Your Essential Guide

SIA Essential VISA Guide

So, you’ve chosen your perfect course, secured your place and now you’re asking yourself “what’s next?” Well, now its time to get excited, but also time to get planning!

Planning your trip can often be complicated and a daunting idea which is why we’ve put together this handy guide to help you through the often confusing process of applying for the correct visa for your course. You will also find our Essential Guides to Insurance and Travel very helpful too, so make use of what we can help you with as we have been running courses around the world for a very long time so make the most of our experience.

Austrian VISAS

For the majority of our students who hold an EU passport, there are no visa requirements for visiting or working in Austria, making our Austrian Job Guarantee’s an easy and straightforward choice. (residents of Croatia may still need additional approval)

For those coming from outside of Europe then a Schengen Travel Visa is required. Austria is a signatory state of the Schengen Agreement, which has lead to the abolition of internal border controls. With a Schengen visa, you may travel freely throughout the entire Schengen zone. Obtaining this travel visa will allow you to visit Austria for up to 90 days – This is not a work visa.

For Citizens of Australia, Canada, Chile, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Republic of Korea, Chinese Taipei and New Zealand wanting to live and work in Austria then these nations and Austria have a working holiday visa agreement which makes it pretty straight forward and has a great success rate acquiring visas for your course, get in touch with your embassy for full details.

For any other students coming from outside of the EU who wish to work or use the SIA Job Guarantee a working holiday visa or work visa would be required, or alternatively an EU passport which may be as a Dual National or even using an Ancestry Visa / Passport. SIA has no influence over embassies or governments so can not assist you with this, but will provide proof of course enrolment onto a course for anyone who has booked and paid a deposit for the course.

Canadian VISAS

To join our courses in Canada you will need permission to visit or work in the country. For most of our instructor courses in Canada an eTA (electronic travel authorisation) is all that is needed. This is great news, as they are easy to apply for and you generally get confirmation within 24hrs. This will allow you to visit and enjoy all that Canada can offer for up to 6mths. This eTA covers all of our Canadian courses with the exception of the Whistler Internship Programme (WBSSU).

To join the WBSSU Internship programme and to work in Canada you will need either a Canadian Passport or an IEC (International Experience Canada) Visa. Each year there are a limited number of places available to IEC applicants and each country has a different number of permits allocated to them. The UK, for example, has roughly 5,000 places each year. The work permits are released around November / December time for people wishing to go to Canada the following year. This may sound like a lot but it’s really not, so apply early and be prepared!

Follow These Five Steps To Complete Your Application;

  1. You must be between 18 and 30 years of age to be eligible and have no serious criminal convictions (you can not apply before you are 18).
  2. To apply you need to check your eligibly by completing the Come To Canada, if you are eligible you will receive a Personal Reference Code – keep this safe, as you’ll need it later.
  3. You should now register for your MyCIC Account, you will need the Personal Reference Code for this.
  4. Now you need to complete 4 application forms within the CIC application Page (Canadian Immigration and Citizenship), they’re quite short so don’t worry.
  5. You will then be invited to submit to the pool, and you’ll see a confirmation message within your account when you next login to MyCIC

How The Pool System Works

Your application will sit in the pool of candidates. When the pool is open, the CIC will randomly select people and issue an ‘Invitation to Apply’. You could be waiting a matter of weeks, or months. There is a chance that you may not get selected as the pool is usually oversubscribed, with more applicants than work permits available.

Your application will remain in the pool for one year, or until the pool closes and all permits are issued in that year. For the past couple of years, the pool has been open between November and July. You can keep up to date with how many permits are remaining and the pool size on the CIC website.

Once You Have An Invitation To Apply

If you’ve been lucky and received an Invitation to Apply, you have 10 days to accept or decline your application, so make sure you access your emails regularly. You then have 20 days for you to apply online for the work permit. Once you have gathered your documents and submitted your application, the CIC can take up to 8 weeks before issuing you with your POE (Point of Entry) Letter of Introduction – the key document that you will need when entering Canada.


Japanese Workin Holiday VISA

To take up our Japan Job Guarantee you will require a Japanese Working Holiday Visa (WHV). There are 16 countries Japan has Working Holiday Visa agreements with;

Citizens of Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Taiwan and the United Kingdom, who are between the ages of 18 and 30 inclusive (18 and 25 for Ireland), are eligible to apply for a Working Holiday Visa.

The Working Holiday Visa is first and foremost a Holiday Visa. It is not intended to be a full time work Visa. Please remember that you will not be granted the Visa if you intend to go to Japan for the season, work a few months and go back to your home country right afterwards. This is why most of the countries participating in this program would ask you for a detailed intended itinerary of your trip in Japan during the application process. We advise you to be as detailed as possible and think very hard about your itinerary beforehand.

Japan is a truly amazing country with lots to see and do and really does deserve to be explored! We really advise you to visit some of Japan before or after your ski season – you won’t regret it!

You must apply for the Visa in person, in your home country at the Japanese Embassy. The Embassy may hold your passport for approx. one week while they process your application. The WHV is issued on the assumption that you will be travelling and working, so it is very important when applying that you stress to the embassy that you will be doing both and not simply going to Japan to work. You will need to provide information on the application where you are traveling and what you will be visiting.

Each country has a consulate of Japan, for the UK we have Edinburgh and London, those are your two options and you MUST visit in person to drop off your documents. Your ski school should help you out with what they know works and what they need for legal reasons. Other than that it’s a really simple process. Follow all the rules that the consulate sets out for you and you can’t go wrong. You must have some savings in your bank account and that amount is set by the consulate of Japan. You will find all of the information on their website.

– Jon Ruben Robinson, UK

Video Credit: Vincent Urban / Alex Tank

Argentina VISAS

Our Instructor Courses in Argentina do not require you to have a VISA if you hold a valid EU passport.

A three month holiday VISA will be issued to you at the point of entry and is a very straightforward process.

If you are travelling from outside of the EU then you should check with your local embassy for any restrictions or special requirements.