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What to include in a Complete Application for Permanent Residence Under Express Entry

Updated: Mar 6

A body of water with Canadian mountains in the background.

Once you have entered the Express Entry pool of candidates and have met the requirements of an Express Entry stream, the next step is to start to prepare your supporting documents. You should start to gather supporting documents as early as possible, as once you are invited to apply, you only have 60 days to submit a complete application for permanent residence. Applications that are not complete are rejected so that IRCC can maintain their goal of processing Express Entry applications in 6 months or less.

In determining which documents you will need to provide, it is important that you think of your application for permanent residence as a legal case that you have to prove with evidence (it is!). In preparing your documents, pretend you are presenting your case to a judge who has limited time to review what you are providing.

Do not assume that the IRCC officer will go looking for evidence in support of your application, even if it is information or documents you previously provided to IRCC or that were issued by IRCC. Assume that if the IRCC officer is looking for additional information outside of the documents and information you provided, it is not to support your case.

Make sure that all your supporting documents are high quality, easy to read scans and are properly named. Don’t include up-side down, grainy, or out of focus scans that will be a pain for the officer to review. Information you want to highlight, can be highlighted (use the Adobe highlight function if possible). A mistake made by many is accidentally uploading the wrong supporting document because they didn’t follow a naming convention. For example, Smith – Education – ECA, BA & MSc Diploma & Transcript.

You will need to prove that at the time you were issued your invitation to apply and at the time you submitted your application for permanent residence,

  1. That you met the requirements of the program(s) you were selected under (Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Worker, Federal Skilled Trade Program, and/or Provincial Nominee Program);

  2. That you were eligible for all Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points you were assigned (language, education, employment experience, job offer, Canadian siblings, provincial nomination, trade certificate, etc.);

  3. That if you were selected in a category-based draw, that you met the requirements of the category you were invited under;

  4. That you are not inadmissible.

A list of the mandatory documents required by IRCC can be found here. This represents the bare minimum of what is required to prove your case. Required supporting documents include (if applicable):

  • Proof of Immigration Medical: eMedical Information Sheet

    • As of October 1, 2023, an upfront immigration medical no longer needs to be provided when you submit your application for Express Entry - IRCC will send a request for immigration medicals during the processing of the application

    • There is a temporary public policy exempting some people from having to complete an immigration medical

  • Proof of no criminal record: Police Certificates from all countries where you have stayed for 6 months or more in a row within the last 10 years. You do not need to provide police clearances for countries where you stayed before the age of 18.

  • Proof of identity: Passport

  • Proof of Work Experience:

    • reference or experience letter from the employer, which

      • should be an official document printed on company letterhead (must include the applicant’s name, the company’s contact information [address, telephone number and email address], and the name, title and signature of the immediate supervisor or personnel officer at the company),

      • should indicate all positions held while employed at the company and must include the following details: job title, duties and responsibilities, job status (if current job), dates worked for the company, number of work hours per week and annual salary plus benefits; and

      • if the applicant is self-employed, articles of incorporation or other evidence of business ownership, evidence of self-employment income and documentation from third-party individuals indicating the service provided along with payment details (self-declared main duties or affidavits are not acceptable proof of self-employed work experience).

      • T4 tax information slips and notices of assessment (or foreign equivalent)

    • Additional proof could include but is not limited to:

      • Contracts/Offers of Employment

      • Pay stubs

      • Letters of Promotion

      • Government issued workbook

      • Screenshots from company website

      • Work Permit(s) and/or Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

  • Proof of Arranged Employment (if you have a qualifying offer of arranged employment)

    • letter from the employer(s) offering the job in Canada which must:

      • be printed on company letterhead and include the applicant’s name, the company’s contact information (address, telephone number and email address), and the name, title and signature of the applicant’s proposed immediate supervisor or personnel officer; and

      • include the following details: expected start date, commitment that the applicant will be employed on a continuous, paid, full-time work, for work that is for at least one year after issuance of a permanent resident visa, job title, duties and responsibilities, current job status (if current job), number of work hours per week and annual salary plus benefits.

    • A copy of the work permit(s) and Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) (if applicable)

  • Proof of Education:

    • Canadian Education: Diploma(s), Transcript(s), and study permit(s)

    • Foreign Education: Educational Credential Assessment (ECA), Diploma(s), and Transcript(s)

  • Language Test Results (not actually required unless requested, but I always include it with the supporting documents)

  • Provincial or territorial certificate of qualification (if applicable)

  • Proof of Funds (if applicable):

    • An official letter(s) from one or more financial institutions that lists all current bank and investment accounts as well as outstanding debts, such as credit card debts and loans. The letter(s) must be printed on the letterhead of the financial institution and must include the applicant’s name, the contact information of the financial institution (address, telephone number and email address), the account numbers, the date each account was opened and the current balance of each account as well as the average balance for the past six months.

  • Use of Representative form (IMM5476) signed by hand (if applicable)

  • Proof of Dependent Child: long form birth certificate listing both parents

  • Marriage Certificate (if applicable)

  • Evidence of common-law union and cohabitation:

    • Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union form [IMM 5409] and evidence of cohabitation for a period of at least 12 continuous months.

    • Evidence of cohabitation for more than 12 months includes, but is not limited to:

      • copies of joint bank account statements;

      • copies of leases;

      • utility bills.

  • Divorce Certificate and legal separation agreement (if marital status is listed as divorced)

  • Death Certificate of spouse (if marital status is listed as widowed)

  • Proof of legal separation (if marital status is listed as legally separated)

  • Adoption Certificate (if dependent child was adopted)

  • Custody Documents (if the dependent child’s other parent is non-accompanying) and Declaration from Non-Accompanying Parent/Guardian for Minors Immigrating to Canada [IMM 5604]

  • Proof of relationship to a relative in Canada, status of a relative in Canada and residence status of a relative in Canada (including a brother or sister for the purpose of obtaining additional CRS points)

    • A copy of both sides of the family member's Canadian citizenship document, Canadian birth certificate and/or permanent resident card must be provided.

    • Evidence that the family member currently resides in Canada must be provided (a residential lease, mortgage documents, utility bills, etc.).

    • The documents must show their address in Canada and should be recent (dated within six months prior to submission).

    • Proof of the relationship of the applicant or the accompanying spouse or common-law partner to the family member must also be provided (e.g., a birth certificate, an official document naming the applicant as a relative, a copy of the inside back cover of the relative’s passport showing the relative’s parents’ marriage certificate, legal adoption documents and any other documents that prove or describe the relationship).

  • Proof of Other Name: Letter of explanation, legal documents proving name change and other/previous name (if applicable)

Any document that is not wholly in English or French must be translated following IRCC’s strict translation requirements.

For more information on how to submit a complete application for Express Entry or for assistance preparing and submitting your application for permanent residence under Express Entry contract us for a consultation.



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