The Working Holiday Visa in Canada for Portuguese Citizens

September 15, 2020
Posted in Working Holiday

Are you a Portuguese citizen planning to apply for the Canada Working Holiday Visa? Congrats, you’re about to embark on an exciting journey! In this post, we break down everything you need to know as a Portuguese passport holder applying for the Canada Working Holiday Visa in 2022.

Please note: IEC 2021 season is currently closed, but you can start getting ready for IEC 2022! Connect with us today for a free consultation!

Canada Working Holiday Visa: What You Need to Know as a Portuguese Citizen

At Stepwest we help Portuguese passport holders, and citizens of all eligible IEC countries, come to Canada on a working holiday visa. We are a Recognized Organization of the Government of Canada. As a recommended provider of services for Canada working holidays, we are experts in the entire process! Continue reading to learn what you need to know as a Portuguese citizen applying for the Canada Working Holiday Visa.

I am from Portugal and want to apply for a working holiday visa in Canada, can I apply now? 

As soon as IEC 2022 season opens, so the application process can begin, you will be able to submit your IEC profile. If you are part of our Working Holiday programs, we can start working with you to be ready for when IEC 2022 opens. The more you prepare now, the sooner you can submit your work permit application after receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA)!

When will Canada working holiday visa applications for 2022 open for Portuguese?

International Experience Canada does not have an official opening day. It normally opens near the end of the year before you plan to arrive in Canada. The 2022 applications should open at the end of 2021 or early 2022 (still to be confirmed). However, this could be delayed as a result of COVID-19. Please keep in mind that IEC announces each opening by country, so you will need to wait for the announcement for Portugal.

How many Canada working holiday visas are for Portuguese?

The number of working holiday visas available to Portuguese is determined in the Youth Mobility Agreement made between Canada and Portugal. This agreement is renewed on a yearly basis meaning the number of working holiday visas available can change. In 2020 and 2021, there were 1,750 working holiday visas available to Portuguese citizens. At this time it is unknown how many working holiday visas will be available for 2022. We expect it to be near the same amount, but this is not a guarantee.

Stepwest has been helping Europeans come to Canada on our Working Holiday Programs since 2010.

How many times can I participate in IEC as a Portuguese citizen?

Applicants from Portugal are allowed only one participation through any of IEC’s three work permit categories. This means Portuguese citizens can get either a Working Holiday or Young Professional or International Co-op work permit – not all three. Citizens of other countries will have different terms, but these were the terms set between Canada and Portugal.

The good news is that unlike many other countries, Portuguese can receive either a Working Holiday, Young Professional, or International Co-op work permit for up to two years! For example, if you are from Portugal and you apply for a working holiday visa, you are eligible to receive an open work permit for up to two years’ duration. This is twice, even four times as long as many other European countries.

It is guaranteed that citizens of Portugal receive a two-year work permit for Canada?

No, it is not guaranteed! Be very careful here and don’t assume you will automatically receive a work permit for the full two years. Canada requires that Portuguese citizens get insurance coverage for the entire duration of their intended stay in Canada. This means if you only purchase insurance for one year, it is very likely that your Canada work permit will only be approved for one year, not two.

Remember that it’s very important to buy insurance for the whole duration of your work permit. Learn what you need to know about insurance for Canada Working Holidays here.

Remember that it’s very important to get insurance coverage for the whole duration of your Canada working holiday permit. Get the correct insurance for your IEC work permit in Canada here.

Oskar came to Banff, Canada with Stepwest’s Working Holiday Resort Job Program for a ski season in the Rockies. Watch his experience!

Once IEC 2022 opens, how can I start my application for a working holiday visa as a Portuguese citizen?

You can create your IEC profile online to get your invitation to apply for your working holiday permit. Have you taken a look at our Working Holiday Application guide? We explain every step from creating your profile online in your MyCIC account to waiting for your invitation to apply (ITA). Once you receive your ITA, we also explain how to prepare your working holiday visa application!

Have questions about the visa application process? What documents are needed? How do I complete biometrics? Don’t worry, in Stepwest’s working holiday programs we answer all your visa application questions. Get the correct insurance for your IEC work permit in Canada here.

Secure your job in Canada while getting support with your working holiday visa application:

How long does it take a citizen of Portugal to secure a working holiday visa for Canada? 

It takes about eight weeks after you have completed your biometrics. During COVID-19 the processing times have not been accurate, but for IEC 2022 IEC expects to resume regular processing times for work permits

I am applying for a Canada working holiday visa from Portugal, how can I do biometrics? 

