Skip to content

Is the Canadian Express Entry Processing Time Really 6 Months?

Is the Canadian Express Entry Processing Time Really 6 Months?

Is the Canadian Express Entry Processing Time Really 6 Months?

Immigration has a reputation for being a lengthy and time-consuming process. It can take years for your application to be processed through most traditional immigration pathways, which is why Canada’s Express Entry program has been rising in popularity every year since its inception in 2015.

Canada’s Express Entry system is known as the fastest and easiest way to obtain permanent residence. Canadian immigration authorities aim to process most applications within 6 months. However, based on data from the 2019 Express Entry Year-End Report, the average processing time for Express Entry applications was actually closer to 8 months. 

Express Entry Processing Time

If you are planning to submit an application through Express Entry, it is important to keep in mind that processing can regularly exceed the 6 months goal. But when does the government start counting the processing time? 

The government starts the timer when you have submitted your complete application. There are two steps to submitting an Express Entry application:

  1. Step 1: Create an Express Entry profile

The first step is to create a profile which will be added to the existing pool of candidates. You will be ranked against the other applicants based on your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. This step is not considered an official immigration application. 

  1. Step 2: Submit an application for Canadian permanent residency 

Once your profile is in the pool of candidates, you will automatically be entered into any future Express Entry draws. If your CRS score meets the minimum of candidates who are issued invitations to apply (ITAs) for Canadian permanent residency, then you will also be issued such an invitation.

After you have accepted the invitation and submitted your application, the ‘’6 months’’ processing period begins.

Your Express Entry profile is only valid for 12 months from when it is created. If you haven’t received an ITA after 12 months, your CRS score is possibly too low. You can use this CRS tool to calculate your score, 470 and up is ideal.

If your score is below 470, or if you have already submitted your profile in the past but have not been invited to apply for permanent residency, consider finding ways to boost your CRS score.

Applying for business immigration programs such as the Intra-Company Transferees (ICT) program or LMIA (owner-operator) will allow you to start a business in Canada, and can add up to 250 points to your CRS score in the process. 

If you are not a business person, you have the option of applying for a work permit as a skilled worker prior to applying for Express Entry. This would grant you valuable work experience in Canada which could also serve to boost your CRS score. 

New call-to-action