Applications received on or after January 1, 2016, for permanent residence programs subject to the Express Entry completeness check

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Requirement to submit a complete electronic application

In Express Entry, applicants are required to submit a complete electronic application for permanent residence (e-APR) within 90 calendar days of being issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA). The application and all supporting documents must be submitted electronically through the applicant’s online account.

Applications are assessed for completeness up front. An application found to be incomplete should be rejected as per section 10 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, and all fees associated with the application should be refunded to the applicant.

The Express Entry six-month processing standard begins when an application is assessed as complete and is promoted in the Global Case Management System (GCMS). It ends when Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) makes a final decision on the application.

A complete application includes the following:

Applicants and their family members must undergo upfront medical examinations and submit all required police certificates as part of their complete application. Medical results must be valid and applicants are encouraged to undergo medical examinations closer to the date their application is submitted to avoid processing delays. In exceptional circumstances, processing offices may be flexible in accommodating these requirements where delays occur outside the control of applicants. See the document checklist below for details.

Each application under Express Entry should be considered on its own merit, with a final decision based on a review of all the information available to the IRCC officer at the time of the decision.

Incomplete applications

If an application is found to be incomplete, the processing office must reject the application by

  • promoting and then canceling the application in GCMS with the application status reason listed as “incomplete application”;
  • noting in GCMS the reason(s) for rejecting the application; and
  • repaying all fees associated with the application (e.g., the cost recovery fee and the right of permanent residence fee, as applicable).

When an application is rejected as incomplete, the applicant must submit a new Express Entry profile through their online account to be considered for any future rounds of invitations.

Document checklist

A personalized document checklist is produced for each applicant when they submit their e-APR through their online account. The personalized checklist identifies the specific supporting documents required from each family member included on the application.

Translation of documents

If a supporting document is in a language other than English or French, the applicant must provide IRCC with a copy of the original document as well as a version translated by a certified translator.

If a supporting document is in a language other than English or French, the applicant must provide IRCC with:

  • the English or French translation; and
  • an affidavit from the person who completed the translations; and
  • a certified photocopy of the original document.

The instruction guide for Express Entry candidates and applicants explains how to meet these requirements.

Mandatory documents for all applicants

The following documents are mandatory and must be provided by all applicants.

Applications that do not contain the following documents will be rejected as incomplete, and fees will be refunded accordingly.

Medical examination confirmation

Purpose

To assess the health of the applicant and their family members

Document requirements

  • The medical examination confirmation is required up front and must be valid at the time of application.
  • The applicant must include the immigration medical examination (IME) number in their e-APR.
  • The applicant must provide a copy of either the information printout sheet or the Upfront Medical Report form [IMM 1017B (PDF, 453 KB)] (available internally only), whichever the panel physician provides upon completion of the medical examination.
  • Exceptions are made only in rare circumstances that are outside of the client’s control (e.g., cancellation of the appointment by the panel physician at the last minute without time to reschedule).

In exceptional circumstances, IRCC may accept

  • proof that a medical appointment is scheduled; or
  • a letter of explanation of best efforts.

However, these are not a guarantee of acceptance.

Individuals who must submit this documentation

  • The principal applicant
  • Their spouse or common-law partner
  • Their dependent children, including non-accompanying

Police certificates

Purpose

To determine if the applicant or their family members have a criminal record or poses a security risk to Canada

Document requirements

  • For the applicant’s current country of residence, the police certificate must have been issued no more than six months before the submission of the e-APR.
  • For countries in which the applicant no longer resides, the police certificate must have been issued after last time the applicant lived in that country.
  • Police certificates are required up front and are mandatory for each country (except Canada) where an individual has lived for a total of six months or more. This instruction is for the purpose of the completeness check under section R10. However, it is always at an officer’s discretion to request a new or additional police certificate.
  • Some countries require that the applicant complete a consent form to initiate a police certificate. For example, an applicant seeking a police certificate from New Zealand must download and complete the Consent to Disclosure of Information (NZ) form available on the IRCC website. The form is then uploaded (with any other police certificates the applicant may provide) as part of the e-APR. If the application is not rejected as incomplete, the processing office will assess the consent form and electronic file and initiate the police certificate.
  • Police certificates need to be a scan of the original police certificate(s) in color. Certified true copies and unauthorized copies are unacceptable and will result in the application being rejected as incomplete.

