Step by Step Process of Express Entry System in Canada

Step by Step Process of Express Entry System in Canada

There are a lot of pathways for you to get permanent residence in Canada like the PNP or the provincial nominee program, the immigration pilot programs, and also express entry. And today I will show you the step-by-step process of applying for permanent residence in Canada through express entry.

Let’s get started.

What is express entry?

Express entry is an online system that the government of Canada uses to manage applications for permanent residents from skilled workers. 

In simple words, it means they choose workers based on abilities and skills to contribute to the economy of Canada. And this program was introduced by the government of Canada in September 2015. 

This is a point-based system to fulfill the shortage of skilled workers in the local market of the country.

There are three economic immigration programs through the express entry. These are as follows:

Step by step process of Express Entry

Let us now talk about the step-by-step process of the express entry program.

  1. Prepare your documents
  2. Assess your eligibility
  3. Expression of interest
  4. Enter expert entry pool
  5. Gather all documents
  6. Get an invitation to apply and
  7.  Permanent residence approval

Well, this is the chart of a step-by-step process in applying for the express entry program.

step-by-step process in applying for the express entry program

Prepare your documents

Knowing the most important documents and requirements make you prepared. The three important document requirements for express entry or even other permanent residence pathways are

  • ECA or the evaluation credential assessment
  • Language test and
  • NOC or the national occupational classification
Let’s discuss each of them in detail.

ECA or the evaluation credential assessment

The first major requirement is the ECA or the evaluation credential assessment.

This ECA is used to verify that your forwarding credentials like your degree diploma and certificate are valid and equal to a Canadian credential. It means this document is needed for them to know that your educational credential is comparable to Canada.

There are different types of ECA. But make sure that when you are applying for permanent residence in Canada get an ECA for immigration purposes.


If you completed your education outside Canada, you need an assessment first. That makes you eligible as a principal applicant for the federal skilled worker program under express entry. It is the way to earn points for education received outside Canada. 

That’s why you must get your assessment from an organization or professional body designated by IRCC or the immigration refugees and citizenship Canada. They will give you a report that tells you what your education is equal to in Canada. 

These organizations are as follows:

  • Comparative Education Service
  • International Credential Assessment
  • Service of Canada
  • World Education Services
  • International Qualifications Assessment Service and
  • International Credential Evaluation Service

These are the five designated organizations by IRCC.

In short,

  • Be eligible as principal applicant
  • Earn point for education

The processing time and cost may vary from organization to organization. But the estimation is from one to six months of processing time and it ranges from 185 Canadian dollars to 250 Canadian dollars. Also remember that the validity of this report is for five years.

  • Cost: CA$ 185 – CA$ 250
  • Process Time: 1-6 months
  • Validity of report: 5 years

Language test

The second important requirement is the language test. You must prove your language skills by taking an approved language test.

The language test may take one to three months depending on your preferred schedule. And it may cost 250 Canadian dollars and the validity of this document is only for two years.

  • Cost: CA$ 250
  • Duration: 1-3 months depending on your preferred schedule
  • Validity: 2 years

For English, you can take CELPIP or the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program. You need to take the CELPIP general test. The second one for English is the IELTS or the International English Training System. You need to take the general training. 

Please note that you should take the general training in the general test only. It is because IRCC won’t accept the academic or another test under these two English tests. 

  • CELPIP: Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program – CELPIP – General Test
  • IELTS: International English Language Testing System – General Training

For the French language test, you can take the TEF Canada or TCF Canada. 

  • Test d’évaluation de français (TEF) 
  • Test de Connaissance du Français (TCF)

NOC or the National Occupational Classification

The third requirement that you should know in preparing your documents is the NOC or the national occupational classification.

NOC is a system to classify jobs and occupations that are grouped based on the type of job duties and work a person does. The main jobs group are as follows:

  • Skill type 0: Management jobs
  • Skill level A: Professional jobs (with a degree from university)
  • Skill level B: Technical jobs and skilled trades (with college diploma or training)

I will repeat that these three main job groups are the only ones that can be accepted for the express entry program. And if you want to know the NOC code for your job check the link: Find your NOC

Assess your eligibility

After preparing your documents the second step is assessing your eligibility.

As I have mentioned earlier, the government of Canada chooses skilled workers based on their skills and abilities to contribute to Canada’s economy.

