was going to renew, in a year, if I decided to stay the full 24 months. In my mind paying for 24 months of insurance when I may have only stayed 1 year seemed inefficient.

        If I renew my insurance for another 12 months would I be eligible to extend my work permit?

        Thanks again 🙂

  29. Hey!

    Thank you so much for all of this information – it is so helpful!

    I have my POE letter, insurance and proof of funds and my flight is on Sunday. I have just double checked my POE letter and it is a work permit and says nothing about International Experience Canada (which i originally applied for and went through all the steps). Is this right? Will the border services know I am on IEC.

    Thank you so much – I am last minute panicking!


  30. Hi Gemma If i applied now iec working holiday program now just say( June 16 2017)how much it chance to get visa as I m British nationality, I m 29 year old, should it be right time to apply Your he’ll be very appreciated thanks Rajesh

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Rajesh, I’m not sure why I didn’t see your comment until now but sorry about that! The chances are pretty low right now for British citizens as there are only a handful of places left. I would still apply though as you never know! Your chances will be a lot better when the program opens again in autumn

  31. Hi Gemma,
    In terms of proof of funds, the CIC website says you need proof of funds at least a week prior to arriving in Canada. However, I will be travelling in Asia three weeks before I arrive in Toronto for the first time to enter via my IEC visa. Do I require a bank statement from the bank (however this will be three weeks before arriving in Canada), or would a screenshot of my online account showing sufficient funds suffice?
    Many thanks 🙂

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Emily,

      A screenshot (with your name in view) should be fine. I used a screenshot of my online account when activating my second IEC

  32. Many Thanks for this very informative site, it is very helpful indeed.

    Just a question about the British quota of 5000. I’m aware there’s more demand than there are available spaces, but do you know by how much? For instance, are the chances higher or lower than 50/50 for an invite to apply and then be accepted? Strange question I know but if you have any info on this it would be great!

    Many Thanks

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Lewis,

      Not a weird question at all! It’s about three to one – there were about 15,000 UK applicants this year and 5,000 places. Of course, not everyone applies at once so odds are generally better the earlier you apply.

  33. Hi Gemma,

    Thanks for this very informative blog! I have been looking for something to guide me through the process! I have just received an invitation to apply, and am trying to get all my documents together in time. However, I believe I have misplaced my personalised document checklist? I don’t think I saved or printed it when it was generated, thinking it would be accessible on my account.

    Do you know how I can access it again? And is it essential? Or can I just follow whatever is asked in my application?


    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Jessica,

      I would just follow what is asked of you in the application – family form, police checks, medical (if applicable) etc.

      I’m glad this post was helpful!

  34. Hi Gemma,

    Thanks for all this info – so good!

    Regarding police certificates, do you know whether I need one from Canada if I spent the past year there studying? I’ve reached out to IRCC but they have yet to answer me. Do you know?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hey Cris,

      You do not need to get a police certificate from Canada – they do their own checks. If they need you to get an extended check, they will contact you.

  35. Hi Gemma,

    Thanks so much for all your help on this.

    I am a 23 year old Australian. I have had to push forward my working holiday in Whistler and will leave to Canada in 5 weeks. I have just applied for a working holiday visa but have not received my invitation yet, I was wondering if you knew the following:
    1. Typically how long does an invitation take to be received?
    2. If I submit all supporting documentation correctly (with no criminal record/medical issues), typically how long does it take for your working holiday visa to be processed and approved?
    3. If I am already in Canada before I receive the visa (and am instead on an eta) will I need to leave Canada before it is approved?

    Thank you so much in advance!


    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Hannah!

      Here’s some answers for you –

      1. It really varies, but since you are Australian (unlimited places!) it should be soon. Quotas are starting to close for the year.
      2. Up to 8 weeks, but most people hear back within a week or two (sometimes days)
      3. You will need to leave Canada once your IEC has been approved to be able to activate the work permit. You can do this by ‘flagpoling’ at a border.

      Hope you receive your invite soon!

  36. Hi Gemma,

    I’ve just discovered your blog and I’m so glad I have!

    I applied for my working holiday visa last week and I’m currently waiting my invitation. In regards to police checks, I am Australian so should I go forth with getting police checks underway?

    Also, I’ve recently returned to Oz after spending two years in the UK. Will I need to do a police check for the UK, in addition to Australia?



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