How to work as a Ski Instructor or Snowboard Instructor around the world
You do not need a working visa to enrol on a snowboard instructor course, ski instructor course, or ski patrol course with Winter Sports Company. However, if you are applying for a Winter Sports Company internship, or planning to work outside your country of citizenship, then you will need a working visa. For information on Holiday Visas please see our Electronic Travel Authorisation Page.
Canada working holiday visas
Canadian working visas are available under the International Experience Canada Program. You are eligible to apply for a Canadian working holiday visa if:
- You are aged between 18 and 30 (35 for some countries)
- Your country of citizenship has an agreement with Canada that allows you to apply for an IEC work permit.
- Be legally admissible to Canada
Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) processes all visa applications for working holidays, via the IEC (International Experience Canada) programme. IRCC operates a reciprocal agreement with other governments around the world, this means that each country has a quota of visas limiting the number of people who can come to work in Canada.
The application fee is $250 Canadian dollars. The fee is refunded if an application is unsuccessful.
To participate in IEC you need to:
- Have a police check from all countries you have lived in for over 6 months. How to get a police check.
- Be a citizen and hold a passport from a country with an IEC agreement.
- Be between the ages of 18 and 30 inclusive (35 for some countries), at the time of your application.
- Have health-care insurance for the duration of your visa.
- Not be accompanied by dependents.
- On arrival in Canada you will must have proof of funds – Canadian $2500.
- You will need to prove you have either a departure ticket, or funds to purchase one.
International Experience Canada programmes run between 12 and 24 months, depending on your country of citizenship. If you participated in IEC before 2015 for a period of up to 12 months, you may be eligible for a second participation of up to 24 months depending on your country. Those who participated in IEC more than once before 2015 are no longer eligible to apply.
If you are serious about a career in the winter sports industry, Canada is one of the best places to start. Our advice for potential instructors is to first enrol on an instructor training course and spend one season gaining qualifications. You can then use the IEC programme to obtain a Canadian working holiday visa, and work full-time. Newly qualified instructors will find it easier to gain employment in Canada with a visa than without.
Once ski and snowboard instructors have gained two years’ work experience, Canadian snow schools may be able to offer employment through sponsorship with a Canadian work permit.
New Zealand working visa for UK citizens
New Zealand offers UK citizens aged 18-30 the chance to work in New Zealand for either 12 or 23 months at a time, for a total of 23 months. There are unlimited places available annually under this scheme.
- Usually be permanently living in the United Kingdom – this means you can be temporarily visiting another country when you lodge your application
- Be a citizen of the United Kingdom and have a British passport that is valid for at least three months after your planned departure from New Zealand
- Be at least 18 and not more than 30 years old
- Not bring children with you
- Hold a return ticket, or sufficient funds to purchase such a ticket*
- Have a minimum of NZ$350 per month of stay available funds to meet your living costs while you’re here
- Meet our health and character requirements (see NZ immigration website)
- Be coming to New Zealand to holiday, with work or study being secondary intentions for your visit
- Not have been approved a visa under a working holiday scheme before.
- AND if you are already in New Zealand, you must hold a valid temporary visa.
* You are required to hold sufficient funds for the duration of your visit and for the purchase of an outward ticket from New Zealand. Such evidence may be requested on arrival at the border.
Applications for this scheme must be made online by following the link in the ‘How do I apply?’ section on the New Zealand Immigration website. You will need a valid Visa or Mastercard credit card. This is the only way to pay for your online application.
Japan working holiday visas
Working holiday visas are available to several countries. Working Holiday visas are for either 6 months or 1 year depending on the agreement your country has with Japan. You must travel to the nearest consulate to apply for a Japanese working holiday visa
To be eligible for a working holiday visa you must:
- Be a citizen of the UK, Canada, Ireland, France, Germany, Korea, New Zealand, Australia, Norway or Hong Kong and currently residing there.
- At the time of application, you must be between 18 and 30 years of age (or 25 for Ireland)
- Have not taken part in the working holiday programme previously
- Possess a valid passport and a return ticket, or enough funds to purchase a return ticket
- Have enough funds for living and medical expenses during your time in Japan
- Be in good health
- Intend to primarily holiday in Japan for a specific amount of time
- Have a clean criminal record
- Be able to apply in person at the Japanese consulate nearest to you
If you’re travelling significant distance to visit the consulate, it is worth contacting them first to make sure you are not turned away. Information is available on the Japanese Embassy website. You will need to following to make your application:
- Valid passport
- A completed visa application form with a recent passport photo
- A resume form, or CV/personal history
- An outline of proposed itinerary for the whole stay in Japan – intended activities form
- A written reason for applying for a Working Holiday Visa
- Proof of funds – £2500 or £1500 plus a return ticket/proof of onward journey
- Application Fee
- UK applications can be made at the Embassy of Japan in London. If you reside in Scotland or certain council districts in the North of England you can apply at the Consulate General of Japan in Edinburgh.
Counties covered: Cumbria, County Durham, Darlington, Gateshead, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside, Northumberland, Redcar and Cleveland, South Tyneside, Stockton-on-Tees and Sunderland.
- Don’t overthink your written reason for applying – stick to the stuff you like to do, and why you’d love to do it in Japan. What interests you about Japan? Snow, food, culture, opportunity to travel the country are all great reasons. Keep it to around one page long.
- Proposed Itinerary – don’t find this too daunting, you don’t need to be too specific, just have a decent idea of the places you’d like to see and what you’d like to do. It is a pre-requisite of this visa that you are heading over mainly to travel and see Japan. If you are asked about work and have some lined up, be honest and inform them that the work is to support you as you see the beautiful country and do the activities you want to do.
Once you have a decent amount of ski or snowboard instructor experience you may be eligible for a skilled worker visa. Sports trainers in Japan require 3 years of coaching experience. If you meet the criteria you need to be sponsored by a snow-school to get a Skilled Labour Visa, but if you’re eligible for one, snow-schools in Japan will snap you up and hold on to you! How to apply for a skilled worker visa.
Need advice on your visa application?