International Experience Canada: After you apply
IEC participants: Requirements for travel to Canada
Only IEC participants with a port of entry letter of introduction and a valid job offer are eligible to travel to Canada right now. You must also be able to start your job as soon as you complete your quarantine. Check the start date on your job offer before you travel.
To learn more about restrictions for travel to Canada and additional testing and quarantine requirements use the Flying to Canada requirements checklist.
On this page
Giving your fingerprints and photo (biometrics)
COVID-19: Changes to biometrics requirements and collection procedures
Due to COVID-19, some biometrics collection sites are closed, working under special hours or are not offering biometrics collection. These sites include certain
- visa application centres
- U.S. Application Support Centers
- designated Service Canada Centres
Check our website regularly to find out if the biometrics collection site closest to you has started offering collection services again.
If you’ve already given biometrics, they may still be valid.
You can check if your biometrics are still valid and when they expire by using the Check Status Tool.
Processing your application
Due to the impacts of COVID-19, we may not
- process applications normally
- provide accurate processing times
If we ask you to submit documents for an application in progress
Because many applicants can now provide the supporting documents needed for us to process applications, we’ll no longer be automatically giving you more time to submit information.
- We’ll contact you to request the supporting documents.
- This will happen in the next few months.
- You’ll have 30 days from the date we contact you to submit the information.
- Start collecting your documents.
- Do this before we contact you. It can take time to get certain documents.
- Check the last email we sent you to confirm what you need to submit.
- Don’t travel to another city or country to get the supporting documents.
- We’ll consider extending your deadline if you have a reasonable explanation that shows you’re affected by COVID-19.
When processing your application, we may also ask you to
- attend an interview with an officer, or
- send more information
We are committed to processing most complete applications within the above service standard. We will update this later in the season when we receive and finalize enough applications to calculate a processing time.
If you don’t need to give biometrics, we can begin reviewing your application once you submit your work permit application (including all required documents).
If you already submitted proof of an appointment for your medical examination or a receipt for your police certificate request, you must also ensure to provide copies of your medical exam and police certificate when we ask for them.
Your application won’t be complete if we only receive your proof of appointment for medical examination or receipt for your police certificate request.
We’ll also check that
- you qualify for a work permit
- you’ve provided all the required documents, and
- the employer is allowed to hire you (for Young Professionals and International Co-op applicants)
Due to COVID-19, it can take 8 weeks or longer for your work permit application to be reviewed.
Wait until your application is approved before you
- buy a plane ticket for any travel to Canada
- buy health insurance for your stay in Canada
- make commitments to your prospective employer in Canada
- commit to any accommodation in Canada
- cancel your accommodation or leave your job or studies in your home country
If your application is approved
If your application is approved, you’ll receive a port of entry (POE) letter of introduction in your account. The letter does not guarantee entry into Canada or guarantee a work permit.
IEC participants outside of Canada
Participants who want to enter Canada
Due to current travel restrictions, you can only travel to Canada for non-discretionary purposes. This means that if you’re taking part in IEC, you’ll need to have
- a valid job offer to enter Canada
- your POE letter of introduction
- adequate health insurance coverage for the entire length of your stay in Canada, and
- you must also be able to start your job as soon as you complete your quarantine
- Check the start date on your job offer before you travel.
To get your IEC work permit
You must show your POE letter of introduction and other supporting documents to a Canadian border services officer at the port of entry (airport, land border) on or before the expiry date of your letter.
The expiry date will be clearly marked on your letter.
A border services officer will review these documents and will make a final decision on whether you can enter Canada.
If you have a work permit and want to re-enter Canada
You do not need to prove you have a valid job offer to re-enter Canada if you’re outside the country temporarily and you already
- landed in Canada
- activated your POE letter of introduction, and
- have a work permit
You need to use ArriveCAN
Use ArriveCAN to provide mandatory travel information required for entry into Canada.
Make sure you’re using the newest version of ArriveCAN. If you previously submitted your information using an older version of ArriveCan, you must download the latest version and resubmit your information.
Before you travel to Canada
The COVID-19 pandemic restricts most travel to Canada. If you’re eligible to travel to Canada, make sure you know the rules and what you need to do before and after you arrive.
Expiring POE letter of introduction
A POE letter of introduction issued under the IEC Program is valid for 1 year. Once a letter is issued, it’s considered a participation and can’t be cancelled.
You can’t transfer your letter to any other person or name.
COVID-19 exception on expiring POE letter of introduction for Working Holiday participants who received their POE letter between January 1, 2019 and April 30, 2020
Normally, the expiry date of the POE letter can’t be changed or extended. However, due to the pandemic, we made an exception for participants whose initial letters were issued between January 1, 2019, and April 30, 2020. This measure was put in place to help participants who could not secure employment to overcome travel restrictions to come to Canada.
