The Express Entry Process

The Express Entry is a Canadian immigration process designed to help skilled immigrants successfully immigrate to Canada. 

There are three main immigration programs managed by the Express Entry process and each of these programs listed below have their unique eligibility criteria. 

• Federal Skilled Worker Program
• Federal Skilled Trades Program
• Canadian Experience Class

* The Express Entry process also manages a portion of the Provincial Nomination program (some provinces and territories use the Express Entry pool to recruit candidates for their provincial nomination program).

Express Entry Summary

How to apply for the Express Entry process

  • Confirm your eligibility for the Express Entry process: This is done using the eligibility tool.


  • Gather all the relevant documents:
    1. Documents for your Express Entry Profile
      1. Passport or Travel Document
      2. Register and sit for the Language test (French and/ or English) and obtain results:
      3. Verify/ assess your education credential through any of the designated organizationsor designated professional bodies (for physicians and pharmacists)
      4. Get your written proof of job offer (for candidates that have a valid job offer in Canada
      5. Provincial nomination (if you have one)
      6. Confirm your National Occupational Classification (NOC) job title and code
    2. Documents for your application for permanent residence:  These documents will be required after you receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence.
      1. Police Certificate: Get relevant information about obtaining a police certificate however it is advisable to process and obtain the police certificate when you have received your invitation to apply for permanent residence
      2. Medical Exam: Get relevant information about obtaining a medical exams, however it is advisable not to go ahead with the medical examination until you have received your invitation to apply for permanent residence
      3. Job Reference Letters: Gather relevant documentation to support your work experience. E.g. reference letters, employment contracts, pay stub etc
      4. proof of funds.


  • Create and submit your Express Entry profile: Create your profile using the Come to Canada Express Entry Eligibility ToolIf you are eligible, the tool provides a code at the end of the form. The code looks like:  DF1234567890 and will be provided along with instructions about how to create your profile.


  • Top ranking candidates who meet the selection criteria will receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence and have 60 days to complete their profile and submit supporting documents.


  • Successful applicants will receive a passport request. It is important to note that with the exception of the travel passport and passport photographs which will be sent to the visa processing office, all other express entry documentation and communication will be via your Express Entry profile except otherwise stated.


Summary of the Express Entry process

• In the Express Entry process, applicants are required to create an Express Entry profile by providing information about their skills, education, work experience, language ability and other details.

• Once started, you have 60 days to complete your Express Entry profile.

• The information you provide in the Express Entry profile would be used to determine your eligibility for the three programs listed above.

• All applicants who meet the eligibility criteria will be accepted into the pool of candidates for immigration to Canada.

• All candidates in the pool will be ranked using the “Comprehensive Ranking System” (CRS).

• The CRS is a points-based system that is used to assess and score the information provided in the Express Entry profile and rank the applicants in the pool.

• You can calculate your CRS score before you start your application by using a tool called the “Comprehensive Ranking System” tool.

• Getting into the Express Entry pool does not guarantee that you will be invited to apply for permanent residence.

• Top ranking candidates will be selected at different rounds based on the ministerial instructions in each round of invitations. The instructions include information such as number of invitations issued, ranks required to be invited to apply, date of round, etc.

• Candidates who are selected will receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence and have 90 days to submit an online application for permanent residence.

• All candidates who receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence will still be required to meet the eligibility and admissibility requirements under Canada’s immigration law (The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act).

• Most applicants who submit complete permanent residence applications with supporting documents will have their applications processed within 6 months or less.

• All candidates in the pool are expected to update their profile to reflect any changes.

• Candidates in the pool who do not receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence within 12 months of creating an Express Entry profile are required to recreate a new profile.

Use the link below to view the candidate pool distribution and know how well you fare or to know more about the last round of invitations.

Express Entry Candidate Pool Distribution

It is important to note that you are allowed to delete your Express Entry profile and create a new one if necessary. Once deleted, the application becomes deactivated and can no longer be edited.  

If you decline your invitation to apply for permanent residence, you will be put back in the pool if you still meet the eligibility requirements and would be considered for future rounds of invitations.

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The Express Entry Application Process

Once you have a good understanding of the process and you have met the requirements and obtained all the necessary documentation required for your application, the next step will be to build your express entry profile.

This is done using the Come to Canada online tool. It takes about 15 minutes to answer the questions in the tool. If you are eligible for Express Entry, the system will generate a reference number that looks like “JM0987654321”. In addition to the number, the page will display the seven (7) steps you require to create your account and submit your express entry profile. This code helps to retrieve the information you entered in the come to Canada tool, which will be used to create your profile.

If you lose your reference number, you’ll need to use the come to canada tool to start the process again.