And for the express entry program, there are three economic immigration programs as stated below:

  • Federal skilled workers program or the FSW
  • Federal skill trade program or the FST program
  • Canadian experience class

Requirements for FSW

There are three minimum requirements for the federal skilled worker program. These requirements are:

  • Skilled work experience
  • Language ability
  • Education

If you meet these three minimum requirements IRCC will assess your application based on selection factors.

The selection factors are as follows:

  • Age
  • Education work experience
  • Whether you have a valid job offer
  • Language skills
  • Adaptability

Requirements for Federal skill trade program

The second one is the federal skill trade program. This program has a minimum requirement as well. These are as follows:

  • Language levels,
  • Work experience,
  • NOC job requirements
  • And the job offer

Canadian experience class or the CEC requirements

Canadian experience class or the CEC is the last economic immigration program of express entry.
This is for skilled workers who have Canadian work experience and want to settle and be permanent president in Canada.

It also has 3 minimum requirements and these are as follows:

  • Language levels
  • Work experience and
  • Education

I will repeat when you get 67 points and above, you are eligible to apply for the express entry. Do you want to know if you are eligible? 

Use this ELIGIBILITY CALCULATOR to find your eligibility to apply for express entry to Canada.

Expression of Interest (EOI)

Once you are eligible you can create an express entry profile.

The third step is the expression of interest. Once you get at least 67 points and are eligible, you need to create an express entry profile.

Here is the link: Online Form to create your express entry profile 

In the express entry profile, you will provide your information about yourself.

You can register and create a profile for you to enter to express entry pool. This is our fourth step.

Enter Express Entry pool

  • You know that you are eligible for a permanent residence application. You completed registering and creating an express entry profile.
  • Express Entry pool is where you will stay for up to one year from the day you enter or until you’re issued an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence. 
  • You can get selected from the pool by IRCC in one of its regular draws really depend on how many points you score in the comprehensive ranking system or the CRS.

CRS is a point-based system that the Canadian government uses to assess and score your profile to rank you in the express entry pool. Don’t be confused it with the eligibility point system which needs to be at least 67 points.

The next step after entering the express entry poll is to gather documents.

Gather all documents

You need to prepare and get all of your documents. That is beneficial when you are invited. And some of the documents that you need are as follows:

  • Reference letters or the certificate of employment
  • Medical certificates
  • Police clearance
  • Proof of funds certificates
  • Married divorced or widowed certificate
  • Passport- scan all of the pages
  • The language test result for English or French
  • The ECA report and
  • A job offer /provincial nomination letter

Proof of funds

I just want to go back with regards to the proof of funds. As you can see in the table, these are the funds in Canadian dollars.

proof of fund EE canada

For example, you are going to Canada and applying for permanent residence with one member or one family member you need to have proof of funds of twelve thousand nine hundred sixty dollars. 

And if you have two family members coming with you you need to provide sixteen thousand one hundred thirty-five Canadian dollars.

ITA or Invitation to apply

The sixth step is the ITA or the invitation to apply.

When you are issued ITA for permanent residence, IRCC will send you a message in your online profile or online account and even in your email address. That’s why you must ensure that you have a valid email address and you should also check your spam filter.

Once you receive the ITA, you must submit your application and upload the scanned copy of all the documents that you have within 60 days.

It is the candidate’s responsibility to check their online account frequently. IRCC does not grant extensions to the 60 calendar day deadline for submitting a complete APR or the acceptance of permanent presidents. 

Candidates claim they did not check their online accounts or read the ITA letter. This is not considered a valid reason for an extension. 

Once your documents are scanned uploaded and submitted you need to pay the fees.EE ITA fee

You need to pay 1,325 Canadian dollars and if you will come to Canada with your spouse or partner. You will also pay 1,325 Canadian dollars and the right of permanent residence is also included in that fee. To include your dependent child you need to pay 225 Canadian dollars per child.
Processing time: up to 6-8 months
Remember that the processing time can take up to six to eight months and for the last step your permanent precedence is approved.

Approval of Permanent Residence

You will be receiving a confirmation of permanent residence or what they call the CO-PR after your application is approved. This is along with instructions for how you will activate your permanent resident status in Canada.

This is the step-by-step process for you to apply for permanent residence in Canada through express entry.

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