How Canadians Can Get a Working Holiday Visa for Ireland

Whether you are in search of rich culture, unparalleled historical marvels, some of the best beer in the world, or mythical creatures of all shapes and sizes, the Republic of Ireland is one country that is undoubtedly somewhere on your top 10 list. With a truly remarkable landscape and national legends and lore shrouded in mysticism, there is just no way you will be able to fully experience everything this beautiful country has to offer in one vacation period. If you are between the ages of 18 and 35, and your country has a working holiday scheme in place with the Emerald Isle, you don’t even have to try!

Valid for two years upon entry, this one-time-only (making it a literal a once in a lifetime opportunity) working holiday visa will provide you with legal eligibility to live and work in Ireland (Northern Ireland is exempt and requires a UK visa) for as little or as long as you like during that period. There are no entry and exit restrictions once your visa is activated, however once the two years is up you are not able to prolong your stay without a different type of visa, so it is important to be wary of your date of entry and plan your exit accordingly. Though this guide will be a thorough representation of the application process for Canadian citizens, the program is very much similar for other countries with a reciprocal agreement with the Republic of Ireland.


The Application Process

There are a couple different avenues you can take to obtain a working holiday visa for Ireland, but there is absolutely no need to go through a third party organization because the process is very no-nonsense. To obtain an application, simply:

  • Go to the Irish Embassy in Canada website or go to the Embassy’s physical location in Ottawa if you are able.
  • Download the pdf file of their check list and get a copy of the application here so you can save, print, and submit your forms via mail.
  • Though they recommend that you currently be residing in Canada at the time of your application, applying while outside of the country is available. They just require you to contact them ahead of the time and explain your situation, and you can get in touch with them via email at or by telephone Monday to Friday between 9.00am to 12.30pm and 2.00pm until 4.00pm Eastern Standard Time (EST) at + 1 613 233 6281.


Photo by Taryn Flint
Photo by Taryn Flint

The cost of your package submission is going to be $225CAD, $150 being for the application itself and $75 in total for postage ($60 for courier service, $15 for registered post.)  Payment by credit card, certified cheque, or money order are the accepted options for this particular service. Once your application is filled out in full and you have all necessary documents in order, simply mail or submit your package to the Irish Embassy at:

Embassy of Ireland

130 Albert Street Suite 1105

Ottawa, ON

K2P 5G4


The Cliffs of Mohr - Photo by Taryn Flint
The Cliffs of Mohr – Photo by Taryn Flint

As a precaution, the Irish Embassy asks you give at least 6 weeks prior to your departure date for processing and return of your visa and passport, however from start to finish I received my package in around two and a half. If you’re apprehensive about using the postal service, there’s no need for worry as it is very secure otherwise discreet. A typical application process time line is broken down as follows:

  • Package received and sorted by Embassy via special courier service in 2-3 days or less after sending, or turn it in yourself in person
  • Thorough paperwork review and possible reference check between 2-7 days
  • wait times and approvals subject to seasonal and/or amount of application traffic between 1-3 weeks
  • Visa package and passport returned to you via post.

Eligibility Requirements

In order for you to obtain your working holiday visa you will be required to submit essential information with your application and meet a certain criteria. For eh-sayers (see what I did there?) these include:

  • Be a Canadian citizen between the ages of 18 and 35
  • Application filled out in full; partial applications won’t even be sent back to you
  • Proof of minimum one year’s worth of travel insurance (I used Travel Cuts for simplicity’s sake, as it was recommended by SWAP and the price was pretty reasonable. Plan B or equivalent is the minimum requirement for both swap programs.)
  • Your actual passport, which must to be valid for a MINIMUM of 30 months after entry in the country
  • Two extra passport photos
  • A bank letter proving support funds of $2500CAD or more
  • Your flight itinerary
  • All necessary payments


Photo by Taryn Flint
Photo by Taryn Flint

**Special Note**

In addition to all of the required payments and submission form, the Republic of Ireland also requires you to register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB). This comes with it’s own additional fee of €300 for all non-EU citizens going to live or work in Ireland, and is independent of all other application fees. This fee is payable AFTER arrival in Ireland, and you won’t be able to progress through all the other loops such as opening an Irish bank account, obtaining a PPS number (their equivalent of a Social Insurance Number) and other tax forms without it. Details of how to register at an office of the GNIB can be found on their website and the amount is payable by either a debit card, credit card, or bank giro. If you do not have a credit card, obtaining a certified prepaid credit card either in Canada or Ireland will be sufficient.


As I mentioned, I was able to track down a lot of other need-to-know information on my own. for a detailed breakdown of what you’ll need for legal documents, etc. for apartment, house, and room rentals is the most comprehensive classified website I’ve found for the country that includes everything from jobs to rentals to items for sale/trade. is also good for job postings, however most Gumtree posts end up here as well and for things to do to make great memories!


Curtis Engler


This post was contributed by Curtis Engler, a 25 year old free spirit who’s lust for action, adventure, and taking the road less traveled has put him on a path to travel blogging that has only just begun. Originally from British Columbia, Canada, he’s turning his inability to stay in one place for too long into an opportunity to see all the world has to offer, destination unknown.

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