Come to Canada Tool



The Comprehensive Ranking System

Now that you have an idea of how the Express Entry process works and you are aware that your success is dependent on your CRS score and your rank in the Express Entry pool, it is time to understand how your score is calculated. This will ensure that you “put your best foot forward” when sitting for the language examination and when applying for the Express Entry program(s).

It is important to note that false information in the application process will lead to disqualification so we strongly advise all applicants to avoid any false information or misrepresentation.

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Building An Application Strategy

Now that you understand the Express Entry process and how your CRS score is calculated, you can easily work out a strategy to maximize your points. Below are some helpful tips.


The CRS Tool: The CRS tool helps you calculate your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. There is no limit to the number of times the tool can be used. It is advisable to use it before you create your express entry profile to understand how each factor affects your score. This is particularly useful if you want to understand how your language score can boost your points and helps you understand what score to aim for before taking your language test. In addition to that, if you have received an invitation to apply for permanent residence, the tool can help you understand how a change in your profile can affect your CRS score (since your CRS score needs to be above the minimum points score for your round of invitations).

CRS Tool


Choosing the primary applicant: Since the CRS is not gender-based, the next strategy for applicants that have a spouse or common-law partner will be to decide who the primary applicant should be. The decision should be made by considering all the factors above. Anyone who has more points in the core/ human factor, skills transferability and additional points section should be the primary applicant.


Determine your rank in the pool: By determining your approximate rank in the pool based on the score generated from the CRS tool, you would know if you may need to seek provincial nomination before creating your Express Entry profile. This will in turn give you an idea of the provinces/ territories of residence to select when creating your profile. Use the Express Entry candidate pool distributionto determine your rank distribution.


Seeking a provincial nomination: When you have accurately entered the information in the CRS tool or your express entry profile and you have confirmed from the distribution of the candidate pool that your chances of getting an invitation to apply for permanent residence is low, it is advisable to consider a provincial nomination. E.g. If the last round of draws was 464 and your CRS score is 380, then it is advisable to seek a provincial nomination. Review the nomination programs offered by the different provinces to determine which you are best suited for before creating your express entry profile.

When creating your express entry profile, it is only logical that the province(s) or territory(ies) you are seeking a nomination from should be the same provinces that you indicate that you would like to reside in (when building your express entry profile). In a situation where either spouses or common-law partners do not have very high scores, the partner with a job that is in high demand should be the primary applicant since he/she is more likely to get a nomination from a province or territory that requires the skills.


Optimizing your language score: Use the CRS tool to check how your language scores can affects your overall CRS score. Simulate using different scores to determine what score to aim for and / or if you need to re-take the language tests.


Seek arranged employment: Creating a Job Match account with Job Bank is now an optional step but is very helpful because it gives you a chance to get a job offer before you arrive in Canada. Getting a valid job offer/ arranged employment qualifies you to get an additional 200 points as seen from the screenshot above (on the condition that your potential employer can get a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)). There are some jobs exempt from the LMIA. Below are the steps by (from www. to create a job bank account.

  • click the “Sign up now!” button
  • read the privacy notice and click “I agree”
  • follow the instructions to create an account”

Proof of funds

Funds are important in the immigration process so at a point in the application, you will be required to show that you have enough funds to cater for you and your dependants. This is known as proof of funds. You require proof of funds if you:

  1. Do not have a valid job offer in Canada
  2. Are not currently authorized to work in Canada

The amount of money you require is dependent on your family size. Your family size comprises of yourself, your spouse, your dependent children and your spouse’s dependent children. This includes dependent children or spouse who are Canadian permanent residents or citizens. “On October 24, 2017, the age limit for dependants changed from “under 19” to “under 22.” Check if your child qualifies as a dependant to see if you can add them to your application”.

The table below shows the minimum funds required based on the family size. It is important to note that not having adequate funds is enough reason to fail your eligibility test when using the Come to Canada tool. This information is updated every year.


 Number of Family Members  Funds Required (in Canadian Dollars)
 1  $12,475
 2  $15,531
 3 $19,093 
 4 $23,181 
 5 $26,292 
 6 $29,652 
 7 $33,014 
 For each additional family member $3,361 

Click on the button below to get more details about what is acceptable as proof of funds.

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Invitation to Apply for Permanent Residence

Click on the button below to find out what to expect after you receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence as a skilled immigrant (through the Express Entry process). It is important to note that you will be required to show proof of the information provided in your express entry profile. This proof will be in the form of documents to support your application and may include:

  • Result of language tests
  • Police certificates
  • Letter of reference from your previous employers
  • Proof of funds
  • Proof of eligibility based on program requirements

Also find out what to do if there are changes to the personal information provided in your profile or if you wish to decline the invitation to apply for permanent residence.

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All questions will be answered in the immigrant circle community forum.