Note: Arrive is not an immigration consultancy and therefore does not provide support with immigration. We created this post to support our users who have inquired about immigration-based questions. All information provided here has been sourced from the Government of Canada website. For in-depth info on the type of visa you may qualify for or assistance with regards to the process for obtaining work or student permits, have a look at the Government of Canada website.

The Express Entry program is one of the most sought after and popular ways to immigrate to Canada, mainly due to its simplicity and quick processing timelines. Express Entry is ideal for skilled immigrants who want to settle in Canada permanently. 

Qualifying for Express Entry

In order to apply through Express Entry, you must be eligible for one of the three immigration streams: 

  1. Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program: This program is for applicants with significant foreign work experience and/or a high level of education who want to immigrate to Canada permanently. 
  2. Canadian Experience Class (CEC): This program is for foreign nationals who have been working in Canada for a period of at least one year to apply for Permanent Residence (PR).  
  3. Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP): This program is for skilled tradespeople who want to immigrate to Canada. 

To understand the key differences in these three programs, check out the comparison table provided by the government of Canada. 

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP): Provinces and territories can also recruit candidates from the Express Entry pool through the PNP to meet local labour market needs. Students, business people, skilled workers, and semi-skilled workers who have the skills, education, and work experience to contribute to the economy of a specific province or territory, intend to live in that province and become residents of Canada may be eligible to apply through the PNP. 

Candidates for Express Entry are awarded up to 1200 points under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) meant to identify candidates who are most likely to succeed in Canada. The highest ranked candidates in the Express Entry pool receive an “Invitation to Apply” after which they have 60 days to complete an application for Permanent Residence in Canada.

If you don’t qualify for Express Entry, there are other government immigration programs and initiatives that you can explore. Check out our infographic to learn more. 

Confused about which immigration program you qualify for? 

Step 1: Use the Government of Canada’s online tool to find out if you’re eligible to immigrate.

Step 2: If the result from Step 1 indicates that you’re eligible, then use the CRS tool to find your score and accordingly decide on the program.

Note: Consult an immigration lawyer to know your best options.

Applying for Express Entry

  • Once you qualify or are eligible to apply for Express Entry, you need to create a candidate profile online — this is essential to enter the Express Entry pool of candidates. Profiles may remain in the candidate pool for up to one year. If during this time any of your ranking factors change, you must ensure you update your profile in the candidate pool.
  • Those who do not hold a qualifying job offer have to register with the Canada Job Bank. Candidates are encouraged to promote themselves to prospective employers in order to increase their chances of being invited to apply.
  • Draws from the candidate pool occur every few weeks and those selected, receive an “Invitation to Apply” for PR by providing all necessary information and documents within 60 days. 
  • Once the application is submitted, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) estimates a total processing time of approximately six months.

At first glance, the Express Entry process may seem complicated but the resources provided by the government of Canada along with advice from authorized immigration lawyers/consultants can make your Canadian dreams come true!  


Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
Green and Spiegel Immigration Law Firm
This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.