How to get started – International Experience Canada

Canada has agreements with over 35 countries and territories where you can work and travel through International Experience Canada (IEC).

Each country or territory has its own application process, but we’ve broken it down into 6 main steps to give you a general idea of what you’ll need to do.

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The IEC application process involves various steps. The graphic “International Experience Canada Application Process for Canadians at a Glance” is an overview of the steps you need to take to apply.

Application process (PDF, 1.8 MB)

Text version: International Experience Canada Application Process for Canadians at a Glance

Here’s an overview of the application process to help guide your work and travel plans.Footnote *

1. Visit international experience canada (IEC).

Visit to discover the destinations available to you.

2. Choose a destination

  • Choose the country or territory where you want to work and travel.
  • Find out if you’re eligible. Each country has specific requirements, like age, financial resources, length of stay and application fees.
  • Research culture, jobs, housing, transportation and cost of living.

3. Choose a work permit

Choose the work permit that’s right for you.

  • Open work permit
    • This is also known as a Working Holiday permit or visa.
    • This lets you work for any employer or multiple employers. You don’t need to find a job before you apply.
  • Employer-specific
    • This is common for co-ops, internships or career development. You do need to find a job before you apply.

4. Gather all the documents

  • Gather all the documents required (for example, identification, passport, proof of funds).
  • Once you have read the country’s information on the webpage, and you are ready, click “Start Your Application.”
  • You will be applying directly to the government of the country or territory where you wish to travel so the application process may vary (online, by mail or in person at the closest embassy or consulate).

5. Complete your application

  • The process for each country is different, but you normally need to
    • fill out the application form for your country of destination
    • pay the associated application fees
    • submit your application and documents

6. Your application has been submitted

  • You’ll get instructions on next steps by email or mail. (Additional documents, such as a police check and a proof of health insurance, may be required.)

Tip: Check your junk or spam folder to make sure you don’t miss important emails.

7. Application approved!

  • You can start planning for your adventure abroad.
  • Read blogs and group discussions to find information from other travellers.
  • Look for accommodations.
  • Book your flight.
  • Register your travel with the Government of Canada’s Registration of Canadians Abroad.
  • Research how to open a bank account when you arrive.
  • Research international phone plans.

Enjoy your adventure!
Take pictures and tag us!

Step 1: Choose a destination and find out if you’re eligible to apply

Decide which of our partner countries or territories you want to work and travel in. Choose a destination that’s right for you by researching information such as:

Tip: Travel blogs, websites, and social media such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest, may help you to get inspired! Or check out our guidebooks for our partner countries, including

Once you choose a destination, make sure you’re eligible to apply for a work permit there. Each country or territory may have different requirements including:

Step 2: Choose a work permit that’s right for you

Each country or territory may call their work permits by a different name but the type of work permit you can apply for will either be an open work permit or an employer-specific work permit.

Open work permits

Open work permits allow you to work temporarily to help fund your trip. The most common name for an open work permit under IEC is “Working Holiday.”

With open work permits you

  • can work for any employer
  • can work in more than one location
  • don’t need a pre-arranged contract of employment (job offer) before you apply
Employer-specific work permits

This type of work permit is common for international co-op jobs, internships, and young professionals looking for experience to help their career development. You must have a pre-arranged contract of employment (job offer) before you apply.

Employer-specific work permits specify things such as

  • the employer you can work for
  • how long you can work
  • where you can work
  • the type of work you can do

Depending on the work permit or visa you apply for, there may be country-specific requirements or fees. Make sure to check the country or territory website and application forms for more details.

Step 3: Get all the documents you need

You’ll usually be asked to provide documents such as:

You may also be asked for:

If you’re going to a country where English or French is not an official language, you may have to provide translations of your documents.

Step 4: Complete your application

The application process for each country and territory is different. Before you apply, read the application instructions on the country or territory website carefully.

In general, to complete your application you must:

Depending on your destination you will have to submit your application and pay your fees either online, by mail, or in person.

Step 5: Check your inbox and mail

For some countries and territories, you have to complete the last steps of your application in person. This is done either at the embassy or consulate, or in the country or territory after you arrive.

This may include:

The complete application process can be found on the individual country or territory website.

You’ll get instructions on next steps by email or mail.

Tip: Check your junk or spam folder to make sure that you have not missed important emails.

Step 6: Start making your travel plans!

If your application is approved, you’ll usually be notified by mail or email.

You can then start planning your trip:

You can use our travel checklist for more ideas and resources on things you’ll need before you go such as:

Get started now by choosing your destination.

Where would you like to go?

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