Canada's Express Entry Explained in Top 10 FAQs

Canada's Express Entry Explained in Top 10 FAQs

June 30, 2021


  • Robynn Farrell

Canada’s Express Entry system houses not only its most popular immigration programs but have an immigration target of 401,000 for 2021 and a grand total of 1.23 million by 2023!

So far, 88,715 people have already been invited to apply for permanent residence in Canada in 2021 through either the Canadian Experience Class or the Provincial Nominee Class under the Express Entry System. This is a new record in Canadian immigration history for the highest number of ITAs issued in the first quarter since 2017!

Now, these are impressive numbers but what is the Express Entry system and how do you know if you’ll qualify or be successful in your application? Let us take a look at ten of the most frequently asked questions and explain how you could be eligible for a fast-tracked Canadian visa application.

1. What is the Express Entry System?

The Canadian Express Entry system is a fast-tracked pathway to have your visa application processed. There are three economic programs that fall under the Express Entry system:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program - highly skilled workers such as doctors, architects, managers;
  • Federal Trade Worker Program - skilled trade workers such as electricians, plumbers, and chefs; and
  • Canada Experience Class - high skilled workers with Canadian work experience.

To qualify you will need to meet certain requirements such as be admissible to Canada, have enough money to settle in Canada as well as meet specific requirements of each program. For example, the CEC, which has been issuing the most Invitations to Apply (ITAs) for permanent residency in 2021, requires having at least 1 year of continuous Canadian work experience or the part-time equivalent thereof.

How Does Express Entry Work?

First, you need to create an Express Entry profile. This contains information about your age, education, qualifications, work experience (if any), language ability (English and/or French) as well as other factors. Once you start the process you will have 60 days to complete your profile.

Once complete you will receive a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. Your profile will then be entered into a draw pool with other candidates. If your CRS score is the same or higher than the draw cut-off score you will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residency in Canada.

If you don’t receive an ITA in this particular draw your profile will remain in the draw pool until you receive an ITA or up to a year.

How many points do you need to immigrate to Canada?

This depends on the draw and the average CRS score of the applicants in your draw pool. This is known as the CRS cut-off score. Based on the draws that have taken place thus far in 2021, 383 is the average CRS score for the CEC and 739 points for the PNP class.

2. How Do I Qualify for Canadian Express Entry?

People Walking Rush Hour Cityscape | Canada Express Entry

To be considered eligible to apply for your Canada visa through an Express Entry Program you will need to meet the requirements of one of the following programs:

Federal Economic Immigration Program Requirements
Eligibility Criteria Federal Skilled Worker Program Federal Skilled Trades Program Canada Experience Class  
Language Skills English or French Skills
  • CLB 7
English or French Skills
  • CLB 5 (speaking and listening)

  • CLB 4 (reading and writing)
English or French Skills
  • CLB 7 (NOC 0 or A)

  • CLB 5 (NOC B)
Type/Level of work experience Canadian or foreign experience in 1 of these NOCs:
  • 0

  • A

  • B
Canadian or foreign experience in a trade under key groups of NOC B Canadian or foreign experience in 1 of these NOCs:
  • 0

  • A

  • B
Amount of work experience 1 year of continuous work within the last 10 years (combination of part-time, full-time or more than 1 job in your main occupation Two years within the last 5 years (either combination of full-time or part-time work) 1 year in Canada in the last 3 years (either combination of full-time or part-time work)
Job offer Not needed Needed:
  • Valid job offer(full time for at least 1 year); or

  • certificate of qualification in skilled trade issued by a Canadian provincial, territorial or federal authority
Not needed
Education Not needed Secondary education needed (more selection criteria points available for post-secondary education) Not needed

3. Is There an Age Limit?

No. There is no age limit to apply but there is a limit on the age that allows you to claim CRS points. The best age to apply for Canadian immigration through an Express Entry program is between the ages of 20 and 29 years old as you could score between 100 and 110 CRS points. Take a look at how many points you could score based on your age and whether or not you will be applying alone or as a couple.

