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Express Entry: Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions Asked and Answered

The Express Entry system is one of Canada’s most popular immigration programs, inviting 85,300 skilled foreigners to apply for permanent Canadian residence in 2019. This target was a mere 700 invitation short of its goal of inviting 86,000 applicants. 2020 will see an immigration target of 88,000 reserved for Express Entry, with a grand total of 341,000 ITAs (Invitations to Apply) expected to be distributed this year.

Canada’s Economic Programs accounted for almost 60% of the country’s immigration in 2019, which includes programs such as the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program and Canada Experience Class, which fall under the Express Entry System.

Although it is still the most popular and one of the quickest ways for you to immigrate to Canada, there is still some uncertainty surrounding the system and questions about how it works.

Well, we hear you and are here to answer any questions you may have. We’ve selected the top 12 questions about taking the Expressway to Canada and break down how the Express Entry system works for you.

1. What is the Express Entry System?

blurred lights express train at night | migrate to Canada

The Express Entry system was introduced to help fast-track the Canadian immigration process as well as make it more accessible to skilled foreign immigrant wanting to immigrate to Canada and receive permanent Canadian residence. It is not a program but rather a system that manages the three main federal economic immigration programs:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program;
  • Federal Skilled Worker Program; and
  • Canada Experience Class.

Each program has a specific set of criteria that must be met in order to qualify for the Express Entry system.

2. How Do I Qualify for Express Entry?

qualification concept for Express Entry | migrate to Canada

In order to qualify to apply for permanent Canadian residence through the Express Entry system you will need to check that you meet the general requirements of one of the following programs:


Federal Economic Immigration Program Requirements
Eligibility CriteriaFederal Skilled Worker ProgramFederal Skilled Trades ProgramCanada Experience Class
Language SkillsEnglish or French Skills
  • CLB 7
English or French Skills
  • CLB 5 (speaking and listening)

  • CLB 4 (reading and writing)
English or French Skills
  • CLB 7 (NOC 0 or A)

  • CLB 5 (NOC B)
Type/Level of work experienceCanadian or foreign experience in 1 of these NOCs:
  • 0

  • A

  • B
Canadian or foreign experience in a trade under key groups of NOC BCanadian or foreign experience in 1 of these NOCs:
  • 0

  • A

  • B
Amount of work experience1 year of continuous work within the last 10 years (combination of part-time, full-time or more than 1 job in your main occupationTwo years within the last 5 years (either combination of full-time or part-time work)One year in Canada in the last 3 years (either combination of full-time or part-time work)
Job offerNot neededNeeded:
  • Valid job offer(full time for at least 1 year); or

  • certificate of qualification in skilled trade issued by a Canadian provincial, territorial or federal authority
Not needed
EducationNot neededSecondary education needed (more selection criteria points available for post-secondary education)Not needed

3. Is There an Age Limit?

smiling happy extended family | age limit to migrate to Canada

Although there is technically no age limit to apply for permanent residence through the Express Entry system, your age does affect your chances of receiving an invitation. Because your profile is ranked on a points-based system, the older you are, the fewer points you will be awarded to add to your CRS score. The best age to immigrate to Canada through the Express Entry system is between the ages of 20 and 29 years old as you can score between 100 and 110 CRS points. Below is a breakdown of how your age affects your Canadian visa application.


Express Entry CRS Points Based on Age
AgeWith Spouse Single
189099
199599
20-29100110
3095105
319099
328594
338088
347583
357077
366572
376066
385561
395055
404550
413539
422528
431717
4456
45 or older00

4. How Does It Work?

question mark block on hand | migrate to Canada

You will be required to create an online Express Entry profile containing information regarding your age, education, qualifications, work experience, language ability as well as other factors. You will have 60 days to complete your profile.

Your profile is then entered into a draw pool with other applicants and ranked against other profiles based on these factors according to the CRS (Comprehensive Ranking System). If your profile ranks among the highest scoring profile you will receive an Invitation to Apply for permanent Canadian residence.

5. What Documents Do You Need?

documents needed to migrate to Canada

You will not need to upload any document to submit an Express Entry profile, however, it is important to have the following documents as they may have the information needed to complete your profile

  • passport
  • language test results
  • education assessment report
  • provincial nomination(if applicable)
  • job offer from a Canadian employer(in writing)

You will also need to know your NOC (National Occupational Classification) job title or code. The NOC system classifies your occupation based on your employment duties and the type of work that you do.

