Express Entry (EE) to Canada | Your guide to getting in Canada

Express Entry (EE) to Canada

Express Entry (EE) is the fastest and most popular pathway for newcomers seeking a new life in Canada. It organizes and processes applications for people who wish to immigrate to Canada and obtain permanent residence.

Express Entry was introduced in January 2015. Canada’s (EE) was a Program developed to allow Canada to maintain its future labour market needs to take care of long-term economic progress. In 2020, the immigration target was set at 195,800 through federal economic programs, like those under the Express Entry System, and this number is predicted to increase as the year continues significantly. In 2020, Express Entry was estimated to issue 91,800 Invitations to apply (ITA’s) for permanent residency, surpassing 107,950 ITA’s.

Below will show a breakdown of the 2021 – 2023 Express Entry Immigration targets:

  • 2021 – 108,500 ITAs;
  • 2022 – 110,500 ITAs
  •  2023 – 113,750 ITAs

Despite the present pandemic travel restrictions, Canada confidently continues to accept and process Express Entry applications. Canada’s new immigration totals are set for the upcoming three years, promising to welcome over 1.2 million newcomers by 2023.

What do you want to know about Express Entry System?

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) introduced Canada’s Express Entry system and used it to select candidates for immigration to Canada through various Federal Economic Immigration programs. Candidates who are willing to apply for immigration through the Federal Skilled Worker ClassFederal Skilled Trades Class, and Canadian Experience Class are required to do so through the system.

As the main driver of economic migration to Canada, the Express Entry system is seen as a flagship program providing a fast-tracked route to Canadian immigration..

How Does the Express Entry System Work?

Step 1: Check if you meet the minimum requirements

You must meet the minimum requirements of three federal immigration programs of the Express Entry. You are not sure you qualify? Complete our Free Assessment to seek out the best advices for the visa program for you to get in Canada.

Express Entry Programs:

Step 2: Create an online Express Entry profile

Create an online Express Entry profile by filling out details about yourself. It’s important to always be truthful in your Create an online Express Entry profile by filling out details about yourself. It’s essential to always be truthful in your answers, as you’ll need to submit supporting documents during the last stage of the application process. You’ll also need your English or French language test results to answer questions regarding your language proficiency.

Step 3: Receive a CRS score

After you complete your Express Entry profile, you’ll receive a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) record out of a possible 1,200 points.

Step 4: Get a call for participation to use (ITA)

Keep up to date with the latest Express Entry draws that befall bi-weekly, and check your profile to see if you received an ITA for permanent residency in Canada.

Please note: The score needed to apply for permanent residence changes for each draw. Even if you do not qualify for a specific program, you remain in the pool for one year. You can increase your CRS score in a few ways to boost your chance of success.

Step 5: Collect your supporting documents

You have 60 days from the date you receive your ITA to submit a complete Express Entry application with all the required documents.

Required Documents:

    1. Passport;
    2. National Occupation Classification (NOC);
    3. Education credential assessment report;
    4. Recent language tests;
    5. Provide Proof of Funds to point out you could support your family;
    6. Provide Police Certificates;
    7. Prepare for a medical checkup– medical exam-  from certified health professionals;
    8. Contact previous employers to fulfill job letters to prove you own a valid work experience;
    9. Canadian job offer (If you’ve got one); and;
    10. Provincial Nomination (If you have one)

Step 6: Pay your fees and submit an application

Contact us to know more details …

Find out if you are eligible to get to Canada through Express Entry (EE) System →

Applicants are ranked on a system called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), which determines who could get selected from the Express Entry Pool first. This system ranks you based on four main factors:

  • Human Capital Factors;
  • Spouse and Common Law Partner;
  • Skill Transferability; and
  • Additional Factors

These factors take into account:

  • Age;
  • Work experience;
  • Education qualifications;
  • Language skills;
  • Adaptability;
  • Job offers; and
  • Spouse or common-law partner

The higher the applicants’ scores on the CRS, the higher their chances of becoming Permanent Residents of Canada. The highest you’ll score on this system is 1,200 points.

Below may be a breakdown of how you will be scored:

  • Core points = 600 points; and
  • Additional points = 600 points

Core CRS Points

You can earn Core CRS points for the following:

  • Skills and experience factors
  • Spouse or common-law partner factors e.g. language skills and education; plus
  • Skills transferability, e.g. education and work experience.

Additional CRS Points

You can earn additional CRS points for the following:

  • Canadian degrees, diplomas, or certificates;
  • A valid job offer;
  • A nomination from a province or territory;
  • A brother or sister living in Canada (citizen or permanent resident.
  • Strong French language skills.


