Canadian's Guide to Working Holiday Visas

Working Holiday Visas (or Youth Mobility Agreements) are a little-known benefit of being a Canadian citizen. The idea is that you can live in a country for about a year with the option of working to pay your way through your travels. Canada has formal agreements with many countries to allow youth to work there temporarily.

Here are the basics (varies by country and exceptions do occur as listed under "Jen's Notes"):

  • You'll need to hold a passport, valid for at least 3 to 6 months past your working holiday term;
  • You'll need to prove that you can support yourself minimally by showing a bank statement (amount required shown below);
  • You'll need to meet an age range, between 18 to 30 or 35 (shown below);
  • Visas are typically non-renewable and only valid for 1 year;
  • You'll need to apply for this visa while you're in Canada;
  • There are generally no restrictions on the type of work that you do;
  • Most of these Working Holiday Visas are multiple entry;
  • No dependents (kids or spouses) are allowed to come with you on this visa;
  • Most WHV require an application fee (shown below); and
  • Most WHV won't require you to have prior arrangements (shown below)– as in a work or internship contract or housing.
  • The details is scattered across all the different embassy websites. These are pretty difficult to navigate sometimes and not all the information is there. I've consolidated as much of the information as I could find into this centralized source. I hope this helps you out and encourages you to take advantage of this awesome opportunity!

    Last updated: December 8, 2016

    Information presented here may not be accurate or is subject to change at any time so please only use this as the starting ground and conduct your own due dilligence.

    Australia
    Maximum Stay12 months, renewable Application CostCA$450
    Age Range18 - 30 Savings RequiredCA$5200
    Prior ArrangementsNot required More InformationLink
    From the embassy websiteThis visa is for young people who want to holiday and work in Australia for up to a year. It is a temporary visa that encourages cultural exchange and closer ties between Australia and eligible countries.

    Jen's notesYou are able to apply for this visa if you are already in Australia. Also, the only tedious thing about the application is it states that you 'may have to obtain a "character and police certificate" from every country you have lived in for > 12 months since age 16'.

    Belgium
    Maximum Stay12 months Application CostCA$300
    Age Range18 - 35 Savings RequiredCA$3700
    Prior ArrangementsNot required More InformationLink
    From the embassy websiteSimply put, the Working Holiday Program is mainly for young Canadian travelers who wish to work on-and off during their stay in Belgium, with a perfect home base at the heart of Europe with excellent travel opportunities to the rest of Europe.

    Jen's notesTo apply, you must mail your application to the consulate in Montreal. No requirements what type of occupation you take up. This application also requires a bit more documentation than others (criminal record, medical certificate).

    Chile
    Maximum Stay12 months Application CostCA$135
    Age Range18 - 35 Savings Required?
    Prior ArrangementsNot required More InformationLink
    Jen's notesTo apply, you must either e-mail or call your closest Chilean embassy(located in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver). An interview is required, but they note that an online interview may be conducted. Processing time is 30 days.
    Costa Rica
    Maximum Stay12 months Application CostCA$150
    Age Range18 - 35 Savings RequiredCA$2500
    Prior ArrangementsNot required More InformationLink
    From the embassy websiteThis category is designed for young Canadian citizens, including registered students, who intend to travel to Costa Rica and work to supplement their financial resources.

    Jen's notesThe application processs is a bit lengthy. You must mail in your application and once approved, you'll be summoned for an appointment in person.

    Croatia
    Maximum Stay12 months Application Cost-
    Age Range18 - 35 Savings Required-
    Prior ArrangementsRequired More InformationLink
    From the embassy websiteThis 'First Temporary Residence' requires: 1. proof of school or university admission in the Republic of Croatia, 2. medical treatment in the Republic of Croatia, 3. letter from authorized institution regarding scientific research, 4. humanitarian reasons (family reunification or similar), or 5. work permit.

    Jen's notesAlthough touted by some as a 'working holiday visa', there is nothing 'holiday' about this. You'll need prior arrangements with an organization, employer, or school before applying for this visa. Alternatively, you can enter on a tourist visa for 90 days every 6 months. At the time of writing, the link to the application was down.

    Czech Republic
    Maximum Stay12 months, renewable Application CostCA$137
    Age Range18 - 35 Savings RequiredCA$4000
    Prior ArrangementsNot required More InformationLink
    Canadian nationals may apply for a special kind of visa to facilitate their foreign experience. [..] The agreement allows young Canadians to travel, study and work in the Czech Republic for up to one year.

