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IEC Working Holiday Canada: Arrival Checklist

About to move to Canada on the working holiday program and looking for an IEC arrival checklist? Search no further, this post clarifies everything you need to bring to Canada to activate your IEC work permit.

Without the right documents, there is a risk you may receive a short-dated work permit or no permit at all!

Give your working holiday in Canada the best start possible with a hassle-free arrivals experience. This IEC arrival checklist is sure to help.

I have been writing IEC application guides for 10+ years and moved to Canada via the program. I also run an IEC Facebook help group with more than 35k members.

Last updated November 2023. This post includes affiliate links. If you purchase an item through one of these links, we may receive a percentage of the sale.

Looking across driftwood scattered beach to rocky headland on left, calm ocean (with cloud reflections) and forested headland on other shore. It is approaching sunset and orange colours are starting to show
Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Arrival checklist for IEC working holiday Canada program

When travelling to Canada to activate your IEC work permit, you must have the following documents ready:

  • passport
  • Port of Entry (POE) Letter
  • proof of funds of the equivalent of at least CAN$2,500*
  • proof of health insurance for the length of your intended stay in Canada
  • a ticket for your departure from Canada OR sufficient funds to purchase such a ticket (around $1000)
  • copies of the documents you provided in your work permit application

I would recommend putting your printed documents in a file to present to the border officer on arrival in Canada. 

Based on the previous of many previous IEC travellers, I would recommend bringing printed copies of the following documents, to avoid any potential expiry date mistakes on the work permit:

The above documents help prove how long your work permit should be. Not all border officers are familiar with the IEC working holiday program. Some participants have had the length of their work permits shortened unnecessarily.

Proof of funds

The funds do not have to be in Canadian dollars – your home currency is fine. The amount must be the equivalent of $2,500 or more. 

Please note that this amount has been the same for 10+ years but living costs in Canada are now much higher than they were. $2,500 will not last very long in Canada. 

For proof, bring a bank statement or printed online bank summary dated no more than 1 week before your arrival in Canada. Your name and the account details (with available funds) should be visible. 

The funds must be available immediately. A credit line on a credit card does not count.  

Printed documents are best as phones can have technical issues. Border officers usually prefer to take all documents and look at them away from the immigration desk. 

If you arrive in Canada with more than $10,000 in physical cash, bankers’ drafts, cheques, travellers’ cheques, money orders or securities in bearer form (stocks, treasury bills) you must declare it. $10,000+ in a bank account does not need to be declared. 

Heading to British Columbia for your working holiday? This detailed IEC arrivals guide explains exactly what to expect after landing at Vancouver Airport

Elevated view looking down on the town of Banff, Alberta, in the Canadian Rockies. The town is surrounded by snow capped mountains
Banff, Alberta

IEC health insurance

It is mandatory to have health insurance to cover the length of your stay in Canada on the IEC program. Your insurance must cover medical care, hospitalisation and repatriation. 

If your insurance policy is valid for less than your expected stay, you will be issued a work permit that expires at the same time as your insurance.

If this happens, you will not be able to extend your work permit later. 

The following insurance companies all offer long-stay insurance policies:

  • True Traveller offer 24 month IEC policies for British and EU citizens – I used them for my working holiday in Canada
  • Fast Cover has an IEC-specific policy for Australians. With Fast Cover, the initial 12-month policy can be extended to the full 24 months just before departure
  • HeyMondo includes coverage for up to $10 million of medical expenses for Australians and Kiwis. There is, however, no ski cover available
  • BestQuote are travel insurance specialists, partnered with some of the largest and most reputable insurance providers in Canada. Through them, it is possible to review, compare and purchase IEC-specific insurance policies with up to 2 years of coverage for many nationalities

Read more about the above IEC insurers in our working holiday Canada insurance guide.

For the proof of insurance, print the policy overview page with your name and policy validity.

Toronto skyline view from Hotel X at sunset with golden hour colours in sky and on buildings, also highlighting the trees next to Lake Ontario

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Check out these other posts about working holidays in Canada