In exceptional circumstances, IRCC may accept

  • proof of having requested a police certificate for such countries; and
  • an explanation of best efforts (not a guarantee of acceptance). The applicant should explain the delay in a document and upload the document. The uploaded document must show that the applicant requested a police certificate as soon as possible after receiving their Invitation to Apply.

Individuals who must submit this documentation

  • The principal applicant
  • Their spouse or common-law partner
  • Their dependent children 18 years of age or older, including non-accompanying

Copy of the biographical data page of a passport or travel document

Purpose

To confirm the applicant's identity

Document requirements

  • A clear and legible copy of the biographical data page of a passport or travel document must be provided.

Individuals who must submit this documentation

  • The principal applicant
  • Their spouse or common-law partner
  • Their accompanying dependent children

Proof of work experience

Purpose

To prove each work experience claim and to validate that the applicant meets program requirements

Document requirements

  • The personalized document checklist in applicants’ online account prompts the applicant with an upload field for each work experience declared.
  • At the completeness check, the processing office determines only whether the required documents are included. The validity or fraudulence of the information is assessed only if and when the application is placed into processing.

The following documents are mandatory for each work experience declared:

  • a reference or experience letter from the employer, which
    • should be an official document printed on company letterhead (must include the applicant’s name, the company’s contact information [address, telephone number and email address], and the name, title and signature of the immediate supervisor or personnel officer at the company),
    • should indicate all positions held while employed at the company and must include the following details: job title, duties and responsibilities, job status (if current job), dates worked for the company, number of work hours per week and annual salary plus benefits; and
  • if the applicant is self-employed, articles of incorporation or other evidence of business ownership, evidence of self-employment income and documentation from third-party individuals indicating the service provided along with payment details (self-declared main duties or affidavits are not acceptable proof of self-employed work experience).

If the work experience is in Canada, proof may include copies of T4 tax information slips and notices of assessment issued by the Canada Revenue Agency (the time period for these documents should reflect the work experience timeframe [e.g., work experience from 2006 to 2008 requires only documents from those calendar years]).

Individuals who must submit this documentation

  • The principal applicant
  • Their spouse or common-law partner (if work experience in Canada is claimed)

Mandatory documents (if applicable)

The following documents are mandatory if applicable (i.e., based on the personal circumstances of the applicant and their dependents).

When applicable, applications that do not contain the following documents will be rejected as incomplete and fees will be refunded.

Copy of birth certificate or other equivalent document

Purpose

To prove the dependent children’s relationship to the parents

Document requirements

  • This document is required only if the applicant identifies dependent children.
  • The document must be one of the following:
    • birth certificate;
    • equivalent document from the birth country; or
    • letter of explanation (where no birth certificate is available in the country).

Individuals who must submit this documentation

  • All the dependent children, including non-accompanying

Proof of studies

Purpose

To confirm education claims and validate that the applicant meets program requirements