Although it is not necessary to have your supporting documents when creating your profile, we recommend that you have a look at our Ultimate Express Entry Checklist to know exactly what you will need in advance, as you will have 60 days to complete your application.

6. How Long Does Express Entry Process Take?

laptop daily planner on desk | apply to migrate to Canada

The length of time of the Express Entry process varies from anywhere between 4-6months and depends on the level of applicants entered into the draw pool. Express Entry draws generally take place every 2 weeks, where those with the highest-ranking CRS (Comprehensive Ranking System) scores receive invitations to Apply for permanent Canadian residence.

7. How Much Does It Cost?

silver and gold coins | how much does it cost to migrate to Canada

There are various fees that need to be paid once you have created your online profile as well as after you have received an ITA for permanent Canadian residence. Below are all the fees linked to applying for a Canadian visa through the Express Entry System include:


Express Entry Fees
Fees$(CAD)
Your application
Processing fee ($550) and right of permanent residence fee ($490)
1,040
Your application (without right of permanent residence fee)550
Include your spouse or partner
Processing fee ($550) and right of permanent residence fee ($490)
$19,836
Include your spouse or partner (without right of permanent residence fee)550
Include a dependent child150 per child
Right of permanent residence fee490
Biometrics fee85 per person

8. Do I Get Permanent Residence Through Express Entry?

canada passport stamp to migrate to Canada

If your profile is selected from the draw pool and you receive an Invitation to Apply for permanent Canadian Residence. The great thing about getting permanent residence in Canada is that you will have access to amazing benefits such as free healthcare and public schooling for your children up until grade 12. And to top that, once you have been living and working in Canada for only 3 years, you will be able to apply for Canadian citizenship.

9. How Many Points Do I Need to Qualify for Express Entry in 2020?

score-excellent to migrate to canada

Based on CRS scores of the 26 Express Entry Draws that took place in 2019, you would need to score between 438 to 475. The minimum CRS score required often depends on the size of the draw as well as the frequency of the draws.

You can receive a maximum of 600 core points (based on skills, experience, language skills, education, adaptability and spouse and common-law partner factors) + 600 extra points (Canadian qualifications, valid job offer, provincial nomination, strong French language skills or a sibling living in Canada who is a citizen or permanent resident), giving you a total maximum score of 1200 points.

It is important to note that a provincial nomination is worth 600 points, which means that you are virtually guaranteed to receive an ITA.

10. How Many Times Can I Apply for Express Entry?

application on ipad on desk with coffee cup and plant | migrate to canada

Your Express Entry Profile is valid for a year, which means that you will only have to apply once. Your profile will automatically be entered into draw pools every 2 weeks and will remain active until your profile has been selected and you receive an ITA or until the year has lapsed. You will then need to create a new Express Entry Profile.

11. How Much Settlement Money Do I Need?

wooden house with money bags | migrate to Canada

You will only need proof of funds if you apply through the FSTP or FSWP. You will need to provide proof of funds based on the number of family members. This includes you, your spouse or common-law partner as well as your dependent children. Your settlement money must be available when applying for Express Entry as well as when you receive your permanent Canadian residence visa. Below is a breakdown of funds needed per family member:


Settlement Fund Requirements
Number of Family MembersFunds Needed (CAD)
1$12,960
2$16,135
3$19,836
4$24,083
5$27,315
6$30,806
7$34,299
each additional family member$3,492

11. Do I Have to Use an Immigration Consultant?

expertise concept | migrate to Canada

The short answer is no. Anyone can apply directly through the Canadian government website. But, as in life, there is no short answer to any question. Immigration can be a tricky business, with multiple forms to complete, deadlines to meet as well as the verification and submission of supporting documents. The truth is that at least 1 in 4 visas are denied or delayed simply because they have been completed incorrectly, lack supporting documentation or have been submitted by an immigration agency that is not qualified or permitted to do so.

By using an immigration agency or firm with accredited RCICs (Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants), you are not only increasing your chances of having your visa approved but you can rest assured that your application is in experienced and qualified hands, leaving you free to plan your venture to Canada without risking your future, your dreams.

How We Can Help You With Your Application

Immigration to Canada can be both complex and confusing. By using our government certified and trusted Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) you will not only optimize your chances of success in the visa application process, but you will receive expert advice on which program is best for your personal needs. Our RCICs are registered with the ICCRC and are legally permitted to assist you by evaluating your eligibility, reviewing all documentation and submitting it to the Canadian government on your behalf.

Don't risk your chances of living your Canadian dream. All you have to do is complete our online form and we’ll take care of the rest. It's just that simple.

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