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8 Things to Know About Canada’s Express Entry Permanent Residency Program

Express Entry is Canada’s online system for permanent residency. Specifically designed for skilled workers, the Express Entry system expedites and simplifies the Canadian immigration process. Instead of applying at a Canadian consulate or via mail, the Express Entry system allows eligible immigrants to enter Express Entry draws with the Canadian government via an online portal.

Canada Express Entry: 8 Things to Know


1: Express Entry uses a points-based system

Canada’s Express Entry relies on a points-based system. Factors such as education, age, language proficiency, and work experience impact a candidate's Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. Every two weeks, the Canadian runs the Express Entry draws, when they invite top-scoring applicants to apply for permanent residence. These receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) and can move to the next step in the permanent residency process.


2: You must be able to demonstrate English or French language skills

All of the Express Entry programs require candidates to have a certain level of English or French proficiency. Language skill requirements vary based on the immigration program. In general, applicants need to pass a language level test that measures skills in four areas: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. 


3: To quality for Express Entry, you must fall into one of three categories:

  • The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP): Canada's FSWP is the most common of the three Express Entry programs. To qualify, applicants need one year of full-time work experience in a TEER 0-3 National Occupation Classification (NOC) role. In addition, applicants must prove English or French language skills, and obtain a minimum of 67 selection factor points.
  • The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP): To qualify, applicants need two years of full-time experience in a skilled trade within the past five years. In addition, they need a full-time job offer in Canada for at least one year, or a trade certificate issued by a Canadian authority. Applicants must also prove that they meet the language requirements and NOC job requirements. 
  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC): To qualify, candidates need at least one year of full-time skilled work experience in Canada within the last three years. If the candidate did not work full-time, they can still qualify with the equivalent one year of full-time experience, such as two years working part time. In addition, candidates must satisfy language skill requirements.

4: You don’t need a job in Canada

You don’t necessarily need a job offer in Canada to apply for permanent residency via Express Entry. While a job offer can help you qualify for the FSTP program, it is not required for the other two Express Entry programs. 


5: Your foreign degree may or may not be considered the same as the equivalent of a Canadian degree

A university degree can help you score higher on the Express Entry CRS scale. However, degrees earned outside Canada may not be equivalent to Canadian degrees. To be sure that your academic accomplishments abroad align with Canadian educational standards, applicants are required to submit an Educational Credential Assessment. This assessment compares foreign degrees to Canadian degrees for immigration purposes.


6: Express Entry process costs a minimum of $1365

The overall cost of applying for Express Entry depends on several factors, but at minimum, you should expect to pay $1365 for your application. The price doubles if you include a spouse, and you need to add $230 for each child. You may also want to consider the cost of legal support. 


7: You may need sufficient funds in your bank account before applying

Certain Express Entry applicants need to show that they have sufficient funds in their bank account to support themselves and their family in Canada. The minimum amount changes based on the number of family members, starting at $13,310 for one person. 

Express Entry applicants don’t need to prove sufficient funds if:

  • They apply under the Canadian Experience Class program
  • They have valid Canadian work authorization and a valid job offer in Canada


8: The process can take six months or longer

The overall process of obtaining Canadian permanent residency via Express Entry can take six months, sometimes more. You can check average processing times on Canada's official website to get an idea of how long it will take. 


Final Thoughts: Canada Express Entry Program


The Express Entry program is the most straightforward and expedited pathway to Canadian residency for most skilled workers. Many foreign nationals qualify, but if you’re uncertain about your qualifications, explore your immigration options with our team. 


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About the author:

Annie Blay

Content Marketing Specialist

Before joining the marketing team, Annie helped over 60 Legalpad clients navigate U.S. immigration on the client services team.