COVID-19 Notice: The Irish Embassy in Ottawa is currently not accepting applications from Canadians for the Working Holiday Visa. If you would like to receive updates on when the Irish Embassy will resume processing working holiday visa applications, fill in the form at the bottom of this post.
Are you a Canadian citizen thinking about moving to Ireland? The great news is that you can! The working holiday visa is the easiest option for Canadian youth to move to Ireland for an extended period of time to live, work, and travel too. Canadians can get the Working Holiday Visa for Ireland just once in their lifetime. But don’t fret, there are over 30 more countries that Canadian citizens can get working holiday visas for.
This post breaks down what Canadians need to know before applying for the working holiday visa in Ireland.
The Ireland Working Holiday Visa is only valid in the Republic of Ireland (think Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick), not in Northern Ireland (Belfast). This is because Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom. The great news is that Canadians can get a working holiday visa for the UK too! You can learn what Canadians need to know about the UK Working Holiday Visa here. Take note, the age limit to apply is 30 years old for the UK.
Canadian citizens between the ages of 18 and 35, inclusively, can apply for the Ireland Working Holiday Visa. This means you can start preparing your application while you are 17, as long as you submit it after your 18th birthday. It also means you can still submit your application when you are 35. As long as you submit it before your 36th birthday, you can enter Ireland on your working holiday visa when you are 36 and stay for up to two years.
In order to be eligible to apply for the Ireland Working Holiday Visa, you must meet the following requirements:
The application process is fairly straightforward. We’ve broken it down into four steps below. As long as you read carefully and double check you have completed each requirement correctly, it should be smooth sailing!
The Irish Government provides applicants with a Working Holiday Authorization checklist. This checklist will help you make sure you do not miss any required documents. In the application, the Irish Government provides four forms to complete, and require you to provide additional supporting documents.
The bank statement cannot be a photocopy or print out from your online banking. This will result in your application being denied. You must go into your bank and request a statement or letter with an original stamp or signature.
Once you have all your documents gathered, you must mail them along with your payment to the Irish Embassy in Ottawa. Address your envelope as follows:
Working Holiday Visa
Embassy of Ireland
130 Albert Street Suite 1105
We highly recommend that you mail your package in a registered envelope so that you are given a tracking number. This will be useful to make sure your package arrives in Ottawa.
The working holiday visa costs $150 CAD. Payment must be made in Canadian dollars by credit card, personal cheque, or by getting a bank draft, money order, certified cheque from the bank. You must also include money for the return postage. Either $15 for registered mail (slower) or $60 for courier (faster).
The typical processing time between submitting your application and receiving your passport back is six to eight weeks. Be sure to allow this much time (plus extra for precaution) before boarding your flight to Ireland.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to COVID-19, the Irish Embassy has stopped processing all working holiday visa applications. It is unknown if the processing times next year will be different due to a backlog of applicants, or changes in the application process. If you would like to receive updates on when the Irish Embassy will resume processing working holiday visa applications, fill in the form at the bottom of this post.
Once you have received your passport back from the Embassy in the mail, your working holiday visa will be inside. Congrats!
Once you have received your working holiday visa, you have 12 months to enter Ireland to activate it. If you do not enter Ireland within 12 months from the date on the visa, your visa expires and you cannot use it. And because you can only receive this visa once in your life, unfortunately, you cannot reapply.
Once you arrive in Ireland, you have one month to register with the Garda Nation Immigration Bureau, or GNIB. This registration certificate is required to receive your Irish Residence Permit (IRP) which allows you to legally stay and work in Ireland. Without this certificate, you cannot get your PPS (Irish version of a SIN number), a bank account, or a job. Therefore, it’s very important to get your IRP as soon as possible after arriving in Ireland.
The fee for this certificate is €300 and only has to be paid once for the duration of your two-year working holiday visa.
Did you know young Canadians are eligible for another type of visa too? If you are a student registered at a post-secondary institution in Canada, and are between 18 and 35, you are eligible to apply for the International Co-op Internship Visa. Even if your academic program does not have a required internship or co-op, you can still complete an internship abroad in Ireland!
In your application, you must include a letter from your institution confirming you are a registered student for the duration of your visa and that your work placement aligns with your field of studies, or meets your program’s co-op requirements. This visa allows you to stay for up to one year.
Canadians can get both the Working Holiday Visa and International Co-op visa in their lifetime, meaning you can spend up to three years in Ireland! Take note, you are required to exit Ireland between visas.
Fill in your details below to sign up for email updates on when the Irish Embassy in Ottawa will resume accepting applications again for working holidays.
Alison is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Stepabroad and loves sharing her passion for adventure to inspire others to travel. While in university, she took a life-changing summer trip to Australia on a Working Holiday and since then traveled extensively across six continents throughout her student and professional career.