The following are common questions about lnternational Experience Canada as well as travelling and working in Canada. If you have any other questions, please email us at:
Q: How old must I be to be eligible?
A: International Experience Canada (IEC) is open to people aged 18 to 35. If you are about to turn 18, or will soon turn 36, please note that the age criteria are assessed as of the date your application was stamped as received by the Embassy of Canada to the Czech Republic. Your application can be submitted no later than one day before you turn 36.
Q: Am I supposed to enclose my original passport with my application?
A: Yes. Your passport must be machine-readable; a biometric passport is not necessary. Please also enclose a copy of the identification data page of your passport with your application.
Q: Can I submit a statement issued by my building savings bank to prove that I have sufficient funds for the beginning of my stay in Canada?
A: No. It is necessary to prove that the money is readily available in Canada if need be.
Q: Can I submit a statement from my Internet banking system to prove that I have sufficient funds for the beginning of my stay in Canada?
A: Yes, but only under certain conditions. We will accept an electronic statement delivered to the Internet banking system by your bank, or generated by the Internet banking system. A print screen from the Internet banking system is only accepted if confirmed by your bank (stamp and signature).
Q: Can I include accompanying members of my family (partner, children, etc.) on my application under International Experience Canada?
A: None of your family members may be included on your IEC application. If your family members wish to stay as tourists, they must submit separate applications through Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Your spouse or common-law partner may submit a separate IEC application package if he or she is eligible. School-aged children require study permits. Pre-school children require temporary resident visas.
For pre-school children :
Q: Will the documents enclosed with my application be returned to me?
A: No, only your passport will be returned to you. Please make copies before you apply.
Q: Am I supposed to translate documents enclosed with my application into English or French?
A: Only the documents that are specifically identified at our website, i.e. your résumé and a letter indicating your prospects upon your return to the Czech Republic, must be written in English or French.
Q: When can I apply?
A: The Embassy of Canada in Prague at its website lists the date when it starts accepting applications for the upcoming calendar year (usually in January). After the number of places for a given year is exhausted, it publishes a notice at its website that the application period is over. Applications sent beyond the annual quota will not be accepted. Information on the current number of vacancies can be found in a table in the International Experience Canada section of the Embassy website.
Q: Where am I supposed to submit my application?
A: Your application including all enclosures can be delivered in person to the reception of the Embassy of Canada in Prague, or sent by mail (Embassy of Canada, International Experience Canada, Muchova 6, 160 00 Praha 6, opening hours: Monday - Friday 8.30 a.m. – 12.30 p.m. 1.30 p.m. – 4.30 p.m.).
Q: How long does it take to process my application?
A: In the course of the year, the period of time necessary for the processing of your application may vary. Therefore, the Embassy does not guarantee any deadlines. Normally, the process takes up to eight weeks.
Q: Can I apply for earlier processing of my application due to an early departure date?
A: Unfortunately, early processing is not possible. Applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis, rather than in order of applicants' departure dates.
Q: Can I arrange an individual consultation before I apply?
A: Unfortunately, the Embassy of Canada does not provide individual consultations. However, it organises regular meetings where several applicants can consult an Embassy official. The dates are published at our Facebook page.
Q: Is there a fee for application processing?
A: Yes. The participation fee in all program categories equals C$150 in euro. The original fee payment receipt must be enclosed with your application. Information on payment methods and the current amount of the fee in euro can be found in the Fees section.
Q: What is the refund policy?
A: Information on the terms and conditions of your program participation fee refund can be found in the Fees section. Should you wish to have your participation fee refunded, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. All charges related to the money transfer will be borne by the applicant.
Q: Am I supposed to undergo a medical examination before my departure?
A: A medical examination is mandatory if the applicant resided in designated countries for six consecutive months or longer at any time during the one year period immediately preceding the date of planned entry into Canada.
Should a medical examination be necessary, our Visa Section will provide instructions and a form to undergo a medical examination by a doctor commissioned by the Embassy. NOTE: The medical examination is not covered by the Czech health insurance system and is quite costly (CZK 4,000-6,000). Also, the examination may prolong the processing of your application by several weeks.
Q: Do I have to include my medical examination results in my IEC application package? How can I go about having my medical examination done?
A: You do not have to include medical examination results in your IEC application package. If you need a medical examination, the Visa and Immigration Section of the Embassy of Canada in Prague will send you instructions on how to get your medical examination done once they have received your work permit application. You will be notified by email once the medical examination forms are received at the Embassy of Canada to the Czech Republic. See “Work Permit Application Status” for more information on this two-stage process.
Please note that you undergo the medical examination at your own expense and at your own risk. Completing a medical examination does not guarantee that a visa will be issued.
Q: Do I need a visa in addition to my work permit?
A: Yes. The temporary resident visa will be inserted in your passport upon approval of your work permit. Most applicants will receive a multiple entry visa valid during the validity of their work permit.
Q: I have graduated from a PhD study program. Can I still participate in the International Co-op (Internship) category?
