I may be a romantic and dreamer who falls in love with people, places and ideas, but I’m also an incredibly practical person! So while I may get crazy ideas and decide to chase after them, I will then carefully plan how I am going to do it. I’m not a ‘quit my job impulsively and book a flight somewhere and land there with no money or visa’ kind of girl! So after I fell in love with Ireland and decided, yes, I’m going to leave everything and go live in new country where I know no one, I then I spent 4 months carefully obsessively researching & planning how to make this happen successfully.
Finding a visa:
Step 1 was getting a visa. I started researching this on the plane ride home from my first visit to Ireland. At first it seemed my options were:
– get a company to sponsor me which didn’t seem to likely to happen as I’m not any kind of genius or highly skilled sought after worker
– get an ancestry visa from the UK (where my grandfather was from) and live in Northern Ireland, which wasn’t exactly what I wanted but at least I’d be close by?
– Find an Irishman to marry me
None of these options seemed particularly right or easy to accomplish for me and I was close to giving up the idea when I discovered Working Holidays Visas. To be honest, I hadn’t even looked at these because I had thought the age limit was really low like age 25 or maximum 30 and I’m a teensy bit older than that 😉 . So imagine how happy I was when I discovered the Ireland Working Holiday Visa program for Canadians has an age limit of 35! Not only that but it’s simple to apply for and the requirements aren’t too difficult and as long as I met all the requirements and did my application properly, I had a very high chance of getting my visa.
The requirements for an Ireland Working Holiday Visa for Canadians as of 2017 are:
– Be between the ages of 18 – 35 (you have to apply before you turn 36 basically)
– have 2500$ CAD saved up
– Purchase 1 year of medical insurance to cover you are there (you have to send proof of a year’s worth of coverage with your visa application even if you only plan to stay a few months)
– Not have any dependants or a criminal record
– Have a flight booked and worked out before your application.
Figuring Out How to Apply for the Ireland Working Holiday Visa:
I had two options, apply for my visa through the official working holiday visa program SWAP or apply on my own.
Finding information on how to do the Ireland Working Holiday Visa application on my own was difficult and since it was my first time applying for a visa, and my first time moving to a new continent and I wanted to get it right, I chose to go through SWAP. Now that I have the experience of applying for a visa, I think I could do it on my own for future visas ( Australia next?), but it was definitely useful having that help and reassurance for my first visa application.
Once I discovered the Ireland Working Holiday Visa, I realized my dream was actually obtainable! This was a great motivation to help me save as much as possible over the next 3 months. Some ways I saved money were:
– I did a no spend month during which I didn’t spend money on anything except essentials like bills, food for myself and my dog, and transport to work.
– I worked little odd jobs such as proctoring exams, pet sitting and tutoring ESL students.
– I limited drinking, going out, buying clothes and other things. I just told myself not to buy things as I wouldn’t be able to bring the things with me to Ireland anyways.
Once I had the money saved up, I had my bank fill out the form stating I had the money in my bank account.
I had to purchase 1 year of medical insurance before applying for the visa. I went with Travel Cuts as it’s the one that most of my friends use and it’s the recommended insurance for this visa so I knew for sure that it would meet the specific requirements, and the price was also cheaper than other options I looked at.
Booking a flight:
With the application I had to submit my flight dates and proof of flight purchased, which meant I had to book and pay for a flight before I’d even been accepted to the visa program. This was kind of stressful for me, but fortunately for Canadians, there is a very high chance of the visa being granted and I used Google Flights to find a cheap flight.
Applying for the Ireland Working Holiday Visa:
Once I had all of this completed, I sent it all by courier to SWAP who made sure it was all correct and forwarded it on to the Irish Embassy. I sent my application at the beginning of February, my visa was approved on February 14 (thank you for the Valentine’s day present Ireland, the feeling is mutual) and I received my Ireland Working Holiday Visa visa in the mail by the end of February so it was quite quick!
Next step – Finding a job and getting myself and my dog, Buddy ready and all packed up!