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Canada Express Entry Guide

Express Entry is the fastest and most popular route to permanent residency for immigrants seeking a new life in Canada.
Canada welcomes approximately 110,000 skilled workers through the Express Entry system each year.

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Canada Express Entry Guide

What is Express Entry?

Express Entry is an online system used by the Canadian government to organize and process applications from skilled workers who wish to immigrate to Canada and obtain Canadian permanent resident status. The system administers three major federal economic programs:

  • Federal Skilled Worker (FSW)
  • Federal Professions (FST)
  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

How do I apply for Express Entry?

Applying for Express Entry is a two-step process. The first step is to submit your profile which requires the following documents:

  • Language test results
  • Educational Accreditation Assessment Report
  • Passport or travel document

After submitting your profile and receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residence in Canada, you will need to submit a more substantial application including reference letters, additional identification documents, police certificates and medical test results.

Who is eligible for Express Entry?

Individuals with a college or university degree, skilled work experience, and moderate proficiency in English and/or French are ideal candidates for Express Entry.

In order to submit a profile through the Express Entry system, applicants must also meet the eligibility criteria for one of three federal programs:

  • Federal Skilled Worker (FSW)
  • Federal Professions (FST)
  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

The easiest way to find out if you qualify is to use our free online assessment tool.

What are the express entry requirements?

In general, to be eligible to apply for Express Entry as a skilled worker, you must:

Have at least one year, within the past 10 years, of continuous full-time (or part-time equivalent) work experience in a skilled occupation

Be able to demonstrate on an approved language test at least seven of the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLBs) in English or French

Complete post-secondary education that has been assessed against Canadian standards through the Academic Accreditation Assessment

These are the minimum requirements to apply for Canada's Express Entry system as a skilled worker. Meeting these requirements does not mean that you will receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence in Canada. Candidates with stronger profiles will always be selected over candidates who meet the minimum requirements.

What is the cost of Express Entry?

The cost to immigrate to Canada through Express Entry is approximately CAD 2,300 for a single applicant, or approximately CAD 4,500 for a married couple. Cost details include,

  • Language tests: average cost - $300
  • Educational Credential Assessment (ECA): average cost - $200
  • Biometrics: $85 per person
  • Government fees: $1,325 per person and $225 per child
  • Medical examination fees: average cost: $450 for an adult and $250 for a child
  • Police certificates: average cost - $100/state

No government fee is required to submit your initial Express Entry profile. The fee is only required when you are invited to apply for permanent residence in Canada. In addition to state processing fees, you may also have to pay provincial immigration fees if you are applying through a PCP.

You should also be aware that unless you are applying under the Canadian Experience Class program or have a valid salaried job offer, you will need to prove that you have sufficient funds to support your relocation to Canada. These settlement funds are not fees paid to the government, but you must have access to them for your permanent resident visa to be approved. The amounts by family size are shown in the table below:

Number of Family Members   
Funds Required
1   $13,310
For each additional family member                             $3,586
  • Do I need an Express Entry job offer?
You do not need a job offer for Express Entry. The vast majority of candidates selected for Express Entry do not have an official Canadian job offer.

If you have a valid Canadian job offer, this can add up to 200 points to your CRS score.

  • How long does Express Entry take?
The Express Entry process can take up to six months, from submitting an Express Entry profile to issuing a permanent resident visa. However, not all cases will move forward so quickly. Your Express Entry profile will remain active in the candidate pool for 12 months if you do not receive an invitation to apply. If you haven't received an invite after 12 months, you can resubmit your profile and stay in the group. For more details:

- Your profile will remain valid for 12 months in the Express Entry pool
- When an ITA is issued, you will have 60 days to submit the complete application required for documentation
- Once the immigration authorities have received your complete application, your permanent resident visa, IRCC can process your application within approximately six months.
  • How are Express Entry points calculated?
When people refer to "express entry points" in Canada, they are usually referring to a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. Canada uses the CRS score to rank applicants in the Express Entry pool using a series of factors, including:

  • age.
  • level of education.
  • Fluency in French or English.
  • work experience abroad and in Canada.
  • couple the factors and
  • Contacts in Canada.


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