The International Experience Canada (IEC) Work Permit provides young people from around the world with the opportunity to travel and work in Canada. There are more than 30 countries participating in the International Experience Canada program, and you can apply if you are a citizen of one of these countries. This article will let you know all you need to understand this youth-targeted program.

IEC provides youth with the opportunity to travel and work in Canada. There are three categories under IEC, and depending on each country, one or two or the three categories are eligible
The Working Holiday category
​If you don’t have a job offer and want to travel while working at your different locations and for different employers, the Working Holiday IEC category is perfect for you.
If you are eligible (see below list of countries), you will be issued an Open Work Permit.
The Young Professionals category
You can be eligible to the Young Professionals IEC category when you obtain a Canadian offer of employment (consistent with your career profession). You will have to work for the same company on this IEC Employer-Specific Work Permit.
The job offer has to be under NOC Skill Type/Level 0, A or B. A job offer classified as a NOC Skill Level C could be approved if you provide a post-secondary credential.
Your employer must meet all labour laws in effect in your place of work’s province/territory.
​If you are eligible (see below list of countries), you will be issued an Employer-Specific Work Permit.
The International Co-op Internship category
If you are a student currently studying at a post-secondary school in your country, and you hold a Canadian internship offer that you need to complete as part of your curriculum of studies, the International Co-op Internship IEC category is perfect for you.

The job offer has to be under NOC Skill Type/Level 0, A or B. A job offer classified as a NOC Skill Level C could be approved if you provide a post-secondary credential.

Your employer must meet all labor laws in effect in your place of work’s province/territory.

If you are eligible (see below list of countries), you will be issued an Employer-Specific Work Permit.

The following table will let you know if you are eligible (age, country of citizenship, and eligible category, and if you need to take a medical exam as part of your application): 

You will need to apply for a visitor Temporary Resident Visa if you are from Costa Rica or Ukraine at the same time as your IEC. All other countries will be issued an electronic Travel Authorization when their IEC Work Permit is approved.

​You will need to undergo a medical exam if you are from Hong Kong, Latvia, Lithuania, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, or Ukraine and lived there for more than 6 months in the year prior to applying. If you lived for more than 6 months in another country,

If your country is not in the list of participating countries, you can still try and go through a Recognized Institution for foreign youth (list available here). These Recognized Institutions usually require a fee that can go from $250 to a couple of thousands. 

A dedicated IEC News Tracker contains all the information you need to know about each country’s remaining available invitations, the number of candidates still waiting for an invitation, the latest updates to each pool, etc.

If you want to travel and work temporarily in Canada as part of an IEC category, your first step is to become a candidate in one or more IEC pools. There is one pool for each country and each category (Australia has 3 pools, Belgium 1 pool, etc.). There is one pool that is for all others countries that are not participating in the program. You will have to go through a Recognized Institution to be able to be in that pool.


To be able to get into the pool of candidates, you need first to be eligible. You can either answer the eligibility questionnaire first (here) or create an account with GCKey and select “International Experience Canada” and answer the questions to see if you are eligible. We would recommend you to use the first option so as not to waste your time creating an account if you are not eligible.

​If you are eligible, you can complete your IEC profile on your account. If you used the first option and are eligible, you should end up with a personal reference code that you should use when asked.

You will be asked the personal information on your passport. You should not use commas in your first and last names and not use any special characters other than (é, à, è, ù, â, ê, î, ô, û, ë, ï, ö, ü, æ, ç, œ).

When you complete and submit your profile, the system will tell if you are eligible in any IEC category and will put you on the corresponding pool(s) of applicants. In the IEC system, there are no rankings or scores.

The system will select random profiles arbitrarily, and the number of Invitation to Apply (ITA) sent each draw will depend on the spots available for each country/category pool and on the volume of candidates in each pool. However, ITAs are delivered based on this priority: (1) International Co-op Internship, then (2) Young Professionals, and finally (3) Working Holiday.

You usually should get an Invitation to Apply in a matter of weeks if you are from the first two categories. You can find the probability of getting an ITA here.

When you receive an Invitation to Apply, you will have 10 days to accept or decline it. The invitation will expire if you don’t respond within the 10-day period. You will have 20 days from the date you accept the invitation to apply for the IEC Work Permit. If you are a candidate in multiple pools and received an Invitation to Apply from the first pool, you cannot receive an invitation from the second pool until you decline the first one.

After accepting the Invitation to Apply, you will have a form to fill, that will generate a customized list of supporting documents to upload in the system. You will need to upload the following supporting documents:

  • Your passport. It needs to be valid at least until your leave Canada after your IEC experience. The expiration date of the Work Permit will not exceed that of the passport.
  • Digital photo. Your upload section will let you know the specifications for the photo.
  • Family information. You will need to fill, sign and upload either the form IMM 5645 or IMM 5707, depending on your country. Your upload section will let you know which one. 
  • CV/Resume. You need to upload a recent CV/resume that includes your education, professional experience, qualifications, and city/country where you currently live.
  • You will need to provide a police certificate for each country you lived in for more than 6 consecutive months after your 18th birthday. You can find here how to get each country’s police certificate. If you cannot provide a police certificate on time, you can either provide (i) a scan of the receipt showing that you ordered it, or (ii) if you requested it online, a copy of an e-mail or confirmation page that you were sent after ordering. In the country where you are currently living, the police certificate must be issued within six months before you apply.
  • If you are an International Co-op Intern applicant, you will need to provide (i) proof from your institution assessing that you are still a student, and (ii) the signed internship agreement that contains: 
    • the title of your position,
    • the description of your duties that you will have to perform,
    • the beginning and ending dates of your work placement,
    • the address of where you will be working, and
    • the contact information of the company.
  • If you are using a Recognized Institution, you have to upload an official letter of confirmation from them. 
  • If you are a VIE applicant (France), you also have to upload an official letter or certificate issued by Business France, which identifies the applicant and the employer.
  • If you are from Costa Rica or Ukraine (or any other country needing a visitor Temporary Resident Visa), you will need to fill, sign and upload the IMM 5257 form.
  • If you need a medical exam, you must see an IRCC-approved doctor. You will need to upload the document given to you by the doctor into the system, either in the ‘Proof of medical exam” section, or the “Optional Documents” section. You should take the medical exam only after receiving an Invitation to Apply. For more information on medical exams, visit our dedicated guide.

All participants must pay a $153 fee (2020 season).

If you applied under the Working Holiday category, you will need to pay an additional $100 for the Open Work Permit.

If you applied under the Youth Professionals or the International Co-op Intern categories, the company you will be working for must submit your job offer to IRCC, and pay compliance fees (around $230).

As of time of writing, an IEC application is processed within 8 weeks 

You can check the processing times here. You need to select “Visiting, studying, working temporarily”, then “International Experience Canada”.