Visa and entry requirements for au pairs in Canada

What are the entry requirements for au pairs coming to Canada? What kind of visa do au pairs need to have for Canada? Can au pairs come to Canada with the Working Holiday Maker Visa?

Young woman with a suitcase at the airport

There is no official au pair programme or au pair visa for Canada. However, young persons from the following countries may apply for a Working Holiday Maker visa instead:

Australia,  Austria*, Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy**, Luxembourg, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico***, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Ukraine*** and Great Britain.

* Au pairs from Austria can also apply for a visa with the Student Work Abroad Programme if they meet all the requirements.

** Au pairs from Italy may only legally work in Canada during the first six months of their stay.

*** Au pairs from Mexico and Ukraine: The Youth Mobility Arrangement between Canada and these two countries is not accepting applicants at the moment. We will keep you updated.

Please note: The procedure for issuing the Working Holiday Maker Visa has changed since 21 November 2015. Visa are no longer issued on a first-come, first-serve basis. Instead, visas are issued on the basis of a lottery. Au pairs need to create a profile and then come into the applicant pool with all other candidates for a Working Holiday Visa. Profiles are selected from this pool for one year until the quota of Working Holiday Visas is used up. The quota is set by the Citizenship and Immigration Canada agency (CIC). The CIC regularly selects candidates from the applicant pool and sends them an official Invitation to Apply (ITA). Applicants should be aware that creating and submitting an IEC profile does not guarantee that they will receive a visa. Not every applicant who creates a profile receives an invitation for the second part of the process.

How to apply for a Working Holiday Maker Visa as an au pair

Step 1: A valid passport is required

To apply for a Working Holiday Maker Visa the au pair needs to have a valid passport for the entire period of the planned stay in Canada. 

Step 2: Applying for the Working Holiday Maker Visa

There is a limited number of visas that are issued each year. It is possible to submit an inquiry whether and when visas will be available for applicants from a given country. For this reason we recommend that au pairs apply for a visa as early as possible. Here it can be checked if it is still planned to issue further visas for au pairs from different countries.

Aupairs should use the the online tool "Come to Canada" to check if they meet the criteria to participate in the IEC Travel and Work programme. One of the questions will state:

"Do you have a signed offer letter, contract of employment or internship agreement from an employer in Canada?"

The au pair should be sure to answer NO to this question. Only then will the au pair be placed in a pool for Working Holiday Maker visas.

At the end of the questionnaire, au pairs will receive a "personal reference code". Please print this page, as it will be needed to create a profile in the next step.

If there are questions about the process, please contact an office of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)

Step 3: Creating a CIC profile

Create your MyCIC Account. Please note that it is very important for au pairs to write down their MyCIC username, password, recovery and security questions (these will be needed to  each time for logging into a MyCIC Account). Once the account is completed, please proceed to the "What would you like to do today" section and click on "Apply for Visa, Study, and/or Work Permit" to complete it. Please ensure that all 4 sections are marked green as "Complete".

As soon as these steps are completed, the new profile will be placed in a pool together with other applicants from the au pair's home country. Then au pairs need to wait for the invitation to apply. Invitations to apply (ITA) will be issued regularly in rounds by the CIC to pool candidates.

Important: Creating an IEC Profile doesn’t mean that an au pair will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for a visa.

Step 4: Accept invitation and apply for a work permit online

Applicants who are invited to apply will be notified accordingly in their MyCIC Accounts. At this point, the au pair applicant has 10 days to decide if they intend to accept the invitation. Once the invitation has been accepted, applicants have 20 days to apply online for a work permit. Applicants should be sure to have all documents requested by the CIC ready ahead of time. Please note that all IEC participants need to pay a 150 CAD fee and Working Holiday participants need to pay an additional 100 CAD on top. To accept the invitation, proceed to the section called “Applications” in MyCIC. Find the application called “Work permit” and click “Start application.”

Step 5: Wait for processing and receive Port of Entry Letter

After submission of the work permit application with all the final documents, the application will be processed on a “first-in first-out” basis within 8 weeks. Once the application has been accepted, the au pair will receive a Port of Entry (POE) Letter of Introduction. Please note that the au pair will need to bring this letter along to Canada and present it to a Canadian Border Service Officer at a port of entry.

Step 6: Medical examination

The work permit that is issued on the basis of this application will state that the au pair is initially not authorised to work in the 3 following occupation fields: 1) childcare, 2) primary or secondary school teaching, 3) health care. For au pairs it is therefore necessary to undergo a medical examination and have the work permit modified once they are in Canada. To receive this examination, the au pair needs to contact a Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Centre for medical examination forms and further instructions. Once the examination has been performed and the CIC has received the examination results, the work permit will be modified and the occupational restrictions will be removed.

Step 7: Applying for a Social Insurance Number (SIN)

Host families are urged to help their au pairs when the apply for a Social Insurance Number. It is necessary for the au pair to have such a number for the family and the au pair to receive possible tax refunds in connection with the au pair stay. Here is detailed information on the Social Insurance Number in Canada.

We are continually researching and updating our host country information, but cannot guarantee that all material provided is complete and correct. If you notice gaps or inaccuracies, we would like to hear from you.