Looking to apply for a working holiday visa for Canada? The International Experience Canada program is what you need. It is the easiest way for young people to live and work in Canada temporarily.

This guide is intended to help applicants prepare and apply for the IEC, specifically the working holiday stream. It explains everything you need to know about acquiring a working holiday visa for Canada.

If you want to read just one article about the IEC application process and be confident about applying yourself, this is it! I have been writing application guides for the IEC for almost 7 years. This article is regularly updated to reflect changes in the IEC application process.

Disclosure – this post includes affiliate links. If you buy a product through these links, I receive a small percentage at no extra cost to you. I only ever recommend products I have personally used or would use. Thank you for supporting this site.

curme islands desolation sound mountain views - just one of the places you can explore on a Canada working holiday
Mountains views from Desolation Sound, BC – just one of the places you can explore on a Canada working holiday

What is the IEC program?

International Experience Canada (IEC) is Canada’s youth mobility scheme. Within it, there are three programs – Working Holiday, Young Professionals and International Co-Op.  Participating IEC countries have at least one of these programs available, with some countries having more than one.

The most popular IEC stream is the working holiday program. The length of the included work permit varies from country to country – check this bilateral agreement to check yours. Some common examples of working holiday visa Canada lengths are:

UK Applicants: 24 months
Australian Applicants: 24 months
Irish Applicants: 24 months
New Zealand Applicants: 23 months
German Applicants: 12 months
French Applicants: 24 months


Participation in the working holiday program is usually a one-time deal unless you have dual citizenship. So the moral of this story is: use it or lose it!

Each participating IEC country has an annual quota of places based on reciprocal agreements with Canada. Demand outstrips the quota in certain countries for the working holiday programs. France, South Korea and the UK are just some examples where demand is high.


Quick Overview of the IEC Canada application process

The IEC application process was completely re-worked in November 2015. Prior to this, the process was first come, first serve. The application process for applying for a working holiday visa for Canada is now as follows:

  1. IEC working holiday applicants must first complete the ‘Come to Canada’ questionnaire to check their eligibility for the IEC program.
  2. 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.
  3. CIC will regularly invite candidates from each pool to participate in the program throughout the next year unless the quota runs out sooner. It is a random selection. 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.
  4. Once an invite is received, the applicant has to decide whether to accept or decline within 10 days.
  5. After the invite has been accepted, applicants will then need to apply for a work permit submitting completed forms, documents (such as police certificates) and payment within 20 days.
  6. Up to 8 weeks after submitting the work permit application, a decision will be made.
The IEC working holiday program runs in year-long ‘seasons’ (or cycles), generally running from autumn to autumn. The opening date of the 2019 pools is 4th December 2019. Based on previous years, the first invites for the program are likely to be issued around 2-3 weeks after this date. The easiest way to be alerted of future IEC updates is to sign up for my IEC newsletter or join the O Canada IEC Facebook group.
Working Holiday Visa Canada IEC Application Process Overview
Working Holiday Visa Canada IEC application process overview

How to apply for a working Holiday Visa for Canada

Read on for a step by step guide to the IEC working holiday application process.

Step One: Check eligibility for the IEC program

The first step to apply for your IEC working holiday in Canada is to check eligibility using the ‘Come to Canada’ tool. Note that the first question is ‘What would you like to do in Canada.’ To participate in the IEC program, the answer would be ‘IEC – Travel and Work.’ Entering the rest of your personal information is straightforward from here.

If eligible, you should see a confirmation of eligibility for the IEC working holiday program and then a reference code (e.g. JM1234567890). There will also be a link lower on the page to MyCIC, the next step of the process.

Step Two: Create profile to submit into IEC Canada pool

To create and submit an IEC profile for a working holiday visa in Canada, you will first need a MyCIC account.

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

  1. Once signed up/logged in, select ‘International Experience Canada’ under the ‘what would you like to do today’ title.
  2. 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.
  3. On the e-service application, there are four categories of information to validate and submit. Some information that you supplied in the Come to Canada questionnaire has already been entered automatically for you. Only basic contact and personal details are required for this section, along with information from your passport.
  4. Each section must be validated and then saved.
  5. Once each section is complete, you can submit your profile into the pool.

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.

Helpful tip – Even if you have a job lined up for your working holiday (not required), DO NOT indicate that you have in your IEC application. This complicates things later as extra documentation from your employer will be requested.

Step Three: Wait for an invite

All eligible applicants in each IEC pool have an equal chance of being picked randomly. This does, however, mean that if you are applying for a program that has high demand, there is sadly no guarantee you will receive an invite to the Canada working holiday program.

While waiting, consider what police certificate(s) you may need to apply for and whether you need to perform a medical exam.

  • Police certificate(s) – these are required from any country or territory that you have spent six months or more since the age of 18. This six month period is not cumulative (doesn’t accumulate), so even if you live in another country (other than your home country) for four months every year, you still wouldn’t need a police certificate for that country unless asked. Updated 2018.
  • Medical – an exam is required if you have lived/travelled in certain countries for six months or more OR if you plan to work closely with children or in health-related services in Canada. The exam must be performed by an approved Panel Physician. If you do not complete a medical before arriving for Canada working holiday, your IEC work permit will state that you are unable to work in these sectors.

Step Four: Receiving an invite for the IEC Program

If you are randomly selected, 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.

  • Clicking ‘Start Application’ accepts the invite, waiving whatever is left of the 10 day period. As soon as the application is ‘started,’ the next stage begins.
  • 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. Whatever you do, do not wait until the 9th or 10th day! Technical issues sometimes cause the CIC website to fail.

Step Five: Apply for IEC work permit

After accepting your IEC invite, you will 20 days to complete a work permit application via MyCIC.

  1. First, you must submit more information regarding your work/education history, citizenship info, communication details (email address, phone numbers etc).
  2. A fair amount of this info is pre-loaded from stage one (profile) and is not possible to change.
  3. Your answers to the work permit application questions will determine a list of required documents that also need to be uploaded. MyCIC will guide you through the process to download/complete/upload the forms and complete payment.

For most people the required list of documents will include:

  • Family Information Form IMM5707
  • CV/Resume
  • Digital Photo
  • Police Certificate (multiple) – don’t worry if you only have one!
  • Passport/Travel document (scan of photo page plus all stamps)
  • Participation fee of $150 plus $100 for an Open Work Permit Holder fee if taking part in the working holiday program
Major update to the Canada working holiday application process: As of July 31st 2018, IEC applicants from Europe and Asia will also need to visit a Visa Application Centre (VAC) and submit biometrics (fingerprints and photo) as part of their work permit application. From Dec 31st 2018, IEC applicants from Asia, Asia Pacific and the Americas will also need to do so. This costs an additional $85. Applicants have to make their own way at their own expense to the nearest VAC.

There is an optional ‘Letter of Explanation’ slot which is useful if you need to provide any extra information about your application. If you are having trouble submitting your application without a Letter of Explanation, upload a document in this section and then delete it. You should now be able to submit your work permit application.

Important! If you do not have the required documents within the time you need to submit them (police checks, medical proof if applicable) you should upload a ‘Letter of Explanation’ (self-created) to explain why. You will then be given a time extension for this section of the application.

