Maybe the IEC season hasn’t started yet or maybe you’ve submitted your profile to the pool and you’re keeping your fingers crossed waiting for it to be drawn. Still, there are better things to do than just stare at your Canadian flag screensaver! This is the moment to be proactive and pave the road for a smoother application process when the time comes.

Some steps of the process can’t just be moved around, like submitting biometrics—you will have to wait for the invitation to apply for that. On the other hand, when was the last time you checked your passport’s expiry date or updated your resume?

Come on, we’ll show you the way for an easier Working Holiday permit application process!

Apply for a passport or renew your current travel document

You must have a passport to submit your profile to the Working Holiday permit pool. So if you’re just doing research on IEC work permits and don’t have a passport yet, start with getting one.

Now check your passport’s expiry date. If it’s expiring during your planned stay in Canada, just renew it now. Technically, you could renew your passport during your Working Holiday permit adventure but it’s just more paperwork and more stress. Note that if you arrive with a passport that is not valid for long enough, you may be given a shortened Working Holiday permit.

All good? Then you may want to scan pages 2 and 3 (pages with personal information) of your passport, plus all pages with a stamp, a visa or notes from a border services officer. Not for fun, but because you will have to submit this info during the application process. These scans should be combined into a single document, preferably a PDF file.

Set aside a photo ID

A recent photo ID must be uploaded and submitted as part of the application process. You’re probably going to need a photo ID if you’re renewing your passport, so set one aside to save time.

Create a resume or update yours

Again, you will have to submit your resume as part of your application for a Working Holiday permit. “Took me five minutes to create or update my resume!” said no one, ever. So yeah, get started on it.

Rest assured that the Government of Canada isn’t trying to hire you. However, a rather lengthy version is required with information regarding your education, skills and work experience. Basically, you shouldn’t leave gaps—and it’s perfectly fine to state you were unemployed or travelling for several months, it won’t hurt your chances at all.

Check if you need police certificates

Depending on your citizenship, you may have to provide a police certificate from your country of citizenship if you answered “Yes” to a question about a criminal offence or arrest or if stated you lived in a foreign country for more than 6 months since the age of 18. You will find more info on police certificates in our Step-By-Step Guide to IEC Canada Work Permits.

If you know you’re going to have to submit police certificates, check the process and associated fees.

Check if you will have to take a medical exam

You have to take a medical exam:

  • If you stated you want to work with children, in healthcare or as a caregiver in Canada.
  • If you recently lived in one or more countries Canada has designated as having risk factors for tuberculosis.
  • If you have a physical or mental condition requiring ongoing treatment in Canada.
  • If you or someone in your family has or had TB.
  • If you disclosed a chronic illness or a long-term condition in your background questions.

You can gather info on the process (where to go, fees, etc.) but don’t take the medical exam yet—first, it can be pretty expensive so you want to make sure you will actually need, second it’s only valid for 12 months.

For more info, read Completing your application — Proof of a medical exam (if applicable).

Work on your budget

You will be required to show “proof of funds” when you arrive in Canada. Basically, you will have to provide a bank statement issued no more than one week before showing the equivalent of CAD2,500.

Keep in mind that $2,500 sounds like a lot of money (and it sure is when you’re trying to save that much for your trip!) but you will face many expenses in your first few months in Canada. This is the perfect time to do research and calculate how much you will actually need:

  • Where are you planning to live or go?
  • Will you share a place with roommates or do you want to live alone?
  • Will you need a car?
  • Are you planning to explore Canada or work?

Try to save as much money as possible for your trip and read How expensive is life in Canada? A 2019-2020 cost of living review by province and territory for accurate info.

Do research on Canada

Research cost of living, cities, transportation, work opportunities and more! Knowledge is power—you’ll save time, money and energy if you leave home prepared. Gather info from different sources, people and perspectives and ask questions!

Follow us!

Eh, we have the latest updates, tips and advice for you! And if we can’t answer your question on the Working Holiday program, one of our members should be able to. We’re a big community and a helpful one.

This is where to find us:

Explore other opportunities to work or study in Canada

Demand often exceeds supply so you may not get an invitation to apply for a Working Holiday permit. This is not the end of the world—you can try your luck in the following IEC or see if you’re eligible for other types of permits.

You could try to find a Canadian employer and apply for a closed work permit, study in Canada or simply explore the country as a visitor.

Ever considered another destination? The Working Holiday Program is available to young citizens from some 60 countries, so Australia, New Zealand or France may be an option for you.

Good luck on your Working Holiday permit application!


En PVT au Canada de novembre 2021 à 2023, je répondrai à vos questions avec plaisir. Pour le premier trimestre 2024, direction l'Amérique latine !

I moved from France to Canada on a WHV from November 2021 to 2023, followed then by spending the first quarter of 2024 in Latin America! Happy to answer all your questions.

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