Are you interested in experiencing a working holiday visa in Canada, also known as International Experience Canada, IEC visa or working holiday Canada? This section will provide you with an overview of all the relevant steps required steps for this type of immigration to Canada, which allows you to get a job in Canada for either 12 or 24 months. Please read the information and associated links carefully. Errors in the application process can be costly and delay your immigration to Canada.
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2015 Update: IEC program for all participating countries will not open prior to mid-February 2015. The opening dates will be announced via Moving2Canada Facebook page, the IEC website and the IEC Twitter account
How to get a working holiday visa in Canada
International Experience Canada (IEC) is a working holiday visa in Canada program. It allows people from many different countries under 35 years of age to work in Canada for a temporary period. Citizens of some countries are eligible for two back-to-back one year periods. Since 2013, citizens of Ireland are able to apply for a two-year IEC visa. Consult this list of participating countries to see if your country of origin has an agreement for the working holiday visa in Canada, and click on the country or territory name. You will be re-directed to the Canadian embassy webpage of your country or territory, where you will be able to find details on the specific program.
Apply by Yourself
You can obtain a working holiday visa in Canada through the International Experience Canada (IEC) program. Apply directly to the Embassy of Canada so you don’t need to pay any fees to agents for vague additional services. For more information, see the links below. The regional IEC websites below also offer FAQ sections where all of your potential questions on applying for a working holiday visa will be answered.
There is also a step-by-step guide for applying for your working holiday visa in Canada. Please read carefully as it will save you time. Ensure you have a friend double-check everything because making mistakes can cost you a few months or result in rejection.
Step by Step Guide UK
Step by Step Guide Ireland
The following is a general overview of the IEC visa process to achieve your working holiday Canada visa:
STAGE 1: International Experience Canada (IEC) section:
Apply online via Kompass to participate in IEC and to receive a Conditional Acceptance Letter:
- The first step of the IEC process is to open a Kompass account and secure a place on the scheme by submitting an application form to assess your eligibility. For this section, only personal information is required (no documents) but it must all be entered and submitted as fast and accurately as possible. If you manage to submit before the quota of places runs out, you will receive a World Tracking Number (WTN) – if the number is below the total country quota, you have a place ‘reserved.’ Within 48 hours, you will receive a confirmation of your conditional place via Kompass and asked for payment.
- Payment for the IEC program must be received via Kompass within 10 days, along with copies of your resume and passport photo page. The IEC team will now review your application package to verify that you are eligible to participate and all of the required documentation has been provided. Evaluation may take up to 14 days. If your application passes this phase, you will be sent a Conditional Acceptance Letter (CAL) and instructions for Stage 2.
- While waiting for evaluation, you can go ahead and open a MyCIC account and complete CIC’s ‘Come to Canada’ questionnaire. This will inform you of the documents you will need to collect and then upload in the next stage.
PHASE 2: Visas and Immigration section:
Apply online for a work permit through a MyCIC account:
- 1. This section is an assessment of your admissibility to Canada and eligibility for a work permit. As per the instructions, open a MyCIC account (if you haven’t already) and upload your CAL document. This and all other required documents must be uploaded within 7 days of receiving your CAL. CIC’s ‘Come to Canada’ questionnaire will create a personalised list of documents you will need to upload in this section. This list will include completed forms, resume, passport scans, photo, police certificates and medical results (if applicable)
- Once submitted, you will receive an assessment from CIC within 42 days. If successful, you will find a Port of Entry Letter of Introduction (LoI) in your MyCIC inbox. Congratulations!
IEC Visa FAQs
Sign up for our newsletter to gain access to our IEC FAQ article and for the latest updates on the new IEC programs for 2015. We’ve gathered, researched and prepared answered to all of your questions.
Moving2Canada IEC Visa FAQ
Step-by-Step IEC Guide – Gemma Taylor from Off Track Travel
IEC Visa Stage Two Explained
Achieving your working holiday visa for Canada is pretty straightforward if you are willing to study the available resources. Please read all the available guidelines and documents. Once you have your application under way you can review our guide for writing a Canadian resume. Our jobs board lists postings for some of the best jobs in Canada today.