  • Provide as much proof as you can regarding the missing documentation (receipts, medical or biometrics appointment email, a copy of request sent to police)
  • 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 wait for an invite again.

Stage Six: Receiving your POE (final approval)

Once submitted, you should receive an assessment within 56 days (8 weeks). If not, follow your application up with the IRCC web form.

If successful with your IEC working holiday application, 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). Here is a POE letter example for the Canada working holiday program. Congratulations! 

Be sure to print and save your IEC POE Letter, so you have both electronic and paper copies.


Arriving in Canada for your working holiday

With your POE approved, you can now move to Canada anytime within the next calendar year. I would not recommend waiting until just before expiry to activate in case of flight or other travel delays.

On arrival at the Canadian border (land or airport), you will need:

  • Passport
  • Valid POE letter
  • Proof of $2500 in funds – bank statement or online banking print-out, dated within last 7 days
  • Proof of a return flight OR additional funds that would be used for a return flight (credit card is acceptable)
  • Proof of insurance for the full length of your intended working holiday in Canada

I also recommend bringing printed copies of the following documents, to avoid any potential expiry date mistakes on the work permit:

When issued your work permit, triple check all details before leaving immigration. If there are any issues, it is much more difficult to fix after leaving the airport or border. In particular, be sure to check the expiry date and work location (it should read ‘open’).

Long stay travel insurance policies can be hard to find. Check True Traveller (EU citizens including Brits), Fast Cover (Australians), Down Under (Kiwis) and World Nomads (over 100+ nationalities). Click to read more about working holiday visa Canada insurance options
Toronto skyline from CN Tower - Toronto is one of the most popular destinations for those applying for a working holiday visa in Canada
Toronto skyline from CN Tower – Toronto is one of the most popular destinations for those applying for a working holiday visa in Canada

Working Holiday Application Advice and Tips

After six years of helping others with the working holiday visa application process, I’ve picked up a few bits of crucial advice that may be helpful along the way.

Click here to expand essential tips and advice

Frequently Asked Questions about Working Holiday Visa Canada

If you have a burning question about applying for a working holiday visa Canada, you’ll probably find the answer below.

Click here to expand frequently asked questions and answers

Communication – Who Can I contact?

As a government organisation, IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, also called CIC) 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 (step five). 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 application after step five, use this IRCC webform


Final notes and disclaimer

For more advice and tips about the IEC working holiday program, check out my eBook below.

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

About me: I have been helping people with the IEC process since 2012. I originally moved to Canada on the IEC program in 2011, became a Permanent Resident in 2014 and finally a Canadian citizen in 2018.

Please note: I do not work (or have not ever worked) for IRCC/CIC. I am not an immigration lawyer or consultant. The information here has been gathered from personal experience/online research of the IEC working holiday program 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. I cannot be held liable for you, an applicant, experiencing any problems (including a refusal) with your IEC application. 

Secondly, be aware that I refer to ‘working holiday visas’ in this article but what IEC actually offers is an open work permit. Most participating countries are part of the visa waiver program and hence citizens from these countries do not need a visa to enter Canada. Want to live, work and travel in Canada? Here's a guide with everything you need to know about applying to the IEC working holiday program - offtracktravel.caLooking to apply for a working holiday visa for Canada? The International Experience Canada program is what you need. This up-to-date guide features everything you need to know about applying for a Canada working holiday! offtracktravel.ca

If you found this post helpful, PIN or save it for future reference with one of the images above!

Read these Canada working holiday guides next:

A Working Holiday in Canada: Everything You Need To Know

Insurance Options for Working Holidays in Canada

How to Work a Ski Season in Canada

How to Transfer Money to Canada on a Working Holiday


One half of a Canadian/British couple currently based in British Columbia, Canada. Gemma is happiest with on the trail or planning the next big travel adventure.


  1. Hi Gemma,

    Thanks for the guide! I have a question. My boyfriend and I want to apply, but he is British and I’m Dutch, so we’ll be in different pools. But say when he doesn’t get an invite and I did and accepted it, can I still cancel and apply again the year after, or would I then have used up my chance?


    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Nicky! No, as soon as you receive a POE (final acceptance letter), you are considered to have participated and wouldn’t be able to apply again unless you have dual citizenship. When you do receive a POE however, you have a whole year to actually go to Canada and activate it. So plenty of time for your boyfriend to potentially receive an invite too 🙂

      • gurpreet singh Reply

        Hi gemma
        I partner she is new zealand citizen applying for work and holiday visa for canada and i m indian citizen can i join with her on same visa if yes pls advice me how can thanks you so much for your quality time

        • Gemma
          Gemma Reply

          Hi Gurpreet,

          If she is your common law partner (you’ve been living together as married for a year or more) or spouse, then you would be able to apply for an open work permit if she gets a skilled job in Canada (categories 0, A or B). You would have to enter Canada on your own merits (visitor visa) and then apply for the OWP at the border with payslip evidence and (I think) a letter from her employer. http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/helpcentre/answer.asp?qnum=199&top=17

  2. Hi Gemma,
    I am applying for the Irish pool of Young Professionals. I am currently in Canada on Working Holiday, so I am wondering will I need all police checks again for this application? I obviously already provided them when applying for WH and I’ve only been in Canada since then. Really appreciate your time to reply, thank you;)

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Warren,

      You will need to provide the police checks for this application too. However, as long as you haven’t been BACK to Ireland (or the origin country of any other police cert you applied for) since you received your police checks, you won’t need to apply for brand new certificates.

  3. Hi Gemma,
    How many days exactly do they consider as six months, 180? I spent 183 days (185 if you count the day of departure too) in New Zealand the past years, which is approximately 6 months. Would you recommend getting a police check for New Zealand if I get an invite to apply?

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Leonie, I think it’s 180 days, yes. I would get a NZ one, especially since it’s free anyway.

      • Thanks! Do you know what would happen if I accept the invitation to apply, but in the end decide not to finish the application (so drop out of it)? Would I be able to get back into the pool or would I never be able again to apply for the WHV? I cannot find information about this on the official website, only about declining an invitation.

        • Gemma
          Gemma Reply

          If you do not finish the application (and hence do not receive your POE), you can apply again. If you receive your POE however (final acceptance), this is considered participation even if you do not go to Canada. In this case, you wouldn’t be able to apply again unless you have another citizenship.

          • Thank you again! I hope I will receive the NZ criminal record check soon, it’s been over 5 weeks since I sent in the form…

            Do you know if I have to legalize (or get an apostille) for my police checks before I send them in during my application? I know that you need to send in certified translations if the language is not English or French, but I cannot find any information on the Immigration Canada website about legalization of these documents.

          • Gemma

            No, you do not have to legalise documents 🙂

          • Forget my question – thanks to the comments below I just discovered that you don’t need a police certificate anymore if you stayed in a countries for shorter than a consecutive period of 6 months. And my two stays in NZ are a cumulative 6 months. What a relief!

  4. Hi Gemma,
    Thanks for the info, it was really helpful. Do you know how likely you are to receive a POE once you accept an invitation? I am waiting on a family member in Canada to see if they could provide accommodation for me next year but if they can’t, I don’t want to use up my POE (and may apply in the future instead). I luckily received an ITA but as long as my criminal records are clean and my documents are valid does that normally grant a POE? Would really likely to know ASAP before the 10 day limit runs out!

