Applying for a Working Holiday Visa

Working Holiday Visa

The first step to applying for a working holiday visa is to become a candidate. In this blog post, we’ll show you exactly how to do it!

Step 1 – Becoming a Candidate

Check if you are eligible to apply for IEC visa

This is the first step you must take if you want to travel and work in Canada as part of the IEC is to check if you are actually eligible for a working holiday visa.

You will be required to answer a couple of questions, which should take about 10 minutes. These answers are to determine if you’re eligible for one of the following IEC visa categories:

  • Working Holiday
  • Internship
  • Young Professionals

The questionnaire will ask you your country of citizenship, country of permanent residence, country of residence, student status and job offer (if this applies to you).

There are a couple of ways to check if you are eligible for a visa.

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If you have already created a MyCIC account (the online application tool for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada), you should follow Method 1 (explained below).

And if you do not have a MyCIC account, you should follow Method 2.

a person holding the Canadian flag

Method 1 – Login to your MyCIC account

(I already have a MyCIC account)

  • Login to your MyCIC account
  • When you’re in your account under “Start an application”, click on “Apply to come to Canada”

  • As you have not completed the eligibility questionnaire, you don’t have a personal reference code. Under “Determine your eligibility and apply online” click on the button which states “Visitor visa, study and/or work permit”

  • Complete and submit the questionnaire. You’ll find out if you’re eligible to continue with the application process. Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for more than one IEC category.

For example: if you’re Australian and have a job offer, you may be eligible for Australia: Young Professional and Australia: Working Holiday.

  • Submit your IEC profile to the category that you are eligible to apply for.
  • You will now have to wait to receive an Invitation to Apply or ITA.

*Note: Submitting your IEC profile does mean that you have applied for your work permit, you will be required to give further information and to pay fees further down the line if you are invited.

Register for your WHC Jobs Kit for lists of the top ski resort employers in BC and Alberta, our working holiday jobs search tool and much more!

Method 2 – Create a MyCIC account

  • You can check your eligibility. All you need to do is answer the questions asked.
  • If you’re successful, you will receive a personal reference code. Write it down, it will look something like this: JM1234567890. It’s important and you’ll need it for the next step!
  • Create a MyCIC account. Register for a GCKey account, set up your security questions.

  • Paste your personal reference code and hit continue.

This will tell the IEC that you have already completed the eligibility questionnaire, and they will then connect your results to your MyCIC account.

  • Complete your MyCIC account by submitting some personal details on your IEC profile. You will need your passport and be asked to tell the IEC about your:
  1. Identity (full names, date of birth, place of birth etc.)
  2. Country of citizenship
  3. Country of permanent residence (where you live permanently)
  4. Country of residence (where you live now)
  5. Contact information
  6. Student status (if this applies to you)
  7. Job offer (if this applies to you)
  • Submit your IEC profile to the category that you are eligible to apply for.
  • You should now wait to receive an Invitation to Apply or ITA.

*Note: Submitting your IEC profile does not mean that you have applied for your work permit, you will be required to give further information and to pay fees further down the line if you are invited.

By completing this first step and becoming a candidate, you will be well on your way to snapping up the all-important working holiday visa!

Have a look at the jobs up for grabs by signing up to our FREE Jobs Kit resource.

You’ll be able to see the top 100 Canadian employers who employ working holidaymakers, a free work and travel guide and much more!

Follow us on Facebook for more useful tips for your working holiday in Canada. Leave a comment if you have any questions!

Step 2: What to do once you’ve received your ITA (Invitation to Apply)


  • Valeria says:

    Hello, thank you for your blog, it’s very useful. I followed your istructions and submitted my application for IEC. I got a message on mycic saying i had been accepted to the pool. Later on, i got another email that said there was an update for my application but when i logged in i couldn’t find any new messages. What should i do?
    Thank you very much

    • JFrench says:

      Hi Valeria! Thanks for your message! We haven’t heard about this happening this year, but last year there were lots of ghost emails being sent by the IEC! If you don’t see any updates on your file, it might just mean that they’re reviewing your file. Hold out for another email from them, hopefully that will have an update for you. Thanks 🙂

      • Lis says:

        Hey Valeria and JFrench! The same happened to me as you Valeria. Cannot find that message anywhere. Hopefully not that important 🙂 Great blog btw.
        Do you have any Idea when they give away the Visas?

  • Sarah says:

    Hi there
    Just a quick question – if I want to move to Canada next year in April (2017) when should I start applying for my Visa?
    If I applied now and got my Visa straight away, does that mean I have to move to Canada ASAP?
    I still need to save a bit of money before I go and get things in order.

    • JFrench says:

      Hi Sarah,

      If your country still has visas left for this year, you should apply before tomorrow morning (9am EST). However, 2017 should be opening in mid October so you won’t have too long to wait if there are none left.

      Once you have your PoE, you have 1 year to actually go to Canada and activate it. So really, in your case, the sooner you get it the better, as right now it mightn’t be guaranteed that you will receive the PoE before April 2017.

      Hope this helps!

  • Iva says:

    Hello there J. French.
    I’m not sure did I understood enough. The situation is that I’m waiting from IEC to sent me an invitation for applying for WH visa and I cant go there before May, June. So my question is if I get the visa, and go in Canada in June 2017., can I stay there until June of 2018.?Thanks a lot.


    • JFrench says:

      Hi Iva,

      Yes once you receive the PoE/ Working Holiday Visa, you will have one year to go to Canada and activate it.
      If you have a 1 year visa, you will be able to stay 1 year from when you activate it. For example; if you activate it in June 2017, you can stay and work until June 2018! 🙂


  • Jess says:

    Hi guys, I was wondering if you could clarify something. I am a UK citizen and I am going to New Zealand at the end of February to work but after that I am keen to apply for a WHV in Canada, do I have to be in the UK when I apply for a Canadian visa or can I do it whilst I’m in New Zealand?


    • JFrench says:

      Hey Jess,
      That sounds awesome 🙂 You can absolutely be in another country whilst applying for your visa, just make sure to be upfront on your application and advise them of your current location when asked on the application.

  • Tatum says:

    Hi Jfrench,

    So I have started my application for my visa but had to log out and save information because I needed my police check done.

    I have changed phones and have lost my user name to log in to my account!

    Can I re apply for and start again?

    • JFrench says:

      Hi Tatum!
      Bummer! Can you reach out to the IEC to reset the password? I would hate to think that you’d have to start a new application, it’s not likely that you would receive an invitation to apply again this year. Check this out – hopefully it will help you! 🙂

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