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.

This post includes affiliate links. If you buy a qualifying product through these links, I may receive a small percentage at no extra cost to you.

Three hikers cross a bridge over an aquamarine river
Strathcona Provincial Park is just one of the many amazing places to explore on a working holiday in Canada

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.


How much does a working holiday visa for Canada cost?

The following are the total costs for a working holiday visa for Canada (in Canadian dollars).

Please note that none of these fees need to be paid until you have received and accepted an invite to the working holiday program. 

  • Participation fee – $150
  • Open Work Permit Holder fee – $100
  • Biometrics fee – $85
  • Police certificate(s) – country dependent
  • Medical, if applicable* -country dependent, $300-500 average
  • Travel insurance policy for length of intended stay in Canada**
  • Flights/travel expenses to Canada
  • $2,500 proof of funds to show on arrival in Canada 
  • Return flight or proof of additional funds to purchase a return flight (credit card is acceptable)

*For those intending to work closely with children or in healthcare AND/OR applicants who have visited certain countries for 6 months or more

**Typical 2 year IEC policy without ski coverage is around £500-600 for British citizens, $2000 for Australians


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’, generally running from autumn to autumn. The last invite round for the 2019 season will be on 4th October. The pools will then close, probably until November/December 2019. If you’d like to be alerted of updates, sign up for my IEC newsletter (includes a free packing list on sign up!) or join the O Canada IEC Facebook group.
IEC Application Process Overview graphic
IEC Working Holiday Visa Application 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. 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: IEC applicants now have to visit a Visa Application Centre (VAC) and submit biometrics (fingerprints and photo) after submitting their work permit application. More details below.

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 any receipts/appointment proof/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: Submitting biometrics

New for the IEC application in the 2019 cycle is the requirement to submit biometrics – a photo and fingerprints. These biometrics can only be submitted at Visa Application Centres (VAC) and Application Support Centres (ASCs, USA only).

After submitting your work permit application, you’ll be sent a request to submit biometrics, usually within 24 hours. You must submit your biometrics within 30 days.

Here is what you need to know about IEC biometrics:

  • Biometrics can be given at any VAC in the world – applicants do not have to go to the one in their home country
  • Currently, there are no VACs in Canada where IEC applicants can give biometrics – if you’re already in Canada, you’ll need to head to one of the American VACs or ASCs. 
  • It is only possible to submit biometrics with a request letter. This is sent after submitting the work permit application (stage five in this guide)
  • Submitting biometrics costs $85. Applicants also have to make their own way at their own expense to the nearest VAC.
  • IEC applicants from Europe and Asia have been required to submit biometrics since 31st July 2018. From 31st  Dec 2018, IEC applicants from Asia, Asia Pacific and the Americas will also need to do so. 
  • This information is subject to change as more details and experience of the biometrics stage of the IEC application is known.

Stage Seven: Receiving your POE (final approval)

Once your biometrics have been 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 ‘Ultimate Guide to a Working Holiday in Canada’ eBook. It contains everything you need to know about going on a working holiday to Canada!

The Ultimate Guide to a Working Holiday in Canada ebook

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. 

Looking 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

The Cheapest Way to Transfer Money to Canada for your Working Holiday


One half of a Canadian/British couple currently based in British Columbia, Canada. Gemma is happiest when hiking 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 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 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

          • Hi Gemma,
            I have a stressful situation whereby I actually had an IEC POE letter, soon after receiving last year my mum was diagnosed with cancer and passed away within 5 months. Obviously this meant that my partner and I changed our plans to come to Canada. He did not have a POE letter. Subsequently we have decided to give it another go and my partner got his POE letter. Unfortunately mine has expired as we had waited longer than the year expiry date (with other things on my mind I had got confused and thought the expiry date was 2023 stupidly). We are now considering the common-in-law route as we have been in a relationship for 8 years and lived together for 3 years, also owning a property together. We are due to leave in July so I am going to submit my application this week. Do you think this is a viable option for us? He is counted as a skilled worker and I would be too I think if that counts.
            Any advice is very appreciated!!

          • Gemma

            Hi Shan,

            I’m so sorry to hear about why you were unable to activate your POE. I don’t think you’re stupid at all with mistaking the expiry date for 2023, it’s not clear if unfamiliar with what these dates mean.

            I’m not sure I completely understand which application you are looking to submit. Unless you have dual citizenship, the most straightforward move to do is go to Canada with your partner as a visitor and then after he has worked a skilled job (NOC 0, A or B) for while, you can apply for a common law work permit on the back of that. You cannot apply for this before going to Canada as you have to wait until your partner has received a minimum of 3 payslips. After that, you need to take these with a letter from his employer and proof of your common law status and then go to the border for flagpole for the open work permit.