Express Entry CRS Points Based on Age
Age With Spouse Single
18 90 99
19 95 99
20-29 100 110
30 95 105
31 90 99
32 85 94
33 80 88
34 75 83
35 70 77
36 65 72
37 60 66
38 55 61
39 50 55
40 45 50
41 35 39
42 25 28
43 17 17
44 5 6
45 or older 0 0

5. What Documents Do You Need?

When creating your Express Entry profile, you will not be required to upload your supporting documents, however, it is advised to have them at hand when completing your profile. If there is any information that does not match your supporting documents, your visa could get denied. Documents you may need include:

  • passport
  • language test results
  • education assessment report
  • provincial nomination (if applicable)
  • job offer from a Canadian employer(in writing)

You will also need to know your National Occupational Classification (NOC) job title or code. The NOC system classifies your occupation based on your employment duties and the type of work that you do.

You will have 60 days to complete your application, which means that it is best to gather your documents as soon as possible, starting with those that have the longest processing times.

6. How Long Does the Express Entry Process Take?

Processing times can take anywhere from six to eight months on average. How long your profile stays in the draw pool depends on your CRS score versus the other applicant’s CRS score. The higher your CRS score the higher your chances of receiving an ITA.

7. How Much Does Express Entry Cost?

Coins with a Cost text and down arrows | Canada Express Entry

There are two visa application fees that will need to be paid:

  1. Express Entry application processing fee; and
  2. Permanent Residency application fee.
Express Entry Fees
Fees $(CAD)
Your application
Processing fee ($825) and right of permanent residence fee ($500)
Your application (without right of permanent residence fee) 825
Include your spouse or partner
Processing fee ($825) and right of permanent residence fee ($500)
Include your spouse or partner (without right of permanent residence fee) 825
Include a dependent child 225 per child
Right of permanent residence fee 500
Biometrics fee 85 per person

8. Can I Get Permanent Residence Through Express Entry?

Yes. If you have the same or higher CRS-cut off score in your draw pool you will receive an invitation to apply (ITA) for Permanent Residency (PR) in Canada. Having an ITA, however, does not guarantee that you will get Canadian PR. You will need to supply all your supporting documents and it will be at the discretion of the immigration officer as to whether or not you will receive PR status.

9. How Many Times Can I Apply for Express Entry?

Once. Your Canadian Express Entry Profile is valid for a year or until you receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) or whichever comes first. Your profile is automatically entered into biweekly draws. At the moment, the IRCC is only processing CEC and PNP candidates’ applications due to COVID-19 restrictions, however, it hopes to open all programs for visa processing soon.

10. How Much Settlement Money Do I Need?

You will only need proof of funds if you apply through the FSTP or FSWP. You will need to provide proof of funds based on the number of family members. This includes you, your spouse or common-law partner as well as your dependent children. Your settlement money must be available when applying for Express Entry as well as when you receive your permanent Canadian residence visa. Below is a breakdown of funds needed per family member:

Settlement Fund Requirements
Number of Family Members Funds Needed (CAD)
1 $12,960
2 $16,135
3 $19,836
4 $24,083
5 $27,315
6 $30,806
7 $34,299
each additional family member $3,492

11. Do I Have to Use an Immigration Consultant?

Indian remote consultant wearing headset with laptop  | Canada Express Entry

No. Anyone can create their own Express Entry profile as well as submit their own visa applications forms. Immigration can, however, be quite complicated. There are various forms to fill out, strict deadlines to be met as well as the verification and submission of supporting documents. One in four visas is denied or delayed due to being incomplete, without supporting documentation, or submitted by an immigration agency that is not qualified or legally permitted to offer paid services to do so.

MDCCanada has four esteemed Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs), all of whom have been through the application process themselves. To start your evaluation simply click the link below and leave the stressful application process to the professionals!