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Invitation to Apply (ITA)

Updated: October 6th, 2023

An Invitation to Apply (ITA) is the final step of the Express Entry program. It means you’re well on your way to living and working in Canada as a Canadian permanent resident.

An Invitation to Apply can also be referred to as an electronic Application for Permanent Residence (eAPR). The eAPR is important as it’s the supporting documents to your information listed on your Express Entry system

What is an Invitation to Apply (ITA)?

As part of the Express Entry system, receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA) means that your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score either met or exceeded the qualifying CRS score for a particular Express Entry Draw. An ITA is essentially an application for permanent residence in Canada.

Before thinking about an Invitation to Apply (ITA) you’ll first need to be eligible for and apply through the Express Entry system.

There are a few requirements when doing so, which we’ll further explain below.

How do I Receive an Invitation to Apply?

Step 1: Find Out if You’re Eligible

As there are three programs under the Express Entry system, each with different requirements, you are required to fill out a form that takes around 10 to 15 minutes. Based on the answers you provide, it’ll tell the government which program you’re eligible for.

Step 2: Create an Express Entry Online Profile

Once determined that you’ve met the basic requirements, you’ll need to create an online Express Entry profile. You’ll need the following to complete the profile:

  • Your passport;
  • Education credential assessment report;
  • Language test results;
  • Certificate of qualification in a trade occupation issued by a Canadian province or territory (if you have one);
  • Proof of work experience (if you have one);
  • Provincial Nomination (if you have one); and
  • Proof of funds.

After submitting your profile, you’ll be placed into a pool with other eligible candidates. According to the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), you’ll be ranked based on factors such as work experience and education.

Step 3: Receive an Invitation to Apply

If your CRS score meets or exceeds the qualifying score for a particular Express Entry draw, you’ll receive an ITA and will be able to apply for Canadian permanent residency. These draws can happen as frequently as every two weeks. It’s important to complete the next phase within 60 days as that is the validity period of the invitation.

Required Documentation

As mentioned before, you’ll have 60 days to complete your online form. It’s best to gather all the documents that you’ll need so that when the time comes and you receive that ITA, you are ready to start filling out the online form right away. When you’ve been invited to apply for Canadian permanent residency, you’ll need to upload copies of the documents for your Express Entry online profile as well as the following:

  • Police certificates;
  • Medical exams;
  • Proof of funds;
  • Birth certificate, if you’re declaring dependent children;
  • Use of a representative for - required if you’ve hired a representative;
  • Common-law union form - required if you’ve declared your marital status as “common-law”;
  • Marriage certificate - required if you’ve declared your marital status as “married”;
  • Divorce certificate and legal separation agreement -required if you’ve declared your marital status as “divorced”;
  • Death certificate - required if you’ve declared your marital status as “widowed”; and
  • Adoption certificate - required when a dependent child is listed as “adopted”.

Depending on the program you’re applying for, you could be required to submit additional documents. Such as:

  • Proof of relationship to a relative in Canada;
  • Digital photos to confirm your identity;
  • Another name to confirm aliases; and
  • Authority to release personal information to a designated individual form.

If you are highly ranked within the Express Entry pool, you can receive an ITA anywhere between a few days to a few weeks.

What to do if I’m Not Invited to Apply?

The great thing about the Express Entry system is that if you aren’t successful the first time around, your profile will remain in the pool for one year. During this time you can improve your CRS score to increase your chances of receiving an ITA with the next Express Entry draw.

How Can I Improve My CRS Score to Receive an ITA?

To increase your chances of receiving an ITA, you need to improve your CRS score. There are several ways to improve your CRS score while waiting for the next draw. Here are just a few ways:

  1. Score higher than 8 on your Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) test;
  2. Get experience working in Canada;
  3. Get a Canadian job offer
  4. Secure a Provincial Nomination (PN).

Express Entry to Canada ITA Numbers

  • Most number of ITAs issued in one draw – 27,332 on February 13, 2021
  • Least number of ITAs issued in one draw – 250 on January 6, 2021 (this draw was for candidates invited under provincial nomination only)
  • Number of ITAs issued in 2015 – 31,063
  • Number of ITAs issued in 2016 – 33,782
  • Number of ITAs issued in 2017 – 86,022
  • Number of ITAs issued in 2018 – 89,800
  • Number of ITAs issued in 2019 – 85,300
  • Number of ITAs issued in 2020 – 107,950
  • Total number of ITAs issued in 2021 – 114,431
  • Total number of ITAs issued to date in 2022 – 46,539
  • Total number of ITAs issued to date in 2023 - 214,000
  • Total number of ITAs issued since the system was introduced – 731,903

Category Based ITAs

Express Entry rounds of invitations have witnessed a significant transformation with the introduction of category-based selection. This innovative approach invites candidates from the Express Entry pool based on specific categories established by the Minister to fulfill distinct economic objectives. The candidates selected through this method are invited to apply for permanent residence based on their eligibility criteria, including language proficiency, work experience, and education.

