I recently went through the process of applying for the Working Holiday Visa in Vancouver and I have to say the process is simple and easy to follow. I submitted the application in person to the Consulate General of Japan on 1177 West Hastings Street in Downtown Vancouver, about a 10 minute walk from Waterfront station. The office is located in the TD Building on the 9th floor, and once you’re up there you’d want to hang a right where the Visa Processing side is. Before you go make sure to download the “Application Package” in the link below and follow the instructions carefully:
Submit ALL of the following IN PERSON:
- Valid Canadian passport
- Completed visa application form
- One passport-style photo (Approx. 45mm x 45mm, taken within the last 6 months)
- Personal Resume (Typed on letter sized paper)
- Detailed itinerary of your stay in Japan
- Letter explaining your motive for a Working-Holiday Visa (Typed on letter sized paper)
- Note from a physician stating that you are in good health (Original note)
- Minimum $2,500 CDN ($3,500 for married couple) in TRAVELLERS CHEQUES (or equivalent amount of other foreign currency travellers cheques) or a BANK ACCOUNT STATEMENT.
To pick up your visa and passport bring:
- Personal identification
- An ACTUAL return or through airline ticket.
When you walk through the door take a number and wait your turn. There is a stunning view of of the Harbor and plenty of seating while you wait. Keep an eye on your number since it will be shown on a monitor. For me it was around a 15 minute wait and then another 10 minutes or so while the agent reviewed my applications, asked me a few questions, and then finally told me my Visa was approved and I could pick it up in a week. Keep in mind that they need to keep your passport during this time so don’t plan any outside of the country trips for at least a week while the visa is being processed.
At the end you will be given a receipt which shows the earliest date you can pick up your new Visa. If you want someone else to pick it up, you must fill out the back of the receipt with the other person’s name, relationship to you, your signature, and then they must provide it to the consulate upon pickup.
- Double check your documents before you go to the consulate, arrange them in the same order that is listed in the requirements to save time
- In your “Letter explaining your motive for a Working-Holiday Visa”, make it clear that your primary intent is travel and working will be used to generate funds that will supplement your travel costs
- Note from physician can be prescribed by your family doctor, or you could just go to a walk in clinic. There will likely be a fee for the examination and letter, in my case it was 45$ at a walk-in clinic in Richmond. Read over the note and make sure the information is correct and fulfills the requirements, also that it is stamped and signed by the doctor.
- For the proof of travel funds, I went to my bank and asked for a letter that stated how much assets I had in my checking account and savings account. The minimum is 2500$ if you are travelling alone and 3500$ for a married couple
- The Consulate General of Japan is open from 9AM-12PM, closed for lunch hour, then open again from 1PM-5PM. I went at around 10AM on a Tuesday and the wait was relatively short.
- You can only obtain a Japanese Working Holiday Visa once, and once you are past 30 years old you will be unable to apply anymore. That means that if you are on the fence thinking about it, honestly just do it. There are always a million ways to convince yourself that it’s not the right time, you don’t have enough money, etc. etc. Stop. Ask yourself, “Do I want to do this?” If the answer is “Yes,” then make it happen.