  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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

    • Gemma Reply

      Hi Renos,

      Hmmmm…this is a tricky one. In this situation, I would actually contact IRCC (via https://secure.cic.gc.ca/enquiries-renseignements/canada-case-cas-eng.aspx) before you leave and ask whether they can update your work permit. They may just reply saying this is not needed but I think it would be worth seeing if they could. Otherwise, I’d bring all your documentation (including proof of name change) to the border with you.

      • Gemma Reply

        Also, I just realised that if you would then have a new passport due to the name change, you will need to apply for a new eTa before flying to Canada. These electronic authorisations are tied to individual passports so the one you will receive with your POE, will not be valid once you change your name and passport. http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/helpcentre/answer.asp?qnum=861&top=25

  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 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 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 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 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 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 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 🙂

      • Hi Gemma,

        Follow up on that question, if someone has done two 2-year IEC working holiday visas (one on UK and one on Irish passport), can they then also apply for a 1-year Young Professional visa? I’ve read that this can be done if you’ve done one 2-year IEC WHV, but not sure if this is still the case if you’ve done two. This would bring the total time spent in Canada under the IEC program to 5 years, but 3 years under one passport and 2 years under the other. Thanks!

        • Gemma Reply

          Hi L,

          For most countries, the IEC eligibility criteria states that participants can do the Working Holiday OR Young Professionals programs (if both options are available). So if someone recently did the working holiday program, then, no, they couldn’t do the Young Professionals as well.

          But you mention in your message specifically about someone previously taking part in one year working holiday programs. If this was due to participation in an old program (pre-2013 for Ireland, pre-2015 for the UK), they are allowed to apply for the working holiday program again anyway as per the current eligibility criteria.

  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 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 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 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 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 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?

      • Grant Simon Reply

        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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Reply

      Hi Silver,

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

  58. 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 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 Reply

      Hi Alejandro

      It is mentioned a couple of times in the guide that police certificates are valid for 6 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 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!!

  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 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 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.

  65. Excellent blog!

    I’m just applying for my second visa through IEC, this time Young Professionals. On my working holiday visa I stayed in Canada for more than 6 months, so I now need a Canadian criminal record check. I found one company that does a name-based check rather than a fingerprint one, which is a lot cheaper. Will this be accepted by IEC? Or is it essential to get a fingerprint check? New Zealand (where I also need a check) only does name-based, so I don’t see why it would be an issue, but I’d like to be sure!

    Thanks for your help

    • Gemma Reply

      Hi Moana! As per the ‘frequently asked questions’ section of this guide – “I am currently in Canada or have lived in Canada before – do I need a Canadian police certificate?” “Not unless specifically asked by CIC.” Canada does their own checks, if they want one from you for further verification, they will specifically ask.

      For reference, if they do ask, then scroll down further in this section to the answer of “I have previously lived in Canada. CIC have now requested a RCMP criminal records check. How do I get this?” Yes, fingerprints are an essential part of this police check.

  66. Nicholas Poole Reply

    Hi Gemma,

    Awesome guide ! I am having lots of trouble with applying for a working holiday visa. I submitted an application into the wrong pool at the end of last season (2018), I wasn’t aware of the difference between the young professionals and the working holiday. On the website it says that applications are withdrawn when a season ends but now that the new season has started I have tried applying for a new working holiday visa and it says “application valid, application already in the pools so it cannot be submitted.” I have already emailed the web forum multiple times and they just keep spitting out information from the website that says I need to press the “withdraw” button that isn’t there. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated!
    Secondly I haven’t been able to open the family information form IMM5707, is that my computer? I have updated my software and that still doesn’t seem to be working.

    Any help is really appreciated.
    Cheers 🙂

  67. Hi Gemma, I have a question about the working holiday visa for the Netherlands, according to the website from the government of Canada the first rounds of invitations still haven’t started yet. Is it normal that it takes this long?
    Another question , I’m ofcourse not sure if I will receive an invitation to apply for a working visa but can I still go visit my friends in March if I haven’t heard anything yet? If I don’t get invited to apply for the working holiday visa, I want to apply to university’s in Canada so I can go to school there again and while I’m visiting my friends I want to go to some university’s to check them out.
    Last year I already had a studenvisa which expired in nov 2018, I was in Canada for 8 months(I can’t apply for a working permit for the 8 months because the course I followed does not apply for this), I don’t want any troubles with the canadian government so I don’t want to take any risks in going back while I already applied for the working holiday visa.
    Could you please help me with this? Thank you. 🙂

    • Gemma Reply

      Hi Carla,

      I have heard (not official) that the Dutch round of invites may be delayed due to Canada and the Netherlands confirming their reciprocal youth mobility agreement. It is unusual but there are some other countries that have also not started invite rounds yet. So the Netherlands is not the only one.

