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5 Mistakes You're Making with Your Working Holiday Visa Application

Thousands of people apply for a working holiday in Canada every year, but many find themselves disappointed when their applications are rejected or delayed due to minor mistakes, missing documents or missed deadlines.

The truth is that the application process may be a bit simpler than applying for a Canadian immigration visa but the Government is just as strict when it comes to meeting requirements and due dates. Getting a working holiday visa is competitive and spots are limited, which is all the more reason to make sure that your application is correct and complete from the get-go.

A working holiday in Canada is an experience you'll never forget, giving you the opportunity to meet new people, experience a new way of life in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. By taking a trip to Canada you'll have a first-hand view of what life in Canada could be like and will be able to get to know Canada as only a Canadian does.

Want a taste of what you can look forward to on your Canadian adventure?


Not too shabby eh?

In this article, we’ll highlight the top 5 mistakes that most people make when on their Canadian working holiday visa applications and how you can avoid them.

If you’re ready to take the next step in your Canadian visa you can simply jump ahead and start the evaluation process by clicking the link below to chat to one of our consultants, but if you’d like to learn more about how to optimize your International Experience Canada (IEC) application, keep reading.



5 Things to Avoid When Applying for a Working Holiday in Canada

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1. Skipping Insurance

We all know that travelling abroad can be expensive. Flights and accommodation alone will more than likely be your biggest expense and will put quite a dent in your budget. The natural inclination will be to cut corners where you can but not having insurance is not one of them. Not only is health insurance a must when it comes to ensuring your health and safety should something unforeseen occur but it is a requirement of the International Experience Class (IEC). Your travel insurance must cover the entire length of stay in Canada.

For example, if you intend to work and travel in Canada for 12 months but only take out travel insurance for 8 months, your work permit will only be valid for 8 months. In other words, the shorter your insurance the shorter your working holiday in Canada and without travel insurance, you run the risk of not having a work permit approved at all. So, is it really worth it?

2. Leaving Your Application to the Last Minute

The best advice that we can give when starting the process for your Working Holiday Visa applications to be prepared. We’ve all left a utility bill or two to be paid at the last minute but when it comes to the Canadian immigration system, it’s better to start gathering your supporting documents as early as possible than to be left scrambling at the last minute the day before your deadline is due. Below are some of the supporting documents that you will be required to submit along with your application.

  • Proof of financial support;
  • Medical exams;
  • Health insurance;
  • Police Certificate;
  • CV/Resume;
  • Passport;
  • Digital photo;
  • Biometrics;
  • Family information form;
  • Proof of school registration (International co-op applicants);
  • Recognized Organization acceptance letter (if applicable).

3. Knowing What Counts as Participation

When applying for a working holiday visa for Canada it is not only important to know if you qualify but what happens once you’ve been accepted. Once you’ve been accepted and have submitted your working holiday visa application you will receive a Port of Entry (POE) or Correspondence/Introduction letter from the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). This letter will be required when entering Canada and will have an expiry date. Most applicants are not aware of this but just by having a POE means that you are partaking in the IEC program. 

Why is this important? Not only will you not be able to get a refund nor withdraw your application once you have received it, but you may not be able to take part in the next working holiday season. This depends on your country of citizenship so be sure to find out what agreement the Government of Canada has with your country before applying let alone accepting your invitation from the IEC.

It is also important to note that if you are allowed to apply again, there may be a waiting period if you are from one of the following countries:

  • Croatia;
  • Latvia;
  • Lithuania;
  • Mexico;
  • Poland;
  • Slovakia;
  • Spain.

4. Letting Your Port of Entry Letter Expire

As mentioned previously, once you have accepted your invitation and submitted your application you will receive a Port of Entry (POE) letter. This letter confirms that you are taking part in the IEC program. In most cases, you will have to arrive in Canada within 12 months of receipt of this letter. Most applicants tend to travel to Canada almost immediately after receiving this letter but in some cases you may need to tie up loose ends at home, complete a work contract or finish a study program, which is all good and well just don’t wait too long. The IRCC is very strict when it comes to deadlines and expiry dates so allow yourself enough time to get to Canada and don’t waste this golden opportunity for an experience of a lifetime because of mere oversight.

Please note you need to physically be in Canada before this date expires. Having a flight booked to leave on the date of expiry or the day before is not a good idea. Always leave more than enough time to allow for impromptu delays of any kind.

5. Using a Passport That’s About to Expire

In order to apply for a working holiday visa, you will need a work permit. What type of work permit depends on which IEC program you apply for. The Working Holiday program will require an open work permit whereas the Young Professionals and Co-op Programs will require an employer-specific work permit, both of which are dependent on having a valid passport. In most cases, you will require a passport that is at least valid for 6 months or longer from the date you intend to arrive in Canada but the length of validity also determines the length of validity of your work permit. In other words, if you intend to travel and work in Canada for 12 months, ensure that your passport is valid for 12 months or longer. In fact, you may even consider getting a new passport, just in case you intend to stay a little longer in Canada after your IEC Working Holiday.


How to Apply for a Working Holiday Visa

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Step 1: Check if You Qualify

Before creating a profile it’s important to ensure that you qualify. You will need to belong to be a citizen of one of the participating countries and be between the ages of 18 and 35 years old. The IEC has an online tool that allows you to check that you qualify for one or more of the IEC categories.

Step 2: Create Your Profile

This profile contains your personal information and you will be asked to answer a few online questions, including your full names, date of birth, place of birth and contact information, to name a few. Please note that you will need your passport to complete your profile.

Step 3: Submit Your Profile

Once you have submitted your profile you will be notified of which programs you qualify for and you will then be able to submit your profile to the draw pools of your choice. If successful, you will receive an invitation to apply for a work permit.

Step 4: Pay Your Fees & Accept Your Invitation

Once you have received your invitation from the IEC you will first have to let the IRCC know that you have chosen to accept your invitation within 10 days. You will then have 20 days to submit your application for your work permit and pay your application fees. The application processing time for a work permit is usually around 4 weeks.

Step 5: Receive Your Port of Entry Letter (POE)

If all goes well and your application is a success you will receive your Port of Entry Letter (POE). It is important to note that a POE does not guarantee that you will be allowed to enter Canada nor that you will get a work permit. 

It is therefore important to ensure that you have met all requirements regarding admissibility to Canada as well as any other requirements stipulated by the IEC program.

Need help with your application? Our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants have years of experience and are ready to help guide you on your Candian adventure!



Your Canadian Adventure Awaits!

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Applying for a visa on your own can be time-consuming and difficult to understand. With strict deadlines, procedures and requirements, it can be easy to make a mistake that could cost you your chance to get a working holiday visa to travel and work in Canada. But with the guidance and assistance of one of our knowledgeable Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCIC’s), who are accredited by the ICCRC the process will be stress-free.

When you choose to use our expert and government trusted service you will get:

  • An in-depth eligibility assessment
  • Guidance on which of 100+ immigration programs and visas to choose from;
  • An immigration plan tailored to your individual needs;
  • A review and submission of all application forms and documentation; as well as
  • Support through every step of the application process.

All you have to do is fill out our application form to receive your eligibility assessment and let us take care of the rest. It’s just that simple! Your Canadian journey starts here.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram to stay up to date on Canadian immigration and visa news.

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