The Express Entry program is a special immigration program that allows skilled workers to reach Canadian soil and apply for permanent residence after a specific period has passed. If you are one of them, you may wonder how to apply for Express Entry and what the eligibility requirements are. The whole application process is much faster than other immigration programs and allows you to enter the Express Entry Pool with very little time and funds invested. 

In fact, Express Entry is one of the rare programs that allows you to get the final decision and your permit within 6 months, sometimes even shorter. When applying, you first enter all your details on an online platform and only if you are considered eligible you can submit the actual documents and pay the fees. This makes the program unique and very fast – as only those meeting the minimum eligibility criteria are fully processed. 

What Is Express Entry in Canada?

The Express Entry Program in Canada is an immigration pathway that offers potential candidates a fast and relatively affordable points-based system to immigrate to Canada. The program is for all those looking for permanent resident status and can process a complete application in less than 180 calendar days. The program is available for online applications and it allows one to join both the pool of federal-government-based programs and local, and provincial programs. 

The program has three basic immigration pathways to offer: 

  • the FSW – the Federal Skilled Workers – is for all who have professional experience, and high language ability – the language ability is tested in either/both of the official languages (English and French) and foreign experience is a big plus
  • the FST – the Federal Skilled Trades – for all who have experience and education in one of the deficient skilled trades and profiles in Canada. Foreign experience is a bit plus, language skills should be sufficient, but not as good as for the FSW program – in general, you will need CLB language test results of 4 for reading and writing and 5 for speaking and listening to
  • the CEC – the Canadian Experience Class – a special pathway for all the highest-ranked candidates who have Canadian work experience. This program allows you to get into Canada as a skilled immigrant and will in general give you a good chance to return if you have already worked in Canada during your studies or as a worker on another program. 

How to Apply for Canadian Express Entry?

As the Express Entry is an application for permanent resident status, Canadian immigration has some strict rules and regulations when it comes to processing the application. The applications must be submitted online and some documents, such as police certificates and medical examinations must be submitted upon request. 

At first, you just make your profile and complete all the details that you are asked to provide. For now, in the first step, you submit no documents. You will need to be truthful and understand that if any changes happen in your life, you should immediately reflect them on your profile. If, and only if, you are selected will you be asked to submit the documents and provide your biometrics. The documents are scanned and submitted online, while the biometrics have to be given to a collection center or the visa office. Let’s consider each step in closer detail. 

Establish Eligibility

As Express Entry has three separate pathways to immigrate to Canada, there are different prerequisites for each of them. However, in general, you will need to show that you have a certain level of education and work experience in the industry that you would like to work in. You will need to download the complete documentation checklist (with the complete details on all the forms and supporting documents that you will need during the process), have all the documentation ready, and have some time set aside. You will also need settlement funds unless you already have a valid job offer. 

Eligibility for Express Entry Profile

When it comes to more detailed eligibility requirements and all the relevant documents, the latter can be found in the checklist, which is the first document you should prepare once you have made your online profile to join one of the Express Entry immigration options. 

You will need: 

  • To have at least one year in the last ten years of work experience in the industry/field that you are applying for. This will need to have been a full-time, non-interrupted work experience
  • Good language scores, with the results of minimum CLB7 for all four tested language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing). For the FST pathway, you will need somewhat lower scores, CLB4 for reading and writing and CLB5 for listening and speaking
  • To have passed post-secondary education that is comparable to the same level in the Canadian Education System.

The Canada Express Entry Process is fast and efficient, but only for as long as you have submitted truthful details and all the documents in one go. If this is not the case, there may be significant delays. If this is still too complex, or if you need help, you may always seek help with your immigration process: a good immigration expert can point you in the right direction and your Entry Points Calculator (to be explained) can only benefit from this. 

