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    Home Express Entry: Step-by-Step Guide

    Express Entry: Step-by-Step Guide

    This step-by-step guide will let you know all you need to do and understand to apply for permanent residence under Express Entry.

    Step ​1. Finding your NOC (National Occupational Classification)

    Express Entry Guide - Step 1 - NOC

    To be eligible, you need to first check that you work experience, as defined by the NOC system, is eligible for Express Entry.

    Find out in this article tips and guidance on how to find the correct NOC that will match your current and/or former work experience(s). You will also be able to check the Skill Type or Level (0, A, B, C, or D) of your NOC, and thus verify your eligibility to Express Entry

    What is NOC?

    The National Occupational Classification (NOC) is the official resource used by all Canadian governmental bodies in relation with job/occupational information. This is a means to provide a standard structure for analysis and assessment, gathering more than 500 NOC codes. Each NOC code represents in average 60 job titles, and each NOC is organized by skill level (A, B, C or D) or skill type (0).

    Main NOC skill type or levels

    For immigration purposes, the main job skill type or levels are:

    • Skill Type 0: occupations related to management, such as factory managers, resort managers, or office managers.
    • Skill Level A: professional occupations that usually need a university degree, such as chemists, veterinarians, or pharmacists.
    • Skill Level B: technical occupations that usually require a college diploma or apprentice training, such as administrative assistants, firefighters, photographers.
    • Skill Level C: intermediate occupation that usually need a high school diploma, such as truck drivers, travel guides, or receptionists.
    • Skill Level D: labour occupation that usually only require training, such as dry cleaners, kitchen helpers, or receptionists.

    You have to make sure you are using the 2016 version of the NOC. 2006 and 2011 versions also exist and there are differences with the 2016 version that is currently in use by IRCC.

    NOC requirements for Express Entry

    To be eligible under the three federal programs of Express Entry, you must have previous work experience under either skill type 0, or level A or B.

    Step 2. Getting your Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)

    Express Entry Guide - Step 2 - ECA

    You need to get your foreign (not Canadian) educational credential assessed by one of IRCC’s approved third parties.

    Step 3. Taking your English and/or French language tests

    Express Entry Guide - Step 3 - Language Tests

    For all the three Express Entry programs, you need to take English and/or French test(s) and score a number of points to be eligible.

    Step 4. Checking your eligibility to Express Entry

    Express Entry Guide - Step 4 - Eligibility

    Under Express Entry, there are eligibility requirements for each of the three economic immigration programs. You need to make sure you are eligible to at least one of the three program

    Step 5. Calculating your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score

    Express Entry Guide - Step 5 - CRS Score

    You need next to understand how to calculate your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. This score is the one used to rank you within the Express Entry pool.

    Step 6. Getting into the Express Entry Pool

    Express Entry Guide - Step 6 - EE Pool

    After taking your language exam(s), and getting your ECA (if your credential is not Canadian), you need to verify your eligibility through the Come to Canada Tool and then create your Express Entry profile to get into the pool of applicants.

    Step 7. Receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA)

    Express Entry Guide - Step 7 - ITA

    If you have enough CRS points, you will get an Invitation to Apply (ITA). You will have 60 days to fill additional forms and submit your supporting documents.

    Step 8. Your document checklist: Tips and Advice

    Express Entry Guide - Step 8 - Supporting Documents

    After receiving you Invitation to Apply (ITA), you will need to upload the requested supporting documents. Get ahead and make sure you are prepared to not have any problems gathering them.

    Step 9. From Acknowledgment of Receipt (AoR) to Passport Request (PPR)

    Express Entry Guide - Step 9 - AOR to PPR

    After submitting your documents, learn about the process of approval of your application and the different updates that will let you have an idea on where you application is at.

    Step 10. Preparing your landing in Canada

    Express Entry Guide - Step 10 - Preparing Landing

    Documents to Prepare and Organize

    Stuff to prepare with a to-do list for departure to Canada

    You need to take your time to prepare the following documents, as it can be quite distressing if done last minute.

    ​You should be aware of the latest immigration developments, as it might concern you. Check out our work, study and visit sections. ​

    Travel documents:

    • Passport, make sure it is up to date.
    • Your Immigration Visa and Confirmation of Permanent Residency.

    Insurance documents:

    • Your up to date insurance documents

    Bank documents:

    • You bank statements if you are asked to provide proof of funds at immigration in the airport. You do not need to bring the full amount of funds required for Express Entry, or other immigration programs.
    • Close your home country bank account if you won’t need it anymore.


    • Arrange a place to stay for the first few days in case you don’t have friends or family where you can crash. You should do this early on, as prices go easily up the more you wait. Find more information on our Accommodation Guide.
    • If possible, you should ask for a letter of recommendation from your previous landlords. This should help in your apartment hunting, as it is quite common for Canadian landlords to ask for that document.


    • Make sure to have a reference from your previous employers as it is common practice in Canada to ask a reference.
    • If possible, ask for a written reference.
    • Prepare your resume to Canadian standards.

    Driver’s license:

    • Bring your home country driver’s license.
    • It is preferable to have an International Driver’s Permit, that you need to apply for at your home country. Depending on the province or territory, this will avoid the need of having your licence translated if not in English or in French, and can even buy you additional months of driving. You can check here the pre-requisites by province/territory for being allowed to drive in Canada with your current licence.
    • Depending on the province/territory, you can exchange your current licence, but need to provide proof of driving experience from the entity that issued your permit. Check here to see if you need that document.


    • If you need to terminate your contract with your home country carrier, check the notice period in your contract to avoid useless charges.
    • If you want to use your current phone in Canada, you need to check if it is blocked. If so, you need to unblock it in order for it to work. Check our Cellphone Carriers Guide.


    • Bring any medicine you think you’ll need with its prescription. If you are not insured, it will cost you a fortune to go to a doctor to get a prescription. You cannot buy prescription drugs without a prescription in Canada (unlike in North Africa, …).

    ​Other useful items:

    • If you are not from the U.S, chances are your electronics will not work in Canada without an adapter. You should buy the cheap small kind, for as many chargers or electronics you are bringing. Or you can buy an extension cord with only one adapter.
    • Bring some Canadian currency with you, in case your debit/credit card does not work at an ATM in the airport. Besides, ATMs charge big bucks for a withdrawal (check the Canadian Banking Guide).
    • It would be useful to bring a power bank with you, in case your phone dies on you (especially if you have to call someone at arrival or check the address you are going to). Although you will find a plug anywhere, it is quite reassuring to have one.
    • Don’t forget your chargers.