Note: We are updating the Express Entry system:
- you can now earn points for study in Canada
- a valid job offer now only needs to be for one year, and some job offers no longer need an LMIA
- the amount of points you get for a job offer has changed.
- you now have 90 days to apply instead of 60.
Find out more about these changes and how they may affect you.
As of January 1, 2015, to come to Canada as a skilled immigrant, you must use the Express Entry system. This is a process where you:
- find out if you may be eligible, and if so,
- create a free online Express Entry profile.
The information in your profile will be used to determine if you are eligible to immigrate to Canada. If you are, you will be placed in a pool with other candidates and you will be ranked using several factors. Top candidates will be invited to apply and will then be able to apply online for permanent residence.
Note: Completing an online Express Entry profile or entering the pool does not guarantee that you will get an invitation to apply for permanent residence.
To help you fill out your online profile, you may want to open this page in a different browser, tab or window while you do so. You can then refer back to this information as needed to guide you through the form.
Before you start
- You will need to take a language test. We will use your test results to see if you are eligible to immigrate to Canada under one of the federal programs that are part of Express Entry.
- If you were educated outside Canada, you may need to have your educational credentials assessed against Canadian standards.
This is not mandatory if:
- you got at least one year of recent work experience in Canada, or
- your work experience is in a skilled trade (skilled manual work).
- You need to know the skill type of the job your work experience is in (as well as the job you plan to have in Canada, if they are different). You will use Canada’s job classification system (the National Occupational Classification or NOC) to find out whether your work experience is valid under one of the three federal programs.
To find your job title, code and skill type
This job code is referred to as your "NOC code" in the Express Entry profile. See Find your NOC to find the NOC information that best matches your jobs.
You will need this information again, so make sure to write it down and keep it with the other papers you need, such as your passport.
Step 1: See if you may be eligible
You can use our online tool, Come to Canada, to see if you meet the criteria to get into the Express Entry pool. It will take you about 15 minutes.
You will need your language test results, your NOC skill type or level described above and your Education Credential Assessment (ECA).
When you get to the end, a reference number will show on the screen. Write it down. You will need it later when you go to build your profile.
Step 2: Build your online Express Entry profile
If you get a positive result from Come to Canada, it will send you to your account. If you do not already have an account, you will need to create one. Then you will fill out an Express Entry profile to tell us about your:
- contact information
- education in more detail
- work experience in more detail
- family who would come with you to Canada (dependants)
You will need:
- your passport or travel document (or other national identity document, if you do not have one of these)
- your NOC job title and code (see Before you start, above)
- your language test results (either IELTS, CELPIP or TEF)
- your Educational Credential Assessment result, if you have one (see Before you start, above)
- a copy of your written job offer from an employer in Canada, if you have one
- a copy of your provincial nomination, if you have one, and
- your personal reference code from the Come to Canada tool, if you have one. (It looks like this: JM1234567890. We use it to bring the answers you provided in the tool into your account so you do not have to answer the questions again. If you go to the profile builder directly through your account, you will not have one.)
To create your Express Entry profile
- Follow the instructions to create an account if you do not already have one. The system will give you a number that you will use each time you sign in.
- If you have a personal reference code from the Come to Canada tool, enter it when it prompts you. If you do not have a code, go to Step 3.
- Enter your personal details, work experience, education, etc.
(Note: You may exit the profile at any time. Your information will be saved. But, if you do not complete the Express Entry profile in 90 days, you will not be able to submit it and will have to start again.)
- Submit your profile online.
If you meet the Express Entry criteria, including the requirements for at least one of the three immigration programs, you will be accepted into the Express Entry pool of candidates. If you are invited to apply for permanent residence, we will tell you at that time which program to apply under.
Important: Submitting an Express Entry profile does not mean you have applied for permanent residence, or that you will be invited to. If we invite you to apply, you will then need to give us more information in your application for permanent residence.
Register with Job Bank
To finish your Express Entry profile you must register with the Government of Canada’s Job Bank if you do not already have:
- a valid job offer, or
- a nomination from a province or territory.
Job Bank is an easy, online job search tool which will connect you with employers and jobs in Canada based on your skills and experience.
If you do not register with Job Bank within 30 days your Express Entry profile will expire.
If you are eligible
The Express Entry pool
You will be given a score using a ranking system based on factors that have been shown to help immigrants prosper in Canada. The higher your score, the more likely you are to be invited to apply for permanent residence. We plan to issue Invitations to Apply to candidates from the pool regularly.
If you are accepted into the Express Entry pool, you should start getting any supporting documents you may need for your application for permanent residence. You could get an invitation to apply at any time.
You will have a better chance of being invited to apply if you:
- are nominated by a province or territory, or
- have a valid job offer from an employer in Canada.
You will get extra points for these factors.
Note: you must update the information in your profile if your situation changes. For example, if:
- there are changes to your work experience.
- you get a different language test result,
- you complete more education,
- there is a change in your family, such as the birth of a child or a divorce, or
- one of your children is no longer a dependent (including if they turn 19 during this time).
Being invited to apply
If you get an invitation to apply, you can apply for permanent residence. You will be invited only if you:
- have been nominated by a province or territory, or
- are among the top ranked in the pool based on your skills and experience.
If you are invited, you will have 90 days to apply online for permanent residence.
You must submit a complete application with all supporting documents or we will reject your application.
Once you complete your application and submit it online, we will process it quickly. We process most applications through Express Entry in six months or less. (This period starts on the date we get a complete application and ends on the date a final decision is made.)
You will have to include copies of all documents we ask you for, like police certificates, before we will process your application. To keep your application from being rejected, you may want to get some of these documents ready while you are in the Express Entry pool.
Top questions about Express Entry profiles
- What do I do if I lost my GCKey username or password?
- What do you mean by Primary Occupation?
- What is a personal reference code for Express Entry? Where can I get a one?
- My personal reference code is not working. What should I do?
- Where can I find my Express Entry profile number and/or Job Seeker validation code?
- How do I find my National Occupation Classification (NOC) code?
- See all questions about this topic
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