Canada Citizenship and immigration Guide

How to start — International Experience Canada

Canada has over 30 agreements with countries and territories which make it easier to obtain a visa or work permit under International Experience Canada (IEC).

Each country and territory has its own application procedure. We’ve broken it down into six steps to give an idea of what to do.

1. Choose a destination

Choose which country or territory you would like to travel and work in. Find the right destination for you by looking at information like:

  • available jobs
  • Cost of living
  • Travel ideas

Tip: You may find inspiration from travel blogs, websites and social media like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

2. Determine if you are eligible to apply for the territory or partner country you select

After you have chosen a destination, ensure that you are eligible to apply there for a work permit. There may be different requirements for each country or territory.

  • Age
  • Residence (where you reside when you apply)
  • financial requirements
  • How long you can stay
  • Work restrictions

3. Select the right work permit for you

Although each country or territory might call their work permits by different names, the type of permit that you can apply for is either an open work permit (or an employer-specific permit).

Open work permits

You can work temporarily in order to pay for your trip with open work permits. An open work permit is also known as “Working Holiday”.

You can get open work permits

  • Can work for any employer
  • You can work from more than one place
  • You don’t have to apply for a job offer or pre-arranged employment contract before you can apply

Work permits that are employer-specific

This permit is used for international coop jobs, internships and young professionals who are looking to gain experience that will help them in their career. Before you can apply, you must have a job offer or pre-arranged contract of employment.

Work permits that are employer-specific specify such things as:

  • The employer for which you can work
  • How long you can work
  • Where you can work
  • The type of work that you can do

There may be fees or requirements specific to the country depending on which visa or work permit you apply for. For more information, check out the website of your country or territory and the application forms.

4. Get all of the documents that you require

Usually, you will be asked for documents such as:

  • a passport
  • You will need to provide proof of funds
  • When you arrive, make sure to cover all expenses
  • If you don’t have a job, you can cover your expenses while looking for work.
  • Pay for your return ticket
  • You must provide proof of valid medical insurance during your stay
  • A copy of your employer-specific work permit (job offer) and/or pre-arranged contract (internship)

It is possible to be asked for the following:

  • A birth certificate
  • A criminal record check or a police certificate
  • A medical exam
  • Photos
  • You may need to translate your documents if English or French are not the official language.

5. Submit your application

Each country or territory has a different application process. Please read carefully the instructions for applying to the territory or country before you submit.

To complete your application, you will need to:

  • Fill out the appropriate application form
  • pay any necessary fees
  • Send your application along with the required documents

You will need to submit your application online, mail or in person depending on where you are going.

Some countries and territories require that you complete the final steps of your application personally. This can be done at the consulate or embassy, or in the country/territorial after you arrive.

These could include:

  • More documents available
  • Paying fees
  • Giving biometrics (usually photos and fingerprints)

You can find the complete application process on each country’s website.

Tip: Make sure to check your spam or junk folders to ensure you don’t miss important emails.

6. Start making your travel plans!

You will usually receive an email or mail notification if your application has been approved.

Then you can start planning your trip.

  • Find a place to call home
  • Book a flight
  • Get travel insurance

For more information and resources, see travel checklist.

  • Information about living abroad
  • Safety and security concerns
  • Information about tax for Canadians living outside Canada

Start now by selecting your destination and doing proper research.

Also check: HEINEKEN Africa Foundation Grant for Sub-Saharan Africa 2022