Jan 15, 2024

Express Entry - How to Join the Pool

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Express Entry is a points-based selection system that can grant permanent residence (PR) status for both skilled workers inside Canada and outside Canada.

A short summary on how this points-based selection system goes is that:

  • First, you will submit your Express Entry (EE) profile showing your interest to get Permanent Residency. Submitting an EE profile is NOT an application itself. You are just expressing your interest to join the pool of candidates.
  • There are different type of draws where you can be invited, which I'll explain in more details later on. But in summary, you have to be eligible in one of these draws and you have to meet the cut off score. Hence, after submitting your EE profile, there's only 2 things you can do. Simply wait and be drawn from the pool. Or work on things that can increase your score, update your profile, and increase your chance of being drawn.
  • Once you receive an invitation to apply (ITA), then and ONLY then, can you make an application for Permanent Residency. You need to accept this invitation first, of course, if you want to become a PR of Canada.
  • After accepting the ITA, you should update your profile as necessary. Making sure that all that you've declared and submitted is still presently true. And that you still meet the score. After updating your profile, at this stage, if you still meet the cut off score, then you can be 99% confident that you will get that sweet sweet Permanent residency.

  • Then prepare and submit all your documents. After all the documents are submitted, then all you need to do is wait until your application is approved. Follow the steps that will be given to you, or for reference, follow the steps in these series of guides.

Now, I said you can be 99% confident that you'll get that PR. What's that 1% to be worried about. That 1% is about you making a mistake on your entries or some sort. If you are 100% sure that you've done all the entries correctly, then you should be 100% confident about your application and nothing at all to worry about.

One last thing, remember how I emphasized that submitting an EE profile is NOT an application itself? Yes you read that right.

People often asks, "Would it be a red flag that I have submitted an EE profile, and now I'm applying for visitor, student, or work visa?"

The answer is NO. it's because, again. submitting an EE profile is NOT an application itself. It ONLY becomes an application after you get an invitation, and you submitted all the documents.

And I'm explaining this to simply say, there is NO harm in submitting and EE profile.

DO so if you're eligible! And here's how to know if you are.


The applicants will be assessed on various points such as age, language, education, adaptability, work experience and connections to Canada. Once eligible for at least one of these three categories, you’ll be able to submit your profile and join the pool of candidates. 

To find out if you're eligible or not, you can either read the detailed requirements for each program:

Canadian Experience Class

This is for applicants who has gained work experience inside Canada. Work experience must have been gained in the past 3 years before you apply and falls under the NOC-TEER 0, 1, 2, or 3 job categories

This is the pathway for most students to get their permanent residency. Depending on the length of the course they choose and the school, they will be granted a Post-Graduate Work Permit after they've completed their studies. Hence, they'll be able to work full time to gain the experience they need to support their Permanent Residency.

This program doesn’t require you to be a graduate from a Canadian school. Hence, if you have at least 1 year of work experience in Canada, in the past three years, then you are eligible to apply under this Class as well.

Federal Skilled Worker

This program is for skilled workers with foreign work experience who want to immigrate to Canada permanently.

To be eligible in this program, your application will be assessed through a100-poimt grid based on your age, education, work experience, whether you have a valid job offer, language skills and adaptability. Adaptability meaning how well or how you can really afford to settle here in Canada.

If you score 67 points or higher, you may qualify for the Federal Skilled Worker Program.

Federal Skilled Trades Program

This is for skilled workers who want to become permanent residents based on being qualified in a skilled trade. You must have at least 2 years of full-time work experience in a skilled trade within the 5 years before your apply.

A skilled trade is any occupation that requires a particular skill set, knowledge, or ability. It is usually a hands-on job, but skilled trades are found in every career cluster. They generally fall into five broad categories: agricultural, construction, transportation, service, and manufacturing and industrial. 

Compare all programs

Or answer a few question using the IRCC elibibility tool, to see if you meet the minimum requirements.

Find our if you're eligibility

After checking your eligibility using the IRCC eligibility tool, at the end of the questionnaires, you’ll be given a personal reference code that looks like this:

You will need this information later on to create a profile and apply. So make sure to record your personal reference code or write it down.

If you’re eligible for one of the above programs, you can also apply for the Provincial Nominee Program through Express Entry . Once you are nominated, you’ll get extra points which will almost guarantee that you'll be invited to apply for Permanent Residence in the next draw.

PNP - How to Apply

Check your score

Now before you create a profile, I’d like to remind you that the Express Entry program is a point-based selection system. They assess every applicant using various points such as age, language, education, adaptability, and work experience.

Once you’ve created a profile, you’ll be given a score under their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Your CRS score needs to be above the minimum points score of the rounds of invitations for you to receive an invitation to apply for PR. Hence, you may want to check first if your score is close to being invited or if you at least have a chance, before you bother creating a profile.

You can use the IRCC CRS tool to estimate your score.

