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An Express Entry profile is your opportunity to provide information to IRCC regarding your age, language ability, education, work experience and other important information. Eligible profiles will then be entered into the Express Entry pool for a chance to receive an ITA.

This page will give you a general overview of what you need to know to take the first step to immigrating to Canada through Express Entry.

What is an Express Entry profile?

An Express Entry profile is an online, electronic form submitted by an applicant to the Canadian government through an online portal. In submitting the electronic form, applicants must provide personal details like age, work experience, education, official language proficiency (English or French), family information and any time to Canada, like previous Canadian work experience, studies, job offer or family.

Once submitted, the electronic form is automatically assessed for Express Entry eligibility. To be accepted into the Express Entry pool, the applicant must qualify for one of the three federal immigration programs:

  • The Federal Skilled Worker Program;
  • The Canadian Experience Class;
  • The Federal Skilled Trade Program.

Profiles that are eligible will be entered into the Express Entry pool and given a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. The CRS score is used to rank one applicant against another.

What do I need to submit an Express Entry profile?

In order to submit your Express Entry profile, you will require three main documents. If you’re interested in Express Entry Canada as your first step to get Canada PR visa or permanent residency, gathering these three documents should be your priority:

Language Proficiency Test: All candidates must show proficiency in either English or French. You require official test scores from an approved language test in order to submit your profile. The minimum required score varies between the three Express Entry-aligned programs.

If you want to prove your proficiency in English, your options are the IELTS General Training exam or the CELPIP General exam. If you want to prove your proficiency in French, your options are the TEF exam or the TCF exam.

Educational Credentials Assessment (ECA): The ECA is an evaluation of non-Canadian education by Canadian standards. Notably, education is only a mandatory requirement for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, but it is recommended that FST and CEC candidates also complete an ECA report, as education is an important component of the CRS score. There are 5 approved ECA providers, Moving2Canada recommends the World Education Service for it’s faster processing time.
Note: An ECA is not required for educational programs completed in Canada.

Passport: A valid passport is required in order to submit an Express Entry profile. In very rare cases, alternative identification documents may be accepted when it is not possible to get a passport.

Once you have these three documents, you will be able to create your Canada Express Entry profile and become an Express Entry candidate.

Primary Occupation: All principal applicants must state a primary occupation they would like their immigration eligibility to be assessed against.

Applying with a spouse or common-law partner: If you are applying with your spouse or common-law partner, you may want to compare your credentials ahead of time. One person must be listed as the principal applicant in the Express Entry profile and the vast majority of the CRS score will be based on the principal applicant’s credentials. If your spouse also qualifies to enter the Express Entry pool, they can also have their own profile. Irrespective of who is listed as the main applicant, both will get Canadian PR.


What language results are needed to create a profile?

The language results needed to create a profile will depend on the immigration program the applicant is applying under. For instance, federal skilled workers who are claiming points for language must demonstrate at least Comprehensive Language Benchmark (CLB) level 7, however some may need higher than this if they lose eligibility points in other areas.

Which language tests are accepted?

We provide a great guide to Express Entry approved language test.

To demonstrate English proficiency, the following tests are accepted:

To demonstrate French proficiency, the following tests are accepted:

How long are language tests valid for?

To be used in support of an Express Entry profile, language results must be less that 2 years old.

If your language results are set to expire, remember to retake the exam and get the results prior to the original expiry. Once you have your new results, update your Express Entry profile with the new results. This will avoid any disruption to your profile.

How do I get an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report?

We provide a great guide on how to obtain an ECA report. There are 5 ECA providers you can choose from and 2 occupation specific ECA providers. Generally, to receive an ECA report, you will need to send your original transcripts and certificate to the ECA provider. Depending on the ECA provider, you can can then expect to wait between 1 to 5 months to get your ECA report.

How do I select my primary occupation?

Your primary occupation is the occupation you wish to be assessed against therefore it is important that you select the best primary occupation for you.

Federal Skilled Worker applicants: Your primary occupation must be a skilled occupation of at least 12 months continuous employment in the last 10 years.

Canadian Experience Class applicants: Your primary occupation must be at least 12 months in the last 3 years, in a skilled occupation worked in Canada with the correct legal authorization.

