This was due to follow the ‘we’ve designed the route post’ but it’s still in the works. I think it always will be in a way. Since we decided to bring our trip forward, I knew I wanted to continue travelling on my own for a bit. I yearned to feel the independence and fluidity that comes with being on your own somewhere new. The world is your oyster.
Initially, I just wanted to see Alaska. Then, I wanted to see Japan, Australia, The US and Canada. Then, I realised I hadn’t got enough money. Something had to give because volunteering would only get us so far. I decided I needed to work. For this, I needed visas, and commitment. I thought initially about chasing one of my friends to Australia, but while I’m sure the experience would be amazing and the country would be beautiful, it wasn’t ever top of my list*, so I questioned again.
I’d always wanted to see the US, but you can’t get a working visa without being a student or working on a summer camp, so, where next? Canada? I could work in Canada then dip into both the US and Alaska to travel, to enrich and to learn.
That’s where it began, but certainly not where it ended. I didn’t know enough about the nation. Now I’ve done my research, I am so damn sold on the nation. Canada looks amazing!! Who knows whether I will even pop into the US now. I reckon I could spend plenty of time exploring Canada.
I looked into applying for a visa just as the process was changing. The 2016 process is hugely different from previous years. It’s a lottery. (If you’re from one of the countries with a cap on working visas.) I struck lucky. I was invited to apply, and after submitting my information, 7 days later, I got my POE – my letter of approval.
Sometimes it’s strange the cards life deals out. I couldn’t be happier. It’s amazing news. The application process is supposed to take over 8 weeks and it’s been only one calendar week. I’m glad it’s come soon as I have a load of preparation to do. Lots of questions to ask. If you’re on a working holiday in Canada now – I’d love to speak to you about your experiences! I’ve got to say this Facebook group has changed my life, enormous as it sounds. This one is also great and I hope to use more of this one now the visa is through!
The IEC process – my experience
I’ve written this section in the hope that it will help others with the application process – if you’re not interested, skip on by!
First things first, HERE is the log-in page that I can never find. Ever.
Then, have a read through this.
- Jump in the pool
The first thing to do is the eligibility check, where if you’re from the UK you need to answer ‘British Citizen’ not ‘UK and Colonies’. Then, use your reference number to create an account on this page. You’ll then be entered into the pool. You now have a ticket to the Working Holiday Visa lottery.
2. Ignore ghosts
From time to time, you’ll receive emails (I received about 4 during the process) saying “Your application has been updated. Please sign in to your MyCIC account and check your application status and messages for more information.” It probably hasn’t. This (in theory), means someone on the other side is reviewing your account. Unless the email says “You have a new message in your MyCIC account for application:XXXXX” then it’s probably a ghost email. If ever it says that – log on! They have news for you. The messages are quite hard to find, but they will be in the table at the right hand side of your application information. You then need to use the drop down to find the message, and click to download it.
3. Ignore their dates
The third thing, is that if they say invites will be given out on XX date, don’t wait up. UK visas were due to be released on the 18th, but they were actually released on the 22nd.
4. Tell them everything, and I mean, everything
If you’re then invited, you have to upload a LOAD of documents. The most important is probably the police check for everywhere you have lived over 6 months. From the UK, you need to acquire this from ACRO. For standard delivery (up to 8 working days), it costs £45. You also need to upload a 10 year job history (get those old CVs out), a family form about your family, and a CV in Canadian resume style – this basically means chronologically, and simply. You also need to upload a photo of yourself and a copy of your passport. You then send them CAN$250 (around £125) and you’re submitted.
You then just have to wait. The hardest bit, but once your application is off, you just have to. It’s like doing exams and waiting for a grade! Ahhh, I wanna know NOW!
6. Ignore more ghosts
Yep, same old story.
7. Check your account
You’ll start hearing things about others having their visa approved and you’ll probably check your account. I’m not sure why. Maybe in case they forgot to let you know you could go, or in case it all disappeared and until now, it was but a dream. But then one day, you’ll sign in and your homepage status might say ‘Approved’ but you click through and your application is in progress. Can I get excited yet? You frantically check the Facebook groups.
8. More waiting.
Rest assured. If you get a visa, they will send you the automated “You have a new message in your MyCIC account for application:XXXXX” Excitement is justified at this point. Your message reveals all.
9. Is this my POE?
You have a message in your account, it says you’ll need to bring it when you come to Canada. Wait a minute? Is this the infamous Point of Entry letter? YES! Yes it is!! You’re going to Canada!!
A plan for Canada
At the moment, I haven’t got a plan. After my initial dream trip plan from LA-Seattle-Vancouver, I’m now toying with Toronto. Edmonton is in consideration. So is working at Whistler. Whilst everything is up in the air, so my plan is research. My main things to work out:
- Accommodation when I arrive
- Insurance (aaahhh so many $$$$)
- SIN number
- Canadian bank account
- Whistler recruitment fairs
- Working in coffee shop chains
- Do I want to stay in advertising? Shall I utilise my network contacts?
- Is this a career building opportunity or a career break?
- French Canada – French!!!
*Note: I do still hope to do Aus one day. I just needed somewhere a bit more accessible this time. Same with my reasons for not choosing beautiful NZ to work in.