IEC Canada Visa FAQ

IEC Canada Visa: Frequently Asked Questions

The IEC Canada visa is by far the easiest way to travel and work in Canada. The 2013 and 2014 IEC programs for Ireland and the UK sold out in record time.

Disclaimer: We recommend contacting the IEC directly for assistance. It’s a new process, so we have asked people to contribute solutions. Please take appropriate action to verify information before relying solely on the information provided here. The guidelines for the IEC visa can vary between countries, so please double-check with the official IEC Canada visa website for your country. This FAQ article is designed to compliment the existing FAQ documents available through the IEC website. Using external agencies to apply for an IEC visa does not guarantee successful participation, and in some cases can make it less likely that you’ll get a place.
List of participating countries in IEC Canada visa program.

Join the Moving2Canada IEC Working Holiday Visa Facebook Group and like Moving2Canada on Facebook to stay updated on all current issues.

IEC visa

● Stage 1: IEC Kompass — New online process for IEC Canada Visa, UK & Ireland
● Stage 2: CIC
● General FAQ

IEC Canada Visa
IEC Canada Visa

New online process for IEC Canada Visa UK & Ireland

Q: When are IEC programs for the UK & Ireland due to open?
A: Both programs will have separate opening times. Embassy of Ireland sources have indicated they plan to open the Irish program in early December. We have not received any notification for UK Embassy, but we expect January 2014. Follow Moving2Canada on Facebook or Twitter to be kept informed.

Q: How much time will I have to apply?
A: Last year the entire Irish allocation (6,350) sold out in less than three days and the UK allocations (5,350) sold out over three rounds. The Irish quota is expected to increase to 10,000 visas this year. The UK quota will remain unchanged.

Q: What can I do to ensure my place?
A: You can research the requirements and ensure that you have the appropriate documents in place. External agencies cannot guarantee you a place and will charge you to fill out the forms.

Q: How does the new online application work?
A: The application process to participate in the International Experience Canada (IEC) initiative involves two stages:

Stage 1: IEC Assessment — to determine whether you meet the IEC eligibility criteria using a secure IEC Kompass account, and;
Stage 2: An assessment of your admissibility to Canada and eligibility for a work permit.

Q: What documents do I need to scan for Stage 1?
A: You are required to upload a scanned or electronic copy of the following:
1. Passport
2. Resume/CV using the IEC template.

Q: When can I access the forms? Can I get them before the program opens?
A: No. You cannot access the forms until the program opens.

Police certificates are NOT required for stage 1. Your police certification must be issued no more than three months before you apply.

Q: At what point do I make a payment?
A: Payment is required as part of Stage 1. After you submit your initial application you will receive a message through your IEC Kompass account containing the payment details. It has taken up to 48 for this message to be received, so please be patient.

Note: Payment is CDN$150 (€120 for IEC Ireland and £100 for IEC UK) and is made via credit/debit card. There will be a currency conversion fee automatically applied. You will receive a receipt for your records but you do not need to sign anything.


Q: How do I pay for my visa under the new IEC Kompass account system?
A: Payment is required before they begin processing the application. All payment instructions will be given by IEC in a message to your Kompass account. In previous years payment was made by a bank transfer, but starting in 2014 IEC require payment by credit card. This should make the process easier and smoother for both the applicant and IEC. Once you have received the payment message from IEC, go to the “My IEC Application” section in order to make your payment. As the applicant, you are responsible for all bank and transaction charges. You may use a third-party credit card (of a family member or friend) to pay your IEC participation fee as long as you have the card owner’s permission.

IEC Stage Two for those living in Canada
The “Come to Canada” wizard has the sole purpose of generating a checklist and sending you the correct forms to assist with your application to Immigration Canada.

For the “Come to Canada” wizard, immigration specialists recommend that you:
A. enter your country of citizenship as country as residence.
B. enter “No” r.e. offer of employment.
C. enter “No” when asked whether you will come to Canada with a spouse.

The Wizard is not an application document. It’s only purpose is to produce a corresponding checklist to send you the right forms to complete.
The fact that the forms will have different answers will not matter. Give the correct information on the actual forms. For example, if you are now in Canada, state so.

If you have a WTN below the total country quota, you have a place reserved.
Payment verification can be slow, but from what we see it is being done on the basis of when you uploaded your proof of payment on a first come, first serve basis, not on your WTN.