    Many thanks

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Lee

      As long as you submit the correcr documents and don’t have a criminal record, there is no reason why your POE wouldn’t be approved.

      • Thanks so much for the reply. I will definitely be visiting your site often!

  5. Hi Gemma!

    Your website is a GOLDMINE! Thank you! Still have a couple of question though… I’m in Canada on a Work and Holiday (I’m from Sweden if that matters), and plan to apply for a Yong Professional-visa when my WH expires. I arrived in August 2017, so my WH visa expires in August 2018. WHEN should I start the application process for YP? Can I start it now, or is that just unnecessary?

    I have a full time job in Canada already, but I have read somewhere that in the application for Young Professional, you should say NO when asked if you have a job offer or not. Is this correct? Seems a bit weird to me.

    Hope you can answer my questions. 🙂

    Thanks a million!!

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Glad you found the site Stella! I would organise your YP work permit whenever you like. For Sweden, there doesn’t seem to be requirement to leave a gap between IECs so there’s no issue with a ‘waiting period’ or anything like that.

      For Young Professionals you MUST ‘a signed letter of offer or a signed contract of employment (up to 12 months)’ before even submitting a profile to the pool. For the Working Holiday program I recommend people to say ‘no’ to the employment question since CIC will then ask for employment details in the second stage and then the final work permit may be limited to one employer. For YP, you must supply this info since it is a closed work permit, limited to just one employer.

      I hope this helps!

  6. Hi Gemma,

    This is a really helpful site – thanks so much!

    I have my POE letter and it states a date (in April) I need to enter Canada by to obtain my work permit.

    I have a few long term work commitments and would really like to see them through to the end, so ideally I would like to leave my employment in the UK later in the year – I’m thinking August or September. By this point my POE letter will have expired.

    I’m wondering if I can go to Canada to validate/obtain my work permit in April (say a weekend trip) but return to the UK for a 3-4 months, before coming back to Canada. I appreciate this will eat into my 2 year work visa term, but I’d rather have a reduced term visa than no visa at all.

    Do you know of anyone who has done this? Do you foresee any obstacles?

    Many thanks!

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Terence,

      Thank you! No, there are quite a few people who do this. The only real issue with doing this is that you must purchase a 24-month insurance policy before departing the UK (in order to receive the full 24 months work permit on arrival in Canada) that allows you to return to the UK and then go back to Canada later. The problem is, you see, that the vast majority of insurance policies will be completely invalidated if you go home to the UK for 3/4 months. In fact, I only know of one UK company that allows you to return home for so long – True Traveller.(affiliate link). Otherwise, you’d have to buy another policy on your eventual return to Canada (which inevitably costs more $$). More here https://offtracktravel.ca/iec-insurance-options-for-working-holidays-in-canada/

      • Thanks for this, Gemma – you’re an invaluable source of information!

  7. Hi Emma,

    I may need a little guidance on staying in Quebec! It’s very hard to explain IEC, work permit, working holiday etc. to any employer here in Quebec. They expect me to already have my permanent residency or citizenship and do NOT understand what a work permit is and why I don’t have my PR. I’ve been here for 4 months, I speak fluent french and I have a Masters. I understand that Quebec is supposedly “different” than the other provinces, but in term of getting PR for Canada, I hear it’s easier to find work as a bilingual in Toronto/Ottawa. Also, since I’m from the USA, I don’t get the automatic 2 year work permit. I only get one year and have to renew for the 2nd year..should I go ahead and apply early before my first work permit expires this summer. Thanks.

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Ashley,

      I’m sorry to hear that you’re having what seems like a difficult experience in Quebec. I know a few people personally who have spent their working holidays in Quebec but haven’t heard of these issues before. Quebec is most certainly different (people on work permits are not eligible for provincial healthcare for one) yet I’m still surprised that you’re having trouble with people not understanding what a work permit is. Definitely a bit strange! I’m not 100% on how the IEC works with the USA (since you have to apply via a recognized organisation) but I would apply as soon as possible. If it’s just the same as the regular IEC program, then you have 12 months to enter and activate the permit anyway.

  8. Hi Gemma,

    I would like to ask regarding the IEC visa. I have applied for it and I am waiting for the POE letter. However, I am in the process to change my first name and that takes some time from the municipality. I want to ask if I have a POE letter with my old name (but same last name) and two passports (the old one and the new one) I will face any problem entering the country.

    Thank you very much.

  9. Hi there. Love your website, very helpful.

    Just a query about the eTA on the POE. I keep reading everywhere that an eTA will be on my passport automatically as I have received a POE. There is also an eTA number and expiry date on my POE.

    However when I put the details through the ‘Check your eTA status’ tool, it comes up with no matches.
    Do you know if that’s the case for all eTA’s obtained through a work permit or a mistake?

    My old eTA for when I visited a few years ago which should still be valid has also been cancelled, according to the ‘Check your eTA status’ tool.

    Many thanks.

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      I’m glad you’ve found the site helpful Owen! Yes, this is a common technical issue with IECs and eTas. As long as you don’t change your passport before going to Canada, your eTa that you received with your POE is valid. Be sure to take a copy of page 2 (in addition to page 1) of your POE with you to the airport when flying to Canada.

      • That’s great, many thanks.

        I didn’t want to apply for a separate eTA just in case it mattered that the new number wouldn’t match with the eTA on the POE.

        But if it’s just a technical issue then that’s great.

        And I’m assuming my old eTA has been cancelled as they issued a new one with the POE?

        Again many thanks, will be visiting your website several times again before I go!

  10. Hi Gemma,

    Could I send a request for invitation twice if I hadn’t declined the 1st invite and I let to expire my 20 days to upload all the documents ???

    I did not click on the yellow “Withdraw profile” button and I requested again for IEC on 3rd January 2018. I used my old profile an I have been accepted again to the International Experience Canada pool(s) of candidates on 04th January and received a new application number.

    How long after have you received the invite to apply and upload all the documents ??
    I have to with

    Where can I check how many places are available (openings) in the pool ?

  11. Hi there! You saved me with to the Police Certificate info. That tweet clarifies all!!!
    I’m applying to IEC-Working Holiday for the second time and I already submitted my documents.
    I was recently very nervous about the “accumulative time” spent on a country because within the past years I spent a lot of time traveling in Thailand as a tourist and I was worried that I may be needed to submit a Thai Police Certificate (which seems a long and complicated process on its own) but now I feel super relieved. I wish the distinction for IE regard to Police Checks were also specified on their website, tho.

    Thank you so much, guys! Love you!!

    Happy travels 🙂

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      I’m glad the info helped you Marcela! They have tweeted elsewhere that the website will be updated at some point.

  12. Hi Marcela,
    which twit are you speaking she saved you ??
    I am traveling in Us too more than 6 months but I don’t know if I have to update Police Certificate from Us even If I am resident in Italy

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Jack,

      Marcela is referring to the recent update from the IEC team (via their Twitter) that they no longer require police certificates for people who have spent 6 or more months in a country cumulatively i.e. added up over different trips. You are only required to get police certificate if you have spent 6 or more months in a country in one go. So, if you travelled in the USA for 6 months or more (e.g. May 2017 to November 2017) then you would need a FBI police cert. If you travelled June 2016 – September 2016 and then February 2017 to May 2017 (for example), then you would not need one.

