Your Invitation to Apply (ITA) and Submit the Application

Canada visa

You’ve received your Invitation to Apply (ITA), and now you’ve been given 30 days to accept and apply for the working holiday visa.

You don’t want to mess it up now, you’ve come SO far! Let us help you out.

The working holiday visa is the best way to work and travel your way around Canada.

As you may know, the IEC visa application process has significantly changed, so make sure you check out our guide before you get started.

This particular post is for those applicants who have successfully entered the pool and have been sent an Invitation to Apply. (YAY)!

First things first, will you accept the invitation to apply?

This will depend on personal reasons more than anything else.

The invitations are sent out randomly, so if you’re hoping to come to Canada with your partner or friends, it’s going to be a difficult decision if they haven’t received it yet.

Remember that there is still a chance that your partner or friend will receive an invitation in the future. It’s your call!

If you choose to accept the Invitation to Apply (ITA), you’ll have 20 days from the day it’s accepted to submit your work permit application and pay any relevant fees.

What do you need to do?

In fairness to the IEC, they’ve nailed this on their website. But if you’re feeling like you need some more help, we’ve demystified it all here.

  1. Complete the online form
  2. Gather your documents
  3. Pay the fees
  4. Submit your application
  5. The waiting game begins aka. processing times

1. Complete the online form

Be careful that you are submitting the correct information at this stage because it’s going to be a pain to change it.

Double-check it before you submit it! Once completed, the system will generate a personalized Document Checklist for you, showing you everything that you must upload.


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!

2. Gather your Documents

Depending on your circumstances you will have different documents that will apply to you, and thanks to the personalized Document Checklist, there’s no more guessing.

Update: You will no longer be asked to submit proof of funds, but you will still be asked for this at the border to have it anyway!

Police certificates

If you or your family have lived in a country for 6 or more months in a row since the age of 18, you will need a police certificate from that country.

If you have lived in multiple countries, you will require one from each country. This includes your home country.

Example: If you visited, worked or lived in a country for two months, left for a few years, then returned for four months, that counts as spending six months there.

In this case, you would need a certificate.

If you will not have the police certificate before the 30-day deadline, you should do the following:

  • submit a copy of the receipt proving you have requested one,
  • submit a screenshot of the confirmation page or email you received when ordered your police certificate online.

If you require a letter from IEC/CIC in order to apply for your police certificate, you will have to submit everything else first and upload a letter of explanation letting them know that they need to give you a request letter to apply for your police certificate.

They will upload this to your account and then you will be able to apply for the police cert, and the IEC will give you more time to obtain this.

But apply straight away! Countries where this might be applicable: Japan, Thailand,

Uploading: There is only 1 Police Certificate upload button, so save the certificates in one document and upload them together.

a cup of coffee, tablet and a pair of eye glasses, placed on a table

CV/ Résumé

You will also need to provide a copy of your CV/ Résumé. But don’t just upload your current CV without checking it first. Make sure it’s been “pimped” or Canadianized. Make sure to include:

  • education,
  • qualifications, and
  • work experience (main duties for each job).
  • your current job title and the city and country where you currently live.

Read Also:

Medical Exams

You will need to undergo a medical exam if you intend to work in a certain profession or if you’ve travelled to many countries with health risks for 6 months or more.


  • health services
  • child care
  • primary or secondary education

*IMPORTANT: You must see an approved doctor.

Uploading: If there is no Medical Certificate option, upload it as an optional document.


You must provide a clear and readable copy of your passport.

Your passport must be valid when you apply to the International Experience Canada program, and when you enter and depart from Canada.

Your work permit will only be issued as per the validity of your passport.

Digital Photo

You must provide a digital photo of yourself.

Frame size
  • The final frame size of the photo must be at least 35mm x 45mm.
  • The photographs must show a full front view of the head and tops of shoulders, with the face in the middle of the photograph
  • The size of the head, from chin to crown, must be between 31mm and 36mm.
  • Digital dimensions are often expressed in pixels or DPI (dots per inch). The physical dimensions in pixels must be at least 420 x 540.
  • The minimum resolution must be 600 pixels per inch
File format
  • JPEG or JPEG2000 format.
  • The size of the image should be 240 kB (kilobytes), but not less than 60 kB.
  • The image must be in colour (24 bits per pixel) in RGB colour space, which is the common output for most digital cameras.

Family Information

Depending on your country of citizenship, you must complete one of the Family Information forms: IMM5707 or IMM5645 (this one has siblings). Applicants can use either.

You do not need to sign it, just date it. When you finally submit you will fill in a declaration that deems you to have electronically signed the whole application.

Phew, that was intense I know. But it gets easier from here!

3. Pay the fee

For working holiday visas, it will be necessary to pay a participation fee of CAD$150, an open work permit holder fee of CAD$100 and a Biometrics fee of CAD$88.

Payment is required before your application is assessed by the IEC.

*Note: You can make the payment via credit/debit card. There will be a currency conversion fee automatically applied and you will receive a receipt for your records.


The fees are refundable if:

  • you withdraw your work permit application before you receive your Letter of introduction, or
  • your work permit application is refused.

You will not receive a refund if you have submitted false information.

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!

airplane landing at an airport

4. Submit your application

Make sure that you have filled out all mandatory fields, paid your fees, uploaded all relevant documents in the correct formats and colours. Get it right the first time!