Once payment has been verified it takes up to 14 days to receive the IEC conditional acceptance letter via a message sent to your IEC Kompass account. This can arrive sooner or be delayed. The letter is necessary for your Citizenship and Immigration (CIC) application. When waiting for the IEC conditional acceptance letter you can create a myCIC account by registering for a gc key, filling out the questionnaire and uploading the documents that are required:

  • Police Certificate from the country from which you are applying.
  • Police Certificates from any countries you have lived in for more than six months since your 18th birthday.
  • Passport photo.
  • Up to date passport.
  • Resume (CV).

Scan the above documents and have them ready to upload. You must scan every page of your passport that has been stamped, as well as the information page.

The IMM1295 form

If you have not applied to immigrate to Canada before you will not have a UCI number. You will have a UCI number if you have applied before. The UCI number is on your previous immigration documentation, including the item that was stapled into your passport on arrival. If some of the questions do not apply to you, write “N/A” to show that you have read the form.

  • It will ask you when you wish to arrive in Canada: you may put tomorrow’s date or a date several months in the future. It will not matter — your work permit will start from the date you actually enter Canada.
  • If you do not have enough room to list all the employment history that Immigration Canada are looking for you can add more in the optional documents under Letter of Explanation.
  • It will ask for details of work in Canada. Put “unknown” — you do not need arranged employment for this particular permit but it is a generic form, so it asks.
  • Upon completion, enter the date on the form and click VALIDATE. You do not need to sign this form. You must then save the form to your desktop and upload.

The Family Information form IMM5707.

Family form may be IMM5707 or IMM5645 (this one has siblings). Applicants can use either. You do not sign it, just date it. When you finally submit (once you have received your CAL) you will fill in a declaration which deems you to have electronically signed the whole application. You do not need to print them, sign them and scan them in again.

For Irish candidates, the police certificate can be obtained from your local police station, not from the vetting department. Citizens of other countries can find more information on this CIC page.
The photo requirements are clearly explained on the website.
The Schedule 1 IMM5257 form is required for those who have answered yes to questions 3-6 on the final page of the IMM1295 form.

Once you have received the IEC Conditional Acceptance Letter, upload it and submit your application. You will be asked to digitally sign your application. This “signature” has to match exactly the name you used when filling out the IMM1295 form. There should be no additional fee to pay. You have already paid it when applying to the IEC.

When you have submitted your application to CIC you will receive a confirmation email from them. This email can take between two days and two weeks to arrive.

Keep a record of the various numbers you have been given by IEC and CIC and always back them up in more than one place.

General FAQ

Q: What were the recent changes to the IEC Canada visa program for Ireland?
A: Ireland is being treated as a pilot case by Immigration Canada. It is the first country to experience new reforms in the IEC program.

  • The IEC Canada visa for Ireland quota has been increased. The allotment of visas has gone from 5,350 in 2012 to 6,350 in 2013 and 10,700 in 2014.
  • Applicants to the program will be issued a two-year work permit.
  • For those of you in Canada on your first participation in the working holiday program (this includes applicants through USIT), you will receive a further two-year visa if you meet the requirements. If you have used one working holiday visa previously, you will be entitled to an additional two-year visa. Those in Canada currently on their second one-year visa are not eligible for a third participation under the new rules.
  • The habitual residency clause has been abolished for the 2013 IEC visa programme. Applicants do not need to meet the 18 months out of 36 residency rule that existed previously. This will lead to a dramatic rise in the amount of people eligible for IEC visa, so get your application off as soon as possible.

Q: I came from Ireland in 2010 on a USIT visa and then used my first year IEC visa last year. Can I apply for a two-year IEC visa this year, given the first visa was not part of IEC program?
A: No, as this would potentially allow this person to get four years on working holiday visas (one year from USIT and three years from two IEC participations). From 2013, each person is allowed two participations in any incarnation of the programme. This rule means that some people will only get two years in Canada and some three years.

Q: My first IEC visa expires in January. It will be February/March before I get my second IEC visa accepted. What do I do?
There is a lot of confusion over this issue. CIC state that you should change your status to visitor, which allows you to stay in Canada on “implied status” but you are not allowed to work. Not changing your status goes against the integrity of the program. We do not recommend the practice of applying for an extension of your work permit as a means of buying time. If you make an application for a work extension with no formal grounds for it to be accepted (i.e. no LMO/PNP/CEC application number), it is frowned upon by Immigration Canada. It is essentially cheating the system and immigration officers will not be impressed. More information is available on this page — Temporary resident visa extension.

Q: I have my second IEC visa for Ireland under the 2013 programme but I don’t need to activate it until later in 2013. Can I apply for a two-year visa under 2014 program instead?
A: No, once your application is accepted this counts as participation. In this case, you are still getting another full year in Canada so it would make sense to look into other potential routes to stay in Canada (LMO, CEC, PNP and FSW).

