Your checklist for travel to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic

Published: 07-02-2022

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Julie

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Going to Canada on a Working Holiday, International Co-op (Internship) or Young Professionals Permit? Congratulations, it’s going to be an amazing experience!

Now it’s time to prepare for your trip to Canada, and since the pandemic is still going on, you have to make sure to comply with Canada’s latest travel rules and restrictions. Sounds overwhelming? Don’t worry, we have an easy-to-follow checklist just for you.

Step 1 – Buy your plane ticket

Pvtistes.net partners with a major airline… and you can enjoy a few perks as a member!
Air Transat offers an extra 23 kg luggage allowance for IEC Canada permit holders going to Canada to study or work. Find out how you can benefit from this unique deal.
Air Canada offers preferential fares to travellers going to Canada from France (Metropolitan France, Guadeloupe and Martinique) to study or work temporarily, regardless of the work permit type. Two pieces of checked luggage are included and the tickets can be changed or cancelled. Learn more about Air Canada’s special offer (in French).

IEC permit holders can buy a round trip or one-way ticket to Canada. If you do buy a one-way ticket, you will have to show proof of additional funds, i.e. enough money to buy your return ticket at the end of your stay.

Step 2 – Check if your passport is valid

Your passport must be valid for the entire duration of your stay. If it’s set to expire during your stay in Canada, you will be issued a shorter work or study permit. You’ll be able to extend it after renewing your passport but it’s best to avoid the unnecessary hassle and make sure you’re leaving home with a valid passport.
Read What do I do if I get a new passport after I apply for International Experience Canada? to learn what to do with your new updated passport information.

Step 3 – Fill out the ArriveCAN app

This is a newish pandemic-related requirement. You must download the ArriveCAN application (Android/IOS) and fill it out. Questions mostly revolve around your vaccination status, flight information and contact information in Canada.

Once in Canada, you will need to fill out a self-reporting health questionnaire on this app every day during your quarantine if you do have to quarantine—unvaccinated travellers have to quarantine and travellers selected for a PCR test upon arrival must quarantine while waiting for the results.

Step 4 – Take a PCR test (or show proof of a previous positive test result)

You must provide proof of a COVID-19 negative molecular test result to enter Canada OR proof of a previous positive test result taken between 11 and 180 days ago.

Step 5 – Don’t forget your port of entry (POE) letter

Bring your port of entry (POE) letter (also called “introduction letter”). This is the letter you received from IRCC stating that you’ve been approved for your work or study permit. If applicable, bring the extension granted because you couldn’t travel to Canada before the expiry of your initial Letter of Introduction during the pandemic.
Don’t travel to Canada while your permit application is being processed or you may be refused entry. Wait until you receive your letter to travel.
If you are going to Canada as a tourist/visitor (for example, because you are accompanying your spouse who is going to Canada to study or work), you do not need a letter of introduction, but you must apply for either a visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), depending on your nationality, before departure.

Step 6 – Buy travel insurance coverage

IEC permit holders (Working Holiday, Co-op or Young Professionals) must be able to show proof of health insurance coverage valid for the entire duration of their stay. If you only buy insurance coverage for a few months, you will be issued a shorter permit and you won’t be able to extend it after buying more coverage.

We’ve been working with Globe WHV Travel Insurance for 15 years because this is one company that offers great coverage for a great price:

  • The plan costs €356.40/year or €712.80 for two years if you’re departing from the European Union.
  • Globe WHV provides a certificate stating that you’re fully covered if you get COVID-19 (just in case you’re asked for it upon landing in Canada).
  • You’ll get a refund for any remaining months on your policy if you leave Canada early and permanently (a €20 application fee is required)—another reason to buy insurance coverage for the entire duration of your stay, you have nothing to lose!
  • You can submit your medical claims online.
  • Globe WHV offers a flexible claim process—healthcare professionals can support your claim the way they prefer, no need to fill out complicated forms.
  • Globe WHV support staff is available on our discussion forum or by email () to answer all your questions.

Students or travellers who don’t have an IEC permit may want to check out insurance solutions from Globe Partner or Globe Traveller, depending on budget and needs.