Create a Profile for Express Entry

Once all your documents are in place and you have your document checklist checked, it is time to create your Express Entry profile. You will need to create two profiles: one for the IRCC (Immigration, Refugee, and Citizen Canada) and one for the Express Entry. Once the profile(s) have been finished, you need to submit all the information (you still do not submit any documents) and then wait. 

To complete the information, you will need details on your occupation, education, and language skills. When it comes to the language skills or results, you will need to take either the IELTS (English) or CELPIP (also for English). If you are considering moving to Quebec or have knowledge of the French language, you will need either TEF Canada or TCF Canada as your language tests. Other language tests are not accepted. 

Receive an Application Invitation

When your application for Express Entry is submitted, and if everything is OK, you will be asked to provide all the documents. This is done via the Invitation to Apply, which is a formal invitation asking you to scan and submit all your documents to the system. This is also the time when you will be expected to pay your processing fee and the biometrics fee. Actually giving your biometric details is the next step in the application process. 

Increase Your CRS Score

During this process, your individual immigration application will be scored using the CRS system – Comprehensive Ranking Score – which allows every Express Entry application to be scored using a single scoring system. This allows for transparency and fairness in the system, as only the best of the best candidates for immigration or citizenship immigration Canada will be invited to immigrate. 

How To Increase CRS Score?

However, many people worry when they see that the points on the CRS latest draw are way higher than their own. If this is a big concern of yours, there are ways to increase your CRS score and to do so without increasing the Express Entry Program costs. In fact, these mostly relate to improving your skills, such as your language skills or your level of education. Getting a valid job offer for Express Entry can also increase your CRS score and so can the PNP status. 

Check Out Comprehensive Ranking System ( CRS ) Points Explained | Immigrate to Canada through Express Entry:

Submit Your Permanent Residency Application

Once all your documents are submitted, your details enter the candidate pool and are drawn from it once every few weeks. Only the highest-ranking candidates are drawn from the pool, but there is no reason to be desperate if you are not drawn on the initial try. In fact, your profile will stay in the pool for up to a year or until you are drawn – whichever comes first.

Once you are selected, you will receive an Invitation to Apply and you will be asked to submit all supporting documents. They include: 

  • Your travel documents 
  • language test results 
  • the ECA report – confirming that your level of education corresponds to a certain level of education in Canada – although this is not mandatory, we recommend you get the ECA report, as it increases your CRS score without you doing much
  • documents proving your work experience 
  • police certificates – you will need a police clearance. If there is an active investigation against you or you have been trialed before (even for crossing the speed limit or even DUI), your application can be refused
  • medical exams – especially if you’ve been traveling to high-danger zones
  • proof of funds – generally, a bank statement will do

Express Entry Online Profile Submission

To submit the profile, you only need a computer and Internet connection. You will also need to have enough skills to submit the application. If this is not the case, another person can submit your application for you, but you will have to click on the submit button at the end of the application. 

Complete the Online Form

Even before you complete the online form to join the Express Entry pool, you will be asked to complete a form about eligibility. This form has its own eligibility criteria and is only applicable to Federal Skilled Worker applicants. The current criteria state that you need to score 67/100 eligibility points. 

can i apply for express entry within canada

Answer Questions About Eligibility

Points about eligibility relate to your education, work experience, language level, your age, and an existing job offer. You should fill these in correctly as you will be asked to submit the actual proof of what you’ve said at a certain point in time. This way, you should be able to verify all the details that have been entered. And, while you are allowed to change details pertaining to all the minimum criteria, you should only do so if there have been actual changes and developments – if you update your family situation or family size without any changes having taken place, you will be refused in the upcoming steps. 

Make a Profile for Express Entry

Then, as you make a profile for the Express Entry, you will be asked more questions. The second part of this process is where you will be asked to submit documents, such as your diploma, degree, or even work experience certificates. The document requirements have to be followed, and all the minimum eligibility requirements will be checked. If you lack any documents, the application process will be halted until you provide the missing documents. As this can easily take weeks, it is important to prepare all the documents first and upload them all at the same time. 