  13. Hi Gemma,

    My name is Kieran, I am a British citizen (currently 17 years of age). I’ll be 18 in April which is when I will apply for the IEC. My partner lives in Vancouver. When I eventually arrive I’ll be living with her and her parents for the duration of my stay. I was wondering what my options are to stay in Canada as I am determined to not go back to the UK. If it helps to know, I will be going into the beauty industry. I would very much appreciate your opinions on what the best option for me to stay is. Thank you so much.

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Kieran,

      If you manage to get an invite for the IEC, I would look into Permanent Residency if you decide to stay in Canada. Should you want to stay, you could apply for the common law route after living with your partner for a year (or spousal if you get married) OR apply via Express Entry for Permanent Residency under the skilled route. For the latter, there are quite a few routes to do it but you’d have to work out whether your job in Canada is considered ‘skilled’ or not – the easiest way to do this is to check CIC’s NOC system. Skill types 0, A and B are considered skilled and if you work in one of those titles for a year, you may be eligible for PR. Check the NOC here https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/immigrate-canada/express-entry/become-candidate/eligibility/find-national-occupation-code.html and the Express Entry calculator is here https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/immigrate-canada/express-entry/works.html

      I’d keep in mind that Permanent Residency is quite a commitment considering it will cost you around $2k and around a year to process (more or less, it depends on the route). The common law/spousal route shouldn’t be underestimated either, as it involves your Canadian sponsor being financially responsible for you for a number of years after you receive PR. The only way to stay in Canada besides PR is to get job sponsorship but this is difficult and involves a $1000 for the employer and they have to prove that no Canadian is able and willing to do the job.

  14. I am resident in Italy but I am traveling since November 2016, 3 months in USA (November 2016-Feb 2017), 5 months in Mexico (Feb 2017-June 2017), 3 months in USA (June 2017- September 2017), 2 months in Italy (September 2017-November 2017) and I am living again in Usa since November 2017.

    Mailing address\” is where I am currently living and \”Residential address\” is where is my place of residence ??

    In the line \”Residential address\” I have to fill out my home address in Italy or my american address where I am currently living since November 2017 ?

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Jack,

      Mailing address has to be Italy since you are applying for the Italian program and Italians must have a permanent mailing address in Italy.

      The residential address is where you are currently physically living so this would be the US address.

  15. Hi Gemma,

    I’m about to book my flight to Canada.

    My POE letter states I must enter by 2018/04/27.

    I was planning to fly (and arrive) on 2018/04/25.

    Do you think it it OK to arrive so close to the cut off date?

    Many thanks,


    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Terence,

      I’ve heard of people activating a couple of days before their POE expires so I doubt you’d have issues. The one thing I would never recommend is to activate it on the DAY it expires. But you’re not going to do that, so all good 🙂

  16. Hey there Gemma 🙂

    I have Australian and British Passport.

    I have already been on IEC on my Australian passport. Am I able to apply for a new IEC permit on my British passport?

    Thank you 🙂

  17. Hi, guys! I’m in need of some advice. As a second-year applicant, I’ve been asked to fill the form imm5257b_1 in order to detail my whereabouts since the year 2000 (yes, 17 years and I was still in high school) and the past years I’ve traveled a lot.
    The form contains a table element in which you can add rows to add more data but in my case, I reached the maximum possible for the document and I still have some places to add. Since it’s a secured pdf I cannot add more pages because when completed I need to validate it in order to get a barcode on the last page and there’s no extra field to upload an explanatory letter for this document so I don’t know what to do.
    I’ve searched around and I haven’t found any answer to this and I also ask on Tweeter to IEC but no reply yet. I have 7 days to send this doc.
    I guess I have 2 options:
    1. Just skip some places in order to fit all the info without showing gaps (it can’t show gaps).
    2. I don’t know how relevant is to get the barcode, because the easiest thing will be just printed out, fill it by hand and then send the scanned version of the document in order to be able to add an extra page.

    I don’t wanna complicate it too much but I also don’t want my application to be rejected just because I had all the info but just not enough space to place it ¬¬

    Have you known of any similar situation? I’ll appreciate your feedback on this.


    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      You will need to provide ALL relevant info with absolutely no gaps. The reason you have been asked to complete this form is because your submitted resume had gaps. This has been happening a lot this year. You could either do option 2 OR combine this pdf with a separate word doc of your own explaining the rest of the info.

  18. Hi there, would like to know if you can help me out. I have applied for a working/holiday visa about two weeks ago and still haven\’t got an answer yet. I am interested to know if coming over to Canada and receive the visa in the country itself is possible?

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Lee, have you received an invite yet or are you just in the pool? And what is your country of citizenship?

  19. Hi Gemma,
    Your site great. I was wondering if you would be able to help me. I have an Irish working visa which is expiring in June. Unfortunately unforseen circumstances stopped me from coming out to Canada to use the visa. I did activate visa. When I activated the visa, the officer said the Irish can apply for 3rd year. My question is do you the number I could ring iec? Would I be able to apply again due not being able to use visa and how could get third year?

    Many thanks

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Jo,

      Sorry to hear you couldn’t make the most of your IEC experience. As soon as you receive a POE for one of the IEC programs (working holiday, young professionals etc) this is considered participation. So it doesn’t even matter whether you actually activate it or not. As an Irish citizen, you can participate in IEC once more through the International Co-Op program but you have to be a student to be able to do so. Otherwise I am afraid you are out of luck unless you have another citizenship. More info on the International Co-Op program here http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/work/iec/eligibility.asp?country=ie&cat=coop&#country_category_name

  20. Sara de Boer Reply

    Hi Gemma,

    This website has been such a help for me! Thank you. This spring I would love to work/travel in Canada. And it seems that the whole application process did work out. I got my corespondence letter! Not without your tips and advices 🙂

    But there is one big question on which I do not seem to get any answers. Not on the website and not through the question-webform of CIC immigration, refugees and citizenship.
    – I wrote a letter of explanation + receipts etc. for the police certificate, because I did not receive that in time to fulfill my application.
    – Got it now!
    – Then I got the request to upload the document, but they asked me to fill in things that did not apply to the Police Certificate Document like ‘expiry date’, ‘document name’ and ‘document number’. And I could not fill in N/A.
    – So I asked questions about this through a webform. No response yet…
    – Now one week later I did receive my ‘Correspondence letter’ already. Isn’t that weird?

    Do you have any idea how this is possible? Do you think I still need to upload the Police certificate? Or just bring it when I arrive in Canada?

    P.s. I have asked for an E-reader for my birthday so I can read your Ebook while traveling haha.


    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Sara,

      It’s not uncommon for people to receive their POE (final acceptance, this is the Correspondence Letter you would have received) without submitting police certificates. It just happens sometimes, often because CIC know that certain police certificates take a long time to process. So congratulations! No, you won’t need to submit your police certificate if you have already received your POE. I would bring it with you when you go to Canada though as it is a useful thing to have. CIC also recommend bringing all application documents with you anyway when activating your work permit.

