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.
Special thanks to Gemma Taylor who assisted us in updated the content for 2015. Gemma has created a terrific Step by Step account of the IEC application process:
Step-by-Step IEC Guide – Gemma Taylor from Off Track Travel
New online process for IEC Visa
Q: When are IEC programs for each of the 32 particpating countries due to open?
A: All countries and programs (Working Holiday, Young Professionals and Internship) will have separate opening times. The openings dates for the 2015 programs are set to be announced around mid-February. Follow Moving2Canada on Facebook or Twitter to be kept informed.
Q: Have they extended the visa period of the IEC Canada visa program for the UK?
A: The CIC website now reflects that they will provide a 2-year term to UK applicants. If you have used only one IEC UK visa, then you are entitled to apply for a 2-year IEC visa this year therefore giving you three years in Canada. Read more here.
Q: I created a Kompass account for the 2014 IEC program. The website states that I need to create a new Kompass account this year. Can I use the same email address?
Yes, it is ok to use the same email address
Q: What other changes are expected in 2015?
A: Online applications will be rolled out for all participating countries. It looks like good news for France, the UK and New Zealand as each country will now get a 2-year work permit. Read more here. In the case of Australia, participants will now only get one 2-year visa where they were previously entitled to re-apply as long as they were under the age limit (30).
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. Each allocations sold out in less than two hours. 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 and information ready at hand. 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 during the latter stages of Stage 1:
2. Resume/CV using the IEC template.
Q: What happens if I do not manage to submit the application before the quota runs out in Stage 1?
For both UK and Irish citizens in 2014, the total IEC quota was released in rounds rather than all at once. With applications being submitted so quickly in Stage 1, many people did not manage to complete the CAL application before the first round closed. When the second round opened, these people were able to log back in to Kompass and continue with their half-completed application. British citizens were able to have another attempt in a third round.
Q: When can I set up my Kompass account?
You can open a Kompass account once any of the three programs for your country opens. It’s worthwhile to set it up in advance where possible. Kompass stays opens for you as long as there are Working Holiday, Young Professionals or Internship visas remaining.
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? Did the fee increase for 2015?
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.
Yes, an additional fee of $100 will be added to the participation fee in 2015. Read more here. Participation fees were EUR 120 for Ireland and GBP100 in 2014 .
Note: Payment 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.
How do I complete Stage Two if I am already 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. Its 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 (CAL) via a message sent to your IEC Kompass account. This can arrive sooner or be delayed. The CAL 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. Total wait time for CIC assessment is up to 42 days for this section.
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.
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: For how long is my CAL (Conditional Acceptance Letter) valid? What if I need more time to submit my documents?
IEC have stated that CAL validity is now confirmed as only 7 days – to apply for Stage 2. It also confirms what to do if you need more time:
“Please be advised that the Conditional Acceptance Letter (CAL) will be valid for 7 days in the 2015 IEC initiative. Should you be unable to provide the information and/or other documents requested by CIC, you must advise them in writing, the detailed reasons why you cannot provide the document/information requested. You must upload this written explanation electronically through the MyCIC portal in lieu of the document requested.”
When you get your CAL, you need to submit your complete Stage 2 application (2 x forms, resume, passport, digital photo, police certificates, medical if required) including, most importantly, your CAL before the date it expires, which is 7 days from receipt.
Q: My first IEC visa expires soon. There will likely be a gap 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: My first year IEC visa is due to expire later this year. 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: My passport is scheduled to expire during the period of my 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 2015 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 LMIA 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 LMIA. A LMIA is issued by Service Canada, a completely different body from Citizenship & Immigration Canada. If the LMIA 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 LMIA 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 LMIA on file, the application will be refused quickly and you will have to change status to remain as a visitor until the LMIA 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: A police certificate from Canada is only required when specifically requested. A minority of applicants will be asked for one. 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: 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 work 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 Port of Entry (POE) Letter of Introduction letter from the IEC.
If you need to contact the IEC directly, you can do so at:
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