How Can I Obtain an Invitation to Apply for Express Entry

When you make your Express Entry profile, the profile is graded based on the CRS scale. The assessment criteria are simple and easy to understand, and all candidates are ranked within each draw cycle. Then, a desired number of immigrants is established and it is this number of top-performing profiles that gets invited to apply. 

The Invitation to Apply is not that easy to get, and it is only at this time that you actually submit all the documents you have prepared. As the ITA is only valid for 60 days, it is of crucial importance to get all these documents beforehand and to be ready to upload them at the shortest possible convenience. Collecting documents after you have received the ITA is not safe, as you could easily be late – language test classrooms are sometimes full for months in advance, and the ITA 60-day deadline cannot be extended in any circumstance. 

Required Documentation for Your Invitation to Apply (ITA)

When you are creating your Express Entry profile, you only need to upload your language test results (proof of language ability) and proof of education level (such as your degree or diploma). When it comes to the documents that you will need after you receive the ITA, you will need many more. But, each program and each stream under Express Entry has its own prerequisites, so the list below should be understood more as an indicator than an actual list:

  • Valid passport or other travel document
  • Birth Certificate 
  • Language test results 
  • Police Clearance Certificate- You will need this for all countries you lived in for longer than 6 months since you were 18 years old
  • Medical Exam results, especially if you have been too risky areas and regions in the year preceding your application
  • Photographs of your family members and yourself as the principal applicant 
  • Your work experience documents, which may include pay stubs, employment contracts, and reference letters from all your previous employers, even if you have current employment
  • Translation of these documents to English or French – they will need to be verified and translated by a court-sworn translator (the notary public) and will need a stamp or affidavit. Alternatively, you can ask the local issuing body to issue them all in English right away, as this can save a lot of money
  • Income Taxation documents and any other documents pertaining to the taxation in your country. If these are not issued, then, it is a confirmation of no outstanding balance with the local taxation body that can be used 
  • Canadian Education Credential or Education Credential Assessment (ECA) – although this is not obligatory, we noticed that candidates with an ECA get more CRS scores in their education fields
  • Official Transcript (Full Curriculum) of all the courses you have taken during your studies. In some cases, you may also need to present the syllabus of each individual course – you can usually download these from your University or college website or have them re-issued by the professor in charge of the course
  • Education history documents, including high-school diploma and college or University degree (a separate one for each level of studies; international or joint courses issue two degrees, so make sure you upload both)
  • Job offer from a Canadian employer – if you have employment status, make sure to upload these documents as well
  • Proof of family status or family relations in Canada
  • Proof of settlement funds, usually a bank statement is enough
  • Documents showcasing your birth and any changes to your personal details (a change of name, last name, birth date details, etc.)
  • marriage certificate
  • Adoption certificate 
  • Divorce certificate 
  • Death certificate for a late spouse when you are trying to bring additional family members with you (such as dependent children) 
  • Children’s birth certificates 
  • In the case of single-parent families, you will need to show proof of full custody, if the child has only one parent, this may not be necessary, but the birth certificate will need to show one parent of the child only 
  • Other travel documents that you may have, and you should be able to present visas to other countries, if you have them and if you are asked to submit these
  • Letters of explanation for any documents that you may not have been able to gather in time – as this delays the process, you will still need to submit them, but your process may be put on hold until the documents are delivered 
  • Health insurance proof – you are expected to have travel insurance for each family member for a period of three months – usually enough for you to settle your Canadian healthcare insurance 

Please beware that these are general documents that you may be asked to submit. The format requirements and documents that you will be asked to provide depend on many factors, such as the program that you are trying to join and the actual case. All documents must be truthful, as even an honest mistake can get you a 5-year ban from Canadian territory. Accessing Canada is a privilege, not a right. 