Document requirements

  • To receive program-specific points for education, the applicant must either
    • provide proof of having completed a Canadian secondary or post-secondary educational program; or
    • obtain an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) and provide the ECA reference number in their application, along with proof of the foreign educational credentials for which points are being claimed.
  • Proof of completed Canadian or foreign educational credentials can include copies of
    • secondary or post-secondary education documents (certificates, diplomas or degrees); and
    • transcripts for successfully completed secondary or post-secondary studies, if available.
  • Applicants must provide the Designated Learning Institution (DLI) number of the Canadian Institution where they completed their highest degree to be assigned points for their Canadian educational credentials.
    • At the EE profile and application stage, the system will ask the candidate to enter the # of their DLI by using the list of DLI posted on IRCC website. The system will insert a note if the number of the DLI doesn’t match for the officer to review
  • In cases where an applicant’s background information suggests that a Canadian education credential may have been obtained via distance learning either abroad or while present in Canada, it is at the officer’s discretion to request for supporting documentation.
    • If it is determined that the applicant obtained more than 50 percent of their education via distance learning, the applicant should not be awarded additional CRS points for having a Canadian education credential. If the reduction in CRS points results in the applicant having a score below the minimum CRS, the application should be refused per A11.2.
  • Where an ECA has been obtained, the applicant must provide the ECA reference number in their e-APR for online validation directly from the issuing organization.
    • A scanned copy of the ECA is not required when submitting the e-APR but may be requested by IRCC at a later date.
    • Applicants are instructed to indicate that their education was completed by correspondence by typing in brackets {by correspondence} on the same line as the education institution name found in the Education Background Information tab of GCMS. The discretion remains with the officer to decide if a police certificate is required for the country of the education institution

Individuals who must submit this documentation

  • The principal applicant
  • Their spouse or common-law partner

Provincial or territorial certificate of qualification

Purpose

To validate an applicant’s claim of having a provincial or territorial certificate of qualification

Document requirements

  • This document is requested only if the applicant indicates they have a provincial or territorial certificate of qualification.
  • A copy of the certificate of qualification is required.

Individuals who must submit this documentation

  • The principal applicant
  • Their spouse or common-law partner, if applicable

Letter of offer from the employer

Purpose

To confirm an applicant’s qualifying offer of arranged employment, to validate that the applicant meets program requirements and to screen for concerns of fraud

Document requirements

  • This document is required only if the applicant claims to have a qualifying offer of arranged employment.
  • A letter from the employer(s) offering the job in Canada is required, and it must
    • be printed on company letterhead and include the applicant’s name, the company’s contact information (address, telephone number and email address), and the name, title and signature of the applicant’s proposed immediate supervisor or personnel officer; and
    • include the following details: expected start date, commitment that the applicant will be employed on a continuous, paid, full-time work, for work that is for at least one year after issuance of a permanent resident visa, job title, duties and responsibilities, current job status (if current job), number of work hours per week and annual salary plus benefits.
  • If the there is an associated Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to the offer of employment, the LMIA number is requested as part of the application.
    • A scanned copy of the LMIA is not required when submitting the e-APR but may be requested by IRCC at a later date.

Individuals who must submit this documentation

  • The principal applicant

Proof of funds

Purpose

To confirm whether the applicant meets the low-income cut-off (LICO), assessed by the amount of money they hold compared to the number of people in their family

Document requirements

  • The applicant should provide an official letter(s) from one or more financial institutions that lists all current bank and investment accounts as well as outstanding debts, such as credit card debts and loans.
    • o The letter(s) must be printed on the letterhead of the financial institution and must include the applicant’s name, the contact information of the financial institution (address, telephone number and email address), the account numbers, the date each account was opened and the current balance of each account as well as the average balance for the past six months.
  • Other documents may also be requested, as necessary.

Individuals who must submit this documentation

  • The principal applicant

Use of a Representative form [IMM 5476]

Purpose

To appoint a representative to do business on behalf of the applicant and their family members

Document requirements

  • The document is requested only if the applicant indicates they are using a representative or if a consultant completes an application on behalf of the applicant through the consultant portal.
  • The IMM 5476 form (PDF, 597 KB) must be signed by the principal applicant and, if applicable, their spouse or common-law partner.
  • Each accompanying dependent child 18 years of age or older must complete and sign their own IMM 5476 form if a representative is also conducting business on their behalf.

Individuals who must submit this documentation

  • The principal applicant
  • Their spouse or common-law partner, if applicable
  • Their accompanying dependent children 18 years of age or older

Evidence of common-law union and cohabitation

Purpose

To validate marital status claims

Document requirements

  • This documentation is only requested when marital status is listed as common-law.
  • The applicant must submit a Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union form [IMM 5409 (PDF, 47 KB)] and evidence of cohabitation for a period of at least 12 continuous months.
  • Evidence of cohabitation includes but is not limited to
    • copies of joint bank account statements;
    • copies of leases;
    • utility bills.