    Jen's notesThe processing time is 60 days with no option to expedite, so start this one early. The only way to apply is through the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Ottawa, in person or by mail– in the latter case the Embassy may still insist on a personal attendance of the applicant.

    Denmark
    Maximum Stay12 months Application CostCA$0
    Age Range18 - 35 Savings RequiredCA$2990
    Prior ArrangementsNot required More InformationLink
    From the embassy websiteThe permit allows you to travel and work in Denmark for one full year, giving you a chance to explore the country and its culture. [..] The primary purpose of your stay must be a holiday, but you may work during your stay in Denmark to earn extra funds to support yourself. You are allowed to study for a maximum of 6 months, and work part time or full time for a maximum of 6 months during the 12-month period.

    Jen's notesTo apply, you must make an appointment and apply in person at VFS Global. They have offices in Ottawa, Vancouver and Toronto only. Application must be submitted within 3 months of entry date.

    Estonia
    Maximum Stay12 months Application Cost?
    Age Range18 - 35 Savings RequiredCA$2500
    Prior ArrangementsRequired More InformationLink
    From the embassy websiteThe Youth Mobility Visa is for: 1. young citizens, including post-secondary graduates, who intend to obtain further training in Estonia under a pre-arranged contract of employment in support of their career development; 2. registered students of a post-secondary institution in Canada who intend to complete part of their academic curriculum in Estonia by undertaking a pre-arranged internship or work placement, including in the context of an arrangement between post-secondary institutions; 3. young citizens, including registered students, who intend to travel in Estonia and who intend to obtain remunerated employment in order to supplement their financial resources.

    Jen's notesIt seems like their visa requires a contract of employment, an internship, or the intent to get a job. No 'holiday' aspect to this one.

    France
    Maximum Stay12 months Application Cost$0
    Age Range18 - 35 Savings RequiredCA$3700
    Prior ArrangementsNot required More InformationLink
    From the embassy websiteThis type of visa is meant for young Canadians who wish to explore the culture of France as tourists and to find temporary paid employment to help pay for their stay. As holders of a temporary long-stay visa, these individuals are only subject to one particular requirement: they must present themselves at the prefecture of their place of residence, two months before the expiry date of their visa, to request an extension for their stay, if they wish.

    Jen's notesTo apply, it says to consult the consulate in Toronto, Montreal, or Vancouver. The Toronto embassy website says they only accept applications by mail. This one has one of the more straightforward applications (not much additional documentation required). (Ontario only) However, active OHIP is required. If you've been living out of the country, this means you need to be residing in Ontario for at least 3 months before you apply for this visa.

    Germany
    Maximum Stay12 months Application CostCA$88
    Age Range18 - 35 Savings RequiredCA$3270
    Prior ArrangementsNot required More InformationLink
    From the embassy websiteYoung Canadians who wish to stay in Germany for tourism and cultural discovery purposes while being authorized to work to supplement their financial resources. The Youth Mobility visa is ONLY available at the German Consulate General in Toronto.

    Jen's notesYou can apply within 6 months of your visit, and the processing time is between 2 and 3 weeks. This is one of the quickest turnarounds as well as longest buffer time among all working holiday visas. If you apply by mail, you can only get the visa for 90 days; you have to request extension when you arrive in Germany and a 100EUR fee will apply.

    Greece
    Maximum Stay12 months Application CostCA$148
    Age Range18 - 35 Savings RequiredCA$2700
    Prior ArrangementsNot required More InformationLink
    From the embassy websiteYoung Greek and Canadian citizens, between 18 and 35, may have the opportunity to travel, reside and work in each other's countries for up to twelve months, under the condition that [..] they want to travel for a long vacation with the option of working temporarily to supplement their funds.

    Jen's notesYouth mobility. "Penal certificate for general purposes" and a health certificate from a doctor

    Hong Kong
    Maximum Stay12 months, non-renewable Application CostCA$34
    Age Range18 - 30 Savings RequiredCA$2570
    Prior ArrangementsNot required More InformationLink
    From the embassy websiteThe purpose of the Scheme is to facilitate cultural and educational exchange between Hong Kong and [Canada] with a view to strengthening the bilateral relationship between the two places. National passport holders aged between 18 and 30 of [Canada], who are ordinarily residing in their home country and whose main intention to Hong Kong is to holiday, are welcome to join the Scheme. Under the arrangements of the Scheme, they may take up short-term employment and/or enrol in a short study or training course while they are on holiday in Hong Kong.

