What is the Express Entry to Canada?

If you are planning to immigrate to Canada, the express entry program could be your ticket in. Canada’s express entry system to help skilled workers immigrate to Canada has been in place since 2015, but many people are unaware of how to get express entry to Canada, let alone the requirements and details of this new immigration program. This method allows you to create an online profile, submit an application, and receive your results within two weeks. But in order to do so, you need all of the correct documentation and information required by the Canadian immigration office. If you want to learn more about how to get express entry to Canada, then read on for important tips and strategies that will help you succeed!

What is the Express Entry to Canada?

Canada’s Express Entry system is an immigration pathway that allows skilled individuals to apply and immigrate to Canada. Express Entry applicants need to fulfill the criteria established by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), including education level, language proficiency, work experience, age, and skills transferability, to get accepted into the program and receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) letter. The ITA letter opens the door to applying for Canadian permanent residence (PR).

The Canadian Express Entry System is the most effective method for obtaining permanent residency in Canada (EES). Beginning in 2015, it made it possible for skilled immigrants and their families to immigrate to Canada in six months. The Canadian government started measures to expedite the immigration of foreign students and vital employees during the epidemic while also allowing for an increase in the number of permanent residence permits to be awarded to potential immigrants already residing and working there.

As a result, there was a significant backlog of applicants for immigration in 2021, and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) modified its selection criteria to favor those who were already residing and working in Canada when issuing Invitations to Apply (ITAs). Compared to the 43,840 ITAs issued in the first quarter of 2021, Canada was only able to issue 7,257 ITAs in the first quarter of 2022. But not all is lost. You'll have the best chance of obtaining express entry into Canada if you adhere to the recommendations listed below.

How to Get Express Entry to Canada as a Foreigner

Furthermore, here's a guideline to follow to have the best chance of getting express entry to Canada.

1. Get an ITA

You must strictly adhere to the application procedure to have the highest chance of acquiring an ITA. The most crucial step in the procedure is making sure you are eligible for immigration. There are several eligibility requirements that you must meet.

The following are the two main factors that might disqualify you from the Express Entry Program:

  • A criminal record
  • A serious medical condition

2. Choose your Express Entry Program

Furthermore, the Canadian express entry system manages three main federal economic programs. Create an Express Entry profile and apply to one of the three Express Entry programs if neither of the aforementioned situations affects you.

Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

  • This program has a minimum requirement based on age, skilled work experience, education, language, adaptability, and a valid job offer.
  • All of your attributes are valued in a points system out of 100 with a pass mark of 67.

Federal Skilled Trade Program (FSTP)

  • This program allows entry to skilled workers with a valid job offer for a one-year minimum or certification in a skilled trade given by a Canadian provincial, territorial or federal authority.
  • These jobs are ranked under the National Occupational Classification (NOC).

Canada Experience Class (CEC)

  • This class covers those who have had at least one year of work experience in Canada in their skilled occupation.

If you're eligible for one of these categories, you may apply for the Express Entry pool online. Your eligibility will be determined based on the aforementioned requirements to produce your Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS), which compares you to other Canadian immigration applicants. To achieve the greatest score, you must have a thorough knowledge of the CRS's operation.

3. Fulfil Language and Education Requirements

You must fulfill Canadian criteria for education and language proficiency to be eligible for Express Entry to Canada.

Language requirements

The Canadian language examinations are the following stage of your application procedure. To establish their language proficiency by the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB), English speakers must complete one of the following tests:

  • CELPIP: Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program.
    This is the leading English proficiency test in Canada.
  • IELTS: International English Testing System
    This is the most recognized test within the Express Entry system.

Since it is much simpler to translate an IELTS result to a CLB, it is more important. To apply for the FSWP or the FSTP, you must have a minimum CLB score of 7 or 5. Moreover, it will contribute to your CRS if you can meet the IELTS criteria for Express Entry. For French speakers, there are examinations as well. Those who perform well on both the English and the French language tests receive the highest language ratings.

The French tests are:

  • TEF Canada: est d’évaluation de français
  • TCF Canada: Test de connaissance du français

Education requirement

Your ability to pass the Educational Credential Assessment is a key factor in whether your application for express entrance to Canada is successful (ECA). You must demonstrate that your credentials are genuine, equivalent to, or comparable to those of a Canadian qualification. This has a significant impact on both the success of your application and your ultimate CRS score. You have to undergo an evaluation by a Canadian regulatory organization to apply for the FSTP.