Individuals who must submit this documentation

  • The principal applicant

Marriage certificate

Purpose

To validate marital status claims

Document requirements

  • This document is requested only when marital status is listed as married.
  • The marriage must be valid under the law of the country where it took place and under Canadian law.
    • A marriage performed in an embassy or consulate must comply with the law of the host country where it took place, not the country of nationality of the embassy or consulate.
  • If the applicant married in Canada, a copy of the marriage certificate issued by the province or territory where the marriage took place must be provided.
  • If the applicant married outside Canada, a copy of a legal certificate issued by the country, the territory or the region where the marriage took place must be provided.

Individuals who must submit this documentation

  • The principal applicant

Divorce certificate and legal separation agreement

Purpose

To validate marital status claims

Document requirements

  • The divorce certificate is requested only when marital status is listed as divorced.
  • If the applicant divorced in Canada, a copy of the divorce order or certificate of divorce issued by the province or territory where the divorce took place must be provided.
  • If the applicant divorced outside Canada, a copy of a legal certificate issued by the country, the territory or the region where the divorce took place must be provided.
  • A copy of the legal separation agreement must be provided, if available.

Individuals who must submit this documentation

  • The principal applicant
  • Their spouse or common-law partner

Death certificate

Purpose

To validate the claim of death of the spouse or common-law partner

Document requirements

  • This document is requested only when the marital status is listed as widowed.
  • A copy of a death certificate, executorships or other legal certificate issued by the country, the territory or the region where the death occurred must be provided.

Individuals who must submit this documentation

  • The principal applicant

Adoption certificate

Purpose

To validate claims that a dependent child is adopted

Document requirements

  • This document is requested only when the dependent child status is listed as adopted.
  • A copy of the adoption certificate, legal adoption papers, and/or other relevant documents issued by the country, the territory or the region that formalized the adoption must be provided.

Individuals who must submit this documentation

  • The dependent children, including non-accompanying

Other documents

As applicable to their situation, applicants are required to submit the following documents through their online account as part of their e-APR. The system does not let applicants submit their e-APR until documents have been uploaded into the provided fields.

In contrast to other documents, however, applications will not be rejected as “incomplete” if the documents listed below are not provided to the proper specification.

Applications can, however, be refused if the processing office does not have enough information on file to be satisfied that the applicant meets the requirements of the program to which they are applying.

Proof of relationship to a relative in Canada, status of a relative in Canada and residence status of a relative in Canada

Purpose

To validate a claim of, and award points associated with, having a relative in Canada who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident

Document requirements

  • This documentation is required if the applicant indicates that they, or their spouse or common-law partner, have a family member in Canada who is a permanent resident or a Canadian citizen.
  • A copy of both sides of the family member's Canadian citizenship document, Canadian birth certificate and/or permanent resident card must be provided.
  • Evidence that the family member currently resides in Canada must be provided (a residential lease, mortgage documents, utility bills, etc.).
    • The documents should be up to date as of six months prior to submission.
  • Proof of the relationship of the applicant or the spouse or common-law partner to the family member must also be provided (e.g., a birth certificate, an official document naming the applicant as a parent, a copy of the inside back cover of the relative’s passport showing the relative’s parents).

Individuals who must submit this documentation

  • The principal applicant
  • Their spouse or common-law partner

Digital photos

Purpose

To confirm identity

Document requirements

Individuals who must submit this documentation

  • The principal applicant
  • Their spouse or common-law partner
  • Their dependent children, including non-accompanying

Other name

Purpose

To confirm identity and aliases as well as screen for fraud concerns

Document requirements

  • This documentation is requested if the applicant indicates having used another name (e.g., a maiden name).
  • The applicant must provide information and/or documentation on the use of this other name (e.g., a letter of explanation, legal documents of a name change).

