A Comprehensive Guide to Express Entry Canada in 2024

Written by

Mynaz Altaf

Fact check by

Afreen Abbasi

Updated on

Jul 25,2024

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A Comprehensive Guide to Express Entry Canada

Express Entry is a popular immigration system in Canada. It is efficient and it lets skilled workers apply for permanent residency. It was introduced in January 2015. Since then, it has become the main way for economic immigration to Canada. The country has a growing demand for skilled workers. Express Entry Canada has become a crucial gateway for those looking to build a future in the country. However, understanding the process can be overwhelming and confusing for many applicants. That's why we made this guide. It will help you navigate the complexities of Express Entry Canada. In this blog post, we will cover all you need to know about this immigration system. This includes who can apply. It also covers how to apply and tips for success. So, if you are considering applying for Express Entry or have already started, this guide has all the info you need. It will help you make your dream of living and working in Canada real.

What is Express Entry Canada?

Canada uses the online system Express Entry to manage applications for permanent residence. The system is for skilled workers. It operates under three main economic immigration programs:

  1. Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

  2. Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)

  3. Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

Understanding the Basics of Express Entry Canada

  • Express Entry Canada is an online immigration application system. It streamlines the process for skilled workers who want to become permanent residents. Candidates create profiles detailing their skills, experience, and other personal information. 

  • The profiles are then ranked against each other using a point-based system. This system is called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). High-ranking candidates are invited to apply for permanent residency. They are picked from the pool in regular draws.

  • Recent Targeted Express Entry Canada draws are new. They let Canada focus on specific economic needs or priorities. 

  • These draws can be tailored to pick candidates with specific skills. They can also pick those who are eligible through immigration programmes. This ensures a more dynamic response to the country's labor market needs.

  • The duration of the Express Entry Canada process can vary significantly. The process goes from creating a profile to getting an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for residency. This can take as little as six months. This depends on the completeness of the application. It also depends on the accuracy of the information and the candidate's CRS score.

  • Applicants must ensure their Express Entry Canada profiles are detailed and up-to-date. This is essential to speed up the process.

What Are the Express Entry Draws?

Express Entry encompasses three distinct types of invitation rounds:

  • General Rounds of Invitation

In these rounds, Canada's immigration agency, IRCC, invites top scorers. They can apply for permanent residence. The invites are not based on their specific job or skills.

  • Program-Specific Rounds of Invitation

These rounds target candidates with the highest CRS scores. They are eligible for a specific Express Entry program. This could be the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP). Or it could be the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). Or the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP).

  • Category-Based Rounds of Invitation

The rounds are designed to align with economic goals. They prioritize candidates with the highest CRS scores. These candidates must meet IRCC's eligibility criteria for designated categories.

Eligibility Criteria for Express Entry Canada

To qualify for Express Entry Canada, applicants must meet the minimum requirements of one of the following economic immigration programs. Key eligibility criteria include:

1. Language Proficiency

  • Applicants must demonstrate proficiency in either English or French, Canada's two official languages. This is assessed through standardized language tests like the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) for English or the TEF Canada (Test d’évaluation de français) for French. 

  • Minimum language levels vary depending on the program, but generally, a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of 7 for FSWP and CEC, and a CLB of 5 for speaking and listening (4 for reading and writing) for FSTP are required.

2. Education

You need at least a Canadian high school. Or, a post-secondary certificate, diploma, or degree. Or, you need an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report from a designated organization. The report must show that your foreign education is equal to Canadian standards.

3. Skilled Work Experience

The experience must be in a job listed in Canada's National Occupational Classification (NOC). The duration of required experience varies by program but typically involves at least one year of full-time work.

4. Express Entry Profile

Create an Express Entry profile. Then, meet the requirements of at least one of the three federal economic immigration programs in the Express Entry Canada system. They are the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP). They are the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP). They are also the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).


Meeting these is the first step. It lets you create an Express Entry profile. This may lead to an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canada.

Creating an Express Entry Profile

This is a comprehensive guide to creating an Express Entry Canada profile, outlining each step in detail and listing the necessary documents for the application.

Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your Express Entry Profile

Step 1: Determine Your Eligibility

Before creating your Express Entry Canada profile, ensure you meet the eligibility criteria for one of the three federal immigration programs mentioned above. Factors such as age, education, work experience, language proficiency, and adaptability are taken into consideration.


Step 2: Create an Express Entry Profile

Visit the official Canadian government website and create an Express Entry Canada profile. You'll need to provide personal information. This includes your name and date of birth. It also has your nationality, marital status, and contact information. It also has your language skills, education, work history, and other relevant details.


Step 3: Obtain an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)

If you got your education outside Canada, you'll need an ECA. It verifies that your foreign degree, diploma, or certificate is equal to a Canadian one. This assessment is required for the Federal Skilled Worker Program.


Step 4: Complete a Language Proficiency Test

Take an approved language test, such as IELTS or CELPIP for English, or TEF for French. These tests will prove your skill in English and/or French.


