Moving To Canada From The UK | IEC 2020

Update: Rounds of invitations are currently on hold due to COVID. Keep an eye on this page & the Government of Canada's website and twitter for updated info as to when things will resume.    

So you're thinking about moving to Canada, eh? Well, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about moving to Canada from the UK on the IEC Working Holiday Visa in 2020!

We moved to Vancouver in 2015 and it's one of the best decisions we've ever made. What was supposed to be a 1-year adventure ended up being more permanent and we've now been here over 5 years! We first got the IEC visa (back in the day, you could apply twice) and we got our Permanent Residency accepted in 2018 so we can stay here indefinitely which is very exciting! If you're interested in learning more about getting PR, check out my guide on how to get Permanent Residency in Canada.

We immediately fell in love with Canada and I adore the life we have here. If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know how much I rave about Vancouver in particular - you can ski, hike, scuba dive, paddleboard, kayak, shop, eat, and enjoy Vancouver's city life all in one day, which for me, is a dream come true. Of course, there are many cities other than Vancouver too. Montreal is wonderful if you're not quite ready to let go of Europe (it reminds me a lot of Paris).

Toronto is a major hub and if you want a more happening city (similar to London UK) then Toronto is a lot busier than Vancouver. And then there are plenty of amazing destinations in-between, such as Vancouver Island, Quebec City, Winnipeg, Calgary and places on the East Coast. Because of its size,  Canada is so varied in terms of climate, language, culture and vibe. So, where you choose to live really depends on the type of lifestyle you're after and every city is different.

Included in this guide is everything you need to know about moving to Canada from the UK, including how to apply for a Working Holiday Visa (aka. IEC), eligibility requirements, cost, how long it takes, and practical information such as preparing documents and what to do when you arrive. There are plenty of links highlighted in blue throughout this post that direct you to more info.

Please note that age, quota, and some other information may vary for Irish applicants. Although I have completed this process and know a lot about it, I am not a qualified immigration expert so make sure to fact check and do your own research. Let me know if you have any questions in the comment box below or on Instagram DM, and good luck if you apply!

moving to Canada from the UK

Key Facts About Moving to Canada From the UK & IEC 2020

The Canadian Working Holiday Visa for Brits is called the International Experience Canada visa, also referred to as the IEC. Visas are issued by the Government of Canada. The IEC provides young people aged 18-30 with the opportunity to live, travel, and work in Canada. Unlike other more permanent visas, you don't need a job lined up to apply, and you get selected at random. When you're in Canada, you can work in any industry (but you don't necessarily have to work), however, some industries may require an approved Canadian medical check.

In 2015, the whole application process completely changed. It moved away from first come, first serve, and towards a pool system instead. Applicants are basically placed into a big pot, and then at regular intervals candidates are selected at random and invited to apply for the IEC visa. There is a fresh pool each year, and there are usually a few rounds of invitations each year. Pools usually open at the end of the year or the beginning of the following year, and applicants are continuously accepted until the allocated quota is used up. The quota for the UK is usually around 5,000 yearly.

You can only participate once in the IEC. Applicants are allowed to stay in Canada up to 24 months on the IEC visa. If you participated in the IEC program before 2015 for a period of 12 months, you are eligible to apply again for the IEC which will give you another 24 months. If you've already participated twice in IEC, you can not apply again. If you want to stay in Canada but you can't apply for your IEC again, your best option to stay in the county is to apply for Permanent Residency or apply for a Work Permit through your employer.

This year's 2019-2020 IEC program opened on December 11th, 2019. The first round of invitations will be issued on February 24th, 2020. Keep an eye out for updates here.

An overview of the facts

(Updated Feb 2020)

IEC is for British citizens aged 18-30 from the UK & Channel Islands of Jersey & Guernsey.

You can only participate in the IEC once (unless you already had an IEC visa before 2015, in which case you can apply again).

The visa is valid for 24 months.

 The visa costs $253 CAD (around £150).

The quota for the UK is roughly between 2,500-5,000 annually.

Your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay in Canada. Your work permit will not be longer than the validity of your passport.

The key changes that were implemented in 2015 still apply for 2020, with a few additions.

It is a pool system.  This means that when you apply, your name is put into a pool and at regular intervals, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will invite candidates to officially apply for the visa. Candidates are randomly selected, and invitations occur throughout the year. You are not guaranteed a visa. Essentially, the most difficult part of the application process is getting picked because it's completely random.

You cannot apply as a couple. Each applicant applies individually on their own merit.

You will need to prove you have $2,500 CAD in the bank upon entering the country.

From when the final application is sent, it can take up to 8 weeks to actually receive the visa. You then have 1 year to enter the country. Your 2-year visa will begin the day that you enter Canada and officially activate your visa.

You can apply online, and you don't need to be in England to apply.

You can apply directly to the Government of Canada, or you can do it via organizations such as BUNAC who help prepare the application on your behalf.

 Police checks from the UK and other countries you've lived in are required to support your application.

You must have travel insurance for the FULL duration of your visa. This needs to be obtained before you enter Canada.

You will need to provide biometrics when you apply.

To find out how many visas are left for your country and the invitation dates, see here.

moving to Canada from the UK
moving to Canada from the UK

How To Apply For A Working Holiday Visa

The whole process of moving to Canada from the UK on the IEC is fairly straight-forward. You apply for the IEC visa through the Government of Canada website. The whole application is submitted online through the online portal. You can also go through organizations such as BUNAC, but doing this does not increase your chances of getting a visa. When you go through an organization, they will offer you advice on completing the application, and may help with finding cheap flights, getting a job, etc, but you will likely have to pay a fee. It's perfectly fine and simple enough to apply yourself, as long as you follow the guidelines (we didn't go through an organization when we applied).

If you entered the 2018-2019 pool but didn't get selected, you will need to create a new profile this year for 2019-2020. All profiles are removed from the previous year's intake but you can enter again.

Step 1: Become a candidate

The first step is to become a candidate. You must fill out the Come To Canada online tool and answer a series of questions to see if you are eligible to apply for the IEC visa. If you are eligible, you'll then get a personal reference code which you'll use to create your account, so write this down.

TIP: If you're a British Citizen, make sure to select "British Citizens" and not "United Kingdom & Colonies" under the "Country/territory of your passport" drop down menu. When asked what country you reside in, it's broken down into England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Check the UK eligibility requirements for more details.

Step 2: Create your profile

If you are found eligible to apply, you will receive a personal reference code which you can then use to create a MyCIC account and create your profile. MyCIC will be your portal for your application. Make sure to keep note of all your logins as well as your reference code. Select the "GCKey" option to create an account, or sign in with your Canadian bank account if you have one. When completing your profile, you will be required to submit the following information:

Name, DOB, place of birth, passport info, country of citizenship, country of residence, contact info, student status (if it applies), and job offer (if it applies).

Remember, you do not have to have a job offer to apply for an IEC visa. Even if you do have a job offer, it may be better just to leave it blank as it may only complicate the application, however, that's for you to decide.

Step 3: Submit your profile to the pool

Once you have submitted and validated all the information on your MyCIC profile, you can submit your profile to your pool of choice. Double, triple check that all the information is correct, as you can't edit it after. Your profile must be completed within 60 days of starting it, otherwise you have to start again. You will remain in the pool for 1 year, unless you get an invite to submit your visa before then.

It is free to submit your profile to the pool, and you don't have to pay anything until you are invited to submit your full IEC visa application.

REMEMBER: If you get accepted for the IEC visa, you then have 1 year to officially activate it and enter Canada. So, even if you don't want to move to Canada straight away, it's good to get a head start and enter the pool at the beginning of the yearly intake as you don't know how long it'll take to get picked. You have more chance of getting picked if you're in the pool earlier on rather than entering later.

Step 4: Play the waiting game

Now this is the hard part! Submitting your profile to the pool DOES NOT mean that you have applied for your visa. You have essentially been placed into a large pool of applicants, and at this stage, you're waiting to get picked out and to receive your Invitation to Apply (ITA), which is your official invitation to apply for the visa and complete the next step.