The Comprehensive Ranking System: An Overview

The CRS (Comprehensive Ranking System) assigns points to the candidate based on their core human capital factors, skill transferability factors, and additional factors (additional points factors include having a job offer, PNP nomination (Provincial Nominee), previous work experience or education in Canada, as well as having relatives in Canada and/or knowledge of the French language). These factors can bring in a maximum of 1,200 points. 

The system was designed to offer everyone an equal basis that the candidates are compared to. So, the system rewards equal points for the same achievements in any of the skills, and only the candidates with the most points are selected. The draw cycles usually take place twice a month ((biweekly) and are organized by the IRCC Canada – Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. 

How Long Does It Take To Complete the Express Entry Process?

A critical factor in any immigration process is the total processing time. You should understand that Express Entry is the fastest immigration process offered by the Canadian government and that it takes much shorter than the immigration processes to some other countries, such as the USA. When it comes to Express Entry, once you have submitted your FULL documents, it takes roughly six months to process the application. 

However, you should know that this is the time AFTER the Canadian government receives all your documents. For this, you will typically need to have received the ITA – Invitation to Apply. This alone can take up to a full year, as this is how long your Express Entry will stay in the system. Patience and being willing to work on your skills are of utmost importance, as this can increase your chances of getting drawn for the ITA. 

What Is the Cost of Express Entry?

The initial part of the process is free of charge, but the second one, submitting the actual documents, may incur substantial costs, depending on where you live and what documents you are asked to submit. In general, you will have to pay: 

  • The processing fee – CAD850 for each adult applicant, including yourself as the principal applicant
  • The Right of Permanent Residence Fee – CAD515 for each adult applicant, including yourself as the principal applicant
  • Including a Dependent Child – CAD230 per child
  • The Biometrics Fees – CAD85 per applicant
  • The Police Clearance Certificate – depending on the local police office 
  • The Medical Examination Certificate – depending on the local hospitals 
  • The ECA assessment – Educational Credential Assessment
  • Language Tests – in general CAD200 – CAD300 depending on your country and the language test you choose to take 
  • Any other fees you may have to pay, including fees for translating documents into English or French
crs score history


Is 5.5 a Good Score in IELTS for Canadian Immigration?

Both yes and no. Namely, a 5.5 band score on IELTS may deem you good enough for some immigration programs, such as provincial nomination programs offered by Alberta and Manitoba. However, you will need at least a band score of 6 to apply for most of these programs. A band score of 6 will also allow you to access the Express Entry pool of candidates so that you can apply to additional programs as well. 

Is PNP Better or Express Entry?

The Express Entry is much better than any PNP program, and for a variety of reasons. This program is intended for foreign workers looking to immigrate to Canada and can help you bring dependent children and parents with you. This program also has uniform application fees, but it will allow you to appear in the pool of candidates for PNP programs as well. Vice versa does not apply. 

How Can I Get 67 Points for Canada PR?

When we talk about Canada permanent residency, it is important to know that there are two types of scores or points that you should track, but only with the Federal Skilled Worker Program. With all other programs, there is only the CRS score, but with the FSW program, there are also the Canada Express Entry Eligibility points that you should consider. When it comes to these, you can be awarded a maximum of: 

  • 28 points for language skills
  • 25 for education
  • 15 for work experience
  • 12 for age
  • 10 for a valid job offer
  • 10 for adaptability

Who Can Sponsor Me in Canada?

Many people can sponsor your arrival to Canada. When it comes to these people, they all have to be your blood relatives or equivalents through adoption. These people include your children, grandchildren, siblings, parents and grandparents. Besides them, your spouse or a common-law partner can also help you apply for a visa and sponsor your arrival to Canada. 

Final Thoughts

The Express Entry application is straightforward and easy to realize. What it does take is time and patience and it will ask you to be systematic and organized with documents and your time. This is currently the fastest and the best way to immigrate to Canada – the country that receives around 500,000 immigrants every year. If you would like to move here, the Express Entry application process is streamlined and easy, and it will take just a few days of your time.