Step 5: Gather Supporting Documents

Ensure you have all the necessary supporting documents ready to upload to your Express Entry profile. These may include:

  • Passport or travel documents

  • Educational documents (degrees, diplomas, transcripts)

  • Language test results

  • Work experience documents (letters from previous employers, employment contracts)

  • Provincial nomination certificate (if applicable)

  • Police certificates

  • Medical exam results


Step 6: Calculate Your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) Score

Your CRS score is based on various factors such as age, education, language proficiency, work experience, and adaptability. Use the CRS tool available on the official website to calculate your score and assess your eligibility for the Express Entry Canada pool.


Step 7: Submit Your Profile to the Express Entry Pool

Once your profile is complete and you've obtained all necessary documents, submit it to the Express Entry Canada Pool. Your profile will be assigned a CRS score and ranked against other candidates in the pool.


Step 8: Receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA)

Those with the highest CRS scores will get an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence. This happens during regular Express Entry Canada draws. The draws are by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).


Step 9: Submit Your Application for Permanent Residence

If you receive an ITA, you will have 60 days to submit a complete application for permanent residence, including all required documents and forms.

Documents Required for the Application

When preparing your Express Entry Canada profile and application for permanent residence, you'll need to gather the following documents:

  • Passport or Travel Document: Include a copy of your passport or travel document. It should have any pages with stamps, visas, or markings.

  • You need to submit copies of your educational credentials. These include degrees, diplomas, and transcripts. Also, submit the Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) if it applies.

  • You need to provide copies of your language test results. These can be from tests like IELTS, CELPIP, or TEF. They should show your skill in English and/or French.

  • They are from past employers, employment contracts, or other proof of your work.

  • Provincial Nomination Certificate: If you have received a provincial nomination through a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), include a copy of the nomination certificate.

  • Police Certificates: You need them from any country where you lived for six months or more since age 18.

  • Medical Exam Results: A panel physician conducted a medical exam to check your health. They did it to see if you are fit to enter Canada.

What is a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) and How To Improve It?

Many countries like Canada, Australia, and New Zealand use something called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) to help them choose the right people for their skilled worker programs. Let's dive in and see how this system works.

What's the CRS All About?

Canada's Express Entry program uses the Comprehensive Ranking System. It assesses and ranks candidates who want to apply for permanent residency. It evaluates candidates based on factors. These include age, education, work experience, language skill, and adaptability. The maximum score a candidate can achieve is 1,200 points.

Components of the CRS

Let's break down the components of CRS:

1. Core Human Capital Factors

This includes age, education level, language proficiency (English and French), and work experience. Candidates can score a maximum of 500 points in this category.

2. Spouse or Common-Law Partner Factors

If applicable, the candidate's spouse or common-law partner's education, language proficiency, and work experience are evaluated, with a maximum score of 40 points.

3. Skill Transferability

This factor assesses a candidate's ability to adapt their skills to the Canadian labor market. It includes factors such as education, work experience, language proficiency, and Canadian work experience. The maximum number of points attainable in this category is 100.

4. Additional Points

Candidates can earn additional points through factors such as a valid job offer in Canada, a provincial nomination, Canadian education credentials, or a sibling living in Canada as a citizen or permanent resident.

How Can You Improve Your CRS Score?

  1. Enhance Language Proficiency: Achieving high scores in English and French language proficiency tests like IELTS or CELPIP can significantly boost your CRS score. Consider investing time and resources in language training to improve your scores.

  2. Obtain Canadian Education Credentials: Pursuing further education in Canada or obtaining Canadian educational credentials can earn you additional CRS points. This may involve enrolling in a Canadian university or college program.

  3. Gain Relevant Work Experience: Accumulating work experience in occupations that are in-demand in Canada can increase your CRS score. Consider gaining experience in fields like healthcare, engineering, or information technology.

  4. Secure a Job Offer: A valid job offer from a Canadian employer can provide a substantial boost to your CRS score. Networking, applying for jobs through various platforms, and targeting employers who are willing to sponsor immigrants can increase your chances of securing a job offer.

  5. Consider Provincial Nomination Programs (PNPs): Provincial Nomination Programs allow Canadian provinces to nominate individuals who meet their specific labor market needs. Obtaining a provincial nomination can add significant points to your CRS score.

  6. Maximize Adaptability Factors: Factors such as having a spouse or common-law partner with high language proficiency or Canadian work experience can contribute to your CRS score. Utilize these factors to your advantage.

  7. Stay Informed and Seek Professional Advice: The immigration landscape is constantly evolving, with changes in policies and requirements. Stay updated with the latest information and seek guidance from immigration consultants or lawyers to navigate the process effectively.


Understanding the CRS and working on areas like language skills, education, work experience, and connections to Canada can increase your chances of becoming a permanent resident. So, take your time, plan ahead, and make the most of your opportunities!

Invitation to Apply (ITA)

So, you’ve received the coveted Invitation to Apply (ITA) for immigration – congratulations! However, it's essential to approach the application process with diligence and attention to detail to ensure its success. We'll walk you through what to do upon receiving an ITA, the necessary documents for your application, and valuable tips for making your application stand out.