CRS tool

Alternatively, you can skip the estimation process and proceed directly in creating your profile. You'll get your accurate CRS score after completing your profile anyway. There's nothing to lose when you create your profile. You won't get invited anyway if your score is too low, but still be very careful and only provide the correct information. You won't want to get invited for the wrong reason.

Submit your profile

To create and submit a profile, you must first need to create a GCKey account. If you alreay have an existing account, you may use that one and you don't have to create a new one.

Create or sign in to your account

Once you have created an account and/or signed in, start an application by clicking on "Apply to come to Canada".

You'll be prompt to enter your personal reference code, which will be used by the system to retrieve the information that you have already provided for your profile.

If you don't have a personal reference code, or you forgot where you wrote it down, you may instead select "Express Entry (EE)" under the "I do not have a Personal Reference Code" section. Then answer a series of questions to find out your eligibility to apply.

After answering all the questions and providing your identification, your profile will be created. Complete your profile by entering your personal details and all other details they require.

You may exit your profile anytime. Your information will be saved in your account, and you can continue anytime. While working on your profile, you will need some information from certain documents. You don't necessarily need to upload those documents yet, but you may need to provide some of the information.

If you don't currently have these documents yet, don't worry you have 60 days to complete and submit your Express Entry profile. If 60 days is not enough for you, still don't worry because you can just create a new one. But at least this time you know what you'll specifically need.

Alternatively, you may want to read our guide in keeping your documents ready before actually creating a profile.

Keep your documents ready

Documents for your profile

You won't need to upload any documents for you to submit a profile, but you may will need the information from these documents before you can complete and submit your profile.

  • a valid passport
  • language test results
  • proof of Canadian education (if you got your education inside Canda)
  • Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report for immigration (if you got your Education from outside Canada)
  • Proof of funds (a.k.a show money)

If applicable to your situation, you might also need the details from these documents:

  • Provincial nomination - if you are nominted under the Provincial Nominee Program
  • written job offer from an employer in Canada - if you already got a job offer
    • this document must also be supported by poof of work experience, certification of qualification in a trade occupation issued by a Canadian province or territory

Documents for your PR application

You only need these document if you get an invitation to apply for PR. Once you are invited, you'll get 60 days to complete and submit your application for PR. So I recommend keeping them ready for submission anytime by creating scanned copies as well.

You will also need to upload the documents you used for your profile together with these documents:

  • police certificates (NBI Clearance from Philippines)
  • medical exam
  • proof of funds
  • birth certificate - required when declaring dependent children
  • digital photos
  • certificate of name change - if you done so other than marriage
  • use of a representative form - which I don't think you need since and why you are reading this guide.
  • proof of your marital status
    • none - if you are single and never been married
    • common-law union form - if you've declared your marital status as "common-law"
    • marriage certificate - if you're married
    • divorce certificate - if applicable
    • death certificate - if you are widowed
    • adoption certificate - when you have a dependent child listed as "adopted"

Additionally, you may need to upload these documents if applicable. These documents won't affect your the results of your application if you can't provide them.

Get an invitation and apply

In summary

You need to be eligible in one of the three programs under the Express Entry for you to be able to submit a profile and join the pool of candidates. Joining the pool of candidates is NOT the application for PR.

You can only apply for permanent residence through Express Entry if you receive an invitation to apply. And you will only get an “Invitation to Apply” if your CRS score is higher than the CRS score of lowest ranked candidate invited. You can monitor the rounds of invitation in the IRCC website itself.

Express Entry - Rounds of Invitations

In most cases, it's going to take some time before you get an invitation to apply. Hence, let's discuss what you need to do after you get invited and how you can apply for permanent residence on the next topic.

Alternatively, you way want to consider learning about how you can get a provincial nomination to significantly increase your chance of getting an invitation. If you receive a nomination from a province or territory, you'll receive an additional 600 CRS score.

That additional score alone is higher than the score of the lowest ranked candidate invited on the recent draws. Almost all provincial nominees get their invitation to apply on the very next round after receiving their nomination. The only time they don't get invited in the next round is when IRCC focuses in inviting candidates under the Canadian Express Class (CEC) only. If you fall under this program, you will still get invited.

PNP - How to Apply

Frequently Asked Questions

I submitted my EE profile and it's nowhere near from being drawn. I'm considering applying for another pathway for the moment. Is it safe to create a new application for Visitor's visa, Work Permit, or Student Permit?

Yes. Submitting an Express Entry profile is NOT an application by itself. It is only considered as an application once you've get an invitation to apply and you've submitted an application for Permanent Residence.

My Consultant, or another person has the access to my EE profile, but I would like to work on my new application by my self. Can I create a new GCKey account for this application?

Yes. Nothing to worry at all. You can even submit a new EE profile. If both receive an invitation, then you can just choose which one to use for your PR application.

I would like to start a new application for visitor's visa, work permit, OR student permit. Will it be an issue that I have an exisitng EE profile submitted?

No. Submitting an EE profile is NOT an application by it self. It is just an expression of interest.

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