Applicants are chosen at random. This means that if you're applying with your friend or partner, you're not all guaranteed a spot. I got my invitation to apply in December, and Matt got his 6 weeks later, even though we submitted our profile on the same day. You may receive your invitation to apply 3 weeks after submitting your profile, you may receive it 3 months after, or you may not get invited at all. Demand exceeds the quota, and not everyone will get invited. The rounds of invitations dates and quota information are posted on the IEC website so keep an eye on these.

In the meantime, look at the type of documents you'll need if your application is successful, such as police checks. If you've lived abroad for more than 6 months since the age of 18, you'll need a police check from each country you lived in. You will also need a police check from England. If you're going to work in a job that requires a medical exam, look into this too. There's more info on preparing documents further down.

This year, the pool opened on December 11th, 2019. While there's no set date yet, in previous years, the pools have closed at the end of September (although this intake could be different). You could get chosen to apply anytime between these dates. 

Step 5: Receiving the invitation

If you get chosen from the pool and receive your Invitation to Apply, the invite will be sent to your MyCIC inbox. Check the email account that is linked to your application on a daily basis. Check your junk mail too in case the email falls past your inbox. When you receive your invitation to apply, you will then have 10 days to accept or decline the invite and officially start your application.

If you don't respond within this time, your invitation will expire. If this happens, you'll then have to submit a new IEC profile and re-enter the pool if you still want to apply.

If you don't get an invitation to apply, you will stay in the pool until the end of the season or until you're no longer eligible for IEC. When the pools close, you'll be notified and you can then re-apply at the start of the next IEC season intake.

Step 6: Applying for a work permit via MyCIC

From when you accept your IEC visa invitation, you then have 20 days to complete your work permit application.

The application requires further information regarding work/education, citizenship, contact info, and other information. A lot of the info is already inputted from when you initially created your MyCIC profile. You can't edit the basic info so make sure it's correct when you first create your profile.

In the work and education sections, don't leave any time gaps when filling out the "history" section. Include all periods of unemployment, absences and travel dates and include paid and unpaid work in the "work history" section.

You will also be required to submit the following documents to MyCIC. It is all done online and submitted electronically. More information can be found on this web page.

Documents to submit

Family Information Form - this asks for family details, including spouse, parents & siblings.

CV/Resume - upload an updated CV, outlining your education, qualifications, and work experience.

Digital Photo upload a digital photo of yourself. It must be a certain size, file, & resolution. The final frame size must be at least 35mm x 45mm. The photographs must show a full front view of the head and tops of shoulders, with the face in the middle of the photograph. The size of the head, from chin to crown, must be between 31mm and 36mm. The physical dimensions in pixels must be at least 420 x 540. If you scan a digital photo, the minimum resolution must be 600 pixels per inch. The digital file must be JPEG. Find more info here (scroll down to Digital Photo)

Medical Exam - if you intend to work in healthcare, with children, or in certain other roles, you may need to submit a medical exam. This web page has more info. If you don't intend to work in these fields, you don't need a medical check to apply for the IEC.

Passport - upload a copy of your passport. Your passport must be valid when you apply, when you will enter Canada, and when you will depart Canada. Your work permit will not be issued for longer than the validity of your passport, so make sure you have a few years left. Your passport must include a blank page other than the last page.

Police Certificates - you must obtain police certificates from all countries that you've lived in for more than 6 months since the age of 18, including the UK. For example, I lived in France for a year, so I had to obtain a police check from the UK and France. Use this web page to find info on how to get police checks from different countries. Some checks are free (such as France), some are not. For the UK, apply to ACRO online or via post. The fee is either £45/£80, for 10 day/2 day service.

Keep in mind that some police checks can take a few weeks to arrive, and you only have 20 days to submit your application. If your police check doesn't arrive in time, go ahead and submit your application and upload a "Letter of Explanation" when uploading your documents. Include a photo of the police check receipt or any proof that you have requested your police check, and briefly explain why you haven't included your check. You can then send the police check certificate to CIC on the online portal when it arrives.

eTA (Electronic Travel Authorisation) - if you need an eTA, you'll automatically be issued one when your work permit is approved. See here for more info.

Step 7: Pay and submit!

When your work permit application is complete, it's now time to pay and submit. The total application fee is $253 CAD. The IEC participation fee is $153 CAD, and the Working Holiday permit holder fee is another $100 CAD. If you need to give biometrics (more on this on Step 8), you will also need to pay the $85 Biometric fee when you pay your IEC participation fee. You can pay via Visa or Mastercard online through your IRCC account. Find more info here.

Step 8: Give your biometrics

In 2018, biometrics were introduced to the IEC program (and other immigration programs) and it's now a required step for your application. The biometric process essentially involves collecting your photograph, electronic fingerprints and personal details and it's used for immigration and safety purposes.

Once you've submitted your IEC application and you've paid your fees, you'll receive a letter in your CIC account inbox within 24 hours confirming whether or not you need to give biometrics. The letter will include instructions on the biometric process (see more info here).

You have up to 30 days upon receipt of the instruction letter to give your biometrics. It needs to be done in person at an official Visa Application Centre (VAC) and you can go to any VAC (i.e. not just in your country of residence) to give your biometrics. When you arrive in Canada your identity and fingerprints will then be checked. There are limited VACs in each country, and there is just 1 centre in the UK (in London), so keep this in mind.

GOOD TO KNOW: On arrival at the biometrics centre, they will ask for your passport and a printed copy of your biometrics letter. You may be able to print it at the centre (you can in the London centre, but i'm not sure about other locations). However, it's quite expensive and can take up valuable time, so print it out beforehand to save yourself the hassle. You won't be able to get your biometrics if you don't bring your passport - so don't forget it! The testing process is easy and doesn't take too long.

Step 9: Wait for your approval

This is the final step of the waiting game! Once you've paid the fees, submited your application and supporting documents and given your biometrics, CIC will begin processing your application. Don't forget to submit your police checks or medical exams if you weren't able to submit them before you sent the application (if you just uploaded the receipt). All communication will be through your MyCIC account. You will be notified via email of any new messages so keep an eye out.

CIC says that it can take up to 8 weeks/56 days for your application to be approved. My visa only took 2-3 weeks to come through, but it can vary. Don't buy your plane tickets or buy travel insurance until your visa is approved.

If successful, you will then receive your Port of Entry Letter of Introduction (POE) through MyCIC. This is what you will need to take with you to the border when entering Canada. This is not your actual visa. Your visa will be given to you when you enter the country. Your POE letter will clearly state an expiry date, which is usually 1 year after you receive the visa.

For example, if you receive your POE letter on 1 March 2020, you will have until 1 March 2021 to enter Canada. The 2-year visa will then begin on the date that you enter the country. Your expiry date cannot be changed or extended, so make sure to enter the country before it runs out! Once your visa is active, you are then free to work/travel etc and you can also leave and re-enter the country on your IEC visa as you wish. Remember, you must carry your IEC visa with you whenever you plan to leave Canada.

For more information, visit the International Experience Canada website.

Here is a graphic published by the government outlining the IEC process of moving to Canada from the UK

IEC 2020 Moving to Canada Infographic
What To Pack For Moving To Canada

Preparing For Arrival In Canada!

Now time for the fun part, actually coming to Canada! Your POE letter will state the documents that you need to bring with you to enter Canada. You will need to bring a printed copy of your Port of Entry Letter, a copy of your travel/health insurance, and proof of $2,500 CAD in your bank account. 

Travel/health insurance

You must have travel insurance for the FULL duration of your visa. If you only get 1 year of insurance, you will only be given a 1-year visa. I went with True Traveller, who are one of the few companies that offer travel insurance for a continuous 2 year period. I paid about £500 for 2 years (this was the cheapest I found), so factor this into your budget. You can't just get regular cheap insurance, as most travel insurance only covers you for short trips up to 90 days. This article from Moving2Canada has a good overview of insurance providers that may be helpful.

Proof of funds

You will need to prove you have $2,500 CAD in your bank account when you enter Canada. Print off a copy of your bank statement, or take a screenshot of your bank account on your phone. It must be dated within 1 week before your departure. Some forums will say that you don't need this money and you don't need to take proof - but don't follow this advice. We weren't asked for copies of these documents, however, many people are, and it is an official requirement. It really depends on the officer you get that day and they may refuse your visa if you don't have proof of funds.