      Aww, thank you for mentioning reading the eBook! It is a PDF file so you can read it from any type of computer or portable device (tablet, mobile). 🙂

      • Sara de Boer Reply

        The reply button does not seem to work. So hereby thanks for your response! Makes things clear now and I can be extra happy everything worked out. I will take all documents that I provided when I go to Canada, just to be sure.

        Thanks again.

  21. Really nice recap of the whole process! Mine was a little different since I am an American, but still I highly recommend doing the program. Canada is amazing and currently based in Montreal 🙂

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Good to hear things are going well for you in Montreal? Am I right in thinking the major difference is that as an American you have to apply through a RO? Besides that, almost the same?

      • Hi Gemma,

        Things are going great! Yes, you are correct you have to go through an RO, but otherwise the process is the exact same,. I used InterExchange and was very happy with the service. Do you have any advice on getting a second Working Holiday Visa?

        • Gemma
          Gemma Reply

          Nice to hear! I believe for the second (as Americans are eligible for 2 x 1 year), you just go through the process again with an RO.

  22. Hello,

    IEC visa can be extended if got a closed work permit from any employer ? or I have to leave the country and re-enter it again after 23 months?

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi there,

      The IEC cannot be extended. If you have an employer willing to sponsor you, you’ll need a LMIA which costs the employer $1000 and they have to advertise the job role and prove you are the best match. Otherwise, apply for Permanent Residency via Express Entry 🙂

  23. Hey Guys,

    I am currently applying for my IEC from NZ.

    I am in the process of applying for my visa (I have accepted the invitation)

    Only question I have is, I am backpacking from Peru up to California before I move to Canada. There is no set date as to when I will be flying from California to Canada as we have no time restriction.

    When I submit my proof of travel documents, would it be acceptable to put in my flight from here (AKL, NZ) to PERU and then write in the letter of explanation the plans? or will this not suffice.

    Also, will I be charged when I click the apply button or are you charged upon acception?

    Appreciate any advice!!


    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Elliott,

      You will be charged the fees on submission of the work permit (after receiving an invite, before final approval).

      As for your other question, I’m not sure what you are referring to with the travel plans. You don’t have to submit proof of travel for the IEC, just scans of your passport. The one thing that you may have issues with (just in case you’re not aware of it) is that you plan to visit the US before activating your IEC in Canada. The Visa Waiver Program rules for visiting the US state that you must leave the North American continent after 90 days. Before activating the IEC, you are not a resident of Canada and so this rule still applies. I have heard of IEC applicants having to book a return flight back to their home country at the request of the US border guards before. See more info here https://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/forums/americas-united-states-of-america/united-states/travelling-from-usa-to-canada-on-an-iec-visa-and-esta-waiver

  24. Hi GEMMA,
    If I’m applying through a Recognized Organization (since my country, Argentina, doesn’t have an agreement with Canada), will I receive an invitation for sure? since I’m paying to this organization and Canada gives them every year a certain amount of vacancies. Or it will be also a matter of luck?
    Thank you!

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Mariela,

      If your country does not have a regular IEC program and you HAVE to go through a Recognized Organisation, I believe there are enough places for however many applicants the RO receives. This is just to the best of my knowledge though, I do not have much experience with ROs.

      Edit March 2018 – it has come to my attention that the RO’s have an overall quota that is not bound by nationality/citizenship. So in a way there is a limit but it is not based on YOUR citizenship, just their overall quota that they are given by the Canadian government

  25. Hi Gemma,

    Thanks for the guide! Just two questions
    -What do I have to include in my letter of explanation?
    -I lived in the US for more than 6 months and would need to submit a criminal record but they haven’t asked me for it, I mean is not in my supporting documents. Isn’t it weird?

    Thanks 🙂

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      You’re welcome!

      1) Nothing, if you do not have anything to explain. If it won’t let you submit without submitting a Letter of Explanation, just upload a document and then delete it and that should fix it.
      2) As soon as CIC see that you lived in the US for more than six months (they will know this from your resume), they are very likely to request a FBI check. It is not weird because they do not know the details of your background at this stage.

  26. Hi Gemma,

    Your website is a wealth of information!

    I’m hoping you can provide me some advice too. Both me and my wife are New Zealand citizens looking at applying for the working holiday visa. Only catch is that we have 2 kids (3yo & 2 mo).

    Couple of questions :
    1. Can I apply for a PR while on my working holiday visa? This is based on my work experience (IT) and also if I manage to find a job in my related field. How long does this usually take to process?

    2. Preschool/daycare costs? Do you know approximately how much this would cost?

    Thanks in advance! Any help with this would be appreciated.


    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Glad you’re finding useful content!

      1) Yes, you absolutely. I did and I know quite a few others that did via various different routes. PR processing times is hugely dependent on which route you apply through amongst lots of other factors. Have you read about Express Entry yet? http://www.cic.gc.ca/English/helpcentre/results-by-topic.asp?top=29
      2) Sorry, no, I don’t, I wouldn’t even like to take a guess. I presume it would also vary hugely between provinces so I’m not sure how helpful it would be even if I knew for one province! I would check the forums at canadavisa.com

  27. Hi Gemma,

    Do you need a police check from your country of citizenship? I’m Italian but have lived in a few countries for more than 6 months so have applied for those police checks.. but do I need one from Italy?


    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Yes, you will need one from Italy if you have lived there for over six months since the age of 18.

  28. Hi,
    Thanks for the guide! Just one question
    I’m doing my cv but I have a problem, I only worked in the shop’s family and sometimes I gave private lessons of desing and autocard so I dont know if I can include it or I can’t because I wasn’t registred.
    Thanks you

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      What is most important about the resume is that there are no gaps – CIC want to know where you were and whether you were working/studying etc. The detail of precisely what you were doing seems to be less important since the IEC is not based on your skills and education.

  29. Lisa Carrington Reply

    Me and my fiancé both applied for working holiday visas in January, he got his invitation within about a month but I haven’t had one yet. I’m aware it’s a random process and this can happen but wondering if you know what the likelihood is of me getting one at all? Or if there are any other ways I can get out there with him! We were hoping to go out in October/November time!

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Lisa! You didn’t mention where you are from, but if the UK then it is complete luck whether you will get one. There is more demand than places available for British citizens. Having said that, for the last couple of years they have added more places in the summer (even with this, you still may not receive an invite). If you guys are common law (living together as married for at least a year) or married by the time you go to Canada, you could enter as a visitor and then later apply for an open work permit IF your partner gets a skilled job while in Canada. The job would have to be NOC 0, A or B (check the CIC website for the NOC list) and he’d have to receive at least three payslips before you can apply. http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/helpcentre/answer.asp?qnum=177&top=17

  30. Lisa Carrington Reply

    Hey thanks so much for coming back to me! Yes sorry am from the UK! My other half will be my husband by the time we go and he is looking at doing a snowboard instructors apprenticeship (only about 3-4 weeks) then I believe being an instructor is an NOC B job. So he would need to do 3 months work before I could apply for open permit? How long does the open permit process generally take? Thanks Lisa

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Lisa,

      It’s not a process that is explained super well on the CIC process but the general recommendations I have heard is three payslips. Also advised to get a letter from their employer explaining their role and hours, plus proof of your relationship (tenancy agreement, shared bank account etc) and then take all of this to the border to get the open work permit issued on the spot (this is called flagpoling, I have a post on it). I’ve never done this myself so this is all based on other people’s experiences doing so. I believe there is a paper application as an alternative but takes longer to process.