      Yes, you should be fine to visit Canada while waiting.

      • Thank you for your quick reply!! I couldn’t find the answers anywhere, thank you so much 🙂

  68. Hi GEMMA. I am writing yo since I would like to apply for a WHV, and actually I am not a resident of the country I hold the passport (I am living in another country). When I entered to the canadian wesite, it sayd MUST BE A RESIDENCE OF ITALY AT THE TIME OF APPLICATION. Do you know if its possible to still be accepted ?

    • Gemma Reply

      Hi Rodrigo,

      You will need to enter a permanent residency address in Italy to be considered eligible for the Italian pool. Do you have a family member or friend’s address you could use?

  69. Hey Gemma!

    I just found your website and it helps a lot! Makes me have some hope so that you can actually start with an IEC work & holiday visa and end up with the Canadian citizenship!

    I have already received an invitation to apply but there is the question „Have you ever been refused a visa or permit, denied entry to, or ordered to leave Canada or any other country/territory?.
    Does this mean if I have ever been refused a visa APPLICATION? Since my visa application for IEC last year got refused. Or does it mean that if I already had the work permit (visa) issued and I wanted to get into Canada and then it was denied entry to at the boarder??

    Would really appreciate some help since I am not sure about that!

    Thank you so much in advance 🙂

    • Gemma Reply

      Hi Vicki,

      Yes, I believe it means whether you have ever been refused a visa, including the application. Why was your last IEC application refused?

  70. Hi Gemma

    I’ve been in Canada since last year March 2018 and have come in on an IEC Working Holiday. My working Holiday Visa is expiring this month, I have however been selected for the Young Professionals program. My workplace has done their application and paid the $230 compliance fee, and so have I. My application was sent in on the 4th of Feb, but I am going to assume I am not going to have it before the 15th of March (expiry).

    I was hoping to flagpole and come back on a visitors visa, then wait here until I have approval of my Young Professionals Visa to continue working. The reason I do not want to leave Canada is because going back to South Africa, I might need to do a medical for the second time. I have a car and am renting a place, so it would not make sense to go back. I am applying under Dutch Citizenship as I did before and there has never been a problem with Visa’s or ETA’s/ESTA’s.

    Thanks in advance


    • Gemma Reply

      Hi Terry,

      I’m not sure what your question is, but if it relates to what to do while waiting for your Young Professionals work permit, I would EXTEND your stay in Canada as a visitor online and NOT flagpole. Applying online to extend your stay as a visitor costs $100 but it is far more likely to be approved and then you won’t need to leave Canada. While you wait for the decision on the visitor status, you have implied visitor status and can stay within Canada.

  71. Hi Gemma,

    Thank you for your site and all your information.

    I would like to ask regarding the IEC visa. I have applied for it and I am waiting for the POE letter. Once you receive your POE letter, I understand that you have a year to enter Canada.
    Due to the time it has taken to apply and now the concern about timings and work projects, I am not sure I will be able to leave in the year. My question is, are you able to defer the entrance? Is there anyway to enter the country later than your entry date?

    Thank you for your help.
    Kind regards

    • Gemma Reply

      Hi Nadine,

      If you haven’t received your POE yet, the best thing you can do is withdraw from the IEC immediately. The instructions to do so can be found here https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/work-canada/iec/after-apply-next-steps.html

      If you receive your POE and then can’t go within the year, I’m afraid you have lost your chance. Receiving a POE counts as your participation. In all the years I have been involved with the IEC, I’ve only ever seen four people receive extensions or deferrals on their POE entry. All had very serious reasons why they could not activate their IEC. From memory, one was hospitalised for most of the year and needed to stay in their home country to be observed for another year. In a really sad case, one participant’s parent died very close to their activation deadline and they had to care for their remaining parent. Extensions are only available in very serious situations and even then, it is not guaranteed.

  72. Hi Gemma,

    I have been granted a working holiday visa extension for 8 months beyond the expiration of my original visa(i have been in Canada for 2 years already), and am wondering if you have any insight on how many visa extensions you can get. I applied from in Canada with an employer specific extension until June 2021, but the extension I was granted is only until October 2019. Any advice if I can apply for another extension on top of an extension?