Entering the country

When you arrive in Canada you'll need to go to Immigration to exchange your POE letter for your official visa and get it activated. From experience, I recommend that you're as organised as possible with your documents and have everything printed and ready. At this point you still haven't been granted the visa, so make sure you have all your necessary documents as it's the Immigration officer who will officially activate your visa and grant you entry into Canada.

Keep in mind that you will have to activate your visa at your first port of entry into Canada. For example, if you're flying to Vancouver via Toronto, you will clear Immigration and activate your visa in Toronto. If this is the case, make sure you build in enough time before your connecting flight. Immigration can get busy and it could take up to a couple of hours to get seen, so it's better to allocate more time than less.

Arriving in Canada on a Working Holiday Visa

Aside from exploring, there are a few essential things you need to organize when you arrive in Canada, such as banking, phone contract, and housing.

Temporary housing

It's a good idea to line up somewhere to stay for at least the first few nights after you arrive. If you're coming to Vancouver, I highly recommend House-i, which is a huge house in Downtown with many en-suite double bedrooms. We've stayed there a few times and it's great. There's also AirBnB and a few hostels. Apparently HI-Vancouver hostel is quite nice.


Don't ever accept a tenancy or hand over any kind of deposit or money before you've actually arrived in the country and seen the rental (in person, with your own eyes!). There are plenty of scam artists out there, so be careful. Sites like Craigslist, Rent it Furnished and Kijiji are commonly used to find rentals. I recently wrote a piece on Apartment Hunting in Vancouver which you may find useful.


Depending on the type of employment you're looking for, it's a good idea to fix up your CV and think about the type of work you want to do. Matt got his job lined up before we arrived, so consider reaching out to companies prior to getting here. There are also companies that help you find work (particularly if you're looking for resort work), such as Canago, Gap Work, & Smaller Earth. Websites like Indeed and Craigslist are good for job hunting too.


Setting up a bank account should be one of the first things you do. We're with Scotiabank, but there are others. Moving2Canada recently wrote a really good piece about the best bank accounts for newcomers that may help. Shop around, as some banks offer good perks, such as cash back or points. It's also a good idea to get a credit card, as Canada is old school for certain things and occasionally you'll need a credit card as debit isn't always accepted.


Phone contracts are generally quite pricey compared to England. One of the best contracts I've found is the TELUS Peace of Mind plan. Packages range from $75 for 10GB data to $125 for 50GB data (SIM-only) including texts and calls and the cell coverage across Canada is fantastic. Freedom does offer affordable packages too, however signal is usually restricted to just within the city and anywhere outside of their home areas may be considered as roaming and you get charged. Remember to get your phone unlocked before you arrive.

SIN Number

Your SIN number is basically the equivalent of your national insurance number. Get this sorted straight away, as you'll probably need it for your phone and definitely for a job. You get your SIN number from a Service Canada Office.

So there you have it - pretty much everything you need to know about moving to Canada from the UK in 2020. The IEC Facebook group is also quite good for information from other applicants and for connecting with other people, and Moving2Canada is a great source of information and they regularly post updates.

I hope you've found this guide useful, and if you have any questions please drop me a comment in the box below and i'll do my best to answer them!


  1. Serena Dias
    November 15, 2021 / 2:35 am


    Thanks for the article! This has been so helpful, just had a couple of questions:

    My boyfriend and I are thinking of getting the IEC working holiday visa for summer 2023. We are from the UK – when do you think the best time for us to start applying would be?

    As we are from the UK, are our chances very low even if we apply a year or so in advance? We are quite worried that one or neither of us will even get a visa. What would be your advice for this? Do we need to keep reapplying every year to be reentered into the pools?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. abigail
    February 25, 2021 / 2:26 pm

    I am think of applying for IEC this march but ideally I will prefer to apply for a PR. Just incase I was not successful with my PR, I was thinking of applying for IEC as well so at least I have something to fall back on. i wanted to find out whether or not I can still apply for PR if i am yet to activate my IEC or will i have to withdraw my IEC in order for me to be considered for a PR or can i have both at the same?

  3. collins ukoro
    February 11, 2021 / 10:31 am

    Can I use my uk work permit visa to relocate to Canada, I am on teir 2 ministers of religion

  4. Ari
    June 8, 2020 / 3:33 am


    This post is so informative and helpful. I’m British, I have my POE, I thought that we only got one year on IEC working holiday but notice your post says two years. I have looked through my documents on CIC and no where does it actually tell me the length of visa. Other places I’m searching for info I’m now seeing maximum 24 months, so I’m still confused as to definitively how long I will get. Do you know it is definitely two years? That will be great if it is! Thanks.

    • Go Live Explore
      June 8, 2020 / 2:24 pm

      Hey Ari! Thank you, glad it’s useful! So, you can stay in Canada on the IEC for 2 years. However, you must make sure your Travel Insurance also covers this 2 year period. They say a “maximum” 2 years, because if, for example, you enter the country with only 1-year of Travel Insurance coverage, they will only give you a 1-year visa. Does that make sense? The two things have to match. xx

  5. Ash
    May 9, 2020 / 5:49 am


    I recently just arrived back to the UK after finishing my 2 year IEC work visa, I lived in North Van!. I’m starting to get feelings like I would like to move back permanently on PR, but i’m unsure where to start, any tips and advice on the best way would be appreciated. I worked as a personal support worker in North Vancouver for two lads my age for around 18 months ( I left to travel a little around 5 months before my visa expired). There is a caregiver pathway but it says I require 24 months of experience to qualify for PR through that pathway, and having already done the IEC, I don’t see a way I can return to gain that extra 6 months experience. Do you recommend going through the Express pathway? and if so, how much of a hassle is it?

    • Go Live Explore
      May 10, 2020 / 9:33 am

      Hey Ash! I’m afraid I don’t know a lot about the caregiving pathway. Have you looked into Express Entry as an alternative? Working for that amount of time in Canada will give you extra points, so depending on your work experience & qualifications, you may have enough points to qualify for EE. Might be worth exploring that as well. I wrote a blog post about the Express Entry process so perhaps check that out and see if it could work for you:

      Sorry I can’t tell you more about the caregiver pathway. If you’re looking for any professional advice, there’s a company that we went through called PM Immigration who were amazing. They’re based in Canada but you can chat with them over Skype/email. They do a great consultation service and basically help you figure out which would be the best PR route for you based on your qualifications/experience etc. Best of luck with everything!! 🙂

  6. Emma
    March 9, 2020 / 4:05 am


    I am awaiting my POE letter but want to fly out to toronto to settle into my boyfriends house and scope out the area/schools (because when i get my work permit i want to teach) however i cant find any info on if i can re enter via the US? it just says make sure you meet the requirements but not sure what they actually are, do you?

    or any other info you think may help? Thanks! This is so so helpful.

    • Go Live Explore
      March 10, 2020 / 8:24 am

      Hi Emma. You can absolutely do that and go and visit Toronto for a while, you’ll just be on a visitor visa (and there might be restrictions as to how long you can stay so check that out). Similarly with entering via the US, the fact that you’re awaiting your POE doesn’t change anything – you’re just a regular traveller in their eyes as you don’t actually have your IEC visa yet. So you’ll need to make sure you have your ESTA for the US and your ETA for Canada (both are easy to apply for online), and any other documents you might need to travel to these two countries as a visitor. They’ll probably quiz you as to the purpose of your visit too but just treat it like regular travel if you were going there on holiday. Does that make sense? xx

  7. Laura Wickington
    January 8, 2020 / 8:33 am

    Hi, what can I do if i am 34 years of age? Can I still apply? ( above says 18-30)

    • Go Live Explore
      January 8, 2020 / 10:07 am

      Hey Laura. Unfortunately you’re not eligible for the IEC Working Holiday Visa. So your best option would be to either apply for Permanent Residency (which is an indefinite visa) or apply for a Work Permit (and I think you’d need a Canadian employer). I’ll be publishing my Permanent Residency guide in the next couple of weeks so maybe check that out when it’s live. Best of luck! xx

  8. Laura Wickington
    January 8, 2020 / 8:32 am

    Hi, what can I do if i am 34 years of age? Can I still apply?