What to Do Once You Receive an ITA?

  1. Read the ITA Thoroughly: Carefully review all the instructions and requirements outlined in your ITA. Ensure you understand each step of the application process before proceeding.

  2. Create an Online Account: If you haven't already done so, create an online account on the immigration department's website of the country you're applying to. This account will be your portal for submitting your application and tracking its progress.

  3. Gather Required Documents: Start compiling all the necessary documents listed in your ITA. Organize them systematically to streamline the application process.

  4. Complete Application Forms: Fill out all required application forms accurately and truthfully. Double-check for any errors or omissions before submission.

  5. Pay Application Fees: Make the required payment for your application fees. Keep proof of payment for your records.

  6. Submit Application: Once you've completed all the necessary steps and gathered all required documents, submit your application online through the designated portal.

  7. Monitor Application Status: After submission, keep track of your application's progress through your online account. Be proactive in addressing any additional requests or queries from immigration authorities promptly.

Documents Required for the Application

While specific document requirements may vary depending on the country and immigration program you're applying through, typical documents often include:

  • Identification Documents: Passport, birth certificate, and other identification documents.

  • Educational Credentials: Transcripts, diplomas, degrees, and professional certifications.

  • Proof of Funds: Bank statements, investment portfolios, or other evidence demonstrating your financial stability.

  • Language Proficiency Test Results: Such as IELTS or TOEFL for English proficiency or DELF/DALF for French proficiency.

  • Employment History: Letters of employment, resumes, or other documentation showcasing your work experience.

  • Police Clearance Certificate: A certificate verifying that you have no criminal record.

  • Medical Examination Results: Proof of a medical examination conducted by an approved physician to assess your health status.

Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)

Provincial Nominee Programs are immigration programs. Each Canadian province and territory designs their own to pick candidates. The candidates must meet the province's economic and demographic needs. Each province and territory has its own PNP streams. The streams are for skilled workers, business investors, and international graduates. They are also for other categories of immigrants.


PNP streams often target individuals with in-demand skills and experience. They are needed in the respective province or territory. Some PNPs offer streams for entrepreneurs and investors. They wish to start or invest in businesses in Canada.

Integration with Express Entry Canada

The Express Entry system is a federal immigration program that manages the applications of skilled workers who wish to immigrate to Canada permanently. Express Entry Canada operates through three main economic immigration categories: the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).


Provincial Nominee Programs are integrated with Express Entry Canada through the Provincial Nominee Program – Express Entry stream. Candidates eligible for Express Entry can indicate their interest in immigrating to a specific province or territory by submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) or applying directly to the province's PNP stream. If nominated by a province or territory, candidates receive an additional 600 Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points, significantly enhancing their chances of receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residency through Express Entry Canada.

How to Apply for a PNP Nomination?

The process of applying for a PNP nomination varies depending on the province or territory and the specific stream through which one applies. However, the general steps typically involve the following:

  • Review the eligibility requirements of the desired PNP stream to ensure that you meet the criteria.

  • Depending on the PNP stream, candidates may need to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) or apply directly to the province or territory.

  • If selected, candidates will receive a provincial nomination certificate or letter of nomination from the province or territory.

  • Once nominated, candidates must submit an application for permanent residency to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) through the Express Entry system.

  • Applicants must undergo medical examinations and provide police certificates to demonstrate admissibility to Canada.

  • If the application is approved, candidates will receive a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and can then move to Canada as permanent residents.

Key Takeaways

Express Entry Canada helps skilled workers move to Canada permanently. Its efficient online system, coupled with regular draws and targeted invitations, streamlines the immigration process, making it accessible and transparent. However, Express Entry Canada and PNPs can seem like a daunting task, which is where TerraTern, a visa consulting service, comes in. TerraTern specializes in guiding applicants through every step of the immigration journey, from assessing eligibility and creating a compelling profile to obtaining provincial nominations and submitting successful applications.


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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I qualify for Express Entry Canada?

To qualify for Express Entry Canada, you need to meet the requirements of one of the three federal immigration programs. They are: the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), or the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). You must also make an online profile using Express Entry Canada. You need a minimum score on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).

What are the minimum points for Express Entry Canada?

The minimum points for Express Entry Canada vary. They depend on the specific draw held by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Typically, candidates with higher CRS scores are invited to apply for permanent residence. But, there is no fixed minimum score, as it fluctuates with each draw.

How much does it cost to Express Entry Canada?

The cost for Express Entry Canada includes fees for language tests. It also includes fees for educational credential assessments. It also includes the application for permanent residence. These costs can vary depending on individual circumstances. The fee for Express Entry Canada is not directly charged. But, applicants may need to pay fees for the immigration programs they apply under.

How long will Express Entry Canada last?

Express Entry Canada has been in operation since January 2015. It continues to be a key way for skilled workers to immigrate to Canada. There is no predetermined end date for the Express Entry system. Skilled workers are in demand in Canada. The government supports economic immigration. So, Express Entry Canada is likely to remain.