Start your adventure with a Working Holiday Permit for Canada
Interested in doing an internship or a work and travel program in Canada? In order to do either, you will need a Working Holiday Permit for Canada. Use the guide below to learn more about the eligibility requirements, documents required and how to apply for a Working Holiday Permit in Canada.
What is a Working Holiday Permit?
The Working Holiday permit is one of the three types of permits that you can apply under the International Experience Canada program. The other two are International Co-op and Young professionals.
This work permit (sometimes called the Working Holiday visa) is a temporary work permit which allows you to live and work in Canada. It is available to many countries which have a signed Youth Mobility agreement with Canada. Although not every nationality is eligible for this permit, many are! Now, let’s discuss how can you check if you’re eligible to apply and how to apply.
Generally speaking, the Working Holiday permit is meant for young adults, age 18 to 30 (sometimes even 35) that wish to live and work in Canada for temporary period. Based on your nationality, the work permit can be approved up to 12 months and in some cases up to 24 months.
In order to be eligible for the Working Holiday permit for Canada you need:
- To be a national of one (or more) country that can apply for this permit e.g. most EU countries and some Asian countries. You can check out the full list on the International Experience Canada website linked below.
- To be between 18 and 30 years old (sometimes 35)
- A valid passport for the duration of your stay
- A permanent address in your home country
- Sufficient funds to cover your stay in Canada (approx. $2500 CAD)
- To be admissible to Canada (very important btw!)
- A roundtrip flight tickets or enough money to pay for it
- To pay the processing fees for your application
These are the general rules for eligibility. You can also check (in detail) if you can apply for the Working Holiday permit for Canada by completing a questionnaire on the immigration website which will also serve as the start of your application process!
Once the questionnaire says that you are eligible to apply for a Working Holiday permit for Canada, you can create your IEC profile and submit it into the Working Holiday pool. If your profile gets selected, you will receive an invitation to apply. Keep in mind that entering the pool is not the same as applying for the permit.
Being in the pool is like playing the lottery. Getting a ticket does not guarantee you’ll win. It’s the same with entering the pool. You first need to receiving an Invitation to Apply (otherwise known as an ITA) in order to apply for the permit. Once you have the ITA, it’s pretty certain that you’ll receive the permit. Of course you need to submit a complete application and all the documents they ask of you.
When you receive your ITA for the Working Holiday permit for Canada, you have 10 days to either accept it or refuse it. And by this, we mean 10 calendar days, not 10 business days. Sometimes applicants get confused over this.
Once you accept the ITA, the ‘clock’ resets and now you have 20 days (again, not 20 business days) to complete the application form and submit the remaining documents. Aside from the form, you will need to submit supporting documents. These can be police checks, medical exam, copy of your passport etc. They will let you know which documents you should collect and submit.
Note: You will also have to submit biometrics with your application. Immigration will let you know where in your home country can you do this! This is an absolute must!
In the event that you can’t collect and submit all the documents in time, you have to submit proof that you requested said documents. For example, sometimes the police clearance takes more time to process and receive (I know…bureaucracy right?). So make sure that you either submit the document or proof that you’re waiting for one / requested one.
If you decided to refuse your ITA (yes, you can refuse it), your profile won’t be ‘kicked out’. Instead, it will be returned to the pool and wait for another round of invitations.
You said ‘Yes’ to your ITA, gathered all the documents, biometrics and completed the application form. Now it’s time to submit! Pay attention to every detail. Double, even triple-check everything. You don’t want to present partial or inaccurate information. Now click that ‘Submit’ button and…that’s it.
What now? Now comes the wait! According to Immigration, Refugee, Citizenship Canada (or IRCC) the standard processing time for a Working Holiday in Canada application can be 8 weeks. Yes, it’s a bit of a long time, but there are a lot of applicants and everything has to be checked. It takes time. Although, we have seen improvement on this and some applications are processed in 4 weeks.
Don’t psych yourself out and click the Refresh button every 2 minutes. Periodically check your email (even your spam folder!) and your MyCIC profile for updates.
Yaay! You finally heard back from IRCC and your application for a Working Holiday permit for Canada was approved! Congrats! You can take a breather!
When an application is approved, you will receive a so-called PoE (Port of Entry) letter. This letter will provide the basic information on your application: that it was approved, until when you have to enter Canada and ‘activate’ your work permit etc.
Now that your application for the Working Holiday permit for Canada is approved, you can start preparing for your trip. Book your flights and buy health insurance.
When it comes to flights, we strongly recommend that you do that once you know the outcome of your application i.e. only after the permit has been approved.
Health insurance must be bought for the duration of your stay. So plan accordingly! The work permit will not be granted for a longer period of time than your insurance is valid.
Upon your arrival to Canada, you will need to present the Immigration officer:
- Your passport
- Your PoE letter
- Proof of funds (remember those $2500 we mentioned earlier)
- Proof of health insurance
- Proof of return flight or funds that you will use to buy a flight ticket and
- Copies of the documents you submitted with your application
Tip #1 – Check your eligibility and enroll the Working Holiday pool as soon as it opens. Your chances of getting an ITA are better.
Tip #2 – To check your eligibility using the Come to Canada questionnaire here.
Tip #2 – You can check how good are your chances of getting the Working Holiday for Canada permit here. Just pick your country and Working Holiday
Tip #3 – Don’t leave the ITA acceptance or application submission for the last minute. Accept / submit at least a day or two before the deadline.
Tip #4 – Double and triple-check your work and your documents and follow all the IRCC guidelines.
Tip #5 – While on your stay in Canada…have fun, explore and enjoy!