You could think of Express Entry application as consisting of two stages. The first stage involves determining your eligibility. Also, it is in the first stage of the application where you create your online Express Entry profile. Doing this puts your application in a pool from which IRCC selects applicants.
Between determining your eligibility and submitting your documents, you need to receive a notice from IRCC. This notice is the ITA or the invitation to apply.
In this article, you will learn more about the ITA and what you need to prepare once you have received yours.
What Is An Invitation To Apply?
An invitation to apply (ITA) is an automatically-generated response from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). It informs you that your profile has been selected from the Express Entry pool.
An invitation to apply (ITA) will also inform you of the Express Entry program you have qualified for. IRCC bases your qualification on meeting certain selection criteria like work experience and language skills.
An ITA will also inform you that you have 60 days to complete your application. In other words, the time for you to submit all of your supporting documents, as well as identification, is 60 days from your receipt of the ITA.
There is a misconception that having an Express Entry profile automatically qualifies someone to receive an ITA. This is not true. An ITA is only for those who qualify for Express Entry draws.
Who Receives An Invitation To Apply?
An invitation to apply is a response from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). It is given only to a qualified applicant with an Express Entry profile.
It works this way.
Applying for permanent residence through the Express Entry selection system, you have created an online Express Entry profile by including certain pieces of information. These pieces of information give Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada a “sneak peek” into your eligibility.
If your information in your online application form meets the passing mark of 67, your Express Entry profile will be included in the Express Entry pool alongside those of other applicants. At regular intervals (usually monthly or bi-monthly), Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) conducts an Express Entry draw. IRCC will draw Express Entry profiles that have the highest number of CRS points or scores.
As you may already know, CRS points are awarded for meeting certain selection criteria. These include everything from your education to your work experience. Your language skills can also qualify you for a draw for Express Entry.
Those with the highest number of CRS points will receive an Invitation to Apply.
The minimum number of points for qualification changes from time to time. There have been times when the minimum cut-off score was as low as 415 CRS points. At the time of writing, the minimum CRS score an applicant needs to get is 475 CRS points.
Is It Possible To Receive An Invitation To Apply Even Without Meeting The Express Entry CRS Cut-Off?
Sometimes, an applicant does not meet the minimum score for an Express Entry program like the FSW, FST, or CEC. As a result, the applicant does not receive an invitation to apply.
Luckily, if this happens to you, it is still possible to apply for permanent residence in Canada. It will not be through the same Express Entry selection system, however. This is when you may want to consider applying through a province’s Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).
The Provincial Nominee Program is another way to gain permanent residence in Canada. To get a provincial nomination, you need to contact the province to which you want to immigrate. You can contact the following Canadian provinces for a provincial nomination.
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Northwest Territories
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
You may also apply for permanent residence in the province of Quebec, but the province has different rules for selecting skilled workers. You can learn more about the steps for Quebec’s skilled worker program here.
Provinces in Canada including Quebec have their Express Entry selection systems. For this reason, you need to create a profile, but this will be exclusive to the province. You can visit the main sites of these provinces to apply.
Once you have selected a province and created a profile through its Express Entry system, the province will notify you if it opts to nominate you. If you receive a provincial nomination, receiving an invitation to apply (ITA) from the province is the next step.
What Documents Are Needed After Receiving An ITA?
Receiving your ITA means that you may now provide supporting documents to prove the information in your Express Entry profile. In addition to supporting documents, you also need to provide other documents for identification.
To apply for permanent residence, you will need to present the following:
Photographs, Valid Passport And Birth Certificate
IRCC requires proof of identification. In your application documents, nothing proves your identity better than your passport and birth certificate. Both documents identify you and give IRCC information about your citizenship and country of origin. As for your birth certificate, it confirms your age, which is one of the selection factors.
For this reason, both documents need to be in good condition when you submit them. They should not be damaged or tampered.
You will also need to provide your photographs. Here are guidelines on the proper photographs for Express Entry.
Police Certificate Or Clearance
One of the most important conditions for immigration to Canada is admissibility. IRCC determines this by looking at your medical and criminal records. Your police record should show no legal offences or crimes.
If you have a criminal record, you may still apply for permanent residence. For more information on this document, you could check out our article on criminal background checks for Canadian immigration.
Language Test Result
Your language test result or results will confirm the scores you entered in your profile. At the time of writing, the following tests are acceptable for Express Entry applications:
Keep in mind that these results need to be valid at the time of your application. Expired results will not be accepted, and you will earn no CRS points for these.
Your medical exam report is also a requirement after you get an invitation to apply (ITA). A valid medical exam report can only be issued by a panel physician.
Your educational credentials need to be accompanied by an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA). The ECA determines the equivalence of your education in Canada. This takes some time to process, so it is advised that you have this even before you get your ITA.
Proof Of Funds
You need to provide proof of sufficient settlement funds in your application. These can come in the form of bank statements or any certificate or document from financial institutions.
This is not an absolute requirement in some circumstances. Such circumstances include having a valid job offer.
A Valid Job Offer
If you plan to apply for permanent residence through the FST program, you need to have a job offer. A job offer must be valid for a year. It must also be from a Canadian employer in the province you have chosen.
As mentioned earlier, a job offer may exempt you from having to present proof of settlement funds. Also, even if this is not a must for other immigration programs, it can add as much as 50 points to your CRS score.
Proof Of Family Relationship (If Applicable)
This is not a requirement. However, if you have family members who have permanent residence in Canada, this can add points towards your application.
To avail of these additional CRS points, you need to include any proof of relationship in your application documents.
Your ITA proves that you have met the requirements to apply for permanent residence in Canada. Once you receive this from IRCC, you must submit your documents within the 60-day grace period.
For this reason, the best thing to do is to have your documents ready even before the early steps of your application.