    • Gemma Reply

      Hi Meagan,

      IEC extensions can only be extended in very specific circumstances. This include scenarios such as participants changing their passports or the border officers making an expiry date mistake. There are no extensions that allow you to work longer beyond your original participation limit e.g. for UK and Australian citizens, this is two years maximum.

      If your situation is not listed on this page https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/work-canada/iec/extend-change.html, then you cannot extend your IEC. I should add that some of these scenarios are only applicable for people with Young Professional IEC permits, such as the ‘I want to change employers’ one.

  73. Hi Gemma,

    Thanks for this great website.

    I just got my invitation to apply for the IEC today and so am trying to fill in as much information as I can at the moment. In the section ‘Immigration history and Citizenships’ it asks if I have ever applied for or obtained a visa, eTA or permit to visit, live, work or study in Canada?
    I have been to Toronto twice (in June 2014 and August 2016) for short visits but can’t seem to find any old emails regarding eTAs or visit permits and I can’t remember what sort of application I had to do…
    Was there such things as eTAs at the time??


    • Gemma Reply

      Hi Rachael,

      Mandatory eTAs came in for Canada in November 2016. The program did technically start before that but it wasn’t required so you may not have had one.

      • Ah ok thanks very much. I am Irish and I think I literally just showed up and got a stamp on entry at the time.. as far as my memory serves!

  74. Hi Gemma!
    Thank you for all your advice!
    I just have one more question: I am from Poland and want to take part in the Working Holiday program. I am still at University and going to graduate in June.
    What should I answer in the “Are you registered at a college or university in your country of citizenship?” Yes? or no – since soon I’ll be a graduate?
    What will happen if I choose Yes and get an invitation after I graduate?

    Help, please 🙂
    Thank you!

    • Gemma Reply

      Hi Karolina,

      You should answer all questions honestly so that would be a yes. I believe all it will do is potentially offer you the option to apply for the ‘International Co-op’ program. You have to be a student to be eligible for that program so it’s just checking whether that is an option for you. Don’t worry though, if you want to do the working holiday program, the application for that will still appear too.

  75. Javon Portman Reply

    Hi Gemma

    I am currently working in Canada under the IEC and my working visa is set to expire in August of 2020. Due to a family member becoming very sick I need to go back to Australia, where I will need to renew my passport. Am i still able to come back to Canada to work using my current work visa if I have a new passport?

  76. Hi there, I hold a 2 year working holiday visa, but unfortunately I had a location placed under additional information when I crossed the border. I didn’t originally think I would want to return (I was working over the grape harvest, and it was only supposed to be for that season), but I have since changed my mind, and finding a job within that location is very difficult. I cannot seem to get a straight answer out of IEC as to whether I need to have my visa changed (it is only under additional information rather than being listed as a condition, so I am not sure whether I need to change it), and how to do this if I do. Do you happen to know? I realize I should have checked when I crossed the border, but I really did not think I would be going back. I am currently not in Canada

    • Gemma Reply

      Hi Alana,

      If you were in Canada, I would advise you to go to the border to get a new work permit issued. I’ve heard about people being successful doing this where their work permit has been issued similarly incorrectly, with the wrong expiry date for example. Since you’re not in Canada now, I would try and get it fixed when you next re-enter.

  77. Hi, this guide is great. Definitely one of the better more informative guides I’ve found. I have a question you might know the answer to (apologies if this has been asked and/or answered several times already) I have just received the invitation to apply for the IEC working holiday visa and I’m wondering – regarding explaining timeline gaps in employment etc is there a best way to do this as I have previously saved extensively in order to not have to work for an almost 2 year period where I lived on savings. I just wonder what way to best explain this gap in employment. Also when I initially finished college I have a gap before I started in a job. Hope you have the answers.

    • Gemma Reply

      Hi Jack! I wouldn’t worry too much about the nature of actually explaining it, it is making sure that there are no gaps that is so vitally important. They are not judging you by whatever you were doing during that time, they just want to know whether they need to require medicals, police certs etc from you. So you’d be fine to explain it as unemployment and put the location where you were for the most part.

      To give you an example of my own, I became a Canadian citizen last year and I had to detail my whereabouts in detail for the last 7 years, including addresses. For long periods of this time I was travelling and living in a van, which I’m sure the immigration staff assessing my application thought was bizarre!

