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Your Step-by-Step Guide to Express Entry

In my posts, Coming to Canada in 6 Months and What You Need to Know About Express Entry, I have discussed details about how application of people with skilled work experience applying to immigrate to Canada are being managed through the Express Entry system. I also came out with a 5-series post about Immigrating to Canada.

In this post, I will try to simplify this information and enumerate the step-by-step guide in applying to immigrate to Canada through the Express Entry.


If you want to come to Canada, your first step is to find out if you meet the criteria to get into the Express Entry pool. You can use Come to Canada online tool to see if you are eligible to apply under the Express Entry.  You will need about 10 to 15 minutes to complete this online form. Express Entry covers 3 key economic immigration programs that have different requirements: (1) Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW) (2) Federal Skilled Trade Program (FST) and (3) Canadian Experience Class (CEC). Come to Canada will help you determine which immigration program you will be qualified to apply for.


If you meet the criteria to get into the Express Entry pool, you must prove your ability in English or French in the sections of listening, speaking, reading and writing. You must meet the minimum level of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB), which is different in each immigration programs. Under the FSW, you must get at least CLB 7 in the 4 language abilities. When applying under FST, you must meet minimum level of CLB 5 for speaking and listening and CLB 4 for reading and writing. Under CEC, if your skilled work experience in Canada is in NOC 0 or A job, the minimum level is CLB 7 in the 4 language abilities and minimum level is CLB 5 with NOC B job. You must take a language test from an agency designated by CIC and include the results when you complete your Express Entry profile if you are invited to apply for permanent residence. If you will not take the test, you will not be eligible for Express Entry. When you submit your application for permanent residence, the test results must be less than two years on the day that your application for permanent resident is received. This is why you always have to make sure that your results are valid for the rest of the time you will be in the pool. If you apply for permanent residence with language test results that have expired, your application will be refused. CIC has posted the Language Test Equivalency Charts, which describe the equivalencies between the Canadian Language Benchmarks and the results of language tests from designated testing organizations.


The NOC is a system used by the Government of Canada to classify jobs (occupations). Jobs are grouped based on the type of work a person does and the types of job duties. The job information is broken down into a number of groups, including (1) managerial jobs – NOC skill level 0 (2) professional jobs – NOC skill type A and (3) technical jobs and skilled trades – NOC skill type B. If you want to use Express Entry and come to Canada as a skilled immigrant, you must have at least 12 months of full-time, or an equal amount in part-time, skilled work experience and the job and the work you have done in the past, must be skill type 0, or level A or B. Use the NOC table to find the NOC information that best matches your job title, skill code and skill type.


This step is not mandatory, you should have an ECA if you want to be considered for the FSW, you will need to get an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) for your foreign degree, diploma or certificate. Your ECA report must show that your completed foreign credential (degree, diploma or certificate) is equal to a completed Canadian secondary school (high school) or post-secondary credential. You must submit an ECA for all levels of completed foreign education you want to be considered, you are to decide which credentials will be assessed by an organization designated by CIC.   Even if you do not need to have your foreign education assessed to be eligible under Express Entry, you may want to do so in order to increase your score and chances of being invited to apply.


In completing the Come to Canada tool and you have provided your language test results, your NOC code and your ECA, a reference number will show on the screen when you get to the end of Come to Canada, you need this reference number to build your profile online.

In creating your Express Entry profile, the system will provide you with a MyCIC number which you are going to use each time you sign in. You will be asked to provide your identity, contact information, educational background, work experience, language and members of your family who would come with you to Canada. You can save your information and exit your profile anytime, however, if you fail to complete your Express Entry profile in 60 days, you will not be able to submit it and you will have to start again.

You should also prepare scanned copies of your:

  • passport or travel document (or other national identity document, if you do not have one of these)
  • NOC job title and code
  • language test results (either IELTS, CELPIP or TEF)
  • ECA result, if you have one
  • written job offer from an employer in Canada, if you have one
  • provincial nomination, if you have one, and
  • personal reference code from the Come to Canada tool (which looks like this: JM1234567890).

If you do not have a valid job offer or a nomination from a province or territory, you must register with the Government of Canada’s Job Bank. Job Bank is an easy, online job search tool that will connect you with employers and jobs in Canada based on your skills and experience. If you fail to register with Job Bank within 30 days your Express Entry profile will expire.


If you are certain that all the information and documents required are provided, proceed in submitting your profile. If you meet all the requirements, you will receive a message in your MyCIC account and you will be placed in the Express Entry pool of candidates and you will receive and Express Entry Profile number.  You will be in the pool for one year from the day that you get in.

You’ll be given score based on the information that you have provided such as your age, education, number of years work experience, and language skills. The higher your score, the more likely you are to be invited to apply for permanent residence. All candidates will be ranked using the Comprehensive Ranking system, which is based on factors that have been shown to help immigrants prosper in Canada.

CIC will issue Invitations to Apply (ITA) to candidates from the pool.   There will be regular rounds to invite top candidates to apply for permanent residence. Candidates among the top ranked in the pool based on their skills and experience has a big possibility of receiving an invitation, those who are nominated by a province or territory, or have a valid job offer from an employer in Canada have better chance of being invited to apply as well.

Always ensure that the information in your profile stays true and accurate at all times. If your situation changes (for example, if you start a new career, you get a new language test, get married, or have a new baby), make sure that you update your profile with these information.