    Jen's notesIf obtaining temporary employment, you are not allowed to work for the same employer for more than three months. If taking a training course, you can take any number, but the duration of one cannot exceed 6 months.

    Ireland
    Maximum Stay24 months, non-renewable Application CostCA$150
    Age Range18 - 35 Savings Required?
    Prior ArrangementsNot required More InformationLink
    From the embassy websiteThe Working Holiday Authorisation‌, valid for two years, is open to Canadian citizens aged 18-35. This open work visa allows young Canadians to travel and work in Ireland, or to progress their chosen careers through employment in Ireland that is related to their degree and/or professional experience.

    Jen's notesYou can apply from within Ireland and outside of Canada. Within Canada, all applications are processed through the embassy in Ottawa.

    Italy
    Maximum Stay90+ days Application CostCA$165
    Age Range? Savings Required?
    Prior ArrangementsNot required More InformationLink
    Jen's notesVery difficult to navigate and decipher the website. The visa application is 100% in Italian.
    Japan
    Maximum Stay6+ months, up to 12 Application Cost?
    Age Range18 - 30 Savings RequiredCA$2500
    Prior ArrangementsNot required More InformationLink
    From the embassy websiteWith this visa, Canadian citizens need not obtain further permission to engage in remunerative activities while in Japan. However, this programme is not designed for persons who mainly intend to work. The applicants' primary purpose of stay should be to "holiday" in Japan. Therefore, applicants who intend primarily to work cannot apply for this visa. [..] Working Holiday participants are strictly prohibited from working at places affecting public morals such as bars, cabarets, and nightclubs, etc.

    Jen's notesThey ask you to give a rough outline of your first 6 months in Japan. Furthermore, this is a single-entry visa! So if you intend to travel outside of Japan, you'll need to do a bit more logistically to make this work.

    Latvia
    Maximum Stay12 months Application CostCA$245
    Age Range18 - 35 Savings RequiredCA$1800
    Prior ArrangementsNot required More InformationLink
    From the embassy websiteThe Youth Exchange Programme [is for] young citizens, including registered students in their home country, who intend to travel in the host country and who wish to obtain paid employment on an occasional basis in order to supplement their financial resources.

    Jen's notesFor the application, you'll need to mail it into the Embassy of Latvia in Ottawa. Decision will be made within 30 days.

    Mexico
    Maximum Stay? Application Cost?
    Age Range18 - ? Savings Required?
    Prior Arrangements? More InformationLink
    Jen's notesUnder Canada's website, Mexico is listed as one of the partnered countries. However, the Mexico-Canada Embassy website doesn't contain any information (links are broken). To pursue this, you should contact the embassy directly for more information.
    Netherlands
    Maximum Stay12 months Application CostCA$74
    Age Range18 - 30 Savings Required?
    Prior ArrangementsNot required More InformationLink
    From the embassy websiteYou wish to come to the Netherlands for a working holiday. The purpose of your stay is to get to know Dutch society and culture.

    Jen's notesYou'll need to submit passport photos, TB test, fingerprints and signature after submitting application. You can apply for this visa while you are in the Netherlands.

    New Zealand
    Maximum Stay23 months Application CostCA$200
    Age Range18 - 35 Savings RequiredCA$4000
    Prior ArrangementsNot required More InformationLink
    From the embassy websiteThis visa is for you if your main reason for coming to New Zealand is to holiday, but you want to work or study while you’re here.

    Jen's notesTo apply, you'll need to send in an online application form. You can apply for a 12-month visa and extend it up to 23-months while you're in New Zealand.

    Norway
    Maximum Stay12 months, renewable Application CostCA$585
    Age Range18 - 35 Savings RequiredCA$5000
    Prior ArrangementsNot required More InformationLink
    From the embassy websiteYou are going on holiday in Norway, but you also wish to work during your stay. You cannot enter Norway until your application has been decided. You can work while visiting Norway. If you have been granted a permit as a tourist, you can only work for six months for the same employer.

    Jen's notesThe application requires a criminal background check issued within recent 3 months, a complete physical examination perfomed by a physcian within recent 3 months including a chest X-ray, urinalysis, blood test and HIV test. You must also hand in the application and documents in person at the Embassy of Denmark in Ottawa, which represents Norway.