Individuals who must submit this documentation

  • The principal applicant
  • Their spouse or common-law partner
  • Their dependent children, including non-accompanying

Authority to Release Personal Information to a Designated Individual form [IMM 5475]

Purpose

To appoint a designated individual to inquire about the status of an application and/or change the applicant’s address information

Document requirements

  • This document is not requested by the system, even if the applicant has indicated they are designating an individual.
  • This document should be provided in the open field (see below) if the applicant has indicated they would like to designate an individual.
  • The IMM 5475 form (PDF, 1.8 MB) must be signed by the applicant and, as applicable, their spouse or common-law partner if they also wish to release personal information to the same designated individual.
  • Dependent children 18 years of age or older must complete their own form if they wish to authorize the release of their information to a designated individual.

Individuals who must submit this documentation

  • The principal applicant
  • Their spouse or common-law partner, if applicable
  • Their accompanying dependent children 18 years of age or older

Documents related to the e-APR not captured in other fields

Purpose

To allow the applicant to provide IRCC with any other information they feel is relevant to their application

Document requirements

  • Submission of this documentation is at the applicant’s discretion.
  • One upload field is provided for each of the applicant, their spouse or common-law partner and their dependent children, as applicable.
  • Multiple documents must be compiled and uploaded as a single file.
  • This should be used to provide documentation to support a declaration of status as “legally separated” (e.g., a letter of explanation, legal documents, etc), if applicable.
  • This should be used to submit the Authority to Release Personal Information to a Designated Individual form [IMM 5475 (PDF, 1.8 MB)], if applicable.
  • This field should be used to provide documentation to support a claim of disability and provision of accommodations (e.g., documentation to support notionalized language test scores for an applicant with physical or mental disabilities who cannot complete language testing in one or more abilities).

Individuals who must submit this documentation

  • The principal applicant
  • Their spouse or common-law partner
  • Their dependent children

Police certificates

As part of a complete application, applicants, their spouse or common-law partner and their dependent children 18 years of age or older (including non-accompanying dependents) must submit a valid police certificate for all countries or territories (except Canada) in which they have lived for a total of six months or more, since the age of 18.

Note: This includes the requirement to provide a police certificate for countries in which the individual has traveled for six months or more, whether or not the individual had an established residential address during this time.

Applicants are instructed to indicate that their education was completed by correspondence by typing in brackets {by correspondence} on the same line as the education institution name found in the Education Background Information tab of GCMS. The discretion remains with the officer to decide if a police certificate is required for the country of the education institution.

The IRCC website provides instructions to applicants on how to obtain a police certificate.

Police certificates are typically valid for one year from the date they are issued.

For the applicant’s current country of residence, the police certificate must be issued no more than six months before submission of the e-APR.

For countries in which the applicant no longer lives, the police certificate must have been issued after the last time the client lived in that country.

The personalized document checklist provided to applicants in their online account does not prompt applicants for individual police certificates based on their declared residence and travel history; rather, applicants must determine which police certificates are required as part of their application and must compile the police certificates into a single file to upload as a single supporting document.

Exceptional circumstances

The IRCC website provides country-specific instructions on what documentation must be provided to that country’s policing agency in order for them to initiate the request for a police certificate.

Applications that do not include a required police certificate and do not provide supporting documentation where required should be rejected as incomplete.

The officer’s discretion may be required in assessing whether police certificates that do not fall within standard IRCC parameters may still be required to process the application. For instance, the war in Syria has made it extremely difficult for former residents to obtain a police certificate; officers may need to use discretion on how to best fulfill this admissibility requirement.

Some countries will not issue police certificates to applicants, and instead will only communicate directly with the relevant Canadian authorities. In such cases, existing IRCC procedures to obtain documentation should be followed.

In exceptional circumstances, some applicants may experience delays in obtaining police certificates within the 60-calendar-day timeframe allocated to submit a complete e-APR. In such situations, applicants should submit a letter of explanation as part of their application and include proof of having requested a police certificate (e.g., a copy of the receipt obtained when they requested the police certificate from the prescribed authority). The officer’s discretion may be required in assessing whether police certificates that do not fall within these time limits are valid and reliable for the purpose of evaluating admissibility.

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