Step 7 – Proof of sufficient funds

Depending on your permit and immigration status in Canada, you may have to prove that you have sufficient funds to cover your expenses.
IEC permit holders (Working Holiday, Young Professionals or Co-op) must be able to prove that they have at least CA$2,500 in their bank account (or equivalent amount in local currency). Your proof of funds can be a bank statement from your home bank or, if you pre-opened a bank account in Canada remotely, a Canadian bank statement.

IEC permit holders going to Canada on a one-way ticket must show proof of additional savings to make sure they’ll be able to afford their ticket back home. An amount equivalent to what you paid for your arrival ticket should do the trick.

A couple of useful Pvtistes.net special offers:

Step 8 – Figure out a quarantine plan

You must be prepared to quarantine when entering Canada as you could:

  • be selected for an arrival test that requires that you quarantine until you get a negative test result; or
  • be required to quarantine for 14 days if you don’t meet the requirements of a fully vaccinated traveller

A suitable quarantine plan must be entered into ArriveCAN. You may be asked to explain your quarantine plan at the border.
Airbnbs and Hostelling International bookings can be suitable quarantine plan solutions. The HI Canada network of hostels offers a 10% discount in several hostels in Canada and the M Montreal hostel offers a 15% discount to pvtistes.net members.

Step 9 – Check requirements if you’re travelling with a partner and/or with kids

Travelling with a partner

The following information applies to spouses or common-law partners (as defined by Canada) of the same or opposite sex.

Spouse or common-law partner of a Working Holiday or Young Professionals permit holder (unskilled job)

If the spouse or common-law partner is vaccinated

The spouse or common-law partner can enter Canada with an eTA or a visitor visa (depending on your nationality). They will not be allowed to work in Canada.

If the spouse or common-law partner is not vaccinated

Most foreign nationals now need to qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller, or under one of the new limited exemptions, to travel to Canada. They will have to apply for an eTA or a visitor visa (depending on your nationality). They will not be allowed to work in Canada.
Note that spouses or common-law partners of Working Holiday Permit holders may be eligible to apply for an open work permit once the Working Holiday Permit holder finds a contract in a skilled position and starts getting pay slips (at least three).

Spouse or common-law partner of a Young Professionals permit holder (skilled job) or of a student permit holder

If the spouse or common-law partner is vaccinated

The spouse or common-law partner can enter Canada with an eTA or a visitor visa (depending on your nationality). You should be able to apply for an open work permit upon arrival in Canada. A proof of relationship will be required.

If the spouse or common-law partner is not vaccinated

Most foreign nationals now need to qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller, or under one of the new limited exemptions, to travel to Canada.

Travelling with children

Fully vaccinated children (last dose at least 14 days before the trip) can travel with you to Canada.

Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated children 12 to 17 years of age are subject to the 14-day quarantine, and all testing requirements for pre-entry, arrival and Day-8 tests, whether or not they are accompanied by travellers who qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller.

Unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated children under 12 must complete pre-entry, arrival and Day-8 tests, unless you have evidence that the child had a positive COVID-19 test taken between 11 and 180 days prior to arrival in Canada or the child is under 5 years of age.
Check the rules for children for the latest updates.

Don’t forget children need their own Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Don’t apply at the last minute! The system can be down for routine maintenance and you won’t be able to board the plane without all the required eTA.
Grade 1 can start at 5 or 6 years old, parents should check with the province or territory after they settle in. Children who must attend school will be authorized to study without a study permit if they have a visitor record or a Canadian entry stamp on his or her passport.

Step 10 – Download the PDF version of our Guide to Working Holiday in Canada or buy the paper version

This super comprehensive and useful guide has been downloaded close to 100,000 times!
With 300 pages full of tips and advice to get ready for Canada, the guide is a useful tool for those interested in applying for one of the International Experience Canada (IEC) work permits—Working Holiday, Young Professionals or International Co-op.
Download it!

Step 11 – Get the latest updates on vaccine proof requirements in Canada

Several provinces and territories have implemented a proof of vaccination system to access various public spaces. Check the latest requirements and make sure to carry proof of vaccination on your phone.

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