A: PhD study program graduates are no longer considered to be students. Therefore, they need to follow instructions related to an application for work permit beyond the scope of this Agreement, or they need to apply under a different program category, provided that they comply with the relevant conditions.
Q: I am not a Czech citizen, but I have enrolled in a study program of a Czech educational institution, can I still participate in the International Co-op Internship category?
A: No. The Embassy of Canada in Prague accepts applications only under the Agreement signed between Canada and the Czech Republic. The Agreement is based on reciprocity and applies to Czech and Canadian citizens only. If you do not have Czech citizenship, please consult the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada website where you can find a list of the countries whose citizens can participate in International Experience Canada.
Q: I have been previously convicted. Can I still apply for one of the categories under International Experience Canada?
A: Yes. Applications are evaluated comprehensively based on all the submitted documents; a previous conviction does not mean automatic rejection of your application. If you have been previously convicted, our visa section may ask for further documentation.
Q: Can I depart for Canada while the Embassy of Canada is still processing my work permit application?
A: No, the applicant must always first receive the Letter of Introduction and temporary resident visa. The applicant obtains the work permit itself on the basis of this letter when entering Canada.
Q: What type of insurance must I subscribe to before leaving for Canada?
A: Please do not expect that you will be covered by health insurance in Canada. Before you leave, you need to take out a foreign travel insurance policy covering medical expenses including hospitalisation and repatriation, valid in Canada during your entire and actual stay in Canada. For more information visit the Health Insurance page.
Q: What kinds of jobs can I find in Canada?
A: All kinds! It depends on what you want to do and how hard you want to look for employment. Many of our participants find work in the tourism and hospitality industries (for example, in restaurants, pubs and hotels), where Canadian employers are willing to offer temporary work. You can also get work experience in a variety of other fields such as science, law, education, commerce or administration.
Q: How can I find a job or internship in Canada?
A: There are many ways to find a job or internship in Canada. You can try it on your own or use the services of an agency specialising in the International Experience Canada program. The Embassy does not provide any assistance with finding a job in Canada.
Q: When I apply for a job or internship in Canada, do I need to take into account any specific factors that are different from the Czech Republic?
A: Yes. For example in Canada it is not customary to add a photo to your résumé. To prevent discrimination in hiring, the employer may not ask an applicant for personal information such as age, gender or marital status. When you apply for a job or internship, it is recommended that you emphasise your professional experience rather than education. It is appropriate to add references or letters of reference about your work experience in English or French. Remember to list the Canadian diplomas to which your academic credentials correspond. You can find more information about acknowledgement of international credentials in Canada on the following website: Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials.
Q: Are internships in Canada always paid?
A: No, internships in Canada are not always paid. But on the other hand it should be noted that all internships are considered as employment in Canada, even when they are unpaid and/or short-term internships. That is why all interns must have a temporary work permit. Under the Agreement between the Czech Republic and Canada on Facilitation of Temporary Work Stays of Youth, you can only apply for a work permit for paid internships.
Q: Will the Embassy provide some information materials before my departure and/or will I receive some assistance upon my arrival to Canada?
A: No, the Embassy does not provide similar services. However, you may want to check our Facebook page where you can find many useful tips and hints provided by past or current fellow participants.
Q: Are there any language requirements to master both official Canadian languages in order to work or participate in an internship in Canada?
A: No, if you wish to work or participate in an internship in Canada, you do not need to be bilingual. In some regions or provinces, however, you employer may require knowledge of both English and French. In most cases knowledge of both languages represents a great advantage while arranging a job/internship in Canada.
Q: Are there any scholarships or financial assistance schemes available when going to Canada?
A: Yes, but only if you go to Canada to study. Consult the international relations department of your school. The Embassy of Canada in Prague does not arrange any scholarship programs in Canada for Czech citizens. However, you can visit International Scholarships for information on Government of Canada scholarships.
Q: What documents do I need to enter Canada?
A: Canadian immigration officers will make the final decision on whether or not you are allowed to enter the territory of Canada. You should identify yourself with your passport with the temporary resident visa, Letter of Introduction, proof of health insurance for the entire duration of your planned stay, document proving that you have at least CAD 2,500 available to cover the initial costs of your stay (in cash, on your bank statement, or on your parents' bank statement) and return air ticket or one-way ticket and sufficient funds to purchase an air ticket from Canada. With the exception of the Working Holiday category, you should also have a job offer from your Canadian employer.
Q: Do I have to take care of anything else after I arrive in Canada?
A: Yes. You must apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN), which is needed by anyone wishing to work in Canada. You may find more information, instructions and the application form on the Service Canada.
Q: How long is the work permit valid?