You can score points under these four main categories:

SECTION A – Core/Human Capital

Maximum Points With SpouseMaximum Points Without Spouse
CriteriaMaximum Points
Language Skills (English/French)20
Canadian Work Experience10

SECTION C – Skills Transferability

EducationMaximum Points
Language Skills (English/French) + Education50
Canadian Work Experience + Education50
Foreign Work ExperienceMaximum Points
Language Skills (English/French) + Foreign Work Experience50
Foreign Work Experience + Canadian Work Experience50
Certificate of Qualification (Trades)Maximum Points
Language Skills (English/French) + Education Certificate50

SECTION D – Additional Points

CriteriaMaximum Points
Brother and Sister Living in Canada15
French Language Skills30
Post-Secondary Canadian Education30
Arranged Employment200
Provincial Nomination600

How to Improve Your CRS Score?

There are several ways to enhance your CRS scores, like receiving a Provincial Nomination that adds 600 more points or getting a Canadian job offer, which is worth 50 – 600 points. For instance, a job offer from a  00 job under the National Occupation Classification (NOC) will offer you a further 200 points. Any other job-level offer from a Canadian employer will offer you an extra 50 points. But a job offer under a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) will give 600 CRS points.

Another way to extend your score is thru Core Human Capital Factors (600 points). This awards points for education qualifications like certificates, diplomas, and degrees. The higher your educational qualifications, the higher the score you’ll receive.

Applying together with your spouse or common-law partner can also help increase your score if they need the right work experience and academic background. Having more work experience also can have an impression on CRS results.

Language skills are an excellent way to increase CRS scores. The higher the applicants’ score on recognized French and English tests like IELTS, TEF, and CELPIP, the higher the results. In total, language skills can add an extra 150 points.

History of the Express Entry System

Canada’s Express Entry system was launched in January 2015, as we mentioned earlier, to assist people in applying for permanent residence under three categories: Federal trained worker Program (FSWP), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

Early Rounds

At the start of 2015, the bulk of admissions came from applications submitted before January 1. These early Express Entry draws included an excessive number of applications from foreign nationals who already worked in Canada. Many of these immigrants got ITAs because they had job offers supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

In the first ten draws, which happened over six months, 11,353 ITAs were issued to candidates. Since the primary draw on January 21, 2015, the system has developed into one of Canada’s foremost efficient immigration programs.

Remember that the number of invited candidates is often less than the number of invitations sent. This happens when some candidates receive quite one invitation or when invitations are declined.

System Improvements

Over time, the amount of ITAs issued under the Express Entry system has continued to rise due to Canada’s growing market. Thanks to this upwards trend, improvements were made to the system in the fall of 2016.

These changes came into effect on November 19, 2016, aimed at creating a sound immigration system. The changes address human resource needs while ensuring a long-term economic process for the country.

The improvements include awarding points for job offers made to eligible candidates already in Canada with LMIA – exempt work permits and international students who have completed their education in Canada.

In addition, longer is now allocated for candidates to submit applications for permanent residence once they need to receive ITAs.

The most recent improvement to Canada’s Express Entry system is that candidates with exceptional French language skills will now be ready to get more points, increasing from 15 to 25 points for French speakers and 30 to 50 for bilingual applicants.

Job Offers

From November 19, 2016, Points Awarded by the CRS for employment Offer Changed in Three Basic Ways:

Points will be awarded for job offers made to eligible candidates who are on LMIA-exempt work permits. Many foreign workers in Canada who are temporarily on employer-specific LMIA-exempt working permits but who want to remain in Canada permanently will no longer need to get an LMIA to be awarded job offer points by the CRS. This includes candidates who are here under the North American Free Trade Agreement(NAFTA), a federal-provincial agreement, or Intra-company transferees. For the points to be awarded, the candidate must meet specific criteria, like having a minimum of one year of work experience from an equivalent employer who is providing their job offer.

Job offers will only require a minimum of 1 year after they receive permanent residence. Changing the work offer requirement from permanent to at least one year means more highly skilled candidates working in contract-based industries will be more likely to receive a call for participation to use for permanent residence.

Points awarded for job offers are going to be reduced. A completion of fifty points will be awarded to candidates with a legitimate job offer during a National Occupational Classification (NOC) 0, A or B occupation while completing 200 points will be awarded to candidates with a fair job offer during a NOC 00 occupation.

80% of Express Entry candidates in 2017 got ITAs, even without a job offer. Even without a job offer, it is still possible to qualify for this program.  


Points will now be awarded for study in Canada above high school. The CRS will award 15 points for a one or two-year diploma or certificate and 30 points for a degree, diploma, or certificate of three years or longer, including a master’s, professional or doctoral degree.

More former international students will be ready to transition to permanent residency using the system with these changes. Former international students are a crucial source of candidates for the Express Entry system due to their age, education, skills, and experience. Permanently integrating into Canadian society will be easier because they need to familiarize themselves with life in Canada already.

Candidates will now have 60 days to finish an application for permanent residence if they get a call for participation use. This may give candidates longer to collect all the specified documentation and submit an entire application.

Since the new changes came into effect, the amount of ITAs issued has progressively increased, and therefore the number of CRS points required has significantly decreased.