Starting on July 30, 2021, eligible participants may request one final 12-month extension. Participants can take advantage of this measure until December 31, 2021.
You are eligible to request one final 12-month extension if:
- your initial POE letter was issued between January 1, 2019, and April 30, 2020 (no matter if this letter was already extended or not)
- your POE letter is expired or will expire before December 31, 2021
- you applied for the Working Holiday category
- you still cannot secure employment to overcome travel restrictions to come to Canada
If your medical results are expiring, you may need to do another medical exam to get an extension.
How to request a final 12 month extension
You can ask to have your POE letter of introduction extended by using our web form. You must submit your request before December 31, 2021.
Select “International Experience Canada” from the drop-down menu and include as many details as possible to support your case.
If you don’t get a confirmation email from us, this does not mean we didn’t receive it. Keep checking your IRCC account and the email account that you used when submitting your application for updates.
International Co-op and Young professional participants with expiring or expired POE letters
If you were unable to come to Canada before the expiry date of your POE letter, your employer can withdraw their offer through the Employer Portal. This will not be counted as an IEC participation and you will be able to reapply at a later date. See Withdrawing your application for more details.
IEC participants already in Canada
You need to maintain legal status in Canada at all times.
Activating your work permit
You should not travel to a port of entry to activate your work permit at this time, as this is not considered essential travel.
Until August 31, 2021, you can activate your IEC work permit from inside Canada if
- you’ve been approved for an IEC work permit, and
- you’ve received a POE letter of introduction
This is a temporary process to help applicants during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Extending or changing your work permit
You can only extend your work permit under a limited number of circumstances. There are no exceptions.
An IEC work permit cannot be extended past the maximum duration specified in each country or territory’s youth mobility arrangement.
If your existing work permit has expired, you may apply to restore your status.
You must be eligible to extend your work permit in order to restore your status.
Service disruptions and restrictions due to COVID-19 may impact processing times, and the current posted processing times may not be accurate.
Changing your employer
Under the Young Professionals and International Co-op (Internship) categories, you can only change your employer if you have a valid reason. Your new job must still meet the requirements of those categories.
An example of a valid reason to change employers is if the company that you were working for has closed.
If you’re eligible to apply for a new work permit to change employers, you don’t need to wait until your new employer-specific work permit arrives. Follow these steps to start working after you apply for a work permit.
Both you and your employer will have to pay fees.
Applying to stay as a visitor
If your work permit is about to expire and you can’t return home or you’re not eligible to extend your work permit, you need to apply to stay as a visitor before your work permit expires.
Once you apply to change your status to visitor, and your work permit expires, you’ll have what is called implied status. It will let you stay in Canada until you get a decision on your application. Once your current work permit expires, you must stop working.
Returning to your home country
If you’re having trouble returning to your home country, contact your country’s embassy or consulate directly for help.
If your application is refused
You‘ll receive a letter of explanation in your account.
Withdrawing your application
You can withdraw your application and receive a refund if we haven’t issued you your POE letter of introduction. This will not count as a participation under IEC.
To withdraw your application:
- contact us using the web form and
- in the your enquiry box, include “IEC work permit application withdrawal – (your application ID number).” So, for example: IEC work permit application withdrawal – W123456789.
We’ll review your request within 3 to 5 business days. If it’s approved, we’ll refund your
- IEC participation fee, and
- open work permit fee (Working Holiday applicants only)
If your employer paid the employer compliance fee, they’ll also receive a refund.
You don’t have to do anything else to get your refund. Normally, you’ll receive it within 8 weeks of your application being withdrawn. Your refund will be issued to the credit card you used to pay the fees.
If you used a prepaid credit card, keep it for at least 18 months after you pay in case you need a refund.
If we can’t refund your payment to your credit card, we’ll issue a cheque.
You will not receive a refund if we learn that you misrepresented yourself (gave false information or left out important details).
If you’ve already received your POE letter of introduction
You’re no longer eligible to get a refund or withdraw your application.
The only exception is for Young Professionals and International Co-op (Internship) participants whose employer withdraws the offer of employment before they travel to Canada. If your employer withdraws your offer of employment, we’ll refuse your application, and we’ll refund your IEC participation fee. Your employer will also be refunded the employer compliance fee. You don’t have to do anything else to get your refund.
Information for your employer
If your employer wants to withdraw their job offer, they can do so through the Employer Portal. If the Withdraw application option isn’t available through the Employer Portal, employers may find specific instructions here.
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