A: Work permits in all categories are issued for a maximum period of 12 months and cannot be extended. The validity of the work permit is stated in the Letter of Introduction that the applicant receives and is determined on the basis of information about the departure date listed in the application. The actual length of a stay must not exceed 12 months from the date of initial entry into Canada or the expiration date of the work permit. If the applicant departs for Canada later than the date listed in the application, the work permit's expiration date will not be changed and the applicant will be able to work in Canada only for the remaining validity of the work permit. In the Working Holiday category, however, the immigration officer may issue a work permit validity of 12 months even in the case of a later arrival than the date listed in the application.
Q: Can I participate in International Experience Canada more than once?
A: Yes, you can participate in IEC twice but not in the same category. Please note that as of 01/01/2010 the SWAP program is included in the Working Holiday category. An exception applies to anyone who participated in the SWAP program prior to 01/01/2010 which enables him/her to participate in the Working Holiday category a second time, even after 01/01/2010. To get information about how to apply for the second (and last) IEC participation, please see the reply to the next question.
Q: I am currently in Canada with a work permit issued under the IEC initiative. My employer would like me to continue working after the permit expires. Is this possible under IEC? What should I do?
A: A work permit cannot be renewed or extended under the same IEC category. If you wish to prolong your stay in Canada under a second IEC category, you must submit a new application to the Embassy of Canada to the Czech Republic by mail for a second IEC participation. The application process itself will take at least eight weeks. When you receive your new Letter of Introduction, you will have to leave Canada and re-enter to get your new work permit. This work permit cannot be obtained through a Citizenship and Immigration Canada office in Canada. Please note that the Embassy of Canada cannot send original passports outside Czech territory so your passport will be sent to the current mailing address in the Czech Republic indicated in your work permit application form.
Q: Can I have more than one internship or job during a single stay?
A: Yes, but only in the Working Holiday category. With an “open work permit” in this category you can work for one or more employers anywhere in Canada. In the other categories, the temporary work permit is valid only for the specific employer listed in the job offer submitted with the work permit application.
Q: Can I remain in Canada after my work permit expires?
A: Work: None of the work permits issued in the programs under this Agreement can be extended. If your employer in Canada offers you a new work contract or extension of an existing work contract, you must have the work contract validated by the Service Canada office and get a labour market opinion. The work permit validation is issued only after the Canadian labour market situation and the given job are assessed. Should the Service Canada office validate the work permit, you may take the appropriate steps to obtain a new work permit. For more information please contact directly Citizenship and Immigration Canada. You can participate in International Experience Canada more than once but not in the same category. However, there must be a break between the two stays.
Study: If you would like to extend your stay in Canada to study, you must apply for a change in immigration status. For more information please contact directly Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Travel: If you wish to stay in Canada as a tourist once your work permit expires, you should visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website to check the requirements for changing your status from a worker to a visitor. You should make your inquiries while your work permit is still valid.
Q: Can I apply for permanent resident status in Canada during my stay in Canada?
A: Yes, if you received a temporary work permit under one of the given programs, you can submit a permanent resident application during your stay in Canada. However, please be aware that the temporary work permit does not constitute a step in the permanent resident application process; the permanent resident application must be submitted at a Canadian Embassy abroad (you cannot change your status during your stay in Canada); you must leave Canadian territory prior to expiration of your work permit without exception (the Agreement does not permit extension of a stay for the purpose of applying for permanent resident status); anyone who has already submitted a permanent resident application is not eligible for a temporary work permit under International Experience Canada. NOTE: The goal of International Experience Canada is NOT to enable youth to work in Canada as a preliminary step to permanent resident status. This is a short-term stay program only.
Q: What is the minimum wage in Canada?
A: The minimum wage differs between individual Canadian provinces and territories. In 2011 it ranged from CAD 8 to 11/hour. For more information see the following website: Canadian Ministry of Human Resources and Skills Development.
Q: Can I volunteer while in Canada?
A: Yes. You may volunteer during your stay in Canada under the Working Holiday category. However, participants in the Young Professionals and International Co-op (Internship) categories should be careful because they do not have “open” work permits and some types of volunteer work may not be allowed. If you have any concerns, you can call Citizenship and Immigration Canada at 1-888-242-2100 to discuss your options.
Q: Can I work as an au pair in Canada?
A: No. There are no au pair jobs in Canada. However, there is a Live-in Caregiver Program. You may find more information on the following website: Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Q: Is it possible to enrol in a course during my stay in Canada while participating in the IEC initiative?
A: Yes, but the course (or courses) must be completed within a six-month period. You may not sign up for a course that is part of a program lasting more than six months (such as a two-year program or four-year degree). In this case, a separate study permit would be required. The working holiday experiences through International Experience Canada may not be combined with formal studies. For more information about studying in Canada and work opportunities as a student, visit the Council of Ministers of Education website, and for scholarships, visit the International Scholarships website.
Q: How can I find accommodation in Canada?
A: There are many ways to find accommodation in Canada. Here are just a few:
Q: Do you have a question that was not answered here?
A: Send your inquiry to email@example.com. Time constraints prevent the Embassy from responding to phone inquires and arranging individual consultations. Therefore we respond to questions about International Experience Canada solely through the e-mail address listed above.