  31. Hi Gemma! Thanks for all of the awesome help here. My boyfriend is in the IEC process and just got a deferral because he needed to do an FBI Check in the USA. He was granted an extension until June 23, 2018. We just received the letter back from the FBI with his results, so we could theoretically upload it now to continue the process. However, we are wondering if it’s also possible to wait and upload in early June and if doing so would give him more time to enter the country and extend eligibility. He doesn’t plan to start in Canada until the summer at the earliest.

    Also he has turned 31 already, although he entered the pool before his 31st birthday, but we’re wondering if there are any extra age considerations here.

    We also are curious if he can travel to Canada just for a visit after he gets the POE but before he wants to “start the clock” on his year here. Or does it automatically start the timer when he next enters Canada?



    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Katie,

      Yes, you could wait a little longer to grant him extra time to activate. He would have 12 months from POE approval to enter Canada though which is already quite a long time. You can absolutely visit Canada without activating the IEC, it is NOT automatic since you have to physically visit immigration after customs to do so. I would recommend printing and taking a copy of this page which is proof of this policy http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/helpcentre/answer.asp?qnum=1249&top=25

      There are no age limitations beyond receiving an invite BEFORE turning the cut-off age. So since he has an invite, his age no longer matters.

  32. Hey Gemma
    Great website and easy to follow. My husband and I are just getting ourselves organised for applying for working holiday. I am from Ireland and he is from New Zealand, we are living in Ireland currently and will be applying from here that is okay for a New Zealand applicant is that correct?
    Also from your tip on the resume we will have a 6month gap on it from travelling different countries so is it advisable to include this in the letter of explanation?
    Thanks in advance
    Gem & Reuben

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Gem!

      Yep, absolutely fine for a New Zealand Citizen to apply from Ireland. You would definitely need to explain that six-month gap else you are very likely to receive a request to provide more information anyway. This will delay your application.

  33. Hi!

    Sorry if this has been answered in the comments, but I’m from England and have just had my invitation to apply. Do I need to obtain a police certificate straight away? Or is this only if I answered “yes” to the criminal record question (which I didn’t, my record is clean.) Trying to keep an eye on costs and it appears it’ll either be £45/£80 for a police certificate so I only want to do this if it’s completely necessary.

    Looking forward to your response, and loving your blog! I’m finding it very helpful!

    C x

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Christina,

      Glad you’ve found the blog helpful. Yes, you will need a police certificate for the UK if you have spent over 6 months there since the age of 18. You will need to submit this with the other documentation after accepting your invite. I’d go for the £45 one and if you need more time, just upload proof that you have applied.

  34. Hi there.

    I have received my POE, but during the application process I believe I answered ‘Yes’ incorrectly to the question ‘do you plan to to a work placement or internship in Canada as part of your studies’.

    Nothing more was asked about it during the application, and I definitely answered no to the questions regarding if I have an offer of employment and if I was enrolled in an university. Is this something they could bring up at the border? Or now that I have my Poe I shouldn’t worry about it?

    I might do an internship but it wouldn’t related to my studies as I am not studying.

    Many thanks for your help on this great website.

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Congrats on receiving your POE! I honestly wouldn’t worry. If you did answer ‘yes’ to the work placement question, you would have later been asked for work details. Even if you did somehow ‘slip through the cracks,’ it is my understanding, the officers are the border have very little information about (or access to) your actual IEC application.

  35. Hello,
    My son has applied for IEC -RO. He received ITA and submitted his application for work permit. It has been 20 days now. He is planning to go in mid May. Do you think he will receive it in time? How long does it actually take? It says 8 weeks, is it always 8 weeks? And will he be getting stamp on his passport or he will get POE first and after landing at Canada he will get work permit? Is the IEC any different for IEC -RO ( Recognised organisation).
    Btw, we are from India. Just for information. If it changes anything.
    Thanks in advance and any guidance will be highly appreciated.

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Sapna,

      I’m not super familiar with the RO process but I believe it is the same after receiving the invite. 8 weeks is the length of time the majority of the applications are processed in. Some applications are approved after a couple of days, some five weeks. It really does vary so much. Having said that, my personal experience is that most IEC work permit applications are processed within about 3/4 weeks. Your son will receive a POE first and then a physical work permit in Canada, as long as he has all the necessary paperwork (insurance, proof of funds etc).

  36. Thank you very much for the reply. If we have any other questions, will get back to you once we receive POE.
    Thanks again!

  37. Hi ,
    It says he should have sufficient funds. Firstly , how much ? And second, should it be in his account or parent\\\’s account statement will suffice? He is 20 years old.

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Sapna,

      I think you’d find the ‘Stage six: Receiving your POE’ section of this guide helpful. Proof of funds should be in his own bank account.

      • Thanks.
        As I understand his work permit stamp will be done once he lands in Canada. As he has to go to Edmonton, and there is less direct flight from India. So if he first lands at Toronto, the work permit stamp process will be done at Toronto. His connecting flight will be in 2 hours. Do you know how much time it generally takes at the airport? What is your advice for keeping the gap for the next flight?
        We are still awaiting the POE.
        Thank a lot for all the important information here.

        • Gemma
          Gemma Reply

          Hi Sapna

          Good question! The time to activate in Toronto can vary so much but I’d generally recommend to leave at least 2-2.5 hours if your next flight is part of the same booking as the first. The reason I say this is because the airline will rebook you on the next flight (for free) if you miss the connection. If the domestic flight is a separate booking, I’d leave a longer gap, maybe 4 hours, as you don’t have that backup. Toronto Pearson can be very busy at times.

  38. Hi Gemma, I’m Australian and I’m 30 years old and I turn 31 in July this year. I applied for the IEC visa as I really want to experience living in Canada and I was invited to apply from the pool of applicants. I’ve applied within the 20 day time frame and submitted all required documents and the only remaining document I need to provide (as I got an email from the immigration office) is the FBI check as I lived in the US for 12 months back in 2012. I lodged this about a week ago and put tracking on it. It has been received by the FBI but could take a couple of weeks to process. I can’t seem to find a straight answer on this but I read that I have met the age requirements for this IEC visa as I’ve applied and been invited to apply from the pool before 31. I am just wondering if it needs to be approved before I turn 31 or if what I read about – as long as I was invited to apply from the pool and lodged my app before 31, that it would be fine age eligibilty wise.

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Luke,

      To meet age requirements, you must receive an invite before turning 31 (36 for some countries). After that, your age doesn’t matter.