    Poland
    Maximum Stay12 months Application CostCA$150
    Age Range18 - 35 Savings Required?
    Prior ArrangementsNot required More InformationLink
    From the embassy websiteFund your vacation with temporary work in Poland. This program is designed for young citizens, including registered students in their home country, who intend to travel in the host country and who wish to obtain paid employment on an occasional basis in order to supplement their financial resources

    Jen's notesApplications will only be accepted by mail or in person in Ottawa. The link to the application goes to the Polish Embassy website so you'll have to hunt that down yourself.

    Slovenia
    Maximum Stay12 months Application CostCA$206
    Age Range18 - 35 Savings Required?
    Prior ArrangementsNot required More InformationLink
    From the embassy websiteYoung citizens, including registered students in their home country, who intend to travel in the host country and who wish to obtain remunerated employment in order to supplement their financial resources.
    South Korea
    Maximum Stay12 months Application Cost?
    Age Range18 - 30 Savings RequiredCA$3495
    Prior ArrangementsNot required More InformationLink
    From the embassy websiteThose whose main purpose is tourism for a definite amount of time fully understand that this program is primarily intended as a travel vacation and employment is only intended to supplement expenses.

    Jen's notesAll Korea Working Holiday Visa applications must be made in your home country and are issued on a first-come, first-served basis. There is a quota of 4000 Canadian visas issued every year.

    Spain
    Maximum Stay12 months Application CostCA$150
    Age Range18 - 35 Savings RequiredCA$2290
    Prior ArrangementsNot required More InformationLink
    From the embassy websiteUnder the “Youth Mobility Program” Agreement, signed in 2009 between Spain and Canada, up to 1000 Canadian youth can to travel to Spain to gain work experience related to their area of expertise; to complement their post-secondary training with an internship; or to improve their knowledge of the Spanish language, culture and society.

    Jen's notesIf intending to stay over 6 months, a police check with fingerprints by the RCMP must be submitted. You can apply via the Spanish Embassies in Ottawa, Montreal, or Toronto.

    Sweden
    Maximum Stay12 months, non-renewable Application CostCA$150
    Age Range18 - 35 Savings RequiredCA$3000
    Prior ArrangementsNot required More InformationLink
    From the embassy websiteHave you dreamed of spending a year living and working in Sweden? Sweden has an agreement with Canada that lets you do just that. The program is aimed at Canadian citizens between 18 and 30 years old.

    Jen's notesYou can file an application online. Processing time is up to 3 months.

    Switzerland
    Maximum Stay12 months, up to 18 Application CostCA$94
    Age Range18 - 35 Savings Required-
    Prior ArrangementsRequired More InformationLink
    Jen's notesThe Youth Mobility Program allows you to complete an internship in Switzerland, thus you must be employed full-time in your field of studies during your stay and the employment must be authorized at the time of application.
    Taiwan
    Maximum Stay12 months Application CostCA$118
    Age Range18 - 35 Savings RequiredCA$2500
    Prior ArrangementsNot required More InformationLink
    From the embassy websiteIntend to travel in Taiwan and work to supplement their financial resources. However, work should be an incidental rather than the primary reason for their visit to Taiwan.

    Jen's notesInitial duration is 180 days, after which you must apply for an extension of 180 days. Health check certificate/immunization record required.

    Ukraine
    Maximum Stay12 months Application Cost?
    Age Range18 - 35 Savings RequiredCA$2500
    Prior ArrangementsNot required More InformationLink
    From the embassy websiteCitizens, intent to travel along hosting country and temporary obtain a job to earn some more money for living.

    Jen's notesMust apply in person at the local embassy (Toronto, Pickering, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Ottawa)

    United Kingdom
    Maximum Stay24 months Application CostCA$390
    Age Range18 - 30 Savings RequiredCA$3100
    Prior ArrangementsNot required More InformationLink
    From the embassy websiteYou can be self-employed and set up a company - as long as your premises are rented, your equipment isn't worth more than 5,000GBP and you don't have any employees

    Jen's notesThe earliest you can apply for a visa is 3 months before you travel. Online application available.

    Jen is the founder of Lunch Money, a multicurrency personal finance tool for the modern-day spender. She retreats to Asia as a digital nomad during the Canadian winters and is a self-proclaimed "froodie" – a frugal foodie.