  9. Archna
    January 7, 2020 / 11:57 pm

    I need advise about moving to Canada on permanently. I and my daughter 13y wants to move from uk. I have qualifications HPS degree in hospital. How can I apply there by my on ? Could you give me some advice please?

  10. Ali
    January 4, 2020 / 4:11 am

    Thanks so much for your blog – its so informative and helpful! Pictures look absolutely amazing too!
    I just had one question about activating the visa.
    I’m flying out in Feb to activate my visa before my POE expires, but i can only stay for a week before i need to fly home for a few months (i’m coming back for a longer duration later in 2020).
    Do you know other people who have done the same or similar?
    Any reason to think border control wouldn’t be relaxed about that?

    Thanks is advance!


    • Go Live Explore
      January 4, 2020 / 8:46 am

      Hey Ali. Ahh thank you so much – glad it’s helped!! It’s fine to do that, there’s no restrictions on how much you can travel while you have your Working Holiday visa so it shouldn’t be a problem and they probably won’t even ask about it. However, you need to make sure you have all of your documents with you when you activate the POE (proof of funds in your bank, 2 years travel insurance, and everything else) and treat it like you are going for the 2 years. Even though you’re only staying a week, you still need to follow those set rules otherwise they may refuse you entry. Does that make sense? Hope that helps! Alicia x

  11. Corina soare
    December 19, 2019 / 2:43 pm

    Hi. We are a small family(2 adults and one child and one pet) from the UK but of different home. Birth country. However, if we want to move to Canada permantely, and open a business also plus having a regular job on the side in ontario, Hamilton is a good idea? Plus I am confused of how much moeny we might need for the three of us (20000£)?

  12. Paige
    November 12, 2019 / 9:56 am


    This post is an amazing read. I have referred back to it on numerous occasions though our application process so thank you!!

    My partner and I have both been accepted for IEC and we leave for Calgary in May 2020. We are both pretty sure we will want to stay afterward our IEC ends so we are looking to find out more about PR and what the process/chance are of being accepted through this programme?

    Thanks in advance xx

  13. Naomi
    October 5, 2019 / 10:30 pm

    Thanks so much for your quick response. Yep I definitely need a new police certificate then so will get that sorted out soon hopefully.

    Thanks so so much for all your help – I really appreciate it and love watching your YouTube channel. I look forward to reading about your PR process too! Best wishes in planning your wedding and your future lives together! You are such an inspiring person and deserve the very best! Xx

  14. Naomi
    October 5, 2019 / 7:06 pm

    I found this post so helpful when I moved to Canada last year and recommended it to other friends who where planning to move too. Everything you need is on it and it’s so easy to follow and understand. Thanks so much for your time in providing this.

    I’m here in Vancouver over a year now and I’m planning to apply for permanent residency. I’m curious if you can use your police check and medical from the UK for PR applications or do you need a new one from Canada? I know I have to complete an English test and hoping to do that soon.

    Thanks so much for all your help. I love reading all your posts and your travel adventures. Xx

    • Go Live Explore
      October 5, 2019 / 9:13 pm

      Hi Naomi, that is such a sweet message – thank you so much and I’m really really glad that you found it useful 🙂 And so exciting to hear about your PR!!

      SO, here is what it says on the website about your police cert:

      “The police certificate for the country where you currently live must be issued no more than 6 months before the date you submit your application and it must not be expired”

      “For any other country, the police certificate must be issued after the last time you stayed there for 6 months or more in a row. Some countries put expiry dates on their police certificates. If you have a police certificate that expired, include it. We’ll accept it if it was issued after the last time you stayed there for 6 months or more in a row, it is not for the country where you currently live. An officer may ask for a new one later on.”

      So, if I’m understanding correctly, it seems your existing UK police check may be ok providing that it was issued after the last time you lived in the UK for 6 months or more. However, if you got your police check in the UK for your IEC visa and then continued to live in the UK for another 6+ months, it wouldn’t be valid and you would need to get a new one. Does that make sense?

      I don’t believe you need to get one for Canada if you’re living here – however, perhaps call up your local RCMP office and double check. They’re usually very responsive but I’m 90% sure you don’t need to get a Canadian police check. Your medical certificate is valid for 12 months only, so you’ll need to get another one.

      Here’s the police check webpage:

      Here’s the website about medical exams:

      I’m currently writing a post about the PR process – so keep an eye out for that if you’re just starting everything. But hopefully that’s helped you for now!! Best of luck with it all!! xx

  15. Jade
    September 25, 2019 / 7:31 am

    Hey this article has been super helpful so thank you for that!

    One question though, I know that you and your partner received your invite at different times and this has happened to me and my boyfriend. I received my invite the other day but my boyfriend hasn’t received his yet.

    Do I accept my invite even though he hasn’t got his?

  16. Jordan
    September 15, 2019 / 7:17 pm

    This is an amazing article! Thank you so much for taking the time to include so much helpful details.
    I have one question I’m hoping you know the answer to- Once the visa is approved, do you have to activate it upon entering the country?
    Or would you be able to visit Canada and then activate it at a later date when you are more prepared to move?
    Thank you for your help!

    • Go Live Explore
      September 16, 2019 / 1:30 pm

      Hey Jordan, Ahh no problem I’m glad you’ve found it useful 🙂

      You wouldn’t necessarily have to activate it straight away. For example, you could visit as a regular tourist, and then when you’re ready to make the move, you would enter the country with your POE, go to immigration and activate it properly then and your 2 years would begin. Just remember if you’re travelling as a tourist you’ll probably need to get an ETA too (it’s really easy). Hope that helps! xx

  17. TT
    August 28, 2019 / 7:54 am

    This was really informative and helpful, thanks for taking the time out to pull the info together. I recently applied for IEC however, my PC kept on reloading which resulted in a slight error in my application. I mistakenly entered my surname twice rather than my middle and surname. I immediately emailed the embassy via the details on the help section. However,I still haven’t heard back and neither have the corrections been made. I’m concerned the name error could potentially be an issue. Do you have any advise or know anyone whose been in a similar situation?

    • Go Live Explore
      August 29, 2019 / 9:20 am

      Hi there,

      Thanks so much. Ahh that’s very frustrating. Unfortunately I don’t know anyone who can help or have any experience with this. Fingers crossed when they work through the application they’ll recognise this was an error and contact you for clarification. They often do this when there’s been an error or if they want more information. I hope it works out for you!

  18. Chael Sonnen
    August 24, 2019 / 2:08 pm


    In BC, after 90 days of driving with my UK license, why do I need to submit my UK driving license. If I have to travel back to the UK I won’t have a valid UK driving license – this seems backwards. Have I got this wrong?

    • Go Live Explore
      August 25, 2019 / 5:17 pm

      Hi Chael. You have to switch to a BC license after 90 days and I think legally, you’re not allowed to have 2 so they take your UK one off you. If you travel back to the UK and want to drive (or travel to any other country), your BC license will be valid. I’ve driven in England lots of times (and been put on my dad’s UK insurance) with my BC license. If you decide to move back to the UK, then you can just switch back and apply for a UK license again.

      Hope that clarifies things! x

  19. Amelia
    August 14, 2019 / 6:15 am

    This is such a great and informative article! I received my application to apply for the VISA yesterday and so have just started to fill out all my forms for the IEC! I must admit I’m petrified but so excited at the same time to get the opportunity to live out there.
    Would you recommend signing up with a company like BUNAC before you go out to Canada so they can help you to sort out many things like accommodation etc before you go out there- just looking for people’s opinions on whether it’s worth the money to go with them or not!

    • Go Live Explore
      August 21, 2019 / 7:41 pm

      Hey Amelia,

      Thanks so much!! Really glad you found it useful, it’s gonna be such an exciting adventure for you! 🙂

      It’s really up to you – we didn’t go through BUNAC or any organisation and managed to work it out ourselves, but if you want some assistance then by all means check out what they can do. But there’s nothing to say you can’t find work/accommodation yourself though and it’s not super difficult, it really just depends on what kind of work you’re looking to do. If you’re planning to go to Whistler for example, finding accommodation is notoriously difficult so it might be useful if they can sort you a job and housing. But if you’re looking to live in Vancouver or elsewhere and you want more of a permanent job, you can easily do that yourself. Just weigh up how much time and effort they’d actually save you and if it’s a huge fee they charge, then you could just save that money and do it yourself! Hope that gives a bit of insight!! x

  20. Paige
    July 31, 2019 / 11:00 am

    Thank you for this blog, it has helped so much!
    My partner and I are awaiting our decision after submitting our applications and biometrics last week!
    We plan to take our 2 fur Labrador babies with us to Calgary. I am honesty more nervous about them having to fly than our whole move. I feel like in a sense it is almost cruel as they will be very scared :(.