      • Thank you for getting back to me Gemma 🙂 loving your site by the way, I’ll definitely be keeping it book marked as you have so much good insight and information on here which will be handy when my IEC gets the all clear! Thanks again

  39. Hi Gemma,

    I got invited to apply for the IEC and I’m just filling out the form online. I happen to be in Canada at the moment (just as a tourist from the UK) so I have an eTA number, from when I flew in. On the online forms it asks if I have ever applied for an eTA – so I have put yes but when it asks for the eTA number it keeps rejecting it. It’s a 10 digit number beginning with J… I’m not sure what to do as I don’t want to leave any information out and ‘lie’ by saying I haven’t applied for an eTA but I’m not sure how to proceed if it won’t accept the number?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Charlotte,

      If it won’t accept it, I would leave it empty and then upload a short Letter of Explanation that you already have an eTA and what the number is.

  40. william coate Reply

    hello, i am trying to apply for an IEC visa to work in canada as a snowboard instructor. I have had a job offer for the upcoming winter season but I cant apply for a visa because of my age! I am 17 but turn 18 in september before the job starts!! ay help with getting a visa???

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi William,

      I’m afraid you can’t join the IEC pool until the day you turn 18 🙁

  41. Hi Gemma
    May I pick your brain please. My husband and I would like to apply for working holiday for Canada from France. I saw that spots available for France are currently listed as zero. Do you think there are any chanses of getting selected ? Or do we have to wait for next year – apply in November December when there will be new opening ?
    Thank you

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Ana

      I’m sorry, it’s not looking good for this season for you on the French program unless they add more places. They’ve done this for the UK program in June/July time the last few years, not sure about France. If not, you will need to wait until late autumn when the new season starts.

  42. Urgent

    I am from the UK and I have joined the IEC pool. What are my chances of being accepted as I have to go to a family wedding in canda in June. Could I go and stay there and wait it out for my acceptance?

    Also I read one of ur above questions. Did the application for ETA number because I completed missed that part. I just got back from Canada from a week stay and I had an ETA number then. Will this affect my application?

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Hanan,

      With the UK pool being so oversubscribed, you may find it tricky to simply ‘wait it out’ in Canada. CIC did just add more places but it doesn’t change the fact that you may not receive an invite in this season’s pool. As I mention in this guide, I don’t recommend anyone to do this unless you are a member of a pool with lots of places and low demand and/or you are Australian (unlimited places). If you choose to fly to Canada on a one-way ticket, you may find yourself having difficulties with both the airline and when entering Canada.

      eTA-wise, there is no issue if you already have one. If/when your IEC application is approved, a new eTA will be issued to you. This will overwrite your current eTA.

  43. Also I received an email today stating your application has been updated but when I went to check no changes?

    Is this a system error?

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      This is what is known as a ‘ghost email.’ It is common and doesn’t mean anything. Watch for an email about a message in your account, not an update.

  44. Hi,
    My son’s visa has been approved and they have asked for his passport which we have submitted.
    I was under the impression that he will get POE letter and the work permit thing will happen at Canada. Let’s see , once we get the passport back , we will come to know.
    I wanted to know about travel insurance. Is medical insurance and travel insurance same? Is it ok if we take issurance from ICICI LOMBARD Insurance? Is there an amount you can suggest for insurance for 3 months?
    Many thanks

  45. Hi,

    I just applied for IEC working holiday scheme. I am an Irish citizen and wondering how long it normally takes to receive an ITA. I am currently in Canada working under student permit after finishing few professional courses. I need to stop working as soon as my student permit expires and would like to get more information about the IEC working holiday visa, and how long it takes to go through the process.



    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Joe,

      It’s hard to say but, being Irish, you should get an invite soon. I would say in the next month or two. It can then take up to 8 weeks for the application to be processed after you have submitted your docs, but in practice, it is more like 3-4 weeks as an average.

  46. Hi Gemma,

    thank you for all the information.

    One question I have is: Can I apply for a working holiday visa (while I’m in New Zealand), and while it’s pending, fly to Canada on holiday for up to 6 months? I have my eTA approved for this. Obviously I wouldn’t be working during my holiday there. I mainly want to know If I’m allowed to be in Canada on holiday whilst my working holiday visa application is pending? I understand that if it’s still in process then I’ll have to leave Canada before the 6 months is up.

    Thank you for your time.

  47. Hi Gemma,

    Thank you for providing all of this information. It is really useful. I was wondering if you could help me please? I have submitted my profile and received an invitation for my IEC (working holiday) and have accepted the invite. However I have just noticed that I accidentally put the wrong country of permanent residence as I got it mixed up with the country of residence (where I moved to 2 years ago). 🙁

    Do you know if I can change this somewhere? Will this be a reason to disregard my application? I am really worried and hope you have an idea.

    Thank you very much in advance and I wish you a lovely evening!

    Best regards,

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Rena,

      Depending on where you are from, it may make a difference – some countries (such as Sweden) have a permanent residence requirement. Either way, you should upload a Letter of Explanation with your accurate address. This way, you should be fine.

  48. Hi Gemma,

    I have been trawling for an answer to this question everywhere including contacting Canadian immigration, who haven’t really answered my question at all. Basically I travelled to Canada last October (UK participant) planning to work 1 winter season and then move on. Because I only planned to stay in the country on IEC for 7 months this was the amount of time I purchased my health insurance for, resulting in my visa being granted only for 7 months instead of the full 2 year entitlement. It says on the website that the IEC visa can be extended under certain circumstances but not if the reason was not having sufficient health insurance. I just wondered whether you can purchase extra cover to get the rest of the entitlement?

    Any information you have would be massively appreciated.


    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Harry,

      I’m afraid the requirement is to have insurance to cover the full length of your intended stay on entry. If your work permit is shortened to the length of your insurance policy, there is no way to get an extension.

  49. Hello Gemma,
    I am in the process of applying for a work permit for Canada and your website is proving extremely helpful in the application process so thank you!

    I do have a question regarding police certificates however.
    I was under the impression that they were mandatory to submit but it was not listed as one of the supporting documents needed. Does this mean I need not apply for one or will there be a need for it later in the process or when I arrive in Canada?


    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Sophie,

      You should have a police certificate slot on your required documents list when applying for a work permit (after receiving an invite). If not, this may be because you are from one of the participating countries which do you need to provide a certificate from their home country (France is one). Everyone else needs to upload at least one police cert. If you do not have the police certificate slot, I would upload it under ‘Letter of Explanation.’

  50. Hi Gemma,

    I have spent a total of 15 months (3 winter seasons) in Japan over the past few years. With none of those stays being 6 months or more at one time. Will I still need to provide a Police Certificate from Japan when I apply for my IEC?

    Thank you

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Timmy

      For the IEC specifically, they are only concerned about places you’ve spent 6 months or more consecutively. So if you didn’t stay in Japan for six months straight, it is not needed unless directly requested

  51. I am an Australian working in an American Summer Camp and have applied for an IEC. I have received been accepted to apply and have received a notice stating
    ” FBI Clearance: IEC program officials are satisfied that you have initiated the FBI Identity Summary Check process. Please submit your documentation once its available and complete.”
    Is this because I am currently in the United States and not Australia and does it mean I will have to get my fingerprints taken and send them off?
    Thank you

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Robyn

      How long have you been in the US? If less than six months you shouldn’t need a FBI cert. It seems like a weird message to me. You could upload a letter explaining how long you have been in the US (if less than six months).