  78. Hi Gemma,

    My IEC working holiday visa application was recently rejected because the submitted scan of my passport was not clear enough. I think there is grounds for dispute – my partner submitted a passport scan created by the same scanner and was accepted.

    Have you ever known anyone to successfully appeal a rejected decision for a WHV?

    • Gemma Reply

      Hi Tom,

      Yes, I have, though I haven’t seen someone have to do it for this reason before. That is not to say that you won’t be successful as it does sound like you have a case. If you like, you can join my O Canada Facebook group and get more advice from people who managed it.

  79. Hi Gemma,

    I´m applying for a working holliday in Canada, and I´de like to bring my common law partner with me on this adventure. She´s from Venezuela, so she can´t apply for the IEC programme.
    Some questions:
    1. Can she come with me as my partner through my working holliday visa? We only have an Argentinian certificate that we live together since July/18.
    2. If not, what´s the easiest way?(like a student visa to study english?)

    Thanks in advance,

    • Gemma Reply

      Hi Rodrigo

      She can come with you as a visitor initially and then if you get a skilled job (NOC 0, A or B), she would be able to apply for an open work permit as your common law partner. You would need to show evidence of your common law status and three pay checks.

  80. Hi Gemma,

    Thanks so much for providing such a great website, very helpful! I’m from NZ and am applying for a working holiday visa. I’ve been given 30 days to get my biometrics but unfortunatey I’ve been away and when I applied for an appointment, the date of the appointment is not within the 30 day period, meaning it will expire. I have been given a letter saying if I need more than 30 days I must contact immigration, refugees and citizenship Canada at https://www.canada.ca/immigration. However, I’ve been on this site and cannot find where to contact immigration, etc. and ask for a longer time to get my biometrics. Do you know what I should do or who I should contact?

    Charlotte 🙂

  81. Emma Easton Reply

    Hey there,

    I have a question! Is it possible to enter in on the 3 month tourist visa and finish my application for the 2 year IEC from within Canada? I have already applied for this however, for personal reasons I am meant to be in Canada within a month. The only part that seems to be unclear is getting my biometrics done in Canada. I believe this is not possible in Canada but I could get it done in the US?

    Thank you!

    • Gemma Reply

      Yes, you can but you are correct about having to leave Canada to do the biometrics. It is possible to do them in the US, however your primary purpose of your trip has to be something else e.g shopping, tourism etc.

  82. Hi Gemma,

    I am in Vancouver at the moment and have an IEC that has finished but do have a valid eTA. Does my eTa remain valid now or do I need to exit and re-enter the country to be able to stay in Canada as a visitor? I haven’t had much luck in finding this information out elsewhere. Thanks!

  83. Hi Gemma,

    Thanks for the article. It helps a lot.

    Do you know what are the working conditions for a working & holiday visa in Canada? How long could I work for the same employer? Could I get a quality job such as banker, engineer,..? How many hours a week could I work? Could I set up my own company? etc..

    Your help would be much appreciated!


    • Gemma Reply

      No problem Juan!

      There are only a few restrictions to the IEC. No sex work and to work in some health/childcare related jobs you must have a medical (as mentioned in this post).

      In answer to your specific questions –

      However long you want, no restriction besides the length of the IEC work permit
      As many as is allowed by labour laws, same as a Canadian citizen

  84. Hi Gemma,

    if I applied to be in the working holiday visa pool, can I apply to get into the young professional pool aswell. (As soon as I got a job offer).


  85. Hi guys, great website..
    A quick question that perhaps you could help with..
    I am currently in the process of getting my working holiday visa having completed the biometrics.. Now i have a request for 2 police certs (I have already given 2 from Uk and Aust) However I lived in India and China also… When i first applied i mentioned its pretty much logistically impossible to get these 2 in the time frame… but now again they’ve asked for them.. Any advice? If I tell them again will they let it pass? Tried finding a number to call but seems pretty much impossible as im currently in Vietnam….
    Thanks a lot,

    • Gemma Reply

      Hi Sam

      If you have tried without success to get these police certs, I would upload the evidence and write a Letter of Explanation. I know some people have been approved like this.

  86. Hey,

    I have a Question about the part:
    \”Have you ever committed, been arrested for, been charged with or convicted of any criminal offence in any country/territory?\”

    I was caught once with a very small amount of weed but never been charged with. They just dropped the case.
    If there is no entry in my police certificate is it better to just answer the question with no? If yes and I explain it do I still have the chance to get the visa?

    Thanks a lot!

