Advice for future Express Entry applications for Canada

Updated: Mar 29

Welcome to my second post on newcomer chronicles is hard earned pearls of wisdom for those who plan to move to Canada through EE.

Do you plan to immigrate to Canada as a permanent resident and want to do it right? Excellent! You are in the right place. Keep reading.

Welcome to the immigrant chronicles series again. Today's post is about my advice on the path to become a permanent resident through Express Entry. It will build on my first post on Immigration to Canada through Express Entry If you haven't check it yet, I would recommend you to do so, before reading this!

Regardless of the country, it's well know fact that immigration is a length, quite stressful and expensive process. Therefore, I have distilled my journey in Canada's immigration system down to couple of important points.

1- Plan ahead and well

It sounds straightforward I know. Still, it won't hurt to remind it.

Before you really enter the process, you may not be truly aware of how long and detailed this process is. So I recommend you to plan ahead -a 2-year plan at least- and very well. Even if you decide to apply today, you may not be able to move in the coming year or even the next...

I decided to move to the US in the 2014 fall and it took a whole year to apply for fellowships, visas etc and finally, we moved in October 2015. This was a visitor visa, not technically immigration. Therefore, it's kind of "faster". Imagine what is longer...

In the case of Canada, we decided to immigrate to Canada as permanent residents in Summer 2019 and started collecting documents. It took a long 6 months to get ECA, IELTS exam then getting into the pool and receiving our ITA in Jan 2020. Then we had a little hiccup and our first application was refused due to a missing document (more on that in the second point below)

We had to get the right document, get into the pool again and that made us lose 2 months... We applied again in March 2020 and today is February 2021 and we are still in the process! Usually, it takes 6-9 months for an average application to be processed.

But of course, not during a global pandemic. Obviously no one could have ever anticipated there would be a global pandemic will explode when we applied.

Basically, you never know and it won't hurt to plan ahead and well. It takes longer than you think it will.

First, start by checking the websites for information

Start with the Canada Government website. Read it. Print it and make it a poster. Make sure you go through all the necessary documents. Did I say, read it? Details matter a lot. (more on this later)

Find your NOC code properly

Make sure you properly find your NOC code. Mine was pretty straightforward as I am lucky to call myself a biologist. No judgment call on that. But some people may have different titles; an administrator or manager, a software engineer or analyst or a developer... therefore it can differ. And it matters. Take your time to find the correct one depending on your duties. Don't forget that you will later have a get letter later from your employer(s) to support the work experience you claim under this NOC code with the specific duties and responsibilities that it entails. Make sure it is correct.

Get your ECA asap

Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) is to prove that your non-Canadian degree Bachelors, Masters or Ph.D. is actually equal to a Canadian one, or not. I did it through World Educational Services (WES) and it was ridiculously slow. I first had to renew my Ph.D. diploma so it took even longer... You need to submit your transcripts and diploma for all your degrees to WES. It takes around 3 months (in normal times, pre-covid) to get this piece of paper and there was no way to expedite this, so get it now!

Take your IELTS exam asap

This step takes around 3 months in best case scenario. Even if you are exceptionally fluent in English, living abroad etc you have to take it. After all, this is an exam with its own structure and tricks. Basically, you need to sit down and study a book or couple of practice tests. Then you have to sit down for a test and wait for the results (couple of weeks goes by) Therefore it takes time. In some cases even you may need to take it couple of times to have a better score, so plan plan plan.

Check your eligibility and calculate your CRS score

This is a very important step. Before you get all riled up and root your life up, go ahead and check your eligibility from the wizard link here. Make sure you know your CRS score and check the past CRS scores from the latest draws, so you will be prepared to maybe wait for a couple of draws if your score is at the limit.

Go ahead and create your online profile once you have all above

Congratulations! You are in the pool. Wait for the next draw for your ITA.

Start collecting your documents after you submit your profile

Do not wait for getting an ITA to start collecting! Once you get it you will have 60 days to do so. Now it's 90 days for covid times. Believe me, it takes a long time to get some documents. Check this list. Start now. Thank me later. Start applying for police certificates and all other documents. It really takes time to take multiple police certificates especially if you have lived in several countries. You need to take a police certificate for each country you lived more than 6months. Start getting employment letters, downloading your tax documents, credit card and bank statements.

We are talking about a lot of documents for you and your family ( your partner also needs to collect mainly all of these the ECA, IELTS, police certificate- except employment if you are not claiming points on that.

Get a hold of all your passports

Sounds funny but hear me out. No one knows where their old passport is (and I call myself organized?! anyways) You will to locate them as you need ALL your visas and ALL your travel history since 18years old and enter every single trip for you and your spouse to the system, so find them now!


There is a minimum amount of money that is available to you and belongs to you that you should show in your application as a new permanent resident. That is called settlement funds. For example, if you have a family of three; you, your spouse and your child then you need to bring almost $20k as a new PR.

Number of family members Funds required in CAD (in Canadian dollars)

1 $12,960

2 $16,135

3 $19,836

That is a lot of money. Especially if you are trying to save this money outside North America.

Do not let it discourage you but be realistic. Make sure you are aware of this as you need to provide bank statements and proof of the source of this money. You can not just borrow this and show a bulk entry in your account. You can get it as a gift with a notarized gift deed from someone and provide a letter of explanation.

I hope I was able to make it clear that, this is a very long and detailed process that you need to really plan ahead. Start now. Check my first post for all the steps you have to go through in the process.