    I wondered if you could give me a tip on how long in advance we should start applying for jobs is we plan y move next June?


  21. Holly
    July 3, 2019 / 6:51 am

    Hi there,
    This is really really useful so thank you! I was just wondering if you know if the visa can be extended at all?

    Me and my boyfriend have both had ours approved – but we can’t leave until 2021 so will essentially “waste” a year of the visa, but also don’t want to have to risk re-applying in case we don’t get our visas again. Do you know if it’s possible to extend once you’ve activated? Also, I would be 31 when we would be looking to extend!

    • Go Live Explore
      July 4, 2019 / 5:06 pm

      Hey Holly, glad it’s been useful! Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to extend your IEC visa. Your only option really would be to apply again, and hope that you get it, or consider something like Permanent Residency which would grant you a permanent visa for Canada. Best of luck! xx

  22. Ciara
    June 21, 2019 / 6:33 am

    Hello! Thank you for writing this post, it’s very reassuring and nicely comprehensive!

    My partner has just received his invitation to apply and we’re in the process of getting all our ducks in a row (we have been long-distance for 2 years, so we’re excited!)
    My one concern is that if you don’t have a return flight booked to show the immigration officer, do you need to prove you have enough money for it on top of the $2500? I couldn’t find that on any of the advice websites, and thought I’d drop an ask here.

    Thank you again!

    • Go Live Explore
      June 25, 2019 / 6:58 am

      Hi Ciara,

      Thank you so much! Glad you’ve found it useful. That’s so very exciting for you guys, I can totally relate with the long distance struggles so it’ll be the loveliest feeling when you two are finally together in the same place 🙂

      In terms of the funds, you just need to show that you have $2500 in the bank (each) and you don’t need to worry about having the return flight booked. The idea is that the $2500 is to cover you for flying home (if you needed it). Alongside the proof of funds, make sure that your travel insurance covers you for the full 2 years and you have all the other bits of paperwork and you’ll be good to go 🙂

      Hope that helps, good luck girl! xx

  23. Megan
    June 9, 2019 / 8:46 am

    I currently live in the uk, I have dreamt for years about moving to Canada but have never been brave enough to do so.
    I would ideally love to move to Ottawa/Toronto area.
    I work in the private health care sector currently and have done for around 7 years.
    I do not have a degree and my highest grade is GCSE.
    I just don’t know where to start? I don’t know if there is certain requirements to be able to move to Canada.
    How to apply for jobs while in the uk?

  24. clement
    April 25, 2019 / 11:18 pm

    I am 44 and my wife 39 we both live in uk with masters degree, how do we move to uk?

    • Go Live Explore
      April 29, 2019 / 3:11 pm

      Take a look into Permanent Residency 🙂

  25. Beth
    April 2, 2019 / 2:48 am


    I just wanted to say a massive thank you! This post has been so helpful and basically my bible throughout the whole IEC process! (It is in saved in my favourites and is always my first point of reference if I’m not sure of anything). I have been accepted on the IEC and am finally heading to Toronto on 1st May.

    I have a question re travel/health insurance. I have just bought the True Value policy through True Traveller for 2 years but looking on the IEC website today am a bit concerned that it says health insurance. The travel insurance only covers emergency medical expenses and just wanted to check that this meets the requirements/did you get extra health insurance when you went or are they essentially the same thing?

    Thanks !

    • Go Live Explore
      April 2, 2019 / 3:15 pm

      Hey Beth, Ahhh that’s so lovely to hear, really glad it’s been useful for you and congrats on getting accepted!!

      Your True Traveller policy is fine as travel insurance, that’s the same one as I got actually and that’ll be fine when you enter the country and activate your IEC. But, you’re right in that it only covers you for emergency medical expenses, so if you need to go to the doctors for something that’s not urgent (like contraception, for eg) you’d have to pay for your appointments which can be about $50-$150 a time.

      You may be able to get Provincial Health Insurance on top of your travel insurance, in Toronto/Ontario it’s called the OHIP, but I’m not sure whether you’re eligible under the IEC visa. I know that in British Columbia, IEC visa residents are eligible after they’ve been in the country for a few months but Ontario may be different and I don’t know the exact details – but this web page should give you the info you need –

      It doesn’t mention specifically about IEC/WHoliday visas, so if you’re still unsure I’d just call up and ask about it/go into the centre when you get to Toronto and find out more. I’m pretty sure OHIP is free as well, so it’s worth getting it if you can as it’ll mean your basic healthcare/doctors appointments etc are covered. Sorry I can’t provide more specific info but hopefully this provides a bit of insight!! x

  26. Heather
    March 23, 2019 / 3:59 pm

    This is such a great post, thanks so much! Great tips on the housing stuff too.

    My boyfriend might be accepting a job transfer from London to Vancouver very soon – and I’m figuring it’s best for me to go with him as a visitor for 6 months and apply for the work permit in the meantime. Am I correct in thinking I can freelance for my employer in the UK from Canada without a visa?

    Also I’m not sure if you can help with this but, do you think I would have to prove I have a lot of savings (enough to support for 6 months) if I tell them I intend to stay for that long? Or would it not be a problem as I already have an income (and my partner has a job in Canada). Just worried about being turned away for insufficient funds.. living in London, thats a likely problem, haha!

    Thanks for any help you can give in advance
    Heather x

    • Go Live Explore
      March 29, 2019 / 9:18 am

      Hi Heather,

      Thanks so much, so glad you found it useful!!

      Yes, you can stay as a visitor for 6 months and if you’re making your money outside of Canada I believe that there’s no problem with you working remotely in Canada without a work visa (but maybe just double check that in case). However, when you’re entering the country I’d keep your explanations as simple as possible. From what I’ve read online, if you say you’re going to stay for that long they may ask for proof of funds, ultimately they just want assurance that you’re not going to stay longer than you say you will or run out of money. I’d research it a bit if I were you as I don’t have tons of experience in this area, but I’m pretty sure you’re fine to work remotely as you won’t be getting paid in Canada and you’ll still technically be a resident of the UK.

      Also, have you looked into applying for the IEC visa? If you don’t meet the age requirements, this webpage might be helpful if you wanted something more permanent than a visitor visa:

      You’re considered as his spouse/common law partner if you’ve lived together for over 2 years and you can prove it (with tenancy documents etc) so the spouse visa route could be an option. Hope this helps! Best of luck! xxx

  27. Steve
    March 18, 2019 / 11:22 am


    Thanks for this post its incredibly helpful!

    If I complete my 2 years in Canada and wanted to stay there as a permanent resident, can this be done before my Visa expires?


    • Go Live Explore
      March 18, 2019 / 3:49 pm

      Hey Steve, Thank you, so glad you’ve found it useful! Yep, I would suggest that if you decide to stay, that you do it before your visa expires. You can do it from outside of Canada, but for practical purposes, it makes sense to apply while you’re in the country so that you don’t have to leave, give up your house, wait for the visa, come back, and start again. I’m going to write a full post on this, but here are a few things to keep in mind:

      – I’d suggest applying at least 6 months before your IEC runs out. It can take anywhere from 5 months – 2 years to get your PR through, so best to get a head start.
      – The Express Entry is the most common route, however you may be eligible for other programs depending on your profession and skills.
      – There’s a lot of paperwork involved as well as medical tests, english tests etc. You can do the PR application on your own, or hire a lawyer to help. We hired PM Immigration (Vancouver based) and they were amazing. If you’re unsure of how to do the application or which PR route is best for you, i’d recommend just having a consultation with them (in person or via skype) to figure out your best options. It’s not too expensive to have a call/meeting with them, but they’ll outline everything you need to know and it’s highly valuable.
      – Once you’ve submitted your PR application, you may be eligible to apply for a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP). Essentially, you get a temporary visa granted immediately that allows you to stay in the country and continue working if your IEC has ran out / is going to run out. I believe there are restrictions, but if you’ve applied under certain programs or through the BC PNP along with the Express Entry, you may be eligible. You can apply for this if your IEC is going to run out in less than 4 months time.

