Getting a Visa for Canada – The BIG Switch

IEC Visa

This blog will tell you all you need to know about the application process for a visa for Canada on the International Experience Canada programme. If you’re looking to immigrate to Canada or if you just want to go on a Summer/Winter working holiday in Vancouver, Toronto or Whistler keep reading!

Talk to me…

Howiya, I’m Ercus and I’ll be taking the blogging baton from the original Loose Moose Ginner. It’s an honour to take the baton from Ginner, who has given a great account of moving over, getting a gaf and a job to boot straight away. I’ll be doing well to be as lucky!

Just a bit about me…I’m a fairly standard issue Irish man; very white and quite hairy for the most part. I’ve travelled a good bit before; inter-railed through Europe, road tripped from Vancouver to San Diego, backpacked through South America and lived on the small resort island Hilton Head for a year while in college.

I’m heading to Vancouver on a one-year working holiday visa. I’ll do my best to blog as much as I can about the trip. I’ll cover all the practical stuff like visas, travel insurance and trying to get a job as well as try to fill you in on good places to eat and any enjoyable nocturnal pursuits I have. If throughout the next 52 weeks you want something checked out please givus a shout at

Canadian Visa Application

The jazz with visa applications is fairly straightforward. You have two options; you can pay a company like USIT or fly solo and do it yourself. To be honest there’s no reason why you can’t do it yourself. It’s easy out.

The supposed benefit of using a company is that they help with all the forms and provide you with an orientation, which may include things like assisting you in getting a SIM card and opening a bank account. They do this while charging you quite a large fee often around the €400 or €500 mark. To do it yourself the fee is around €150.

If I’m brutally honest, if you need someone to help you with forms, open a bank account and get a SIM card, perhaps moving to a new country may be a little advanced for you… Nah in fairness it may be helpful if English is not your first language or if you’re just ridiculously lazy. If you have used a visa company please emails us your thoughts on it to (Mainly so we can judge you for being lazy!)

For UK and Irish residents to apply directly for a visa they need to send two sets of completed documents to the Canadian Embassy in London. The programme I applied for and most working holidaymakers go for is International Experience Canada (IEC). You can find a step-by-step guide to applying for the IEC programme here.

Please note! The 2012 quota of IEC visas for Irish & UK residents has been filled for 2012. The 2013 programme opens later this year. You can find all the latest news for Canadian visas for 2013 here. There will be an update on the 2013 programme in Autumn 2012.

Document Checklist

Below is a checklist of all the documents I needed to send to apply. Next year it will most likely be similar but be sure to check for the latest requirements here.

1st set of documents:

  • The IEC application form
  • A legible photocopy of the identification pages of your passport (Must be valid for minimum of 12 months)

2nd set of documents:

  • Application for work permit made outside of Canada (Form IMM1295)
  • Family Information form (Form IM5645)
  • Two passport-sized photos (Make sure to check IEC specifications)
  • A second legible photocopy of the identification pages of your passport (Must be valid for minimum of 12 months)
  • A complete and up to date copy of your Curriculum Vitae.
  • An original GARDA Police Certificate
  • Medical Examination Declaration (This is required for some professions but not all.)

NB some of the files you download only open in Adobe Reader so if you have a Mac they don’t open correctly in preview. Get Adobe Reader here, it’s free.

If you have any questions or queries, I’d be happy to help you out as much as I can, so feel free to leave them below in the comments box or mail me on Next week I’ll be reviewing a few different health/travel insurance options. Basically i will be trying to get the cheapest price that will still cover all the usual ski mishaps, drunken falls, sports injuries and calf implants….I mean GP visits.

Until next time…

Much love


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