To apply for a working holiday visa in Canada, you need to be an early bird. Every year, IEC (International Experience Canada), in conjunction with Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada determine a limited amount of working holiday visas that will be approved for the next 12 months.
These visa applications are further limited to citizens of countries who are part of the working holiday visa program in Canada. So if you don’t get your application in quickly, you may not receive one of these rare opportunities.
To apply to the IEC you will need to:
- First and foremost determine whether your country is in partnership with the IEC program. Alternatively, find out whether you meet the requirements of a Recognized Organization if you are not from a country that has an agreement with Canada. For example, Australia and Ireland have arrangements with Canada whereas citizens from the UK and New Zealand may need to apply through a recognized organization.
- Have a valid passport from your country of origin.
- Be between the ages of 18 and 35 years.
- Undergo an online interview.
- Ensure that you have funds to cover your expenses until you can find employment (usually a minimum of $1000).
- Provide a police clearance certificate.
- Pass a medical exam.
- Provide a motivation letter for your working holiday visa.
- Be a student or have graduated from a recognized university.
- Apply within 6 months of graduation.
- Have your own health and travel insurance for the duration of your stay.
- Pay the necessary fees as agreed upon with your country.
The IEC program provides working holiday visas for 12 months that allows entry into Canada and the right to be employed part-time for the duration of the visa. Once the visa has expired, you will not be able to renew or extend it. If you want to continue to live and work in Canada, you will need to apply for a work visa.
- The 12 month period can be restricted if:
- You do not provide the necessary proof of funds available to cover your expenses until you are employed.
- If your health or travel insurance expires before the 12 month period. You will need to leave Canada on the expiration date of your insurance rather than of your visa.
- If a relevant border official finds any other reason to limit your stay.
- Should you be found to have not met with any of the other requirements listed above.
The IEC and other visa or employment agencies in Canada provide a list of available jobs that candidates for a working holiday visa can apply for before leaving for Canada. If you don’t have the necessary funds to cover your initial costs but already have a job in place, this could help the approval process.
Approval can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to months depending on when you want to travel, the amount of visas available and your country of origin.