      Hope that helps a bit! 🙂 Best of luck! x

  28. September 24, 2018 / 12:34 pm

    These pictures are so beautiful. I hope someday I get the chance to visit Canada.

  29. Holly knott
    September 22, 2018 / 7:43 am

    Hi Alicia,
    Such a helpful blog post! I do have one question though. I made my profile for the 2018 season in April, I have recently checked online and unlucky for me, 2018 is now closed for the UK. 🙁
    I know I have to submit a whole new profile for 2019 season, but I wonder if you know whether I have to withdraw my existing profile before I can start my new one? Or will it be withdrawn automatically and I’ll get notified of this? If you do know the answer to my question that would be great. If not, no worries! I just haven’t been able to find anything online and just want to be prepared and get in there as early as possible 🙂
    Thank you!
    Holly from London x

  30. Daniel Walker
    August 31, 2018 / 5:16 pm

    Hey, just a quick one.

    I am 32. I am thinking of moving to Canada. How do I get in?

    I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering so maybe this’ll help.

    Any advice whatsoever welcome.

    • Go Live Explore
      September 4, 2018 / 3:12 pm

      Hey Daniel. Your best bet would be to go via the Permanent Residency route, or via the Work Permit route if you’re able to get sponsored and get a job lined up in Canada. The Express Entry route is what we did to get PR, it’s a points system based on things like age, education, work experience, etc, that’s generally the easiest and quickest so take a look at that. If you’re still stuck, as the information online really isn’t great, i’d recommend contacting PM Immigration for a consultation. They’re Vancouver-based but they offer Skype consultations, we did our whole PR visa through them and they were incredible, but even just the consultation session will provide you with your best options for PR and which route is best for you and it’s not too expensive. Hope that helps a bit, good luck! Alicia.

  31. Tom
    August 27, 2018 / 9:24 am

    Excellent Page very useful and clearly written. Just one question really what about driving in Canada with a British driving license under an IEC for work and pleasure? Cheers.

    • Go Live Explore
      August 28, 2018 / 12:03 pm

      Hey Tom,

      Thanks so much, glad you’ve found it useful! You’re fine to drive in Canada with a UK Driving License for a short while, but you will need to swap it out for a Canadian one. I think every province has different rules, but in British Columbia for example, you need to swap it for a BC License after 90 days of being here. They take your UK license and give you a BC one instead. In BC, you don’t need to do any additional tests and it costs about $30 (ish). It’s really simple to do, but i’d recommend checking the provincial website depending on where you’re planning to live. Alternatively, you could get an International Driving License instead. Hope that helps!

  32. eddie
    July 19, 2018 / 8:41 am

    Hi, Thanks so much this was really helpful, I have just got my working visa. 1 question – I clicked a link on the port of entry letter talking about additional documents required and it’s saying I need stuff like a letter from the employer or proof that I can do the assigned job. Basically suggesting that I need an offer of employment? Did you have any documents like this when you arrived? thanks

    • Go Live Explore
      July 22, 2018 / 10:27 pm

      Hey Eddie. We were on a Working Holiday Visa, and it’s open employment so you don’t need to have a specific job offer (you don’t even need to get a job while you’re here), just the proof of funds ($2,500), travel insurance for the entire duration and anything else that the Port Of Entry letter states. Go by what the actual Port Of Entry letter lists that you need – was the link that you clicked on perhaps talking about what you need if you have a Work Permit (which is different to a Working Holiday)?

  33. Adam George
    July 15, 2018 / 2:15 pm


    Very useful information, my partner and I are desperate to make the move.
    My question is, I turn 30 in a couple weeks, I note this program is only offered for those aged 18-30. Is there an alternative or anyway forward for those aged over 30? We both have well respected jobs in the UK and finances behind us so it would be a real shame to lose hope due to age.

    Thank you


    • Go Live Explore
      July 17, 2018 / 10:37 am

      Hi Adam, thank you, glad you found it useful. I’m pretty sure you can apply for IEC up until your 31st birthday (but don’t quote me), so perhaps consider that first if you have time before your bday. Your only other option really is Permanent Residency, the easiest and quickest route is called “Express Entry”. It’s a points-based system, and goes on things like your age, work experience, languages, education, etc. The more points you have, the higher your chances are of getting chosen. You could do a joint application if you’re married or considered as common-law partners. We’re going through the Express Entry route at the moment and the current processing time is around 6-7 months. It’s the easiest and quickest route, you can do it yourself or get an immigration specialist to help you. We’re working with a specialist, it’s made the process a lot easier as the paperwork is complex and specific and everything has to be 100% accurate. Their assistance can cost around $3-4,000, but it is definitely worth it. The company we’re working with is PM Immigration in Vancouver, they offer consultations and they’re really brilliant so perhaps it’s worth getting in touch, even just to figure out your best options. The Express Entry application fee is $1040 (ish) per person, plus things like English Tests (which you have to get) and Medical Tests. There are routes other than EE depending on your field of work and a Work Permit is an option if you’re able to transfer employment here. But, realistically, Permanent Residency may be your best bet if you want to come and work here and stay for a while. Hope that helps!! Alicia

  34. Carles
    July 8, 2018 / 4:51 am

    Hi! Thank you for writing such an informative post. I was wondering, do you remember which True Traveller quota you took out for IEC? I’m undecided about whether getting True Value (their most affordable option) or Traveller.


    • Go Live Explore
      July 8, 2018 / 1:17 pm

      Hey Carles. Sorry I can’t remember which one I got as it was a while ago now. I’d suggest reading through all the small print and basing it on the kind of activities you’re going to be doing. For example, winter sports coverage might only be offered in the more expensive package and if you’ll be skiing/boarding etc a lot it’ll be worth getting it. So just think about what you’re planning to be doing and base it on that 🙂 Hope that helps!

  35. Tim
    June 28, 2018 / 12:31 am

    Hi there,

    Great article & I hope that you may be able to help with a question.

    I have already got my IEC & am planning on moving to Toronto in November. An opportunity has arisen that my UK employer may be happy for me to continue my employment with them, but work remotely in Canada. I have read a few articles which seem to me that it is possible, but I was just wandering whether there were any restrictions on the visa e.g. do I need to be employed by a Canadian company whilst out there?

    Any assistance on this would be greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks,

  36. James
    June 19, 2018 / 8:29 am

    Such a helpful guide, thank you so much!

    Just this morning I received my invite to apply for the Working Holiday visa.

    I have one question that I am hoping you can help me with (but no worries if not!). I have two trips to Canada already booked for a week each (one in September, one over New Year), and I was wondering if it is possible (/legal!) to enter & leave Canada as a tourist even once my application has been accepted and I have received my POE letter?

    Thanks again,

    • Go Live Explore
      June 19, 2018 / 5:07 pm

      Hey James, thanks so much! That’s awesome news about the visa, congrats. From my understanding, you’re fine to enter the country as a normal tourist (just make sure to get your eTa). The WH Visa begins when you activate it at the border and show your POE, but up until that point it’s not active and you don’t have any status in Canada. So just travel as a tourist, and then when you’re ready to move here properly that’s when you activate the POE and show it at the border/airport. Maybe do a bit more research (if by chance i’m wrong lol!) but I’m pretty sure that’s accurate. Hope that helps! 🙂 Alicia.

  37. Joanna
    June 14, 2018 / 2:41 pm

    Hey! Did you have a return flight booked when you entered Canada? Some blogs say its best to have one booked even if you change it at a later date… or can you just turn up with a one way, and have proof of funds that you can buy a return flight if needed?