Invitation to Apply

You may check if you've satisfied the standards of the program you've applied for when you receive your CRS score. After that, you'll join the Express Entry pool and have to stay informed about the drawings. These occur every two weeks and will inform you if you have received an ITA for Canadian permanent residency. Every draw has different CRS criteria, so just because you didn't meet them for this specific draw doesn't imply you'll never be qualified.

4. Provide the Necessary Documentation

You have 60 days to gather the required paperwork for your application to be approved after being selected from the pool and receiving your ITA. You must have pertinent, current, and legitimate documents to apply for express entrance to Canada. Meanwhile, you will need the following documents:

  • Passport
  • Birth Certificates
  • This can be replaced with an affidavit if necessary.
  • National Occupation Classification (NOC)
  • Education Credential Assessment report (ECA)
  • Proof of civil status
  • Recent language tests
  • Proof of settlement funds
  • Verification that you're eligible to enter Canada
  • Police clearance certificates
  • Results of a medical exam ordained by certified health officials
  • Work experience documents Reference letters (for all jobs in the last 10 years), copies of all employment contracts, and payslips
  • Two digital photos of you, your spouse or common-law partner, and dependent children
  • Canadian job offer (only relevant if you’ve been presented with them)
  • Letter of employment
  • Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) number
  • Provincial Nomination (only relevant if you’ve been presented with them)

The challenging part is done after everything has been scanned and uploaded to the IRCC online page. However, this is not the time to unwind. There are several strategies to raise your CRS score so that your application has the greatest chance possible.

5. Stay Up-To-Date with Your Information

All that's left is the Express Entry processing period once your application has been filed, your procedure is complete, and your CRS score has increased. Because of its superior efficiency, the Canadian government will probably complete your application in less than six months. You should be aware of a few reasons that make Express Entry processing take longer, such as:

  • Unverified information
  • Security or criminal issues
  • More background checks are needed
  • Unclear family situation
  • Incomplete divorce or adoption proceeding
  • Unresolved child custody issues
  • More documentation or an interview is required

Furthermore, the majority of these elements result from the petitioner providing insufficient information. By using the IRCC Webform, you must maintain the accuracy of any information or factors that could have an impact on your CRS score. The IRCC-protected accounts site allows you to check the progress of your application online.

Moreover, the number of applications, the load on the system, and the number of applicants who are eligible to obtain ITAs all affect how quickly Express Entry is processed.

How Much Does it Cost to Get Express Entry to Canada?

You must cover several fees associated with the Express Entry procedure for your application to be accepted. For this reason, each stage of the Express Entry Process must be completed accurately. 

Before entering the Express Entry pool, you must pay for:

  • Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)
    • $200+
  •  Language test(s)
    • $200+

 After that, you must pay certain government fees:

  • Processing fee
    • $850
  •  Right of permanent residence fee
    • $515
  •  Additional costs for children
    • $230 per child 

On top of these, you must pay additional costs:

  • Police clearance certificate(s)
    • Depending on your country, it can be up to over $100
  •  Medical report
    • $200
  • Legal Representation or Consultancy
    • Depending on the case


Furthermore, to sum up, here are some of the frequently asked questions about getting express entry to Canada.

Do I Need a Job Offer to Qualify for Express Entry?

No. Nevertheless, depending on the position, it will raise your CRS score by 10 to 200 points. Your score may suffer if you don't have a job offer, but if you do well in all the other categories, you can still pass.

What is the Maximum Age to Be Able to Apply for Express Entry to Canada?

There is no upper age limit, however, if you are 45 years of age or older, you cannot receive CRS points. If you are over 18 and under 45, though, you will receive points for both your youth and your experience. Therefore, those between 20 and 29 receive the highest possible score.

Do I Get Permanent Residence Through Express Entry?

Your ITA is, in fact, for a visa for permanent residence. If they can complete the screening procedure, candidates can receive a permanent resident visa under the expedited entry method. It takes months to process because of this.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, you must plan, have patience, and devote a lot of care and attention to obtain express entrance into Canada. If you qualify, it can be the quickest option to obtain your Canadian visa. However, it ultimately depends on chance. Doing as many tests, inspections, and processes, as you can, is crucial. For Express Entry, you must fulfill prerequisites like the IELTS criterion. Give the Canadian authorities your best effort, and who knows? Before the 6-month processing period for Express Entry, you could already be in Canada.

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