The system will not let you submit your application unless all necessary documents are uploaded, so it’s a good idea to use your personalized document checklist to make sure you’ve covered every angle.

If you don’t have your documents on time, you should submit a letter of explanation in its stead with proof of action taken place. [See police certificates]

5. Providing biometrics

As of summer 2018, when you are applying for an IEC, you will be required to provide biometrics (give your fingerprints and a photo). Once provided those will be valid for the next 10 years.

The request for the biometrics will be uploaded in your profile once you submit your application and you pay the fees.

Once you received the request, you will have 30 days to visit the nearest visa application centres (VACs) worldwide, application support centres (ASCs) in the USA or designated Service Canada offices (SCOs) in Canada.

If you don’t provide your biometrics on time, your application will be refused, so be sure to make it on time.

5. Processing times

CIC has committed to a service standard of eight weeks from the completion of your work permit application, payment of relevant fees and providing your biometrics.

In some instances, it’s been slower and quicker, so it’s really hard to tell.

If you are eligible, you will be notified via the CIC account and you will be advised what to do next! 🙂

Good luck!! If you have any questions, let us know by commenting below.

Updated Feb 13, 2020

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  • Alfred says:

    May I know if it is necessary to get a job offer from Canada first before I can obtain working holiday visa?

  • Alfred says:

    Thanks a lot for the information!

  • Alfred says:

    I live in Hong Kong and have submitted my application and is under review. As I have not been asked to provide health check results nor police certificate yet, may I know if should perform medical check and obtain police certificate first during this meantime, in order to save time? Thanks.

    Second, I am considering to pay a visit to Canada first before the actual working holiday begins. May I know if I could save my return trip from Canada to Hong Kong, and directly begins my working holiday once approval is obtained? If so, I think I may probably need an electronic VISA on that.

    Truly Thanks,

    • JFrench says:

      Hey Alfred,

      Firstly, I would double check your IEC account as it may be closed unless you received an invitation. You may have to apply again once it opens again for the 2017 season, and it should be opening in a few weeks.

      To answer your questions: There’s no need to get your police certificate or your medical check yet. You should have enough time to get them once you receive your invitation.
      I’m not sure that I understand your second question. Can you let me know?

      Thanks, Jane

  • ManonF says:

    Hi there,
    So let’s say I apply for the IEC and get a positive answer. Do you know the maximum time between the moment you have the visa grant notification and the moment you have to get to Canada?

    • JFrench says:

      Hi Manon,

      Thanks for your question.
      Generally your visa will expire if you don’t activate it in Canada within 1 year of receiving your Port of Entry (POE) letter.

      All the best,

  • James says:

    So does the 1 year start from when I receive the POE letter or does the one year start when you arrive in Canada.

  • Danny says:

    Hello Jfrench. Recently, I have registered as a candidate for applying working holiday in Canada. Few days after that, they have sent me an invitation to apply (not yet accepted currently). I have a problem concerning about the police certificate. Since I am from Hong Kong, I need to provide a police certificate but in order to obtain one, I need an official request letter from IEC/CIC.

    So, should I accept the invitation and wait for them to request a police certificate from me or I accept the invitation and submit everything else first and upload a letter of explanation letting them know that they need to give me a request letter to apply for my police certificate? I’m afraid I do not have enough time (20 days may not be enough) to submit it if they request me a police certificate and send me an official letter too late.

    • JFrench says:

      Hey Danny!

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      Congrats on receiving the invitation to apply! I think you should accept the invitation, upload everything with the letter of explanation which is requesting the letter you need to get your police certificate. I’m sure they’ve had many cases like this too, so they should know the time frames. But yes, it’s best to be upfront, accept the invitation while you have it, and to submit everything that you have as soon as possible!

      Let us know how you get on!

  • Danny says:

    Thx for your reply, Jane. I have just accepted the invitation and uploaded everything I have with the letter of explanation requesting a letter for applying my police certificate.

  • Richard says:

    So I’m flying overseas early before I intend to go to Canada, and as a result I need to be super prepared.
    Are there rules to do with how up-to-date the supporting documents need to be? I haven’t received my Invitation to Apply yet, so if I apply for my police check and get my health check done before my ItA is received, will those documents still be valid?

    • JFrench says:

      Hey Richard!
      Yes – your documents should be within 3 months in order to be considered valid! So it really depends on a lot of factors, how long the process is to actually receive your police check & healthy check documents, and how long it will take you to receive your ITA! An educated guess is probably your best bet!!

  • Saya says:

    Hello! I applied for the working-holiday visa BEFORE my 35th birthday (which is an age limit for my country) but I received IEC invitation AFTER my 35th birthday. The official website says „If we invite you to apply for a work permit BEFORE your birthday, you have passed our eligibility assessment for the age requirements for IEC.“ (But they have invited me after my birthday…) I’m confused by this because I’m 35 now and not sure if I’m still eligible before the age of 36. I don’t want to pay the fees unnecessarily if I’m too old. Could you please be so kind to inform me? Many thanks in advance!

    • JFrench says:

      Hey Saya!
      I believe the age limits include the year you are 35, but not after you turn 36!
      Congratulations on receiving the invitation!

  • Danny says:

    Hello, it’s me again. I have got my WHV successfully. Now I have one thing I’m concerning. It’s the proof of funds. Is it possible to use somethings other than the statement of my bank account to prove that I have enough money during my stay (first 3 months) in Canada? For example, traveler’s cheques.

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