Federal skilled Trade Worker applicants: Your primary occupation must be a skilled trade occupation of at least 2 years in the last 5 years.

To receive a notification of interest from some provinces as part of their provincial nominee programs, your primary occupation must be a targeted occupation therefore you should also consider provincial nominee programs when selecting your primary occupation.

How do I select my NOC code?

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has designed a tool that makes finding your National Occupation Classification (NOC) code quick and easy. Just head over to the Canadian government’s find your NOC code search tool.

Start by searching your job title to see what results are generated. Be sure to go through all the returned codes to find which NOC is the most appropriate for your experience, looking at the job duties to find a match.

In some cases, you may not be able to find the perfect match. In this case, pick the NOC code that most closely matches your work experience.

If you receive an invitation to apply (ITA), as part of the documentation needed to submit an application for permanent residence, you will need a reference letter containing duties that correspond to the NOC you selected.

Pro tip: Make sure the duties are not word for word identical to those provided in the NOC. This will work against you in your application.

Can I use multiple NOC codes on my Express Entry profile?

Yes. 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. Remember to include both foreign work experience and Canadian work experience in your profile.

Should I include self- employed work experience in my Express Entry profile?

Yes, you should include all work experience, including self-employed work experience. Self-employed work experience can be used for immigration programs like the Federal Skilled Worker program.

How much does an Express Entry profile cost?

It does not cost anything to submit an Express Entry profile to the Express Entry pool however, you may incur costs associated with gathering the necessary documents like your language test and ECA report. You  can use our handy table we created so you can better anticipate your costs:

Before entering the pool

ItemCostIs this required, or optional?
Edcuational Credential Assessment (ECA)$200+Required for FSW candidates, and recommended for FST & CEC candidates, who studied outside Canada
Language test(s)$200+Required

Other items and costs

(These items or services may also be obtained before entering the pool, but are not required for that stage)
ItemCostIs this required, or optional?
Police clearance certificate(s)Depends on the country. May range from free service to up to $100 or more.Required
Medical report$200+Required
Representation by a lawyer or regulated consultantRanges, but fees typically range from $2,000 to $5,000Optional

Government fees

ItemCostIs this required, or optional?
Processing fee$850Required
Right of permanent residence fee$515Required
Addition of accompanying spouse/partner$850 for processing fee, $515 for right of permanent residenceRequired, if applicable
Addition of dependent child(ren)$230 per childRequired, if applicable

Do I need to show proof of funds to enter the Express Entry pool?

This depends on the immigration program you are eligible for. Federal Skilled Workers (FSW) need to show proof of funds if they do not have an approved job offer. Canadian Experience Class (CEC) applicants do not need to show proof of funds. How much funds you will need to show depends on how many family members are included in your application.

Pro tip: If you are eligible for both the FSW and CEC program and receive an ITA, check which immigration program you were selected under. If you received your ITA as a FSW, you will still need to provide proof of funds, even if you qualify under the CEC program.

Can I include my spouse and children in my profile?

Yes, you can include your spouse or common-law partner in your application. You can also include your dependent children. A dependent child includes your child who is under the age of 22 and not married, or a child who is over the age of 22 but is financially dependent on the principal applicant since before the age of 22 due to a physical or mental condition.

Can I include my parents in my profile?

No, you cannot include your parents in your Express Entry profile; however if you become a permanent resident of Canada through the Express Entry system, you may be able to sponsor your parents at this point.

Do I need a job offer from a Canadian employer to submit a profile?

No, it is not essential to have a job offer to submit a profile; however some applicants may need a job offer to be eligible to enter the pool.

Even though it is not needed, a job offer is a great way to get additional CRS points once in the pool. Having an approved job offer can give your profile either 50 or 200 extra CRS points.

I live in Quebec. Can I create an Express Entry profile?

Yes, you can still create an express entry profile if you live in Quebec however as the Express Entry system is for federal immigration programs, if you receive an ITA, you will need to demonstrate that you intent to live outside the province of Quebec. The issue arises if you want to claim points for a job offer in Quebec. In this case a Quebec job offer could contradict your intention to live outside of Quebec.  If you do have a job offer from an employer in Quebec, check out your eligibility to immigrate through one of Quebec’s immigration programs.

