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Invitation to Apply

Canada’s Express Entry system provides a two-step process for candidates interested in immigrating to Canada.

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In the first step, a candidate prepares and submits their Express Entry profile to a pool of candidates. If the candidate has a competitive Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, their profile will be selected in an Express Entry draw and they will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence in Canada. Receiving an ITA means that the candidate moves onto the second stage of the process.

In the second step, after receiving an ITA, a candidate is given 60 days to prepare and submit an official application for permanent residence in Canada. This application is submitted electronically through the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) online web portal. Applicants will be asked to scan and submit electronic copies of all documents. For this reason, this is officially called the electronic Application for Permanent Residence in Canada (eAPR).

IRCC states that 80% of eAPRs are processed within 6 months or earlier from the date of submission. If an application is approved, then the applicant and all accompanying family members will be issued travel visas allowing them to travel to a Canadian Port of Entry (POE) to obtain their official permanent resident documents!

Documents Required for Express Entry

An electronic Application for Permanent Residence in Canada (eAPR) is an extensive and detailed application. Based on these documents, a Canadian immigration officer will decide whether or not an applicant will be granted permanent resident status in Canada. For this reason, it is important to provide all requested information and documents in a clear and concise manner. If an applicant is unable to provide any of the requested documents within the requested time frame, then they should submit a written letter of explanation detailing why they cannot meet the requirement.

The eAPR has two major parts: (1) Personal history, and (2) Documentation.

First, an applicant will have to provide complete and accurate personal histories for themselves and all accompanying family members. Second, the applicant will have to provide documentation supporting the claims made in the personal history. Including false or misleading information or documentation is a serious offence. Doing so may result in a charge of misrepresentation and a 5-year ban from Canada.

Below is a list of some of the most common documents requested for an eAPR. Bear in mind that these documents are not submitted in hard copy. They must be scanned and uploaded electronically into the IRCC web portal. Documents may vary depending on the specifics of each case.

Identification and Travel Documents

An applicant will have to provide valid passports for themselves and all accompanying family members. As well, birth certificates may be required for dependent children. If the applicant has claimed points for a relative living in Canada, they will have to include identification documents for this relative.

Educational Credentials

Depending on the candidates profile, usually the principal applicant and spouse or common-law partner must provide documentation for the highest level of education claimed on their application. Applicants will be asked to provide transcripts, diploma, and a valid Educational Credentials Assessment (ECA) for each educational credential claimed. Please note that the ECA report is only required for educational credentials which were awarded CRS points.

Language Proficiency

Applicants must provide official language test results for any languages claimed by either themselves or their spouse/common-law partner. There are two accepted official language tests for English:

  1. Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP)
  2. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) – General Training

There is only one accepted official language test for French:

  1. Test d’évaluation de français (TEF)

Work Experience

The principal applicant and spouse or common-law partner will be asked to provide documentation supporting work experience claimed in the application. Applicants should submit a valid reference letter including all data requested by IRCC supporting each period of employment. Learn more about what to include in a reference letter by consulting Canadim’s guidelines for writing a reference letter.

Immigration Tip: Any employment older than 10 years does not require documentation.

Police Clearance Certificates

All adults included on the application must submit a valid police clearance certificate from any country in which the applicant has spent more than a cumulative 6-months of their life. This includes countries travelled to for vacation or leisure. Failing to submit even a single police certificate will likely result in an application being returned. If an applicant has a criminal record, the application may be refused due to criminal inadmissibility.

Medical Exam

The principal applicant, spouse or common-law partner, and all dependent children must complete a medical exam performed by an IRCC-approved physician. If any family members have medical conditions which pose a risk to public health or which will create an excessive demand on Canadian health or social services, then the application will likely be refused due to medical inadmissibility.

Note: If an application is approved, all applicants will be issued a travel visa authorizing travel to Canada to pick up PR documents. Usually this travel visa is valid for one year from the date of the medical exam.

Proof of Means of Financial Support

Applicants invited to apply through the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) and Federal Skilled Trades (FST) programs must demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to support their resettlement in Canada. Refer to the Settlement Funds Requirements to determine which amount will be required and what supporting documentation will be accepted. Please note that applicants in the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) as well as those with a valid job offer from a Canadian employer are exempt from this requirement.

Marital Status / Partnership

The applicant must provide documentation attesting to current and past partnerships. For example, marriage certificate, proof of common-law status, divorce certificate, etc.

Job Offer and Certificate of Qualification

If an applicant has claimed points for a valid job offer, they must provide documentation proving the legitimacy of this offer. The same applies for applicants through Federal Skilled Trades who have claimed points for a certificate of qualification.

Government Processing Fees

When submitting the eAPR, applicants must submit all relevant government processing fees.

Certified Translations

Any documents submitted in a language other than English or French must be accompanied by a certified translation to either English or French.

Invitation to Apply: What’s Next

Once an eAPR has been submitted, it enters processing. According to IRCC, 80% of eAPRs are processed within 6 months of submission. If an officer has questions or requires further information, they always reserve the right to request additional documents. Check your account regularly to see if any messages or updates have been issued. If the application is approved then the applicant and all accompanying family members will be issued travel visas authorizing travel to a Canadian Port of Entry (POE) where they can obtain official permanent residency documents!

After becoming a Canadian permanent resident, individuals should be sure to educate themselves on the PR requirements to ensure they remain eligible to renew their permanent residence card, or apply for Canadian citizenship.

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