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 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 – 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. Check the Entry requirements by country or territory to know which applies to you.

Step 4 – 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. See the following explanation from the government of Canada (source):

“If your insurance policy is valid for less than your expected stay, you will be issued a work permit that expires at the same time as your insurance. If this happens, you will not be able to apply to change the conditions of your work permit at a later date.”

We’ve been working with Globe WHV Travel Insurance since 2005 because this is one provider that offers great coverage for a great price:

  • If departing from the European union: the plan costs €363.60/year.
  • If departing from a non-EU country: the plan costs €650.40/year.
  • They provide 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.
  • They offer a flexible claim process—healthcare professionals can support your claim the way they prefer, no need to fill out complicated forms.
  • They also offer virtual medical consultations (with generalists and specialists). Learn more
  • Globe WHV support staff is available on our discussion forum or by direct message 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 5 – 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. The statement must date from within the last week.

    According to numerous previous participants, you can also show a screenshot of your bank account from within the last 7 days, in which your full name and account balance is visible. If requested, you might also show your banking application before the immigration agent so that he or she can see it live.

    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.

    Students need to show a larger amount in savings, depending on their province of arrival.

    Note that:

  • If you choose to purchase just a one way flight, you must have enough in savings for a later return flight (in addition to the minimum proof of funds already required).
  • If you participate in an unpaid internship in Canada, you need to have enough savings to support yourself during your entire stay (around CA$1000 per month).
  • A couple of useful pvtistes.net special offers:

  • National Bank of Canada is offering 3 years without fees + $100 cashback once the bank account opening process is finalized.
  • Desjardins is offering free banking for 24 months plus reimbursement of one month of Globe WHV health insurance, once the bank account opening process is finalized
  • Step 6 – Other possible documents

    If you provided additional documents in your application, such as a background check, bring them with you in case they are needed.

    If you had a health examination for your application, remember that you must arrive in Canada within the 12 months following your exam for the results to be valid. If you plan to arrive more than 12 months later, you will need to do another health examination and present the new results to the border service agent. Otherwise, it will be indicated on your work permit that you are not authorized to work in hospitals or with children.

    If you did not have a health examination for your application but have changed your mind since then and would like to work in a hospital or with children, you can simply book an appointment (with an approved physician) before your departure to Canada and present the results upon arrival to the border service agent.

    Step 7 – Housing for the start of your trip

    To find housing for the start of your trip, you may consider a hotel, an Airbnb, or a youth hostel. Don’t forget Booking.com or especially Hostelworld, which allows you to compare hostels and see ratings from other travellers.

    Special deals in Montreal and Ottawa
    If you are arriving in Montreal or Ottawa, the Saintlo Hostels is offering a 10% discount to travellers from pvtistes.net (regardless of their visa status in Canada).
    L’auberge du Plateau in Montreal is also offering a 10% discount to pvtistes.net, for working holidayers, students, tourists…

    What about long term housing?
    Take a moment to read our article, Finding Accommodation in Canada.

    Step 8 – Travelling with a partner or children

    Working Holiday Visa holder
    The spouse or common-law partner Working Holiday Visa holder can enter Canada with an eTA or a visitor visa, depending on his or her nationality. Check the Entry requirements by country or territory to know which applies. Spouses and partners do not have work authorization in Canada.

    Note, however, that spouses or common-law partners of Working Holiday Visa holders may be eligible to apply for an open work permit once the Working Holiday Visa holder finds a job. However, we advise for the job contract to be for at least 6 months, and for the spouse or partner to wait until the third pay slip before applying for a work permit.

    Young Professional or Student
    The spouse or common-law partner of a Young Professional or Student can enter Canada with an eTA or a visitor visa, depending on his or her nationality. Check the Entry requirements by country or territory to know which applies. Upon arrival, the spouse or partner should be able to request an open work permit with the immigration agent. Have all your documents ready to prove that you are spouses or common-law partners.

    Travelling with children
    Remember that children need their own Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or a visitor visa (depending on their nationality). 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 9 – Cash, cards, and money transfers

    You can consider mix of strategies:

  • Bring your bank card(s) from home. With modern security features, credit or debit cards should work without risk of being blocked for use abroad.
  • Bring some Canadian dollars in cash by visiting your bank or a currency exchange bureau. Alternatively, you could also just bring some cash in your home currency and then exchange it once in Canada. However, try to avoid unfavorable exchange rates at places catering to tourists, such as airports.
  • Upon arrival (or even before, if you already have a Canadian bank account), you can consider sending a money transfer through Wise, which is offering readers of pvtistes.net a first transfer without any fees. Note that if your Canadian account is with National Bank of Canada (Banque Nationale du Canada), your first transfer must be from another bank, not Wise.
  • Step 10 – Get our complete guide for the Working Holiday in Canada

    This super comprehensive and useful guide has been downloaded (digital) or purchased (paper) by more than 140,000 of you!

    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.
    Get it now!

    Step 11 – Improve your language skills in Canada

    If you think it might be a priority for you to improve your language skills (English, French, or other), consider the following special offers:

  • Online courses by Babbel (20% off)
  • English classes in Toronto or Vancouver with the International Language Academy of Canada (30% off)
  • English or French classes in Montreal with Atpal Languages (up to 10% off)
  • Online classes with Global Lingua (10% off)
  • Step 12 – Learn more about the job market in Canada

    Most working holidayers don’t have a job lined up in Canada, and that’s okay! Read our article Working Holiday in Canada: Best Job Search Websites


Cofondatrice de pvtistes.net, j'ai fait 2 PVT, au Canada et en Australie. Deux expériences incroyables ! Je vous retrouve régulièrement sur nos comptes Insta et Tiktok @pvtistes avec plein d'infos utiles !
Cofounder of pvtistes.net. I went to Canada and Australia on Working Holiday aventures. It was amazing!

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