Gather all the documents you may have to show upon arriving in Canada
Your valid passport
Your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay. If your passport is due to expire soon, it’s best to apply for a new one before you leave. In this case, keep a copy of the passport you used when you applied for the visa, as well as a copy of the renewal passport application.[Postit] If you renewed your passport after receiving the IEC Port of Entry (POE) Letter of Introduction, the Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) linked to your former passport is no longer valid. You must apply for a new eTA, otherwise you may be denied boarding on your flight. [/ Postit]
You must have at least one blank (unused) page in your passport that Canadian authorities will use to affix your visa/work permit (Working Holiday, Young Professional or International Co-op).
It’s always a good idea to scan important pages of your passport (ID page, visa pages, etc.) and email these copies to make replacement easier in case of loss or theft. And since you’re at it, scan all your important documents, like your national ID card or International Driving Permit. A digital backup is probably the safest and easiest way to save your information but since identity thief is an issue, make sure to use a secure online service.
Your Port of Entry (POE) Letter of Introduction
You must show this letter to officials at the port of entry when you arrive in Canada to get your IEC work permit. You must enter Canada before the date written on the letter. If you lost it, here is how to get a new copy of your POE Letter.
A proof of health insurance
You must show a proof of health insurance (covering medical care, hospitalization and repatriation). Your insurance policy must be valid for the entire duration of your stay in Canada. If your insurance policy is valid for less time than your expected stay in Canada, you may be issued a work permit that expires at the same time as your insurance. We’ve heard of travellers who were issued a three-month or six-month work permit—they can’t be extended or renewed.
A proof of funds
You must present a bank statement issued no more than one week before your departure for Canada. You can usually get a bank statement from your local ATM or ask a representative to issue one for you in one of your financial institution’s branches.
Upon arrival, you must have at least CAN$2,500 (or equivalent in a foreign currency) to support yourself for the first three months of your stay in Canada. If you don’t have a return ticket, you could be asked to show additional funds to prove you will be able to buy your own ticket back home.
Additional documents for International Co-op (Internship) participants
You must be able to show:
- A signed letter of offer or a signed contract of employment.
- Proof of additional financial resources to cover your expenses for the entire stay if you’re an Unpaid International Co-op (Internship) participant.
Documents provided in the work permit application
Canadian authorities recommend bringing original copies of the documents you provided in your work permit application. If you had a medical exam or were asked to provide a police certificate from a foreign country, take these documents with you.
The Government of Canada’s Prepare for arrival page is the best up-to-date resource to check for the latest requirements.
Should I enlist the help of a settlement agency?
Keep in mind that this whole “landing” business—applying for a SIN, opening a bank account, getting a cellphone, etc.—is pretty straightforward. You shouldn’t need to pay for “arrival orientation services.” Just take it one step at the time and you’ll be just fine!
Read our comprehensive step-by-step guide to get all the info you need.
If you go through an agency, you may be able to have your resume reviewed to be ready for job hunting upon arrival.
Main articles about the WHV to Canada
Step-By-Step Guide to International Experience Canada Work Permits
Introduction to the Canada Working Holiday permit
Guide to Working Holiday in Canada (free download)
16 Good Reasons to Apply for a Working Holiday Visa
Globe WHV insurance policy highlights
The duration of your insurance coverage directly impacts your WHV
15 Tips for a Successful WHV Experience
The Working Holiday Visa Adventure as a Solo Traveller