Passport validity when applying for a Canadian Working Holiday Visa (or another IEC permit)

Published: 07-02-2022

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Julie

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Many of you often ask us questions about the validity of your passport when applying for a Canadian Working Holiday Visa/Permit. Here’s a summary of the key information on the subject.

What are the rules regarding passport validity for a Canadian Working Holiday Visa?

There are 2 rules which must be complied with:

  • At the time of submitting your application, you must present a valid passport. You cannot present an expired passport. This also means that your passport must be valid for the duration of your application.
  • When you arrive in Canada (and your Working Holiday Visa is validated), your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay (6, 12, 23 or 24 months depending on your nationality).

What should I do if my passport is due to expire in the next few months when I’m about to apply for a Canadian Working Holiday Visa?

If your passport is about to expire in the next few months, we suggest that you apply for a passport renewal now. You can apply with your current passport while waiting for your new one. As soon as you receive your new passport, you will then need to remove your profile from the pool of candidates (do not revoke your GCKey, just delete your application by clicking on “Withdraw Profile”) and submit a new profile, using the same account you created on the website of the Canadian authorities. You will then be able to enter your new passport details and your profile will be updated.

What should I do if I haven’t renewed my passport but I’ve received an invitation to apply?

Your application could be jeopardised if your passport has expired at the time when you receive an invitation to apply. You will have to start a new passport application very quickly. It can take time to get an appointment and processing times vary greatly from region to region and depending on the time of year. This means biding your time with your application. You should not accept your invitation immediately (i.e. click on “Start Application”) or the 20-day limit will begin right away (you have 10 days to click on “Start Application”, so use that to your advantage). If your new passport does not arrive in time, you will have no choice but to submit a copy of your expired passport and then your application may be refused and you will lose your invitation.
For this reason, we recommend that you renew your passport BEFORE you find yourself in this situation.

What should I do if I have got a new passport since registering in the pool of candidates but forgot to remove my profile and reapply?

It is possible to add information about another passport after receiving an invitation to apply, but this is not the method recommended by the Canadian authorities.
If this is the case, we recommend that you attach a letter of explanation to your application (you can attach it when you submit your documents) stating that you have changed passports between the time of registering and the time of receiving an invitation to apply. This letter should include a copy of the identification page of your old passport (indicating that it is the old one) and a copy of the identification page of your new passport (indicating that it is the new one).
There may also be difficulties linked to the Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) which you receive with your POE letter. This may be linked to your old passport and not the new one. If this is the case, we recommend that you apply for a new eTA as a precaution to ensure that it is linked to your new passport. The eTA costs $7 CAD.

Your passport expires in 2022 or 2023 and you don’t want to apply for a new one just yet

This is also possible, but you will need to take a few extra steps. You will firstly need to obtain an invitation to apply and your POE letter even if your passport is not valid for the entire length of your stay in Canada. This is possible as long as your passport is valid throughout the processing of your application.

However, you should not leave for Canada with this passport if you want your Working Holiday Visa to be valid for longer than your passport. If you arrive with a passport that is not valid for long enough, you may be given a shortened Working Holiday Visa. It is possible that you may come across stories from people who were granted a maximum validity period even though their passport was not valid for 24 or 12 months (depending on their nationality), but these are usually errors on the part of border officials.

On its website, the Government of Canada is very clear on this subject:

Your work permit will not be valid beyond:

  • the amount of time indicated in the agreement between Canada and your country
  • the expiry date of your passport
  • the expiry date of your health insurance or
  • the end date of your work contract (Young Professionals and International Co-op (Internship) participants)

You therefore have 2 options:

1. Apply for a new passport before your departure

It’s not a problem if you arrive in Canada with another passport than the one used for your application. However, there are 2 things you will need to do:

  • Apply for a new eTA : the Electronic Travel Authorization references on your POE letter match the references on your old passport. This eTA is therefore no longer valid and you must apply for a new one before heading to Canada. The eTA costs $7 CAD. If you do not have an eTA linked to your new passport, you will not be allowed to fly to Canada. Learn more…
  • You will need to bring a copy of the identification pages of your old passport with you: upon arrival, you will need to inform the border services officer that you have changed your passport since obtaining your POE letter.
Never wait until your departure date to apply for an eTA as the Government of Canada site is often under maintenance for a few hours. If you leave it until the last minute and maintenance prevents you from applying in time, you will not be able to board the plane.

2. Apply for a new passport during your Working Holiday in Canada

This option isn’t recommended since it requires action to be taken once you are already in Canada (applying for a new passport + applying for a Working Holiday Visa extension) but it is still possible. Learn more.

Exceptional case: renewing your passport after getting married

If you have got married and changed your name on your passport after obtaining your POE letter, you will also need to provide a copy of your marriage certificate.

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