Step by step guide for applicants who have received their Invitation to Apply.
Once your Express Entry application is submitted, the next step in your move to Canada is receiving an ITA or “Invitation to Apply” for a permanent residency visa.
An Invitation to Apply is a point for celebration and excitement.
An Invitation to Apply is the Canadian Government saying that based on the information you have provided so far, the Government would like to offer you the chance to apply to become a permanent resident of Canada.
This in itself is exciting, however, it is not a granting of a visa. That only happens after you have gone through the process of proving all the claims you have made in the Express Entry application and passing the rest of the requirements of the process.
Once you receive an Invitation to Apply, the most important part of the process begins. This is your formal submission of your full application for Permanent Residency.
Once you receive the Invitation to Apply, you are given only 60 days to prepare your documents and upload them into the Express Entry profile. This is not much time given all you need to do. The biggest mistake people make is not starting immediately on the documents they need to satisfy the Permanent Residency application requirements.
If, after you receive an ITA, you think you need more time to decide on moving to Canada, you can reject the invitation and go back to the express entry pool.
ITA’s are valuable and you may not receive another offer, so if you are wanting to move to Canada and you receive an Invitation to Apply, do all you can to take up the offer by providing everything you need within the 60 days.
This stage of the application is in 3 parts.
1 – providing all the personal information requested, which is done by filling in a multi-stage online information form for each family member.
This includes information such as – more personal identity information, confirming passport information, travel history for the past 10 years, work and address history for the past 10 years, and other information that you can input into the online system.
2 – obtaining extra documents and processes.
This includes obtaining your police report, your medical, and providing your biometric data.
3 – upload all your required supporting documents and evidence into the portal.
This is only done AFTER you have filled in the information on the online form in section one. Only after you have done this will the Canadian Government know which supporting documents they will need from you.
Every case is different, there is no universal document list, you will be told what to upload.
For this reason please fill in section one as quickly as you can, so you have time to gather and upload all your required documents.
So in summary, after you receive an ITA, log in to your portal and input all the information into the online form as soon as you can, this way you can obtain your specific required list of documents that will need to be uploaded in support of your application.
There are some documents that everyone needs to provide. Get started on these immediately, you don’t need to wait until you get your official list of required documents, you are going to need them.
You should order your police report from the country you currently live in immediately. Police reports can take a long time in some countries and are the most common reason for people missing their 60-day submission date.
Ideally, you will have already ordered any police reports from other countries that you have lived in for more than 6 months continuously during the past 10 years. If not, order these immediately.
You will also need police reports for your partner (if you have one) for everywhere they have lived for 6 months or more over the past 10 years.
If you have a dependent child over the age of 18 on your application, they will also need police reports from the country they currently reside in as well as any other country they have lived in for more than 6 months continuously since turning 18.
If the police report is provided in a language other than English or French, you will need to obtain a verified translation of each document.
This rule applies to all required documents – they must be provided to Canada as a scan of the original as well as a certified translation of the document into either French or English.
Please refer to our page on Police Certificates for full instructions on how to obtain your certificates, their validity, and which certificates can be obtained ahead of time to ensure you can meet your 60-day obligation.
Special note – if you have not received all your police reports within 60 days, you will need to write a Letter of Explanation stating this, along with the date you applied for the police report and attaching your receipt of order for your outstanding police report/s and upload it to the document portal under the police clearance certificate section.
You must attach your proof of purchase of your police report or receipt to prove you applied early and are still waiting. This will then allow you to upload your police reports when they arrive. Don’t hold off final submission of your application waiting for your police report – as if you go over your 60 days nothing will reinstate your Invitation to Apply.
Submit the Letter of Explanation and the receipt in the place of the outstanding police certificate.
Each family member on your application will require a medical, and it can only be done by IRCC approved panel physicians. Please see the page on Medical tests for the full details on Medicals. It is very important to book your medical appointment as soon as possible.
There are a limited number of Panel Physicians and there can be high demand for appointments. Sometimes the waiting period will mean you will have to travel further to get your medical done in time. Further to this, if during your medical the physician requires you to obtain further tests on a medical issue, you will need this completed before your 60 days expires. So please act immediately.
You really want to complete your online information form for your Invitation to Apply as soon as possible. One of the reasons for this is that you won’t know exactly which documents the Government wants you to provide until you have completed the information part of the form.
Applicants in the Express Entry System are all applying for different types of programs, whether it be Federal Skilled Worker, Federal Skilled Trades, or the Canadian Experience Class.
Each of those programs has separate requirements, and separate requirements mean different checklists of supporting documents will be required.
Once you receive your Invitation to Apply, you will need to fill in the further details online for each applicant.
After completion, an actual checklist of required documents is created based on the information you provided, and then you upload all of your documents online. Each document will be uploaded beside that item on your personalized checklist.
The checklist doesn’t get created until you have completed the online application forms. You will click the next button at the end of the information form process, and then you will see a whole range of documents that you will need to have ready for submission within 60 days.
We will go through many of the documents you will need and many you can start gathering before you receive your Invitation to apply, but still, the more time you give yourself with your individual document list the easier things will be for you.
So complete your information form as soon as you can.
In your Invitation to Apply online information submissions, you will be asked to complete a number of “histories”, these are just a list of information covering your past, and the past of each of your family members.
You will be asked for an address history, a travel history, a personal history, and a work history.
You can prepare this information before you receive an Invitation to Apply.
Your application will give you exact details of how far back they want you to go in years, it will usually be back to your 18th birthday.
* Each member of your family on your application will need these travel, address, and personal histories from their 18th birthday onwards. If your partner is also claiming points for work experience then they will need a work history as well.
You will need to upload the employment reference letters that you have obtained as per the instructions in the chapter on work references. If you are still waiting on some of your references, then now is the time to be chasing them up urgently.
If you are in a category that requires you to show proof of funds available for your move to Canada, this is the time you will be required to make this proof. (CEC applicants and applicants who don’t have a valid job offer for Canada are required to show proof of funds). Please see the page on proof of funds for full details on this.
You are going to need the passport of each of your family members. Ensure you have enough validity on your passport. Even though six months is the minimum, we advise that you all have at least one year of validity on your passport. The reason being it can be several months for your Permanent Residency visa to be finalized, and it will only have the initial validity to match your existing passport. So, if your visa is issued and you only have three weeks validity on your passport, you will need to get to Canada within three weeks to activate your Permanent Residency and renew your passport then.
It is so much simpler to have plenty of validity on your passports. It is a hassle you don’t need and is easily avoidable.
Language tests and ECA, Canadian Education Certificates, or Red Seal for Trades if needed.
You will need to locate the language tests you submitted the details of on your original Express Entry profile, as well as any Education Assessment you have done, or your Canadian Trade Certificate / Red Seal.
Once you upload all your documents within 60 days, you are ready to submit your Permanent Residency application.
It is at this point that you will be required to pay your visa processing fee, your biometrics fee, and your right of permanent residency fee. You will be told the exact amount to pay once you upload your documents. This amount will be what you calculated back in the chapter on costs, accounting for any small changes in fees and charges in the meantime.
You will pay this amount online via debit or credit card. You will receive a receipt and confirmation letter via email to say that your application has now been activated with the IRCC.
From the point of submission forward, the IRCC can contact you at any time. You could receive a request for further documents, additional information, corrections on mistakes they may have found, or just clarification on matters relating to your application.
After you submit your online profile it will show the progress of your PR application.
The total processing time usually takes around six months, however, this varies with the complexity of the application and any missing information slowing things down. In some lucky cases, applicants have received their visa within three months, however, it would be wise to base your planning on six months or more.