Guide on How to Apply for a Working Holiday Visa for Canada

The Working Holiday Visa program is part of the International Experience Canada (IEC) initiative. It offers young individuals from participating countries the opportunity to live, work, and explore the diverse landscapes and cultures of Canada. This guide on how to apply for a Working Holiday Visa for Canada aims to provide you with a step-by-step overview of the application process. It will provide insight into the eligibility criteria, required documents, and cost of application.

Whether you’re dreaming of skiing in the Rockies, exploring the vibrant cities, or experiencing Canadian hospitality firsthand, this guide will help you navigate the path to securing your Working Holiday Visa and embarking on an unforgettable adventure in the Great White North.

What is a Working Holiday Visa for Canada?

A Canadian Working Holiday Visa, also known as an International Experience Canada (IEC) Working Holiday Visa, is a type of visa that allows young individuals from certain countries to live and work in Canada for a temporary period. The primary purpose of this visa is to promote cultural exchange and provide participants with the opportunity to travel and work in Canada while experiencing Canadian culture and lifestyle.

The Working Holiday Visa is not the only category under the IEC program. The program offers various streams through which eligible participants can obtain a work permit to live and work in Canada for a specific period. These streams include the Working Holiday Visa, Young Professionals, and International Co-op (Internship) programs, each tailored to meet the needs and interests of different groups of applicants.

Other International Experience Canada (IEC) Visa Programs

Young Professionals

This program is designed for young professionals who want to gain Canadian work experience in their field of expertise. Participants receive an open work permit that allows them to work for any employer in Canada, excluding those in the sex industry or in the medical field.

International Co-op (Internship)

This program is for students who are enrolled at a post-secondary institution in their home country and want to complete a work placement or internship in Canada as part of their studies. Participants must have a job offer from a Canadian employer before applying.

Who is Eligible for an IEC Working Holiday Visa Canada?

Below are the general eligibility criteria you have to meet if you are considering how to apply for a Working Holiday Visa for Canada

  • Age: Applicants must typically be between the ages of 18 and 35 (inclusive) at the time of application. However, some countries may have different age limits or specific age ranges.
  • Citizenship: Applicants must hold citizenship from one of the countries that have a bilateral youth mobility arrangement with Canada. These countries are listed below.
  • Valid Passport: To apply for Working Holiday Visa in Canada, applicants must have a valid passport for the duration of their intended stay in the country. The passport should not expire before the end of the visa period.

Countries Eligible for Working Holiday Visa for Canada

Below is the list of eligible countries with their acceptable age range and duration of stay in the bracket.

  • Andorra (18-30; 12 months)
  • Australia (18-35; 24 months)
  • Austria (18-30; 12 months)
  • Belgium (18-30; 12 months)
  • Chile (18-35; 12 months)
  • Costa Rica (18-35; 12 months)
  • Croatia (18-35; 12 months)
  • Czech Republic (18-35; 12 months)
  • Denmark (18-35; 12 months)
  • Estonia (18-35; 12 months)
  • France (18-35; 24 months)
  • Germany (18-35; 12 months)
  • Greece (18-35; 12 months)
  • Hong Kong (18-30; 12 months)
  • Ireland (18-35; 24 months)
  • Italy (18-35; 6 months)
  • Japan (18-30; 12 months)
  • Latvia (18-35; 12 months)
  • Lithuania (18-35; 12 months)
  • Luxembourg (18-30; 12 months)
  • Netherlands (18-30; 12 months)
  • New Zealand (18-35; 23 months)
  • Norway (18-35; 12 months)
  • Poland (18-35; 12 months)
  • Portugal (18-35; 24 months)
  • San Marino (18-35; 12 months)
  • Slovakia (18-35; 12 months)
  • Slovenia (18-35; 12 months)
  • South Korea (18-35; 12 months)
  • Spain (18-35; 12 months)
  • Sweden (18-30; 12 months)
  • Switzerland (18-35; 12 months)
  • Taiwan (18-35; 12 months)
  • United Kingdom (18-35; 24 months)

Other Working Holiday Visa Canada Requirements

Aside from the eligibility criteria, here are other requirements to keep in mind when considering how to apply for a Working Holiday Visa for Canada.