    • Gemma Reply

      Hi Daniel,

      It’s always best to be completely honest. I have seen people with cautions and minor offences still get approved before. I would write a Letter of Explanation and talk about the circumstances and your otherwise good character and record.

  87. Hi Gemma,

    Thank you for creating such a useful website. I’m Canadian and currently live in the UK. My partner is British and we’ve applied for the working holiday program visa for him. We completed all of the steps and he submitted his biometrics. I thought that was the last step until a decision on his application is made, but a few days ago he received a new message on his account saying that he would need to fill out a IMM5257B form for his trips since 2006. In the past, whenever he would receive new messages on his application, he would receive an email to notify him. For some reason this time he did not receive an email so we were unaware of the message and the due date for the information was yesterday. I tried clicking on the link to the form to see if it would still work, but its expired. I’m quite worried now that his application won’t be approved because we didn’t fill out the form. Have you come across this before/do you have any advice?

    Thank you for your help,

    • Gemma Reply

      Hi Maria,

      I’m sorry that you missed the notification to fill out the additional form. It sounds like he has been asked to complete this as they want more information about his movements. It is likely that his application will be refused since you missed the due date. You can try and appeal vias the IRCC webform but, I’m sorry to say, it will probably be refused. The good news is that the IEC quota for UK citizens has just recently doubled, so he will be able to apply again and is more likely to receive another invite reasonably quickly.

  88. Hi Gemma,
    Thanks for the helpful info.
    I just completed a similar working holiday in the UK. When I was there, I traveled out of the UK at least once every 2 months so was not in the country for a continuous 6 month period. Will I still need to provide a UK police certificate in my application for the IEC visa?

    • Gemma Reply

      Hi Alex,

      How long did you travel outside of the UK for? If only a couple of days at a time, I would get a police certificate. Otherwise, you can wait and see if they request one, but you’d have to make it very clear in your resume and work history that you travelled in and out of the UK.

      • Thanks for the prompt reply!
        Yea, travel outside the UK couple of days. Looks like I do need a UK police certificate. Will probably do it through ACRO but is there a free/cheaper service that you know of? Thanks again.

        • Gemma Reply

          The only accepted UK police certificate for the IEC is from the ACRO, so definitely don’t apply for a different one! 🙂

  89. Hi Gemma,

    Thanks for your write-up on this – really useful! I just have a question I am hoping you can help me with. I am wanting to get a working holiday visa however I only want to activate it if i can find a job/good opportunities before I get there, as I am looking in a specific field of work, and don\\\’t want to waste my visa if i can\\\’t find the right job. What is the furtherest point I can get through the application before being able to withdraw and still be able to re-apply?

    Thanks 🙂

    • Gemma Reply

      Hi Samantha,

      You can withdraw all the way up to receiving your POE. Once you receive the POE, I’m afraid it would be too late and it counts as a participation.

  90. Hi Gemma,

    I’m confused about the difference between applying for a work permit through the IEC or simply submitting an open work permit application directly. I have friends who applied through the IEC and had to wait for an invitation to apply before paying their fees. However I simply paid my fees straight away and submitted an open work permit application without receiving any invitation to apply. I am afraid I may have done something incorrectly as I applied more than 3 months ago now and have not gotten any response from the IRCC.

    Does it matter which way you apply? I am applying from Ireland.

    Many thanks,


    • Gemma Reply

      Hi David,

      I’m afraid you must go through the proper IEC process to be able to take part in the IEC. Applying for a work permit without a valid LMIA will lead to a refusal. The IEC process is LMIA exempt, but you need to get an invitation instead. Your work permit application will be refused.

  91. I’ve submitted my application just yesterday and now I’m worried it may get refused since I didn’t include a police certificate from Canada, I literally have just thought about this now! I was living there for 2 years with my boyfriend before and came back to the UK for a year where I am now, I was on extensions of visiting visas so didn’t work, study, or own any property, etc. I provided a UK police report but only now am I thinking I maybe should have applied for a Canadian one. Now I’m super worried, I have ALL the other documents..

    Will they simply ask me to provide one or are my chances now gone?

    Thank you!

    • Gemma Reply

      Hi Jade,

      Don’t worry! As mentioned in this post, you do not need a Canadian police certificate unless IEC specifically asks you for one. So you’re all fine. If you do receive a request, then you will need to get one.

