express entry

The Do’s and Don’ts of Submitting Your Express Entry Profile

Published on: November 22nd, 2021
Last updated: March 22nd, 2023

Submitting a profile to the Express Entry pool may seem like a simple process, but it’s important to take the time to get it right. Your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score depends on the information you provide in your profile, and your immigration application could depend on a strong CRS score.

Find out if you're eligible for Express Entry

Of course, there are always ways to improve your Express Entry score once you’re in the pool. But there are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind to help you prepare the best possible Express Entry profile.

How Express Entry works

Candidates who are eligible for one of the programs under Express Entry can submit a profile to the Express Entry pool. Their profile is assigned a CRS score, and the highest-ranking candidates are periodically issued invitations to apply (ITA) for permanent residence. Once candidates who receive an ITA apply for permanent residence through Express Entry, their application is usually processed within six months.

Do: Include your Dependents

You can include your dependent family members in your Express Entry profile. For Canadian immigration purposes, dependent family members include:

  1. Your spouse or common-law partner
  2. Your dependent child
  3. Your spouse or common-law partner’s dependent child
  4. A dependent child of a dependent child

Dependent family members can be included as either ‘accompanying’ or ‘not accompanying’, depending on whether or not they will be immigrating to Canada with you. The key takeaway here is that you must include all of your dependents whether or not they are accompanying you to Canada.

If you fail to include any of your dependents on your application, you will not be able to sponsor them later.

Immigration Tip

The definition of a dependent child changed on October 24, 2017 from under 19 years of age to under 22 years of age. Learn more.

Do not: Include non-dependent family members

For Canadian immigration purposes, the following family members cannot be including as dependents on your Express Entry profile:

  1. Parents
  2. Grandparents
  3. Brother or sister
  4. Uncle or Aunt
  5. Nephew or Niece

Do: Retake your IELTS

The IELTS are the most common English language proficiency test authorized to evaluate your ability in English for Canadian immigration. They are also one of the largest factors in calculating your CRS score that you can easily improve. Preparing your Express Entry profile for submission is going to take some time. While you’re waiting for your documents to come through, it’s a good idea to prepare for the IELTS.

There are a ton of great online resources to study for the IELTS. We provide free access to an IELTS tutoring service to all our Express Entry clients to help them prepare. The best thing that you can do is retake the IELTS. At the end of the day, IELTS is a test, and the best practice you can do for any test is to write it.

Language test results are valid for two years, so scheduling your test early on and retaking it, even multiple times, to get a better score could go a long way to helping you immigrate to Canada.

Do not: Combine test scores

The IELTS, and any other authorized language test, test four language abilities: reading, writing, listening and speaking. When you provide language test results in your Express Entry profile, all four language ability scores must come from a single test. For example, your first test results may be:

Reading: 5.5
Writing: 6.0
Listening: 5.5
Speaking: 6.5

This would correspond to an overall score of CLB 6.

And your second test results may be:

Reading: 6.0
Writing: 6.0
Listening: 6.0
Speaking: 6.0

This would correspond to an overall score of CLB 7.

Even though you technically did better in the ‘Speaking’ ability on your first test, you have to provide all four test results from a single test, and your overall score was higher on your second test. Therefore, you’re better off providing the results from your second test in your Express Entry profile.

Do: Include all work experience

More is almost always better when it comes to submitting your Express Entry profile. Don’t leave out any information about your employment history just because you don’t feel it’s relevant. The intentional omission of information may be considered misrepresentation, which is a serious offense and could result in a five-year ban from Canada.

Even if you don’t specifically earn points for a particular job, you should still include it in your profile. You won’t lose points for unskilled work, and work that you don’t consider valuable may contribute indirectly to the strength of your profile.

Do not: Guess answers that you don’t know

At the profile submission stage, you’re asked to provide a lot of information about yourself and your family. Often, you don’t need to provide proof to back up that information until a later stage in the process. But you will need to be able to prove everything that you claim in your profile. So, if you don’t understand a question, or aren’t sure about the answer do not guess. Take the time to find the right answer.

As we’ve mentioned, if you are found to have misrepresented yourself, that can seriously damage your chances of successfully immigrating to Canada.

Do: Read instructions carefully

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) provides a lot of resources and instructions for completing your Express Entry profile. So many, in fact, that it can be overwhelming.

Take the time to read through all instructions carefully to make sure that your profile is complete and accurate. Mistakes at the profile stage can have a long-lasting impact on your entire immigration file.


Attorney Renaud Dery and the Canadim Team have over 20 years of Canadian immigration experience. Trust our experts to ensure your immigration file is complete, accurate, and optimized to achieve your Canadian immigration dreams! Get started today with a free online assessment to discover your options:


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