Express Entry: Invitation to Apply

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.

Express Entry candidates who appear to meet the minimum entry criteria (MEC) and have registered with Job Bank, if applicable, are automatically entered into the Express Entry pool. Once in the pool, candidates are eligible to be issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for the program(s) whose requirements they appear to meet based on the self-declared information in their profile.

The ITA is an auto-generated correspondence issued to Express Entry candidates through their online account. The ITA is issued to candidates who rank the highest in a round of invitations, based on their score in the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).

Candidates with a provincial or territorial nomination certificate are awarded an additional 600 points in the CRS and are normally invited to apply at the next round of invitations to which they are eligible.

When there is a general round of invitations, and a candidate appears eligible for multiple classes (e.g., the federal skilled worker class and the Canadian experience class), the system automatically invites the candidate to apply under one of the classes in the following order:

  • provincial nominee class (PNC);
  • Canadian experience class (CEC);
  • federal skilled worker class (FSWC);
  • federal skilled trades class (FSTC).

What is included in the ITA?

The ITA invites the candidate to apply under a specific class (i.e., FSWC, FSTC, CEC or PNC). A candidate cannot apply under a class other than the one specified in their ITA, even when the candidate appears to be eligible for multiple classes.

The ITA includes the following chart, which outlines how the candidate’s points were calculated in the CRS at the time of the round of invitations:

Express Entry criteria Your Score
CRS – Human Capital – Age ###
CRS – Human Capital – Level of Education ###
CRS – Human Capital – First Official Language Proficiency ###
CRS – Human Capital – Second Official Language Proficiency ###
CRS – Human Capital – Canadian Work Experience ###
CRS – Spouse – Level of Education ###
CRS – Spouse – First Official Language Proficiency ###
CRS – Spouse – Canadian Work Experience ###
CRS – Skill Transferability – Education ###
CRS – Skill Transferability – Foreign Work Experience ###
CRS – Skill Transferability – Certificate of Qualification ###
CRS – Arranged Employment ###
CRS – Provincial or Territorial Nomination ###
Your overall points score ###

Deadline for responding to an ITA

Upon receipt of an ITA, a candidate has 90 calendar days to do one of the following:

  • Submit a complete application for permanent residence (APR) in their online account. This includes providing all supporting documentation up front.
  • Decline the ITA in their online account, if the candidate is not ready to apply within 90 calendar days of receiving the ITA or if they believe that a change in their circumstance has made them ineligible to be invited. In this case, the candidate’s profile will become “active” in the pool for the remaining days of the profile’s validity and the candidate will be considered for future rounds of invitations, as long as they continue to meet the MEC.

If the candidate does not respond to the ITA (i.e., the candidate does not submit a complete APR within 90 calendar days of receiving the ITA and does not formally decline the ITA within this delay), the ITA will expire and the candidate will no longer be in the Express Entry pool. To re-enter the pool, the candidate must submit a new profile in their online account and be assessed for the MEC at that time.

Note: It is the candidate's responsibility to check their online account frequently. IRCC does not grant extensions to the 90-calendar-day deadline for submitting a complete APR. Where candidates claim they did not check their online account or read their ITA letter, this is not a valid reason for an extension.

When a candidate’s situation changes after the ITA is issued

Candidates are responsible for ensuring that the information in their Express Entry profile is up-to-date and accurate at all times.

Candidates’ Express Entry profile is automatically “locked” when they are issued an ITA. Candidates can only revise their profile information if they formally decline the ITA through their online account; however, their information may be updated in their APR. When a candidate declines an ITA, they are automatically returned to the pool and will be able to update their profile information, as they wait for a new ITA.

If a candidate realizes after having been issued an ITA that their circumstance has changed or that the information in their profile, on the basis of which they were issued an ITA, is no longer accurate, the candidate is instructed to recalculate their CRS score using the Express Entry calculator on the IRCC website. Examples of changes in circumstance that can impact a CRS score are listed below.

Where there is a change in circumstance and the candidate goes forward with submitting an APR, the candidate must ensure that the change in circumstance is properly reflected in their APR (i.e., the candidate must amend the information that was automatically transferred from their profile to their APR before submitting their application).

As per the Express Entry Ministerial Instructions, candidates are encouraged to decline an ITA if their change in circumstance negatively impacts their eligibility such that they no longer meet the MEC of the federal immigration program to which they were invited to apply, or if their recalculated CRS score falls below the lowest ranked candidate in their round of invitations. Applicants who cannot provide proof of the information provided in their profile, on the basis of which they were invited to apply, will be refused on section A11.2 and assessed for misrepresentation. Cost recovery fees will not be refunded.

Examples of change in circumstance that would impact a candidate’s CRS score

Changes that could increase a candidate's CRS score:

  • Graduation from a higher level of schooling;
  • Reaching an additional year of Canadian work experience;
  • Obtaining a certificate of qualification
  • Improved language test scores.

Changes that could decrease a candidate's CRS score:

  • New language test score sat a lower level (e.g., original scores expire and candidate retakes the test, with lower results);
  • Loss of a qualifying offer of arranged employment.

Change that could either increase or decrease a candidate's CRS score:

  • Addition of a spouse or common-law partner, since an applicant’s CRS score may increase or decrease, depending on the spouse or partner’s own human capital.

Change for which candidates are not penalized for losing points:

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