Top Tips for Creating Your Express Entry Profile

The Express Entry system for immigrating to Canada as a Permanent Resident is a two-step system whereby interested applicants first need to create an online profile, and then must wait for an invitation to apply for Permanent Residence from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
Creating your Express Entry profile can be likened to an audition, whereby you present your skills, experience and education to the Canadian government and hope that your personal details will match the type of immigrants that are being invited to apply for Permanent Residence in Canada.

With that in mind, it’s very important that your profile is completed correctly so that you have the best possible opportunity to receive an invitation to apply. Keep reading for our best tips to overcome the common errors that we see when meeting with clients who have prepared their own Express Entry profiles.

Double check your entries

It’s very important to double or triple check your profile entries to ensure that the information you have entered is correct. A simple typo on an English exam score, or a date of birth can make a huge difference in your Comprehensive Ranking System points.

Understand your CRS Ranking score

You should independently calculate your CRS ranking score based on your personal situation, and then compare your calculated score to the score that is automatically generated by the EE profile system. Errors in entering the data can result in faulty profile scores, which means that every action taken after submitting the profile will be inaccurate as well. This causes many different types of issues from wasted time and opportunity, to the loss of time and money when you submit an e-APR and you are not qualified. It’s important to clearly understand your situation right from the start, so that you can take meaningful action to create the future you envision; rather than waiting for a future that will never arrive because your profile was somehow faulty. Our website has a booklet available that will walk you through how to calculate your CRS score.

Take the IELTS General, not Academic

If you are taking the IELTS exam, ensure that you take the General test, not the academic one. The academic IELTS is not valid for Canadian immigration purposes.

You need an Educational Credential Assessment

Your educational history must be verified by an Educational Credential Assessment in order to obtain points through the Comprehensive Ranking System. You won’t know for certain how many points you will obtain for your education until you have received the ECA report, because the points are issued based on how your education equates to the Canadian education system. Typically, Canada is looking for 12 years of formal education before starting to consider post-secondary credentials. This means that if you finished High School at the end of Grade 10 and then completed a four-year University degree, you will likely find that your assessment shows you have the equivalent of a 2-year post-secondary program in Canada. The current system of evaluation does not have a sufficient mechanism to evaluate vocational or apprenticeship training where individuals receive trade certification from a government agency or professional body, rather than a post-secondary institution. Unfortunately, many highly qualified tradespeople are left with very few points for education with the Express Entry System.

Tradespeople should apply – even with few points for education

Although many qualified tradespeople will not obtain a high CRS ranking due to the complete loss of any educational points, approximately twice each year there are Express Entry Draws only for the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the points required for an Invitation to Apply are usually below 300. For that reason, it’s a good idea for trades people to enter the pool and keep your profile active, because you never know when a draw will target only the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

Changes to Family Composition affect eligibility

Changes in your family composition will affect your eligibility under Express Entry. If you get married, become common law, separate or divorce, or change the number of children in your family – update your profile immediately to ensure that your online data remains accurate. If you are planning to both immigrate to Canada and to get married in the near future, it would be a good idea to consult with an immigration professional as part of your wedding planning, to understand how the proposed union will affect your immigration situation. Sometimes a change of wedding date can be the difference between qualifying and not qualifying to immigrate to Canada.

Check your SPAM or junk mail folder

Once you have submitted your profile, any notifications from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship will arrive to you via email. Regularly check your SPAM folder to ensure that you don’t miss any important notifications. Remember that once you apply for Permanent Residence, you are given 7-day deadlines to provide requested information, or your application is refused.

Watch for expiry dates – language tests 2 years, ECA’s 5 years

If you are issued an invitation to apply for Permanent Residence, it’s important to double check the expiry of your documents. You must apply for Permanent Residence before your language exam is 2 years old, and before your education credential assessment is five years old. These dates are not locked in when you receive an invitation to apply.

The NOC code needs to match your duties, not your title

When choosing the NOC code to best describe your work history, focus on your duties. What matters is that your regular duties match both the lead statement and the main duties listed in the NOC. The actual title of your job is less important when selecting the correct NOC.

Pay attention to deadlines

If you are issued an invitation to apply for Permanent Residence, pay careful attention to the deadline by which you are required to apply. Each invitation is accompanied by a date and a time and you must submit your completed electronic Application for Permanent Residence before that time. Due to time zone differences, the date the invitation expires may not correspond with your local time. In addition, the IRCC portal is well known for having periods of down time. Ensure that your application will be complete and submitted well before the deadline to save yourself any last-minute heartache.

The Way Immigration would be pleased to work with you on preparing your Express Entry profile so that you have the assurance that your skills and qualifications are represented appropriately, and you are receiving the maximum CRS score for your particular situation.



Fran Wipf is an expert in Canadian immigration matters. She was licensed as an immigration consultant in 2008, and since that time, she has assisted thousands of individuals, families and businesses to find Canadian immigration success. You can learn more about Fran, and the services she offers, at


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