Breaking Down the Process: How Long Does Express Entry Take in Canada?

Published on: March 8th, 2024
Last updated: March 11th, 2024

The Express Entry system is crucial in Canadian immigration, streamlining the path for skilled workers seeking permanent residency. Whether you’re exploring the process or getting ready to use an immigration lawyer for application assistance, comprehending the duration and each step of the Express Entry process is essential.

Do you qualify for Express Entry?

Familiarity with the timeline for each phase allows applicants to prepare effectively, set realistic expectations, and plan life changes efficiently. Such in-depth understanding is vital to smoothly navigating the process and can greatly influence the success and timing of your residency application in Canada.


Overview of Express Entry

Express Entry is a streamlined system used by the Canadian government to manage applications for permanent residence from skilled workers. Its primary purpose is to expedite the immigration process, fulfilling the country’s labour market requirements and fostering economic growth. This system incorporates three key programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program for skilled professionals, the Federal Skilled Trades Program for qualified tradespeople, and the Canadian Experience Class for individuals with Canadian work experience. General eligibility revolves around age, education, work experience, and language skills. Applicants are assessed and ranked in the Express Entry pool, with the highest-ranking candidates invited to apply for permanent residency.

For those seeking more comprehensive information, including an in-depth look at the Express Entry program and answers to frequently asked questions, our Canada Express Entry Guide is an invaluable resource. This guide offers extensive insights into the intricacies of the process, helping you navigate your journey to Canadian residency with greater clarity and confidence.


Express Entry Process Timeline Step-by-Step 

The Express Entry process for Canadian permanent residency encompasses five main stages. This guide outlines each step, from assessing your eligibility to obtaining an invitation to apply. Understand the sequential stages that cover all the Express Entry programs and gain insight into the approximate duration of your application process for Canadian PR. 

  1. The first step in the process is to determine if you are eligible. Our Express Entry Free Assessment is a quick and efficient way to do this, taking approximately 10 minutes, provided you have all the required information readily available. The results will be sent directly to your email.
  2. The second step involves calculating your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. This can be quickly and conveniently done using our CRS Calculator tool, which typically takes about 10 minutes to complete.
  3. The third step involves compiling all necessary documents. Depending on your situation, this phase can vary significantly, often spanning several weeks to months. Some documents that typically require more time to acquire include:
    1. Language Test Results: Consider the time needed to achieve a high language proficiency level, prepare for the exam, and receive your results.
    2. Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) Report: If you’re seeking points for education obtained outside Canada, you’ll need an ECA. This process can take up to 30 business days, not including the time your educational institution might take to issue the necessary documents for the assessment.

  4. The fourth step is the completion of your profile. The time required for this step varies based on your readiness and whether you choose to complete it independently. If you do it yourself, the duration depends on how prepared you are with the necessary information. Alternatively, engaging the services of an immigration lawyer can expedite the process. They can assist in filling out the profile more quickly and efficiently, minimizing the risk of errors. Generally, this step can be completed in about a day.

  5. The final stage in submitting your profile is the waiting period in the Express Entry Pool. A common query we receive is the duration of this wait time. The length of time you spend waiting for an invitation to apply varies based on the specific program you’re applying for and the CRS score of your profile. If your score is relatively low, the waiting period will depend on how much time you invest in enhancing your score. Improvements can be made by achieving higher language proficiency, obtaining results in a second official language, or acquiring an additional higher education diploma, whether from within or outside Canada. For detailed strategies on how to increase your CRS score and potentially reduce your waiting time in the Express Entry pool, we recommend reading our article, ‘How to Improve my CRS Score? ‘ 

Steps after submitting your profile

In the final stage, if your score ranks among the highest in the pool, you will be issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA). Upon receiving this invitation, you have a 60-day window to submit your Permanent Residency application and all the required forms and supporting documents.

After submitting your Permanent Residency (PR) application, most applications are processed by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) within six months

Factors Influencing the Timeline

It’s crucial to understand that several variables can significantly impact the processing times of Express Entry applications. One of the primary factors is the completeness of your application. Incomplete or inaccurate applications are often subject to delays, as additional time is required for clarification or request for supplementary documents. Case complexity is another influential factor; applications with intricate backgrounds or those requiring additional verification can extend beyond the standard processing time. Moreover, the current workload and backlogs at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) play a considerable role. Periods of high application volumes can lead to longer processing times, as the system manages more cases simultaneously. Changes in immigration policies or unforeseen circumstances, like global events, can also affect processing speeds. Understanding these factors can help set realistic expectations for the duration of the Express Entry process.


Need help with your Express Entry profile? Complete our free online assessment form to learn more about your options for Express Entry!


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