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Express Entry is an electronic application management system, meaning that all information and documents are submitted electronically through an online portal. Express Entry is highly competitive, using the points-based Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) to invite only the highest ranking candidates to apply for PR.
In order to create your Express Entry profile you will require documents related to your identity (passport), language abilities (results from an approved language test), and education* (an Educational Credentials Assessment or a Canadian diploma). Additionally, you will be asked to provide personal information relating to your family, work experience, health, and finances.
*Candidates in the Canadian Experience Class are not required to include education on their Express Entry profiles. However, it is highly recommended that you do include it, otherwise you will miss out on the many CRS points allocated based on education.
If you are a candidate in the Federal Skilled Trades program there may be occasional Express Entry draws exclusive to FST candidates, as there have been in the past, with a much lower CRS score cut-off than all-program draws. The lowest CRS score cut-off in an FST draw was 199 in May 2017.
If you have not achieved language test scores consistent with or better than the Canadian Language Benchmark of Level 9 (CLB 9), then this may be the fastest way of getting more points, though it depends on your language skills. Achieving CLB 9 or better on your language tests will qualify you for additional points through the Skill Transferability Factors of the CRS score.
- How much time passes between draws,
- How many invitations are issued in each draw, and
- How many new candidates have entered the pool or increased their scores.
If more time than usual passes between two draws, typically the CRS score cut-off will increase, as more candidates will have time to enter the pool and existing candidates have more time to improve their scores. If only a small number of ITAs are issued in a draw, it is likely that the CRS score cut-off will increase as fewer candidates will be invited. Finally, if Express Entry becomes more popular (it has been growing steadily since it was introduced) then the CRS score cut-off may increase as more and more candidates enter the pool. And, of course, it’s possible that more than one, or all, of these variables can affect the CRS cut-off score simultaneously.
Conversely, if less time passes between consecutive draws, or if more ITAs are issued in a given draw or series of consecutive draws, or if fewer candidates enter the pool or improve their scores, these variables can have the effect of reducing the CRS cut-off threshold.
For Canadian immigration, a dependent child is defined as the following:
- under 22 years of age and not a spouse or common-law partner, or
- 22 years of age or older and unable to support themselves financially due to a physical or mental condition.
Your CRS score is made up of 1,200 points. 500 of those points are under the category of Human Capital Factors.
If you apply without your spouse, you can receive up to 500 points for your Human Capital Factors. If you apply with your spouse, then you can only receive 460 points for your Human Capital Factors, with another 40 points awarded based on your spouse’s Human Capital Factors.
Whether you apply without your spouse, or with your spouse, there are still 500 points available. The only difference is in how these points are distributed. Therefore, you may receive slightly more or slightly fewer points depending on whether your spouse is or is not included as accompanying.
Take note: even if your spouse or partner is not accompanying you to Canada, you still must include them on your application. Simply indicate that they are not accompanying you to Canada.
You may choose to immigrate without your spouse and/or children and then sponsor them through a family sponsorship immigration program later on.
There is also a pathway for Canadian permanent residents who wish to sponsor parents and grandparents, though it is in extremely high-demand and is frequently undergoing changes to the eligibility requirements and application procedure.
Please note that if you always have to declare your spouse or partner and children on your application, even if they are not accompanying you. You can indicate within your Express Entry profile that they will not be accompanying.
There are currently 11 provinces and territories with active PNPs. The province of Quebec does not have PNPs, but does have its own special immigration system.
Some PNP streams are aligned with Express Entry and some PNP streams are not aligned with Express Entry. Earning a nomination from an Express Entry-aligned PNP will earn you an additional 600 points added to your CRS score.
For more information about PNPs and to find out if you may be eligible for a PNP, please refer to our PNP Live Tracker Tool.
Some PNP streams require an active Express Entry profile, some require work experience in a specific occupation, some require previous experience in Canada, and some require French-language abilities.
Thankfully, we have developed our PNP Live Tracker Tool. This tracks the status of all PNPs and also has a handy tool that helps you determine which PNP streams might be an option for you.
In order to be eligible for Express Entry you must have results from an approved language test in either English or French. The results must be less than two years old at the time you submit your final application.
Approved language tests for English:
Approved language tests for French:
Since Express Entry is targeted to skilled workers, NOC codes are used to determine the skill level of a candidate’s work experience. Only work experience at NOC Skill Levels 0, A, and B, qualifies as “skilled work” under Express Entry.