If you won’t receive an ITA after a year of being in the pool of candidates, your Express Entry profile will expire, you will need to complete and submit a new profile if you want to pursue with your application as a skilled immigrant.


If you have been accepted in the Express Entry pool, you should be prepared with the supporting documents you may need for your application for permanent residence. You can receive an ITA at any time. If you are invited to apply, you will have 60 days only to fill out and submit your application for permanent residence. There are documents that are hard to secure, you should consider preparing them so you have everything ready and you are confident that you can submit your application for permanent residence within the 60-day time limit.

You must be prepared with the electronic copies of your supporting documents so you can easily upload them once you are invited to apply. Aside from the documents that you submitted when you competed your Express Entry profile, there might be other documents that may be required from you, this could include your certificates of employment and police certificates.

If you are not currently authorized to work in Canada and you do not have a valid job offer from an employer in Canada, or you are not invited to apply under the Canadian Experience Class, you will need to provide proof of funds to the Canadian visa office in your home country to demonstrate that you have enough funds to support yourself and your family members in Canada (if any are coming with you). The amount of money you need to support your family is set by the size of your family. As of this writing, here are the funds set by the size of your family

Number of
Family Members
Funds Required
(in Canadian dollars)
1 $11,931
2 $14,853
3 $18,260
4 $22,170
5 $25,145
6 $28,359
7 or more $31,574

You and your family members, even if they are not coming with you will be required to undergo medical exams, you must have a medical exam before you can become a permanent resident.  Do not complete any medical exam until you received an ITA.  The results of your exam are only valid for 12 months. When you submit your application for permanent residence, the results of your exam must be valid for at least 6 months. It is advisable that you complete the exam as close as possible to the date you submit your online application.


If you are invited to apply for permanent residence, you will receive a message in your MyCIC account and to your personal email address (you have to make sure that you provided a valid email address).  Once you are invited to apply and you logged in to your MyCIC account, there will be a link to apply for permanent residence under Express Entry. You must fill out all the mandatory fields in the form. When you have completed the application, the system will generate a personalized Document Checklist for you, you need to upload clear scans of all the documentation that is required from you, this should be easy if you follow Step 6. Use the Document Checklist to make sure you do not forget anything.

After completing your documentary requirements, you will have to pay your processing fee (and for your family).  These fees must be paid online through your MyCIC account with the use of a credit card.

Once these are all completed, you can submit your application.  Your application will be processed and all the information you provided will be verified to ensure that you are eligible to immigrate, and are admissible to Canada.  If you are found to be eligible, you will be notified and you will be advised what will be your next steps.

DISCLAIMER:  The author is not in anyway connected with CIC or MPNP, is not an immigration consultant by profession, any information or update shared on this site are information gathered from news update from various resources.


Important Definitions in Express Entry, retrieved November 9, 2015.

Entry Criteria and the Comprehensive Ranking System, retrieved November 9, 2015.

Language Testing—Skilled Immigrants (Express Entry), retrieved November 9, 2015.

Proof of Funds – Skilled Immigrants (Express Entry), retrieved November, 2015.

Invitations to Apply – Skilled immigrants (Express Entry), retrieved November 9, 2015



Momsiecle is short for Momsie's Circle. I started my first blog on a free blogging platform in 2006 as a just for fun blog. When my family and I moved to Winnipeg in 2009, I started to write about my challenges and discoveries about living in Canada as an immigrant. In 2012, I decided to make a place to come for aspiring Canadian immigrants and for people who are embracing life in the “new world” that they are in.

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3 thoughts on “Your Step-by-Step Guide to Express Entry”

  1. Mabuhay! you have a really nice and informative blog. I’m also considering migrating to Canada from the Philippines for a number of reasons. I would just like to ask if where you had your education assessed. Canada offers a wide and dynamic career for CPAs although no mutual recognition of profession between our country has been made, but still the mere fact of being recognized almost worldwide is a big plus. I would be the first in our family to migrate if ever.
    thank you very much and more power

  2. Hi, came across your blog and I find it very helpful. Thank you. I just would like to ask this question and hope to hear your idea. I am married but estranged to my husband and we have a 1 toddler. I will be applying for EE and I don’t intend to bring him with me. I will, however, have him sign the required form required when bringing our kid. Now my question will be on the medical side if I reach this stage, does he also need to undergo the requested medical?

    Thank you again.

  3. Hi, I came across this article. I am applying for the Express Entry pool and here is my current situation:

    1. I have been in Canada for more than 6 months now, with a full-time, permanent job that I got here when I arrived. I have been working for more than 5 months now as of this writing;
    2. I have a valid, active ECA from World Education Services (taken last 2020);
    3. I have recently passed my Language Proficiency Test (CLB 7 minimum in every area LRWR);
    4. I am in my mid-30s;
    5. I have an interrupted work experience from December 2011 to October 2021, then started working here in Canada in January 2022; and,
    6. Capable of providing sufficient proof of funds.

    However, I have tried creating my Express Entry Profile and my assessments said that I was eligible using the Come to Canada tool, and yet whenever I submit my profile, I am tagged as INELIGIBLE just a few minutes after submission. I don’t know what is causing it. I should be qualified at least with the FSW program as I have more than 67 points for FSW. Are you familiar with this situation?

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