Is there an age limit on who can create a profile?

No, there is no age limit on who can enter the pool. So long a the applicant is eligible, they can enter the pool however CRS points are awarded for the age of the applicant. The older you are, the less points you will get under the age points.

How do I submit a profile?

Once you have the required information and documentation ready, you can submit your Express Entry profile via the IRCC secure account. For this, you will need to either create a GC key account or sign in through a designated Sign-In partner. Once you have submitted a profile, you will receive an Express Entry profile number starting with an E. Be sure to keep a record of this number for future use.

How long is my profile valid for?

Once submitted, by default, your profile is valid for 12 months however there are some instances where your profile will be removed from the pool. These include:

  1. You no longer qualify for the immigration program therefore you are not eligible to be in the pool. The most common reason for someone to become ineligible is aging or their primary occupation falling outside the eligibility period.
  2. Your language results expire- language results are valid for 2 years from the state of the exam.

Is submitting a profile an application for Permanent Residence?

No, an express entry profile is not the same as submitting an application for permanent residence. An express entry profile should be seen as submitting an expression of interest to the Canadian government to show them that you would like to be considered for immigration to Canada. Under the Express Entry system, applicants can only submit an application for permanent residency if their profile is selected from the Express Entry pool.

Can my spouse also have a profile ?

Yes, so long as they are eligible, they should have their own profile. This increases your chances of one of you receiving an ITA through one of the Express Entry draws or receiving a notification of interest from a province. This means your spouse should provide their own language test results and ECA report. Remember to also add these credentials to your own Express Entry profile to give your CRS score a boost.

Does my work experience need to be in the same field as my studies?

No, to enter the Express Entry pool your work experience does not need to be in the same field as your studies.

Can I have more than one profile?

No, you can only have 1 valid Express Entry profile at any time. If your Express Entry profile expires, you can resubmit so long as you remain eligible.

What should I do if my Express Entry profile expires?

Your Express Entry profile will expire after 12 months. So long as you remain eligible you can resubmit your profile. It is recommended that you maintain an active Express Entry profile so long as you are eligible. That way, you remain open to receive a notification of interest for provincial nomination.

How many times can I enter the Express Entry pool?

You can enter the Express Entry pool as many times as you like, so long as you remain eligible and remember, you can only ever have 1 valid Express Entry profile in the pool.

What should applicants do once they have an active profile?

Once in the pool, applicants should focus on increasing their CRS score to make their profile as competitive as it can be. Check out our great guide on how to improve your CRS score.

Can an Express Entry profile be updated?

Yes, an active express entry profile can be updated at any point until an ITA is issued. Before updating your profile, consider the impact the changes make to your eligibility. Updating a profile is easy. Log into your GC key account, and go to “view the applications you have submitted”. Click on “Check full application status”. On the “Express Entry profile status” page, then click on the “View your profile” and proceed to update the form. Remember to submit the profile again for the changes to take effect. Once updated, if you expect the change to affect your CRS score,  check that your CRS has changed to reflect the updates.

Common reasons to update an active profile include, new and improved language tests, change in occupation or change in family size.

In some cases, your Express Entry profile CRS score will be automatically updated. For instance, once you acquire more work experience, your CRS points will increase to reflect this. This does also mean that your CRS score will automatically decrease in certain circumstances, say for instance, your next birthday. After the age of 29 your CRS score will decrease every year.

How can my Express Entry profile be selected?

The Canadian government select Express Entry profiles through Express Entry draws. There are normally several Express Entry draws each month. If your profile is selected during a draw, you will receive notification of this in your IRCC portal. If you are wondering when the latest Express Entry draw happened, check out our detailed page which is kept up to date with the latest information on Express Entry draws.

How many profile will be selected each year?

The total number of profiles selected each year will depend on the Immigration levels plan in place. For 2024, Canada wants to admit between 90,000 and 116,000 candidates through the Express Entry stream. This excludes candidates coming through provincial nominee programs aligned with the Express Entry system.

Citation "Express Entry profile: All you need to know." Moving2Canada. . Copy for Citation

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Rebecca Major

Operations Manager
Rebecca Major is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (R511564) with nearly 15 years of experience and a strong legal background. She specializes in Canadian immigration at Moving2Canada.
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