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Home What is Express Entry? Find out how the system works

What is Express Entry?

Beginning of 2015, the Express Entry system was launched to become this completely electronic immigration selection system, replacing the old paper application process. It has been conceived with the intention of ranking economic immigration candidates, where only those with the highest scores are invited to apply for permanent residence. This article will let you know what the Express Entry program is exactly and how it works.

Overview of Express Entry

Many aspirants assume Express Entry is a new immigration program. This is not the case. In simple terms, it is a new electronic system that Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) uses to manage and select applications for permanent residence under 3 programs that were already in existence for several years:

  • Federal Skilled Worker (FSW),
  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and
  • Federal Skilled Trades (FST).
Under Express Entry, processing times have shrunk compared to the previous paper-based system. IRCC processes most of the applications in less than a few months. It could be as little as under a month from receiving the Acknowledgment of Receipt (when submitting supporting documents), and could go up to six months if there is no problem with the application. Some applicants do however have processing times that go beyond the 6-month limit, especially in cases where there are changes in an applicant’s profile (such as marriage, childbirth, …).

How does it work?

You can follow our step-by-step guide to apply under the Express Entry systemhere.​

  1. You need first to be eligible to at least 1 of the 3 programs: FSW, CEC, or FST.
  2. If you are eligible, you can then create a profile with your personal information and qualifications. You will be attributed a score (1200 Points) based on the information given. The Express Entry score is constructed following the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), that uses, amongst other factors, your professional experience, educational credentials, language skills, if you have a qualifying job offer or a provincial nomination or have family in Canada. It is possible to boost your score and the likelihood to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA), you can check how to improve your CRS score. For more information on how the CRS score is calculated, follow our guide.
  3. Express Entry draws are operated periodically (generally every 2 weeks, sometimes 3 or 4 weeks) by IRCC. You will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) only if you score is above the one given in the draw. If you received an ITA, you will then have 60 days to complete your application online, include your supporting documents and pay your fees.