WHV issued but not ready to travel to Canada yet? Here are your options

Published: 03-06-2022



Working Holiday permits to Canada are highly sought after, so the Government of Canada implemented a unique application system. Applicants are drawn randomly from a pool during several “rounds of invitations”—only then is a letter of invitation issued and lucky applicants can move forward with the formal application process. Successful applicants will eventually be granted a Port of Entry (POE) Letter to travel to Canada.

Not all applicants will be given the chance to apply for a Working Holiday permit to Canada, and lucky applicants can be drawn at any point during the IEC season.

Some Working Holiday permit applicants submit their profile to the pool at the very beginning of the IEC season to maximize their chances, and some travellers apply “just because” without firm plans. So once in a while, applicants end up with a Working Holiday permit before being ready to travel to Canada.

What are your options in this case?

What’s the deadline to activate a Working Holiday permit once the port of entry (POE) letter has been issued?

Once the Port of Entry (POE) Letter is issued, you have one year to travel to Canada and “activate” your Working Holiday permit.

Tip: If your profile is drawn and you get an Invitation to Apply, and if you know you won’t be able to travel to Canada in the next few months or years, it’s best to decline the Invitation to Apply and try your luck again when you’re ready. This way, you remain eligible for a Working Holiday permit. On the other hand, if you move forward with the process—i.e. you’ve accepted the Invitation to Apply, submitted your application, and paid the fees—and if you don’t travel to Canada in the next 12 months, it still counts as “using” your Working Holiday permit.

Can I travel to Canada, activate my Working Holiday permit, go home and come back to Canada later?

Yes, this is an option. Once your Working Holiday permit is activated, you can leave and re-enter Canada as many times as you wish during the validity of your permit.

Important note: You must have all the documents required even if you travel to Canada just to activate your Working Holiday permit. Pay attention to the following:

  • Your passport’s expiry date: If your passport expires soon, you will be issued a Working Holiday permit that expires when your passport expires. Make sure your passport is valid long enough if you’re applying for a one- or two-year Working Holiday permit.
  • The length of your travel insurance policy (such as Globe WHV): The Government of Canada requires Working Holiday permit holders to buy a travel insurance policy that covers medical care, hospitalization and repatriation. It must be valid for the entire duration of your stay. Don’t buy insurance coverage for a shorter period of time just because you’re taking a short trip to Canada to activate your Working Holiday permit, or else you will be issued a Working Holiday permit that expires at the same time as your insurance policy. You won’t be issued a Working Holiday permit that goes beyond the expiry date of your travel insurance. So buy insurance coverage for 12 months if you want a one-year Working Holiday permit, and buy coverage for two years if you’re eligible for a 24-month Working Holiday permit.
    Note that some insurance companies refund remaining time on your policy if you go home earlier than planned. Globe WHV does offer a refund for any remaining months on your policy if you leave Canada early and permanently (for a €20 application fee, at least two months remaining).

Bottom line is, you need more than a plane ticket and your POE Letter to travel to Canada and activate your Working Holiday permit. Make sure to review our checklist before planning your trip!

Can I travel outside Canada during my Working Holiday experience?

Absolutely! Working Holiday permit holders can travel and work anywhere in Canada, and it’s also okay to leave the country to explore another place or take a quick trip back home. Just keep in mind your Working Holiday permit’s expiry date—it won’t be extended if you spent time outside Canada.

Note: You will need a valid passport and your Working Holiday permit to re-enter Canada. Make sure to check the latest travel and public health measures as it can change quickly during the pandemic.


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