  92. Hello Gemma,
    My name is Emily I’m currently in the middle of my application for my working holiday Visa. I live in the UK but have lived in America for several years I have tried to apply for my criminal background check from the FBI several times now but fingerprints keep being rejected for not having enough information in them unfortunately this isn’t my genetic’s and there’s nothing I’m able to do about it. Will this stop me from being excepted for the working holiday Visa if I am unable to get a police certificate from the FBI.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    • Gemma Reply

      Hi Emily,

      Not necessarily, if you have mitigating circumstances. Did you mean to say that it *is* your genetics that is causing the fingerprints issue? If you have proof of this (a doctor’s note? test results?) and proof of the numerous FBI rejections, I personally think it would be worth uploading a Letter of Explanation with a description of your issue and the efforts you have made to try and get the FBI certificate. They may still ask you to keep trying but there is a chance they may also approve your application without the FBI certificate.

  93. Hello Gemma,

    My IEC work permit was approved! I have to enter by July 2020, now, I’m going to Canada in 3 days to visit my boyfriend, will this count as me entering?! I want to work for a full year to gather enough funds, this short trip is only 28 days and simply a visit! Of course, I won’t be bringing my POE letter and will tell the agent I’m visiting. Is it okay to visit?!

  94. Hey!

    I received my working IEC visa, in that letter I received an eTA number, I already have an eTA number. so which one should I be using? The new one or the previous?! I have flights booked with the old one :(?

    • Gemma Reply

      You would be using the most recent one, since new eTAs overwrite old ones. Make sure you have your printed POE handy when you go to check in for your outgoing flight to Canada in case there is any issue with your eTA. The valid eTA number is on the second page of your POE.

  95. Hi Gemma,

    Thanks for this great website!

    Do you know if it is possible to apply for a Young Professionals visa WHILE being in the middle of my IEC Work Holiday visa? I am from the Netherlands and am eligible to apply for the IEC twice, without a waiting period in between the two, but I can’t seem to find an answer on the web on whether I need to first complete the entire duration of my WH visa before applying for the Young Professionals visa. Would you know?

    The reason I would like to apply for a Young Professionals visa is that I received a job offer and would like to take on their health insurance, however I am not eligible to do so unless I have an employer-specific work permit (which is not the case with the WH visa).

    Thanks a lot for your help!

    • Gemma Reply

      Hi Anouk,

      Yes, you can, unless your country has a mandatory period.

      On another note, that seems like a very specific health insurance requirement? I’ve never heard of that before.

  96. Rebecca Shaikly Reply

    hi there, when i log into my GCKey page, there is no option to click on “what would you like to do today”. in fact there is no option to do anything other than look at FAQ’s. does anyone have any idea why this is?

    • Gemma Reply

      That sounds strange! Do you not have anything that refers to starting a new application or anything like that? I just checked mine and it has ‘apply to come to Canada’

  97. Hello Gemma!

    I’m not sure if you’d be able to advise me on this matter – I got accepted to participate in the IEC (yay!) and have visited my partner in Canada recently, however, I’m making myself unwell with worry that they won’t accept me at the border! The reason being an overstay of 4 months last year, my visa extension didn’t come through the mail, or so my ex-partner said (going through a breakup). I included a detailed explanation and apology within my application and admitted overstaying whilst applying, they still accepted me, however, for some reason I can’t seem to shake the feeling they’re going to refuse me when I enter even though I’ve received my POE and visited recently. Would this be the case? Even after my honestly and reformation, being accepted? They can still turn me around?

    Thank you for any information or advice!

    • Gemma Reply

      Hi Dawn,

      If you’ve received your POE (not just an invite) then it is unlikely. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you that it is impossible. Unlikely though!

      • Thank you so much – I have received my POE letter, so thought it would be unlikely since they’re fully aware and still accepted, however, you never know, thank you for the reassurance!

        Should I bring the letter of explanation with me with my other documents just in case they question me?

        • Gemma Reply

          No harm in doing so, even if you most likely don’t need it.

          • Thanks a lot, Gemma, I know you can’t guarantee anything or give me a definite answer but hearing that it is unlikely that I’ll be rejected at the POE from someone with years of experience does ease my stress and fear.

            Thank you again!

  98. hello! I’m wondering how I can prove I have funds to purchase a return flight when I try to purchase a return ticket it only goes so far, there are no return tickets that span the entire 24 months (I’m from the UK) only one way. I don’t have a credit card. I’m not sure how I can prove this!


    • Gemma Reply

      You just need to have extra proof of funds to prove you could buy a flight home. They are well aware you can’t buy a flight 24 months ahead.

