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Express Entry

Immigration service guide for the federal path to permanent residence

Express Entry is the platform used by the federal government of Canada to facilitate immigration in the 3 immigration programs which include:

- Federal Skilled Worker

- Federal Skilled Trades

- Canadian Experience Class


What do all these programs have in common? Each permanent residence applicant who may qualify for one of these programs must pass a language test in one of the two official languages of Canada which are English and French. The minimum pass mark depends not only on the language test taken (general IELTs, CELPIP, TEF) but also on the skill category of the employment experience. At least 1 year of work experience either in Canada or abroad is required to qualify for one of the programs. Education in Canada or abroad plus education assessment of the foreign credential may be necessary. An experienced lawyer or consultant can help you navigate the system.


What makes Express Entry different from other programs is that it ranks candidates according to their competencies and adaptability factors. The people who are at or above a cut-off score will get an invitation to apply for permanent residency. Others, will stay in the Express Entry pool for up to 1 year and then their profile will expire. Although Express Entry has evolved to favour different things over the years since its initial inception, the kind of qualities that benefit applicants in the pool are:


*ideal age between 18 and 35

*education in Canada or an evaluation of diploma from abroad with higher education

*high language scores in English or French 

*work experience in a skilled occupation in Canada or abroad

*family members who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents

*sufficient settlements funds or financial means to settle in Canada

*spouse's level of education, work experience and language abilities in one of the official languages, if applicable

*job offer in Canada


Granted that each program has its own requirements and that each federal permanent residence applicant must also qualify in a points competition with other candidates, there is an elaborate process of qualification for an interested individual. However, the processing times on Express Entry are only approximately 6 months which makes it one of the fastest and most convenient pathways to permanent residency for some people.


The documents that typically comprise an Express Entry application submission after an invitation has been issued are as follows:

*immigration medical exam less then 1 year old

*criminal record clearance certificates that are less then 1 year old

*employment records of current and previous jobs including: paystubs, notices of assessment, employment letters, business cards, workbooks and.or business records

*education records including copies of the diploma and transcripts from each institution attended

*evaluation of foreign educational credentials otherwise known as ECA (Educational Credential Assessment), if applicable

*a valid passport or travel document with an expiry date of at least 1 year in the future

*birth certificates for any accompanying or non-accompanying children and their passport or travel documents

*marriage certificate, if applicable

*copies of divorce verdict(s), if applicable

*EILTS or CELPIP English test or TEF French test certificate that is not more then 2 years old

*spousal employment and education records, if applicable

*travel history including purpose of travel outside of your country of citizenship

*address history


Most of these documents plus translations, if they are not in one of the two official languages of Canada, should be prepared well in advance of getting an invitation as the 60 days an applicant has to submit a complete application on Express Entry, after obtaining an invitation, is often not enough time to prepare everything. Translations take time, ordering criminal record checks, often from multiple countries, takes time, translating criminal record checks after they have been issued from a foreign authority also takes a lot of time. Adequate planning and awareness of all the relevant processes and procedures is imperative to meeting deadlines and to being successful at using Express Entry to obtain permanent residence in Canada and our immigration service experts can help. 

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