Express Entry

Express Entry- Immigration through Education & Experience

Individuals and families around the world can immigrate to Canada within just a few months through the Express Entry immigration selection system. Express Entry, first introduced in 2015, has become the main driver of skilled worker immigration to Canada and one of the most popular immigration systems globally.


What is Express Entry Canada?

Express Entry is an application management system used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to manage and process applications received through three of Canada’s federal economic immigration programs for skilled workers.

Express Entry is a competitive immigration system, ranking all eligible candidates against one another and then inviting the best ranking candidates to apply for Canadian permanent resident status. Candidates are ranked against one another based on their age, education, language proficiency, work experience, and other factors.

Under Express Entry, individuals and families wishing to settle in Canada can become new permanent residents within just a few months.


How Express Entry Canada works – A step-by-step guide

1. Determine Eligibility: Potential applicants will need to be eligible under one of the following federal economic immigration programs.
• The Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC);
• The Canadian Experience Class (CEC); or
• The Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC).

A portion of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) are aligned with Express Entry, but candidates still must be eligible under one of the three federal programs in order to enter the Express Entry pool.

Though the eligibility requirements differ for each of the Express Entry-aligned programs, all candidates are required to have at least one-year of skilled work experience, as well as a certain level of proficiency on an approved language test in either English or French. Also, Canada screens all Express Entry applicants for criminal history and medical issues that could make a person inadmissible.

2. Create an Express Entry profile: Eligible individuals must submit an Express Entry profile to the pool of candidates. The Express Entry profile acts as an Expression of Interest (EOI). Eligible candidates will automatically receive a score based on their profile and will be ranked against the other candidates in the pool.

3. Create a job bank profile (optional): Candidates without a job offer or a provincial nomination may then register in the Canada Job Bank, a free public resource used to help Canadian employers identify and select workers possessing the skills they require. This step used to be mandatory, but became voluntary as of June 2017.

4. Receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA): Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) conducts Express Entry draws at regular intervals (usually every two weeks). In these Express Entry draws, candidates above a certain rank are invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence. If a candidate is not invited, their profile will expire after 12 months, at which point they may submit a new profile.

5. Submit your application for permanent residence: If you receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA), you will be given 60 days to submit a complete application for permanent residence.

After you’ve submitted your application, you have to wait for a final decision to be issued. 80 percent of Express Entry applications are processed in six months or less. If your application is approved, then you will receive authorization to activate your permanent resident status in Canada.


What do you need to create your Express Entry profile?

In order to submit your Express Entry profile, you will require three main documents. If you’re interested in Express Entry, gathering these three documents should be your first step:

1.   Language Test: All Express Entry candidates must show proficiency in either English or French. 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.

2.   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 Class, but it is recommended that FSTC and CEC candidates also complete an ECA report, as education is an important component of the CRS score.
Note: An ECA is not required for educational programs completed in Canada.

3.   Passport: A valid passport is required in order to submit an Express Entry profile.

4.   Once you have these three documents, you will be able to create your Express Entry profile.

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.


Things to note in your Express Entry Canada application

If you receive an Invitation to Apply, you may submit an official application for permanent residence. This application is completed and submitted entirely online. Here are a few things to keep in mind about the final permanent residence application:

1) You may need to show proof of settlement funds.
All applicants in the FSWC and FSTC programs must demonstrate that they have enough money to support themselves and their family members during their settlement into Canada. Applicants with a valid job offer in Canada, as well as CEC applicants are exempt from this requirements.

The figures below are in place as of January 1, 2020.

Number of family members

Required funds (in CAD)

1 (single applicant)














For each additional family member, add


How many points do you need to immigrate to Canada through Express Entry

There are three Canadian immigration programs through which you may become a candidate for Express Entry immigration to Canada: the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC), the Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

Under the FSWC points-grid, you need to be awarded at least 67 points out of 100 in order to enter the Express Entry pool.


How Points for CRS Score are Calculated for Express Entry Candidates


A. Core/Human Capital Factors

FactorsPoints Per Factor – With a Spouse or Common-Law PartnerPoints per Factor – Without a Spouse or Common-Law Partner
Level of Education140150
Official Languages Proficiency150160
Canadian Work Experience7080


B. Spouse or Common-Law Partner Factors

FactorsPoints Per Factor (Maximum 40 points)
Level of Education10
Official Language Proficiency20
Canadian Work Experience10
A. Core/Human Capital + B. Spouse or common-law partner factors = Maximum 500 points (with OR without a spouse or common-law partner)


C. Skill Transfer Ability Factors

EducationPoints Per Factor (Maximum 50 points)
With good/strong official language proficiency AND a post-secondary degree50
With Canadian work experience AND a post-secondary degree50
Foreign Work ExperiencePoints Per Factor (Maximum 50 points)
With good/strong official languages proficiency (Canadian Language Benchmark [CLB] level 7 or higher) AND foreign work experience50
With Canadian work experience AND foreign work experience50
Certificate of qualification (for people in trade occupations)Points Per Factor (Maximum 50 points)
With good/strong official languages proficiency and a certificate of qualification50


A. Core/Human Capital + B. Spouse or common-law partner + C. Transferability factors = Maximum 600 points


D. Additional Points

FactorsMaximum points per factor
Brother or sister living in Canada (citizen or permanent resident)15
French Language Skills30
Post-secondary education in Canada30
Arranged employment200
PN Nomination600


A. Core/Human Capital + B. Spouse or common-law partner + C. Transferability factors + D. Additional Points = Grand total – Maximum 1,200 points

How much does it cost to immigrate to Canada through Express Entry?

See the table below for an overview of the costs associated with Express Entry immigration to Canada.

This table may not include all costs. Incremental costs for shipping, etc. are also not included.

Before entering the pool



Is this required, or optional?

Edcuational Credential Assessment (ECA)


Required for FSWC candidates, and recommended for FSTC & CEC candidates, who studied outside Canada

Language test(s)



Other items and costs


(These items or services may also be obtained before entering the pool, but are not required for that stage)



Is this required, or optional?

Police clearance certificate(s)

Depends on the country. May range from free service to up to $100 or more.


Medical report



Representation by a lawyer or regulated consultant

Ranges, but fees typically range from $2,000 to $5,000


Government fees



Is this required, or optional?

Processing fee



Right of permanent residence fee



Addition of accompanying spouse/partner

$825 for processing fee, $500 for right of permanent residence

Required, if applicable

Addition of dependent child(ren)

$225 per child

Required, if applicable

How long does it take for Express Entry immigration to Canada

Express Entry is a system designed to provide fast immigration to Canada. For eligible candidates who receive an invitation to apply (ITA) soon after entering the pool, and who then quickly submit a complete application, the entire process may take six months, or even less. However, the following variables may extend this timeline and should be taken into account:

• While some candidates are invited soon after entering the Express Entry pool, other candidates, depending on their CRS score and CRS cut-off thresholds in Express Entry draws, may only receive an ITA months later, or not at all.

• Some invited candidates may be ready to apply for immigration to Canada soon after being invited, while others may need more of the 60 days allotted.

• While IRCC aims to process applications within six months, some applications may take longer, and decisions on other applications may take less than six months.

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