    Thanks x

    • Go Live Explore
      June 14, 2018 / 11:58 pm

      Hey Joanna. No, we didn’t have return flights booked when we arrived in the country, you just need proof of funds in your bank account (either a screenshot on your phone or a print out) and that will suffice 🙂 As long as you follow all the specification on the Port of Entry letter (funds, insurance, etc) then you’ll be ok. Hope that helps! xx

  38. Audrey
    June 14, 2018 / 2:10 pm

    Hi Alicia,

    I just found your amazing blog and like you, I moved to Canada (Vancouver) from France with the working holiday visa. It’s been a year now that I live here. I tried several times to get this visa but never got the chance. They changed the process and I think it is better now and I finally got it!

    Your blog is perfection, it’s gonna be my bible to travel and discover Canada! So many articles to read, I can’t wait 🙂

    So glad I found you!

    Thank you for your work.


  39. Chloe
    May 26, 2018 / 6:35 am

    Honestly the most helpful thing I’ve found online about moving to Canada!

    Thank you for all the useful information

    • Go Live Explore
      June 14, 2018 / 11:59 pm

      Hey Chloe, thank you!! So glad you’ve found it useful 🙂 Hope everything goes well if you’re planning to move!! xx

  40. Krupa K
    May 13, 2018 / 2:32 pm

    This is a great post! Thank you! I am in my early stages of thinking of moving to Canada and this article was very helpful 😘

  41. Tats
    April 8, 2018 / 3:05 am

    Hello again,

    As well as the dog info I just wanted to say that Go Walkabout Travel Insurance also do a 2 year policy. One is a Longstay policy for basic work but the other is a Working Holiday policy which is specifically tailored to suit various kinds of work. (Bottom right tab on their website!) Evidently a lot of travel insurance polices might not pay out in the event of an accident – i.e. If you broke your ankle at work but you work as a personal trainer; you might find that they refuse to meet the cost of your emergency medical treatment because they were never insuring the risk of your working as a personal trainer. So it’s always a good idea to shop around and read the small print and make sure you’re covered for all eventualities.

    I researched policies for months and just as my head was about to explode with confusion and frustration I found Go Walkabout. Personally I decided to go with them because I found them to be the most flexible whilst also offering me a 2 year policy at a really good price.

    Hope this helps other fellow travellers!

    Love the website, very helpful. The countdown is on…


    • Go Live Explore
      April 8, 2018 / 9:12 am

      Hey Tats,

      Thanks for taking the time to share all of that info – it’s super super useful and i’m sure other travellers will appreciate it too 🙂 You’re definitely right about the travel insurance small print – especially for sports like skiing too, which you won’t be covered for unless you select that option. If you’re going to be in one place for a long while, i’d suggest getting the provincial healthcare plan if you can (on top of travel insurance which is required for your WH). I have the MSP plan in British Columbia, so that basically covers me for healthcare and things like doctors appointments. Travel insurance is great, but it doesn’t always cover you for everything medical related, so if you need a doctors appointment to get the contraceptive pill, for eg, that probably won’t be covered under your travel insurance. Doctors appointments without a health card can cost about $100/$150 each time, so it is worth having the healthcare plan. I don’t know how much it is in Ontario (it’s only $35 monthly in BC) but it’s worth looking into if you’re going to be there a while! 🙂

      Good luck with the move, hope it all goes well with your pup, and thanks for the dog info – have just been looking into taking a dog back to England (for the future) so it’s good to know all of that! x x x

  42. Ceris
    April 4, 2018 / 10:56 am

    This is very helpful! just got my invite this morning so I am all go go go with my 20 days to get it all sorted!!
    the one thing I am stressing about is that realistically 2500$ doesn’t seem a lot to be able to rent somewhere and have enough in case it takes a while for a job to be found.
    how much have people really taken?
    good thinking about the not renting somewhere before you get their but this would make me nervous! I guess hostels are the way most people have done it?

    • Go Live Explore
      April 4, 2018 / 3:38 pm

      Thanks so much Ceris, glad you found it useful! And congrats on getting the invite, that’s amazing and so exciting!!! I agree that $2500 isn’t that much and it won’t last you long if you don’t have a job. Personally, I took more than that as I wanted to have a buffer and if you don’t have a job lined up it’s probably sensible to take a bit more. You also have to remember that when you rent a place, you have to give the 1st month’s rent as well as the 50% deposit when you sign the contract. Most people stay in hostels at the very beginning or do Air BnB. We stayed at a place called “iHouse” when we first arrived, it’s really lovely and in Downtown so very central, I highly recommend it. The price may have changed a bit but it’s roughly $50 per night which is pretty reasonable considering it’s en-suite and has a kitchen etc, and hostels aren’t much cheaper. It also gives peace of mind when you’ve got tons of stuff with you. Hope this helps and let me know if you have any more questions, good luck with the application! 🙂 xx

  43. Olly
    January 28, 2018 / 7:38 pm

    Hi. I am moving to Vancouver by myself in a couple of days on the IEC visa. Just thought i would say that your blogs and advice are better than any other i have ever read.

    Thanks for the amazing website 🙂 You have made me a million times more excited to go!


  44. Leo Parkinson
    January 24, 2018 / 5:35 am

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this guide! I was lucky enough to study for a year in Canada with a student visa, and absolutely fell in love with the place. I felt a bit lost looking for ways to get back, but you’ve really helped spell out the whole journey. I just finished my application, and I suppose now it’s the hard part of waiting, eh?

    Thanks again!

  45. Emma
    January 16, 2018 / 2:59 am

    This information is really helpful, thanks!!

    I have another question. I am thinking about going to Vancouver or Calgary (already have my IEC jippiiiee). I am trying to find information about costs en living in relation to earning money. Could someone tell me about the ratio between these two? Is it really hard to earn money in Canada or is it depending on the city you live in? Any tips and advice? 🙂


  46. Rachel
    January 3, 2018 / 12:31 am

    Thanks for this really useful post! I was just wondering if you knew though – with the IM5707 family info form, do you need to print, sign & scan this document or will an electronic signature do? I’ve been reading conflicting things online but don’t want to make any mistakes when submitting my application!

    Thanks again!

    • Go Live Explore
      January 3, 2018 / 9:22 am

      Hey Rachel, thanks so much glad you’ve found it useful! 🙂 If my memory serves me right, we printed everything and then scanned it in, although I don’t know if that was just because the electronic signature wasn’t available. If you’re unsure, i’d recommend just printing & signing it and then scanning/taking a pic on your phone, then you can’t really go wrong just in case they don’t accept electronic signatures. Sorry I can’t be more helpful! xx

  47. Greta
    January 2, 2018 / 2:24 pm

    This is probably the best summary about moving to Canada via IEC. Thank you for putting this together so nicely.

    • Go Live Explore
      January 3, 2018 / 9:22 am

      Thank you Greta, I’m so glad!! Good luck with your application if you’re going ahead with it! 🙂 xx

  48. Milly
    January 2, 2018 / 4:07 am

    Thank you so much – this is incredible, really helpful! I was wondering, i’m a British citizen looking to move to Canada for around 6 months-1 year. From the looks of things i can just get the electronic visit visa, is that correct? Can i work with this visa or does it have to be the IEC visa you’ve explained? (Sorry if you don’t know, thought i’d check!) Also – is Toronto or Vancouver a better place to move to if you’re mid 20’s and looking to meet some really cool people?

    • Go Live Explore
      January 2, 2018 / 9:27 am

      Hey Milly! So glad you found it helpful 🙂 If you just want to travel, you can stay here for up to 6 months and you don’t need a visa (you will need to get the ETA though, it’s only $7, you just need it to enter the country now). However, if you want to work, you’ll have to get the IEC visa that i’ve talked about in the post, that will grant you 2 years here and you can work/travel/do whatever you want in that time. I’m probably biased as I love Vancouver haha, and I haven’t been to Toronto so it’s hard to say which is better. They’re both just quite different. Toronto is a bigger city, more people, a bit busier, whereas Vancouver is a bit more laid back and while you do have the city you also have the mountains and the outdoors and wilderness really close by. So I guess it depends what kinda lifestyle you want & what you like doing! Hope this helps a bit xxx

      • Milly
        February 1, 2018 / 7:59 am

        Thanks so much, i’m applying for the IEC now so fingers crossed. The move to Vancouver is becoming real! Thank you for all your help. Your blog is very useful.

  49. Kathryn
    December 30, 2017 / 3:06 pm

    Hi! Really useful post!