Express Entry to Canada ITA Numbers

  • Most number of ITAs issued in one draw – 27,332 on February 13, 2021
  • Least number of ITAs issued in one draw – 250 on Epiphany, 2021 (this draw was for candidates invited under provincial nomination only)

Number of ITAs issued in:

  • 2015 – 31,063
  • 2016 – 33,782
  • 2017 – 86,022
  • 2018 – 89,800
  • 2019 – 85,300
  • 2020 – 107,950
  • Total number of ITAs issued so far in 2021 – 37,986
  • Total number of ITAs issued since the system was introduced – 471,903

Why the Program Is Popular?

Express Entry applications can take as little as six months to process, making this program one of the fastest immigration programs in Canada. Only immigrants who have the proper skills required in each province can qualify, unlike the Green Card Lotteries utilized in the U.S.

Successful applicants can eventually apply for permanent residence in Canada.

Frequently Asked Questions on Express Entry

In short, the Express Entry immigration system works consistently with a points-based system referred to as the excellent Ranking System (CRS). That assesses and ranks candidate profiles supported criteria like their skills, education levels, language abilities, years of work experience, and extra factors like adaptability.

Approximately every fortnight, the IRCC holds an Express Entry draw that invites the highest-scoring candidates from three Express Entry immigration programs to use for permanent residency in Canada. The flagship system operates strictly online and is meant to bring the advantages of skilled immigration to Canada.

Yes, it does. If you’re a successful Express Entry applicant, you’ll be issued a Confirmation Of Permanent Residence (COPR) letter at the top of the method. COPR-holders must visit Canada within 12 months from the date of issue to activate their status and receive a PR card via mail after approximately 45 days.

It only takes six months to process Express Entry applications! Please note that this is often only after receiving an ITA and submitting your complete application. The fast-tracked processing is one of the various benefits of applying for Express Entry immigration to Canada.

Government Fees

It’s free to create an Express Entry profile. However, once you receive an ITA and submit your application to the IRCC, you will be required to pay $1,325, including your processing fee and right of permanent residence fee. You can also include your spouse or common-law partner and dependent children on your application at additional costs. See the complete breakdown of Express Entry application fees below.

Express Entry Application Fees
Main applicantProcessing fee ($825) and right of permanent residence ($500)
Include your spouse or partnerProcessing fee ($825) and right of permanent residence ($500)
Dependant child$225

Source: IRCC

Document Fees

You will also need to collect supporting documents for your Express Entry application.

Express Entry Document Fees
DocumentAverage cost
Language tests$300
Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)$200
Biometrics$85 per person
Medical examination$450 per adult/ $250 per child
Police clearance certificate$100 per country

Settlement Fees

You will need to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to settle in Canada. Settlement fees are not fees paid to the government but financial proof to get a permanent residence visa approval.

If you are applying under the Canadian Experience Class program or have arranged an employment offer, you will be exempt from this requirement. The amounts per family size are mentioned in the table below.

Express Entry Settlement Funds

Number of family membersFund Required
For each additional family member$3,492

Yes, your Express Entry profile remains valid for 12 months from the date you created it. You are welcome to update your profile to increase your CRS score. For example, suppose you obtain a higher certificate while your profile is valid in the Express Entry pool. In that case, you should update your profile accordingly to earn more points for your level of education on your Express Entry application.

No, you don’t require a job offer for Express Entry. Surprisingly, a lot of candidates selected for Express Entry don’t have arranged employment in Canada.

However, a valid job offer for a skilled, full-time position can boost your Express Entry CRS score by 50 to 200 points. A valid job offer is typically supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

Language proficiency is a mandatory requirement for all Express Entry programs. For this reason, you must take an approved English test like the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) to showcase your language abilities in speaking, writing, listening, and reading.

Alternatively, you could also take a French language test like Test d’évaluation de français (TEF) to showcase your French language abilities. You can earn more points for your French language proficiency on your Express Entry application. Even better, you can earn the maximum amount of points if you sit both an English and French test!

The IRCC accepts any of the following tests for immigration purposes:

Approved English Tests
CELPIP: Canadian English Language Proficiency Index ProgramYou must take the CELPIP-General test
IELTS: International English Testing SystemYou must take the General Training option
Approved French Tests
TEF Canada: Test d’évaluation de français,Your test must include writing, speaking, listening, and reading comprehension.
TCF Canada: Test de connaissance du françaisYour test must include writing, speaking, listening, and reading comprehension.

There is technically no maximum age to apply for a permanent resident visa through Express Entry but if you are 45 years or older you will not be able to score any points. The ideal age to claim points is between 20 and 29 years old to be able to score the maximum amount of points (100 with your spouse and 110 on your own).

Yes, Express Entry applications are being processed and COPR-Holders may enter Canada as long as they follow COVID-19 protocols.

Canada Immigration Plan: 2023-2025 

On November 1, 2022, in Ottawa, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada joyfully unveils the comprehensive information about the Government of Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan spanning from 2023 to 2025. The objective is to embrace the arrival of 465,000 fresh permanent residents in 2023, followed by 485,000 in 2024, and an increased target of 500,000 in 2025.

Want to apply for a Canadian visa through the Express Entry system? Click here to start the process with our help →