  • Photograph: A digital photo showing the front view of your head and the tops of your shoulders. Its frame size should measure 35 mm x 45 mm and chin-to-crown measurements of 31 mm and 36 mm. You must submit it as a JPEG
  • CV/résumé: A copy of your CV or résumé detailing your education, qualifications and work experience (main duties for each job). Also include your current job title, city and country.
  • Sufficient Funds: Applicants may be required to demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to support themselves during their initial stay in Canada. The exact amount required can vary, but it’s generally recommended to have enough funds to cover living expenses until employment is secured.
  • Proof of Residency: Provide the residential or mailing address in your country of citizenship. An Italian citizen will need a residence certificate (certificato di residenza) and a certified English or French translation of the document.
  • Police Certificate: You may be required to provide a police certificate or criminal record check from your home country or any other country where you have lived for six months or more since the age of 18.
  • Medical Examination Results: Depending on your country of citizenship and other factors, you may need to undergo a medical examination by a designated panel physician and provide the results as part of your application.
  • Insurance: Applicants are typically required to have health insurance coverage for the duration of their stay in Canada. This insurance should cover medical care, hospitalization, and repatriation.

Steps on How to Apply for a Working Holiday Visa for Canada

  • Check Your Eligibility: Verify that you meet the eligibility criteria by signing in to your IRCC secure account and selecting “International Experience Canada.”
  • Create an IEC Profile: Go to the International Experience Canada website and create a profile. You’ll need to provide personal information, details about your eligibility, and possibly other documentation.
  • Submit Profile to Pool: Once your IEC online profile Canada is complete, submit it to the appropriate pool based on your country and the specific Working Holiday Visa stream you’re applying for. If you are selected from the pool, you will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA).
  • Accept ITA and Apply for Visa: You’ll have exactly 20 days to accept your ITA and apply for your Working Holiday Visa. Don’t wait until the last day to submit your application. The difference between your local time and the UTC could make you miss the deadline. Follow the instructions provided in the ITA to submit your visa application. In the fields requesting offer of employment details, you are expected to respond as below:
    • Employment Number: A9999999
    • Has your employer paid the Employer Compliance fee?: No
    • Employer Address: Non-applicable – Working Holiday
  • Pay Fees: Pay any required fees associated with your visa application, such as the IEC fee and biometrics fee if applicable.
  • Submit Required Documents: Fill in all mandatory fields and submit all required documents for your visa application, including a police certificate, medical result, and any other necessary documents. If you’re eligible, you’ll receive a message in your account telling you what to do next.
  • Biometrics: You may need to provide biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) as part of the application process. If so, you have about 30 days to give the biometrics in person. There is an option for extension in case of factors beyond your control.

Validity and Cost of Working Holiday Visa for Canada

Validity: Working Holiday Visas for Canada allow participants to stay in the country for up to 12 or 24 months depending on your country.

Cost: The Canada Working Holiday Visa cost includes the following fees:

  • IEC fee – CAN$172
  • Biometrics – CAN$ 85.00 per person
  • Open work permit holder fee – CAN$100

Keep in mind that these costs are for the 2024 season and they are subject to change.

The IEC fee and open work permit holder fee are refundable if:

  • You withdraw your work permit application before receiving your port of entry letter of introduction.
  • The immigration office refuses your work permit application.

FAQs on How to Apply for a Working Holiday Visa for Canada

  1. Can I bring my family to Canada on a Working Holiday Visa?
    • Unfortunately, the Working Holiday Visa does not allow participants to bring their family members, including spouses or dependents.
  2. Can I apply for PR after staying in Canada on a Working Holiday Visa?
    • Yes, you can. Depending on the work experience you get during your stay, it may increase your chances of qualifying for PR programs.
  3. Do I need to have a job offer before applying for a Working Holiday Visa?
    • No. The Working Holiday Visa allows you to work for any employer in Canada during your stay.
  4. Can I extend my stay in Canada on a Working Holiday Visa?
    • The duration of a Working Holiday Visa is typically fixed and you cannot extend it beyond the authorized period granted upon entry into Canada.
  5. Am I allowed to study while on a Working Holiday Visa in Canada?
    • Yes, you can enrol in short-term courses or programs within the period of your stay.
  6. How long does it take to process a Working Holiday Visa application?
    • Processing times for Working Holiday Visa applications can vary depending on factors such as the volume of applications and the country of citizenship. However, the IRCC’s current standard processing time is 4 weeks after you submit all documents and give biometrics.

Final Words

Securing a Working Holiday Visa for Canada is more than just obtaining a travel document. It is the commencement of an enriching journey filled with exploration, cultural immersion, and personal growth. Hopefully, this guide on how to apply for a Working Holiday Visa for Canada will help you navigate the application process. As you await your visa approval, keep in mind the countless opportunities that await you in the Great White North. Hence, even if you do not get a positive response on your first application, feel free to try again. Also, note that provided that the pool is still open, you still stand a chance until all profiles are removed from the pool.


Elizabeth is a well-versed writer who has mastered the art of delivering complex knowledge in simple ways to help readers grasp the information they need without mental stress.

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