  99. Sym Quaggan Reply

    Hi Gemma,

    Myself and my partner are going to be applying for our work visas – however, we are classified now as ‘common-law’ but we’re getting married in Feb 2020 – therefore he will be my spouse when arriving in Canada. Will that affect things at all, are we supposed to fill out our category as common-law and will i just have to change things later on? Also – if we’re wanting to arrive in 2020 – should we be applying NOW or waiting until the end of the year to apply?

    Thank you!!!

    • Gemma Reply

      I’d apply ASAP if you’re eligible! And I believe you would just upload your marriage cert later but I have no first hand knowledge I’m afraid!

  100. Hi Gemma!
    Thanks for the great website, very helpful and easy to understand. I’m planning on applying for an IEC next season and the information here is more than I expected! I’m a chilean citizen btw.

    I have a very basic question about the police certificate, what is it?? It’s like a criminal record?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Gemma Reply

      Hi Ignacia!

      Yes, police certificates could be described as a criminal record. It varies from country to country what is actually covered by the certificate (e.g. driving violations in Victoria and Queensland in Australia are not included on the Australian police certificate itself)

  101. Hi! So glad to have stumbled upon your site.
    So, I’ve gone through the whole process and submitted my additional documents. Within 2 days I received a Correspondence Letter concerning the validity of my biometric information. So far so good. When I look at the status of my application it says “Approved”, yet I only see that I’ve been approved for my eTA, nothing about my Working Holiday or Work Permit. Is this normal or has there been some mistake?
    Many thanks!

  102. Hi Gemma,

    Thanks so much for this website – it’s a huge wealth of information! Perhaps I’ve missed this or it is a stupid question but I’m from the UK and have had a couple of invitations to apply which I’ve had to decline due to several reasons. I know I won’t be able to apply for the rest of the year so I want to withdraw my application and reapply to the 2020 pool. I’m a litle concerned, will this have a negative effect on my application next year or stop me from applying next year? Secondly, if my application is rejected after I have had my invitation to apply for some reason, can I reapply the same year or would I need to wait until the next year? (Then 2021)

    Any help with these questions would be greatly appreciated!

    Many thanks again!

    • Gemma Reply

      Hi Drew,

      No, declining past invitations has no negative effects (or any kind of effect at all really) on an IEC application. I know plenty of people who have declined two or three (or more) invites before they finally accepted and are now living in Canada on the IEC.

      No, you can reapply the same year. It is unlikely you’d be rejected however as long as you meet the eligibility criteria (age, no previous IEC participations etc). It does happen occasionally that a processing officer makes a mistake but you can appeal.

  103. Joana Filipa Leite Silva Reply

    Hello, Gemma!

    Thank you so much for this info, I can’t believe I just found it now that I already have my POE letter, heheh

    I do have a small question for you, if you can help…

    As I mentioned, I already have my POE, insurance, ticket to Canada, etc etc

    The only thing is that my passport expires in September 2020 (I’ll arrive in Canada this November 2019) and I thought that if I got a new passport I would have to apply to the IEC again. Now that I’ve read more about it I’m thinking I just need to apply for a new eTA. Is this right? Can I get a new passport (with longer validity) and still use the same POE to enter Canada?

    Thank you, once again, for the awesome website. I’m just starting to read it but I can already tell it will be extremely useful 😉

    Joana Leite

  104. Hello! I juts got an invitation to apply for a WHV for Canada. I have a question regarding the police certificate. I am Spanish and in the Canadian immigration web says that I do not need a police certificate if I come from Spain. However, I did erasmus in Italy (I was there from september 2014 to december 2014 and from february 2015 to june 2015). It is weird because I was just studying there, and I did not exactly spend there six months non-stop, so I do not know if I shoulc ask for the Italian police certificate.

    • Gemma Reply

      Hi Julia,

      If you weren’t there for 6 months or more consecutively, then no, you wouldn’t need an Italian certificate. You should make it very clear in the resume section, however, that you didn’t spend 6 months or more there.

  105. Kuldip Bagri Reply

    Hey Gemma,

    Myself and my wife have both applied for the IEC working holiday here from the UK. However, we’ve recently had our baby girl who will no doubt be coming with us to Canada next year! As she’s too young for a ‘study visa’ & a ‘work visa’ would an ETA suffice? I’m curious to know whether the border office would be generous enough to offer her an instant two years or if we could extend her stamp every 6 months until we complete the two year program . Have any others had any experience of this that you know?

    Thanks a lot !

    Kuldip 🙂

    • Gemma Reply

      Hi Kuldip,

      Congrats! Your daughter will need an eTA, that is correct, and then will be issued with a visitor record on arrival. This should match the length of your IEC but if not, you’ll have to extend it later.

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