  52. Ricardo Duda Reply

    Hi there
    My name is Ricardo I’m from Brazil and I’m living and working in Canada under whv my visa expires in next January. In order to keep working without leaving the country I’d like to reapply for whv one more time. Do I need a new Loa from one of the ROs? Considering that I already have a job, a place to stay, speak English I don’t need any further help.
    Congrats to the website

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Ricardo

      You will need to apply again through an RO. This is because Brazil is not a participating IEC country.

  53. The UK pools are closed as of 2018, if I apply now for my Working holiday will I have to apply again in 2019 and pay another feww or do I just wait until the uk pools are open again ? Thank you

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Jordan

      You will need to apply again when the pools open for the 2019 cycle (likely to be November as per the past few years)

  54. Hi Gemma,

    I understand the pools have now closed until late November… I applied for the last set but didn’t receive an invite. To apply again would I have to withdraw my last application and make a new one when the pools open again?? I know my account and GCkey will still be valid but will i have to create a new IEC application??

    Thanks in advance,

    Becky 🙂

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Becky,

      Yes, you will need to apply for the IEC again. Good luck!

  55. Hi Gemma,

    Thanks for your fantastic website 🙂 I am a NZ citizen who is turning 36 in the middle of next year and I have a few questions:
    1. How long before my 36th birthday should I apply – I understand that there is a 8 week processing time but is that after you have received your letter of invitation? I would really like to apply as close to my birthday as possible..
    2. Also, it is ok if I enter Canada for a only a week or two to activate my visa (before by POE expires), then go back to NZ, travel around other countries for a few months, then go back to Canada and start working from then – noting that my 23 months will start from the date of my first trip to Canada?

    Your assistance is greatly appreciated!

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Catherine,

      Since you are from New Zealand and there is more places than demand, you do not need to rush to apply for the IEC. Having said that, I wouldn’t wait TOO long since you need to receive an invite BEFORE you turn 36. Sometimes things can take a little time, even for citizens of countries where you are basically guaranteed an invite. If you do not receive an invite before your 36th birthday, you will be removed from the pool and your chance is gone. At the latest, I would apply 2-3 months before your birthday, perhaps earlier. It would be terrible to miss this opportunity. CIC sometimes have technical issues that can stop the issue of invites. One year, the whole application process was closed for 6 weeks or so. Remember, once you have received your POE (final acceptance), you do have a year in which to travel to Canada to actually activate it, regardless of your age at the time.

      The 8 week processing time refers to the period after you have submitted all documents following an invite. Your age at this point wouldn’t matter. As mentioned above, you must receive an invite before your birthday to be eligible.

      It is perfectly fine to enter Canada to activate the POE shortly before expiry (I’d recommend at least a week before the POE expiry) and then leave to travel elsewhere. You must, however, have the $2500 proof of funds and 23 months of travel insurance to show on entry to get the full 23 month work permit.

  56. Hi Gemma,
    Your website is so helpful, thank you for taking the time to write everything down! I have a question regarding the applications for the 2019 season: the pools for my country (Italy) are now closed and the message on the website of the Government of Canada is unclear to me: it says that I have to “create a new profile when the pools open in November”. Can I create the profile now even though the pools have not opened yet, or do I have to wait for them to open (that is until late November, as you wrote)? I am willing to be as fast as possible, so I’m thinking that signing in now would spare some time…

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Federica,

      You will need to wait and create a profile when the pools re-open. Invites are unlikely to go out for another 2-3 weeks after that so you have nothing to worry about in terms of speed 🙂

  57. Hi Gemma,

    Do you think it possible for someone to get a working holiday visa without having finished high school ?

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Silver,

      Yes, absolutely! There are no educational requirements for the IEC program.

  58. Anna Markou Reply

    Hello Gemma, thank you for the insightful blog with Q&A you have setup!

    I am about to start my IEC working holiday application when they open probably next week.

    I would super-appreciate some insight/help on my issue as I really haven’t found an answer to my question!

    As I’m in a common-law relationship and intend to declare that on my IEC application, my partner would like apply for an OWP when and if I get an NOC A or B job. Will proof of my common-law status (i.e forms, rental agreements, explanations, letters, etc.) be required on my IEC application OR will that be on my Partner’s later OWP application? How do we approach this?

    Thank you very-very much in advance!

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Anna

      You will need common law evidence later, when you apply for the work permit in Canada.

  59. Hi Gemma,

    Thanks for all the information, extremely useful!

    Do you happen to know how long is a police certificate good for? I have a couple of old ones translated and certified and I am wondering if I should get some new ones?



    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Alejandro

      It is mentioned a couple of times in the guide that police certificates are valid for 12 months unless you have not been back to the issuing country since they were issued. In that case, they are still valid regardless 🙂

  60. Hey Gemma,

    You stated in the FAQ section that you may apply for the IEC from within Canada, my question is do you have to leave Canada and re-enter to show POE and other documents to a border/immigration officer or is there a way you can do that also from within Canada?

    Thanks in advance

  61. Hi Gemma,
    as far as you know, did anybody ever experience their application IEC2019 withdrawn without the actual applicant withdrawing it? I got an email saying that i withdrew my application but i didn’t. I am just trying to figure out if i was hacked or something. Thank you kindly

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Daniele,

      I haven’t heard of this before. Did you sign into MyCIC and check that your application is still valid?

      • Thank you for your prompt response Gemma! Yes I did check my application, it was withdrawn and I have no clue who did it.. So I applied again and I am back in the pool waiting for a response. Weird!!

        • Gemma
          Gemma Reply

          That is so strange!! I hope it doesn’t happen again.

  62. Hi Gemma,
    I am from Italy and I am currently visiting in Canada, I would like to apply for IEC2019, do I have to go back to Italy to get my Biometrics done? Or I can get them done here in Canada and submit my application from here?

    Thank you so much fro your time!

  63. Hi Gemma,

    Thanks so much for all the information you’ve already provided. I couldn’t see my question previously mentioned, so hopefully I’m not asking something that’s already been covered. I’m an Australian citizen, completed an IEC 2 year Working Holiday visa at the start of this year. Can I apply for an IEC – Young Professionals visa assuming I meet all of the requirements? Or are Australians only entitled to 1 IEC 2 year visa? Seems to be some conflicting information on the web.

    Thanks a lot in advance!

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Ryan

      Australian citizens are allowed to do the Working Holiday OR the Young Professionals IEC program as well as the International Co-op (for students only). So, no, I’m afraid you would not be eligible. You can see this stated on the official Young Professionals and Working Holiday eligibility pages http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/work/iec/eligibility.asp?country=au&cat=yp&#country_category_name “As an Australian citizen, you may participate in the Young Professionals category only once. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you may participate in IEC one more time through the International Co-op (Internship) category.”

  64. Hi Gemma

    thank you for the great information you put here,very easy to read etc….
    i have question if you can help me…is possible in this 1 year i will be in canada to start procedure for the provisional nominee programme so i get the permanent residency before the year finish?..i have see in some provinces they look people in hotel hospitality jobs that is also where i am working,as in most provinces it says is enought you to working 6 months in canada so you can apply…you think is possible to sort out everything in the 1 year i will be there?
    thank you very much

    • Gemma
      Gemma Reply

      Hi Niko,

      It could be possible, depending on the province’s permanent residency program and how soon you get the qualifying skilled job in Canada.

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