Category-based rounds of invitations complement the general and program-specific draws by targeting top-ranking candidates who possess skills that align with Canada's specific economic goals. The categories chosen for each year are announced in advance, ensuring transparency and predictability in the immigration process.

Candidates with Provincial or Territorial Nominations

Candidates with provincial or territorial nominations continue to receive invitations through general and Provincial Nominee Program-specific draws. These individuals have demonstrated their ability to contribute significantly to the economy of the province or territory that nominated them.

Step-by-Step Guide to Category-Based Selection in Express Entry

Let's explore the key aspects of category-based selection in Express Entry:

Choosing and Reporting Categories

Categories are selected based on labor market information, input from partners, including provinces and territories, and feedback from stakeholders. Annually, the government reports to Parliament about the chosen categories, their rationale, instructions for establishing them, and the number of invitations issued for each category. This information is also included in the Express Entry Year-End Report.

Categories Chosen for 2023

For 2023, the selected categories include:

  • French-language proficiency
  • Healthcare occupations
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) occupations
  • Trade occupations
  • Transport occupations
  • Agriculture and agri-food occupations

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for an invitation through a category-based round, candidates must meet the minimum Express Entry criteria and satisfy the specific requirements outlined for that round. For the 2023 categories, eligibility conditions vary by category:

  • French-language proficiency: A minimum score of 7 in all four language abilities on the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens is required.
  • Healthcare occupations, STEM occupations, Trade occupations, Transport occupations, Agriculture and agri-food occupations: Candidates must have accumulated at least 6 months of continuous work experience (in Canada or abroad) in the targeted NOC codes within the past 3 years.

Impact on CRS Score

The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score continues to be a vital factor for Express Entry draws. However, category-based rounds of invitations only consider candidates within the selected category, giving them a better chance of receiving an invitation.

What If Your Occupation Isn't Listed?

If your occupation is not listed in the selected categories, you can still be considered for general draws. Additionally, provinces and territories will continue to use the Express Entry pool to source applicants, particularly those with provincial nominations.

Variety of Draw Types

Express Entry will continue to conduct various types of draws throughout the year:

  • General rounds of invitations: General rounds of invitations invites the top-ranking candidates in the Express Entry pool who are eligible for 1 of the 3 Express Entry Programs. The 3 programs include the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).
  • Program-specific rounds of invitations: Program-specific rounds invite the top-ranking candidates who are eligible for a specific Express Entry program. For example, the IRCC often has draws specifically for the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), where only candidates who are eligible for a PNP are invited.
  • Category-based rounds of invitations: The Minister of Immigration will establish specific categories to meet specific economic goals across Canada. Once the categories are established, the top-ranking candidates in the pool who are eligible for this category will receive an invitation.

Category-Based Selection Will Help to Meet 2023 – 2025 Immigration Targets

Immigration has been a key strategy for the Canadian government to help address labor market shortages. The current immigration plan also aims to attract the skills required to fill critical sectors, such as health care, skilled trades, manufacturing, and technology sectors. Category-based draws will help to address these shortages by allowing the government to target roles and industries facing the most severe shortages.

Over the next three years, Canada will increase the number of new immigrants to the country each year. Canada will aim to welcome 465,000 new immigrants in 2023. The target will rise to 485,000 new immigrants in 2024, and it will again rise in 2025 to 500,000 new immigrants.

Missing deadlines or submitting documents incorrectly will also be something that you’ll never have to worry about, as they can submit on your behalf. Increase your chances of receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA) and gain Canadian permanent residency.


What if I’m Not Ready to Apply for Permanent Residency Within 60 Days of Receiving My ITA?

You will have to decline the ITA in your online account. Your profile will then become “active” in the pool for the remainder of the time it is valid, and you will be considered for future rounds of invitations if you consistently meet the requirements.

What Happens if I Don’t Respond to the ITA?

If you don’t respond to the ITA by applying for permanent residency within 60 days, it will expire, and you will be out of the Express Entry pool. Should you need to re-enter the pool, you’ll have to submit a new profile in your online account.

Does the IRCC Grant Extensions to the ITA Deadlines?

IRCC doesn’t grant extensions to their 60-day deadline for submitting an APR. You are responsible for checking your online profile regularly.

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