How to Apply for IEC: A Quick Guide to International Experience Canada

Man with bag waiting to immigrate to Canada

The International Experience Canada (IEC) program offers an opportunity to live and work in Canada for as long as two years.

Participating countries have a reciprocal agreement where young adults can build valuable cultural and work experience by travelling internationally. Depending on the country in which you live, you could apply to one of as many as four participation categories. The following three are the most common for IEC Canada:

  • Working Holiday category
  • Young Professionals category
  • International Co-op category

Participation in any IEC program requires you to apply for and receive an IEC visa for Canada. Let’s not waste any time. Here’s a quick review of how to apply for IEC.

The International Experience Canada Visa Application Process

The application process is complex and detailed. However, it’s definitely worth it if you’re interested in travelling to and staying in Canada. You can see complete requirements with detailed explanations in Canada’s full guide on how to apply for IEC.

To make the process somewhat easier to understand, we created this list that highlights the major steps in the IEC process:

1. Before Applying

To join the IEC program, you must receive an invitation to apply (ITA). To be considered for an invitation, you have to meet the government’s criteria. If you do, you can establish your candidacy in one or more IEC pools by creating a profile.

2. Work Permit Application

If you receive an ITA, you can then complete the work permit application. You’ll have to pay a fee. You may also have to secure an offer of employment number from your employer. That’s only the case if you’re in the Young Professional or Co-op categories.

You also need to add any supporting documents. In general, you need to submit:

  • Medical exams
  • A resume or CV
  • Digital photo
  • Passport
  • Police certificates
  • Work authorization or visitor visa
  • Information specific to your program category
  • Proof of financial support
  • Proof of health insurance

3. Biometrics

Not all participants have to supply biometric information, but many do. The information isn’t particularly detailed — Canada only requires fingerprints and a photograph. You will receive a letter explaining where and how to supply that information.

You don’t need to submit your biometrics as part of the application. Instead, they’ll be verified upon entry to Canada, should you be issued a visa as part of the program.

4. Application Review and Decision

With your application completed, you will have to wait for government officials to decide whether you can participate in IEC. If approved, you’ll receive a port of entry letter that you must bring with you to Canada.

Making Sure You Have Health Insurance

All IEC participants must demonstrate proof of health insurance coverage before entering Canada on an IEC visa. That coverage must pay for medical care, hospitalization, and repatriation.

If you don’t have sufficient coverage in place, you will likely be denied entry to the country.
Make sure you have the insurance policy needed to enter Canada on an IEC visa: Learn more about IEC Insurance!

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