How to apply for a Canadian working holiday visa

If you’re thinking about applying for a Canadian working holiday permit you might get a little stumped throughout the application process, it’s not as simple as getting an Australian or NZ visa (as far as I’ve heard) so here’s a little how-to blog to ease the process.

The whole process is done through International Experience Canada (IEC). There are a few different visa’s you can apply for but the working holiday visa is for those who wish to move abroad to Canada for a maximum of two years to work and travel.

The first step is to find out if you’re eligible for the visa, you simply have to fill in some details and you will receive an email which states which visa you’re eligible to apply for. Once this is done, you can submit yourself into your countries ‘pool’. Every country has a quota of how many visa’s will be granted for that year. For example this year the quota for Brits is 5000, Australian’s have an unlimited quota which is probably how they’re slowly taking over Canada…

Once you have entered the pool it’s time to play the waiting game. The selection process to be invited to apply for a visa is done basically through a lottery (and a little bit of fate). Some people wait a week and get invited and others have found themselves waiting up to TWO YEARS. I have no idea why it’s done like this, you develop a very unhealthy relationship with your emails during this period and it’s pretty shit for couples. I was one of the lucky ones and received that blessed email within two months!

Once you receive the email you have ten days to accept your invitation, and once you’ve accepted it you have up to 20 days to submit your application form. The application was pretty easy for me as I’ve only lived in the UK in the last ten years and I have no criminal background, but make sure you read everything very carefully and re-read it 20 times before you eventually submit. You will have to upload a Police Certificate, a Canadian style C.V, a photocopy of any passport pages with stamps on them and a headshot. You may also need to do a health examination if you’re planning on undertaking certain jobs such as working with children.

It can take up to nine weeks to receive a response from IEC so don’t worry if it’s week five and you still haven’t heard anything. I received my Point of Entry (POE) letter after ten days! The letter is NOT your visa/work permit – it’s simply a letter that states that you have ONE year to enter Canada to activate and receive your official work permit when you fly into the country. But once you have received your letter you’re pretty much set to go!

I’m flying to Toronto on May 31st. There’s a load of other information that’s important to know once you do enter Canada and I’ll write a post about this too once I’ve gone through the experience myself.

I hope this was helpful to anyone considering the big move across the pond! When I was first considering this back in September, I found loads of information regarding Australian working holiday visa’s but barely anything for Canada and it took me a while to get my head around the whole application process. If you have any questions then feel free to comment below!

Here are some useful websites and Facebook pages:



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