You can complete your biometrics in any country with a VAC center. For now, Portugal doesn’t have a VAC center. Do not go to the Embassy of Canada in Lisbon. They cannot assist you with biometrics or any part of your Canada working holiday visa application.

Have questions about how to complete biometrics from Portugal? Our team can walk you through the process during your working holiday program.

I have a Portuguese passport but I do not live in Portugal. Can I still apply for the working holiday visa for Canada?

YES, The Canada Working Holiday Visa has no residence requirements. You can still apply if you are living outside of Portugal as long as you have a valid Portuguese passport. 

Do I need to study English to secure a working holiday visa for Canada?

Not at all! You can come to work in Canada directly without taking an English course. Of course, the higher your level of English, the faster you will land a job. To take away the stress of getting a job in a new country, our team of Work Placement Specialists can secure your job for you!

Live and work in Canada on a Stepwest Working Holiday Program and explore this country’s magnificent beauty!

How can Stepwest help me with my Working Holiday experience in Canada?

We have two working holiday programs to help you secure your job in Canada. The right one for you depends on the type of experience you are looking for:


Secure your job and accommodation before coming to Canada!

Our Working Holiday Resort Job Program allows you to experience living and working at a summer or winter resort in Canada. If you love the outdoors and enjoy hiking and skiing, then this program will help you discover your passions while working and earning money!

You can start the program at any time of the year with the most popular being summer and winter. The summer season begins in May/June. If you like mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, zip-lining, and rock climbing, then the summer season is perfect for you! The winter season begins in October/November and is for you if you love skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and ice skating. Explore the Rocky Mountains while living in Jasper, Banff, and Lake Louise. Or live in Whistler for the ultimate Canadian experience with your working holiday permit. Over the course of your two-year work permit, you can literally experience it all!

Whether you start in the summer or winter, your job and accommodation are secured at a Canadian resort before you arrive.

Are you a hospitality professional or do you work in culinary arts? Stepwest can secure your job and accommodation at a high-end hotel in Western Canada. Contact us today to learn more!

Planning Resources:

Karolina came to Canada on a working holiday for the summer season with Stepwest and stayed for the winter season too! Read her story here.


Your instant connection to the local culture in Vancouver!

Our Working Holiday City Job program provides you with job opportunities in Vancouver on arrival. This means you can build a network of friends and professional connections faster than if you arrived in Canada on your own. Use these connections to find a position in your career field and make the most of your entire two-year open work permit!

With the job that our team helps you land, you can start making money right away. This makes it easier to get settled into your new home in Vancouver, get involved in the local culture, and connect with newcomers just like you. Don’t waste time trying to find a job on your own in a new city, let us make the adjustment process easy and stress-free!

It’s very common for internationals to get started working in Canada with customer service, retail or hospitality types of jobs. This provides you with the time to get used to the city and learn the standards for your industry in Canada – all while making money. Like Natalia, who arrived in Canada with a goal to work in her industry of finance:

Natalia came to Canada from Spain to gain work experience in her career field. Stepwest helped her get started and meet her goals, check out her story!

In both programs, we help you with your Canada Working Holiday Visa application for free! Take advantage of support from our team of experts throughout the entire process. We work very closely with the Government of Canada and can help you ensure your application is completed properly. Start your adventure in Canada with our work programs and successfully kick off your two years in Canada. 

Why should I secure my working holiday visa with Stepwest?

In addition to streamlining the process of landing a job in Canada, we also assist with:

  • Resume revision and preparation for your interviews with Canadian employers.
  • Assistance with your work permit application: Documents, biometrics, and each step after you receive your invitation.
  • Job interviews arranged for you.
  • Staff housing guaranteed before departure (Resort Job Program only) or Vancouver accommodation options on arrival (City Job Program).
  • Pre-departure orientation to prepare for your arrival to Canada and receiving your IEC work permit, including all the changes in regulation due to COVID-19.
  • Welcome to Canada orientation once you arrive in Canada to assist with opening your free bank account, SIN number, phone plan, and more.
  • Support from our Canada team throughout your work experience.
  • Plus many other benefits to help you settle into your Canadian work adventure!

I am from Portugal and secured my working holiday visa already but I want to secure my job in Canada, can Stepwest help me?

Yes, we can help you! Even if you already have your working holiday visa, the hardest part is still ahead of you. That’s where we can provide you with tons of support, including securing your job and accommodation before you arrive. Come to Canada knowing you will be making money on arrival with a place to live and the support of our local and friendly team!


Fill in the form below to learn how you can register for Stepwest’s Working Holiday Program. As a participant of our program, you will receive updates on IEC 2022 and get complete support through the process of moving to Canada.

, , , , , ,