Q: My first year IEC visa is due to expire later in 2013. When do I need to apply for my second IEC visa (if applicable)?
Apply immediately once the program opens to ensure you get a visa. Your new visa can be activated as soon as your first visa expires so this will allow you to transition to year two with no stress.

Q: I’m on my first year IEC visa but my passport is scheduled to expire during the two-year period of my second IEC visa. What should I do?
A: You have two options:

  • If you keep your current passport, you will only be issued a work permit valid until the expiry date of your passport.
  • Another option is to apply for the 2013 initiative with a current passport, but enter Canada on a new, renewed passport. When entering Canada, you must notify the border service officer of this change so that a work permit may be issued in accordance with your new passport information. We recommend that you bring a photocopy of previous passport along with your current valid passport for presentation at the port of entry.

Q: My first year IEC visa expires soon. I’m not eligible for another IEC visa. My employer has applied for a LMO on my behalf but this could take months. Can I continue working beyond the expiry date?

A: No. Implied status will only come into effect for the application of a work permit, not the LMO. A LMO is issued by Service Canada, a completely different body from Citizenship & Immigration Canada. If the LMO application is accepted and an application for a work permit is made before the IEC expires, then they can apply for a temporary resident visa extension. If you have LMO acceptance, it will be approved and you can continue to stay in Canada on the conditions of the new work permit. If there is no LMO on file, the application will be refused quickly and you will have to change status to remain as a visitor until the LMO is issued and a new work permit can be applied for.

Q: Do I need travel insurance for a second participation on IEC?
A: Yes. You must have travel insurance for the second year of the IEC. Provincial health cover (e.g. MSP in British Columbia or OHIP in Ontario) is not accepted as it does not cover repatriation costs (i.e. costs incurred to fly you home in event of serious illness or death). Insurance must cover the full duration of the work permit. In the case of Ireland, it may not be possible to get travel insurance for a full two-year period. See useful links below to learn more about insurance providers:
Travel Insurance for IEC visa

Q: What address should I use for my “mailing address” and “residential address” on my IEC application form?
A: The “residential address” on the IEC application is the address where you are currently residing. For example, if you are currently in Canada participating in the IEC and are submitting a new application, it is recommended you insert your Canadian residential address on the application form in this field.

Q: How do I apply for the second year IEC working holiday visa in Canada when I’m already in Canada?
A: The application for a second working holiday visa in Canada should be completed in the same way it was the first time around. This will be a second participation in the programme, not an extension of the original permit. The one change is that your mailing address will be your Canadian address. For UK applicants, it is treated as an application from your home country because the applicant is deemed to be “habitually resident” in their home country if they have been living outside of the country for less than 18 months in the past three years.

Q: Do you need to get a police cert from Canada if living here for the past 12 months?
A: Some applicants have been asked for a police certificate from Canada. You will only be asked for one if you have lived in Canada for longer than six months. If this is the case for you, it is advised that you apply for a police certificate. Some local police stations will issue them, but to guarantee that you obtain the correct certificate from the federal police you should apply to the RCMP. This will require fingerprinting, which is done with a private company. L1 Identity Solutions has a track record of successfully taking electronic fingerprints and sending them to the RCMP. Here is a list of their locations throughout Canada.

Q: Can you apply for a two-year working holiday visa in Canada?
A: The Irish IEC program will issue two-year work permits this year, but those applying for the IEC visa UK and other countries (where applicable) will have to apply for two separate years sequentially.

Q: I have participated in the IEC UK on a previous occasion. Now that participation is restricted to two one-year periods, does my previous participation restrict my ability to travel to Canada in the future?
A: Please note that this information is based on information from the 2012 programme and there is a small chance that the IEC UK rules could change. The new policy of two one-year participation periods for the UK is not being implemented retroactively. Even if you have previously participated in the IEC UK working holiday programme, you will still be able to participate twice in the IEC programme, assuming you can demonstrate eligibility to do so. Please note this applies only to those who participated prior to the 2011 initiative.

Q: I have my POE letter and flight booked. What do I need on entering Canada?

  • Travel and repatriation insurance for the entire duration of your two-year permit.
  • A bank statement (no more than 7 days old) showing proof of funds in the amount of $2500 Canadian dollars.
  • Up to date passport.
  • Your POE — acceptance letter from the IEC.

Please ensure you refer to our articles on the IEC visa process
IEC Canada Visa Overview

If you need to contact the IEC directly, you can do so at:
[email protected]

Discuss the application process with other applicants:

Moving2Canada IEC Working Holiday Visa Facebook Group
Experience Canada IEC Visa forum
Global Goose Blog: How to apply for your IEC Canada visa

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