    I’ve been invited to apply for a IEC and I am panning on moving out mid September 2018. I was wondering if you could give any advice on which cities are good to live in? I came to Canada for three weeks last summer and visited Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Banff and Vancouver. I loved Banff and Van the most and want to move over towards the west but was wondering what places like Edmonton and other smaller cities are like?

    Thanks for any help you can give me!

  50. Cassie brennan
    December 30, 2017 / 12:18 pm


    I found this post extremely helpful.
    I just have a quick question. I understand that this will probably be a no and you May not know the answer.
    I like in the UK and would love to move to Canada. I would not move unless there was a chance my dog can come with me. I would understand that I wouldn’t be able to bring her out at first especially with the housing situation. Would she be able to join me after a certain amount of time granting everything goes well with the visa’s etc?


    • Go Live Explore
      December 30, 2017 / 1:55 pm

      Hey Cassie,
      So glad you found it useful!! I don’t really know much about the process involved in bringing a dog over I’m afraid, but I imagine your dog may have to have a number of vaccines & maybe be put into quarantine/something like that for a period of time. I’m pretty sure that’s what happens when you bring a pet into the UK anyway, but i’m not sure whether it’s different for Canada. That will be the first thing to consider, then the next would be housing. In Downtown Vancouver especially, it’s harder to find a condo that allows big dogs (many do allow small dogs) as they’re quite small, and places that allow pets are generally a bit more expensive, but they are there you just need to find them!! 🙂 As long as you get those two things sorted I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to bring her over! Hope this helps xx

      • Cassie brennan
        January 1, 2018 / 10:13 am

        Thanks for getting back to me.

        Yes she would need a passport and she would need to be fully vaccinated and have jabs etc. Just wasn’t sure if there was a rule with housing etc. I’ll have a little look into it myself in the next few weeks!


        • Tats
          April 8, 2018 / 2:33 am


          I’m moving to Toronto in July and I’m also bringing my dog. Couldn’t be without her!

          If you are using a pet shipping company, Go Walkabout travel insurance do a one way pet insurance policy for extra peace of mind.

          Pet shipping tends to cost a fortune so I am flying Poppy out via Air Transat for £180 directly from Gatwick to Toronto. I think BA will fly pets too. There are specific cage/flight requirements on each respective website.

          You will need a pet passport, be up to date vaccination/booster wise, have had a rabies test. Some websites say a blood test within 3 weeks of flying but this varies site to site. Once your pet lands there is no quarantine as the UK is low rabies so you pay a $30 fee and be on your way. Pets At Home/Companion Care have a great doggy emigration check list which is very useful.

          I am looking at staying somewhere on Airbnb initially until I’m up and running. You can apply a filter to search for listings that will allow pets and may be cheaper/more convenient initially, especially if you would like to bring your dog straight away.

          Hope this helps.

          Good luck,


          • Annie Hewitt
            September 27, 2018 / 1:49 am

            Hi tats,
            I am also moving to canada with my dog and the cheapest quote i found for heathrow to vancouver was £890 with a pet transport company not including a crate as i already have one.
            How do you book directly with an airline and is this alot of hassle?

            Many thanks

  51. Samantha
    December 18, 2017 / 10:27 am

    Hi I found your post really helpful thanks ! I’ve been struggling with the digital photo on the document checklist though and was hoping you could help me out. How did you go about it ? It says from chin to crown should only be 31-36mm but its much bigger when it’s on the computer and it needs to be at least 60kb. Did you scan a passport photo ? Mines a fraction too small for that. Thank you !

    • Go Live Explore
      December 18, 2017 / 11:23 am

      Hey Samantha,
      So glad you found it useful! 🙂 From what I remember, I just took a picture of my passport photo and then cropped it down to try fit the measurements. That might give a better resolution/size than scanning it in. I’m sure that now you can get digital passport photos taken at photo stores (perhaps Boots would do it), I’ve had that done here in Canada and I’m sure they do it in England. That might be a better solution as then you won’t have the sizing issue. Sorry I can’t be more specific with it, hope this helps a bit though! Alicia xx

      • Samantha
        January 6, 2018 / 1:54 pm

        Thank you for your help !

  52. Jacob
    December 16, 2017 / 1:47 am

    Very informative thanks for sharing though i do wanna say that while i was moving from toronto to ottawa it was really tough to find a nice moving company whom i can trust but luckily i found one and i’m sharing this company hope it helps you to move.
    Keep up the good work.

  53. Rajan
    November 7, 2017 / 6:15 am


    We’re a family of 4 (Me, my wife, a 3 year old and a 1 year old). What’s the best route for us do you think? We’re not in a position to potentially live away from each other for months, and the kids would need to come with too.

    Also, would you advise we go through the IEC first? Does it make permanent residency easier after?

    • Go Live Explore
      November 11, 2017 / 6:40 pm

      Hi Rajan. If you’re coming with dependents (kids) I’m not entirely sure how it works with this visa. Each individual aged 18-30 has to apply on their own merit, so when my partner and I applied, we applied individually and just so happened to get accepted around the same time. However, you can’t do a joint application with your spouse. As far as children are concerned, i’m not sure if they can come on your visa – you’ll have to check on the website. Also, remember the IEC only gives you 2 years.

      In answer to your second question, doing the IEC visa doesn’t really make any difference to your permanent residency application. However, having experience for a few years working with a Canadian employer may be beneficial especially if you want to apply for the BC PNP (provincial nomination) Permanent Residency Program, as your employer may sponsor you and that can help with the Permanent Residency. Another alternative is Express Entry, which is based on a points system, and takes into account your education, work experience, skills etc. However, it depends which route you go down, your profession, your employer etc. If you’re going to do the Permanent Residency route, I recommend a company called PM Immigration, they specialise in this type of thing and are a great help with PR. Hope this helps, good luck!

  54. Thuy Nguyen
    December 18, 2016 / 2:12 pm

    This post was very useful, thank you.

    One question, if I apply for the working visa and land in Canada when 30. Does it matter if I turn 31 whilst on the visa?

    • Go Live Explore
      December 19, 2016 / 1:22 am

      Hey Thuy! Thank you, i’m so glad you found it useful 🙂 As far as I know, it doesn’t matter if you turn 31 whilst on the visa. I think as long as you’re 30 or under when either applying or entering the country (i’m not sure which), then it’s ok, but double check that in case it’s not correct. But I think it’s fine to turn 31 on it 🙂 Sorry I can’t give you a definite answer! The Facebook “IEC working holiday” group is quite good for queries like that xx

  55. Chelsea Young
    December 13, 2016 / 3:16 pm

    Thank your very much for this. I found it incredibly helpful.

  56. June 27, 2016 / 6:23 am

    We’ll hopefully be joining you in the future. Had a magical six months in BC last summer. Alas, we are too old for the IEC so will have to apply via another route. Don’t miss the Sunshine Coast this summer, we lived in Robert’s Creek for two months!

    • Go Live Explore
      June 27, 2016 / 8:29 am

      Ahh that’s so exciting Gemma! It’s definitely a magical place. I think Express Entry points are at an all-time low at the moment, so that could be a route to consider. We visited the Sunshine Coast a few months ago & went scuba diving in Tuwanek – it’s SUCH a beautiful place. I don’t think we stopped in Robert’s Creek but we’ll make sure to next time! Good luck with your application & let me know if you make it over 🙂

  57. Lauren
    June 2, 2016 / 3:18 am

    Thanks! This was super helpful!

    • Go Live Explore
      June 2, 2016 / 12:33 pm

      No worries Lauren, i’m glad you found it useful!

      • Bilal
        January 24, 2018 / 9:08 pm

        Really nice blog 👍👍. I wanted some help from you. I m a business Graduate i read about this working holiday visa. As mentioned u can stay upto 24 months . But after that is it difficult to get an extension of visa ? Or do you have any knowledge about that process ? Thanks

    • November 9, 2017 / 7:23 am

      Do you know how about student visa?
      or where can I get all information about how to apply as a student in Vancouver?

    • Jack Gilmour
      January 31, 2018 / 6:36 am


      This is such a great article! I’ve even booked marked it for future reference.

      I plan to move to Nova Scotia in Feb/March next year, and I’ve just started my application. Do you consider that too early, or am I ok for timing?



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