Often, NOCs are also used by provinces who want to limit PNP streams to candidates with work experience in specific occupations.
Some of the Express Entry-aligned programs require you to have a minimum amount of work experience in a single occupation, but once you reach that minimum amount, you can add additional experience in other skilled occupations and have that experience contribute to your CRS score.
If you are only claiming points for Canadian education then you do not need an ECA report. Though, you will require proof of your Canadian credentials.
If you are a candidate in the Canadian Experience Class then you do not need to claim any education to meet the program requirements. However, you will probably want to claim points for education, as education makes up a significant portion of the CRS score. To claim points you will need an ECA report for any education completed outside of Canada.
If you do not meet either of the two situations listed above, then you need to get an Educational Credentials Assessment (ECA).
This should give you an idea of your chances of success in Express Entry. If you are far below the cut-off score, take a look at our guide to improving your CRS score or our guide to alternative immigration options for Canada.
*Your actual CRS score may differ from the score you received from the CRS calculator. Your actual CRS score is automatically generated based on the information and documents included in your Express Entry profile.
Prepare and submit Express Entry profile –Takes several weeks to several months
Before you can create your Express Entry profile, you need the right documents. This includes language tests and will likely include education documents. This process can take anywhere from several weeks to several months.
Receive Invitation to Apply (ITA) – This could take days, weeks, months, or it could never happen
Once you create and submit your profile to the Express Entry pool, it will be considered in all Express Entry draws for the next 12 months (or until you receive an ITA). If your CRS score is high, you could receive an ITA within a few days in the next draw. However, if your CRS score is low, you may not receive an ITA.
ITA Received – Up to 60 days
If you receive an Invitation to Apply then you have 60 days to complete and submit your final application for permanent resident status.
Application Processing – Most applications processed in less than six months
Once your application is submitted, it needs to be processed. IRCC states that 80% of applications submitted through Express Entry are processed in less than six months. If your application is approved, you are issued documents allowing you to activate your permanent resident status in Canada.
If you do have a job offer from a Canadian employer that is considered a valid job offer under Express Entry then you can claim points for it. Senior management job offers are worth 200 points and all other job offers in skilled occupations are worth 50 points. However, a job offer is not necessary to be successful in Express Entry.
In the year 2021, Canada aims to admit 84,000 to 91,000 new permanent residents through Express Entry with another 67,000 to 74,000 new permanent residents admitted through PNPs.
- You want someone to review your eligibility for Express Entry and other Canadian immigration programs before you invest time and money in the process.
- You want a professional to review your Express Entry profile and suggest ways for you to improve your CRS score.
- You have received an ITA and you want a professional to assist with your final PR application.
- You prefer to keep things easy and simple and you are willing to pay for a consultant or lawyer to represent your entire Express Entry process.
Take note: there is fraud in the immigration industry. If you want to work with a consultant, we have a short list of recommended immigration consultants who have tons of experience and excellent reputations. Take a look at our list of recommended consultants.
- Language tests: Cost varies by test and location, but typically between CAD$200 and CAD$500 per exam.
- Educational Credentials Assessment: Cost varies by provider and service selected, but typically between CAD$200 and CAD$400.
- Other documents: Passport renewals, translations (if needed), medical exams, police certificates, etc.
Application & Processing Fees These fees are only charged after you receive an ITA and once you are ready to submit your final permanent residence application.
- Processing fees: CAD$825 per adult, CAD$225 per child
- Right of Permanent Residence Fee: CAD$500 per adult, free for children
Proof of funds (show money) You must show that you have enough funds to support yourself and your family when you come to Canada. Refer to the next question for full details. Other costs may come up throughout the Express Entry process. Potential costs include things like postage/shipping, fees for a representative (if you choose to work with one), and travelling costs.
|Number of family members||Required funds (in CAD)|
|1 (single applicant)||$13,310|
|For each additional family member, add||$3,586|
If you think you’ll have trouble increasing your score, we also have a list of alternative immigration options.
My question was not answered above. Where can I find help?
To learn everything you need to know about Express Entry, sign up for the Express Entry Roadmap. This is our free email-education service designed to teach you about Express Entry.
If your query is of a general nature, you may find help on the Canadian Permanent Residency / Express Entry forum on Facebook.
If you have a specific query, then we recommend a consultation with a regulated expert. We have a number of consultants whom we are happy to recommend. You can book a consultation with them here.
Please note that Moving2Canada cannot provide one-on-one assistance with immigration queries.