Express Entry Invitation to Apply: What Is It and What to Do with It

Being selected from the express entry pool means that you are definitely receiving the Invitation to Apply (ITA). Getting an ITA is like putting your foot through the door, but as long as you have all your documents gathered and submitted on time, it’s smooth sailing from there.

The Express Entry system for permanent residency has revolutionized the immigration process to Canada. Over the years, there have been several new practices introduced to this express entry system, which not only makes the process easier but also decreases the processing time and increases the chances of being selected.

In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about receiving an ITA after being selected from the express entry pool, what is the next step once you get it and everything it entails.

Toronto view from the plane
courtesy of Andre Furtado

What is an Invitation to Apply (ITA)?

An Invitation to Apply (ITA) is an auto-generated correspondence sent out to those applicants who had a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score on or above the cut off threshold for that particular draw in the express entry pool.

It is sent by the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada). You will find it online, in the correspondence section of your express entry candidate profile. Once you receive the ITA, you can apply for permanent residency in Canada!


Be one step closer to Canda by Finding out your eligibility score using the CRS score calculator:

Receiving the ITA

There is a misconception that receiving an ITA guarantees the chance of becoming permanent residents. But in fact, there are many important steps that you need to take after receiving the ITA to ensure successful immigration.

In your ITA, the program that you should submit your application for is mentioned, along with a breakdown of your CRS scores and the date by which you must submit an electronic application in order to become permanent residents in Canada.

The ITA is valid for 60 days only, and it can’t be extended beyond that. Therefore it is very important to keep all your documents gathered up and ready to go, as it can be a little tricky to do all that within the given time period. You should be ready to submit the documents, as some of them – such as police certificates, may take up over 60 days. 

The number of ITAs sent out by IRCC have exponentially increased since the express entry system was first introduced in 2015 from 21,063 to 89,800 in 2018. It is expected to further increase in the coming years, with a more lenient immigration process and lower CRS cut off scores.

Documents Required for Application

It may seem complicated, but if you have done everything right from the first step, you will have no problem gathering up these documents and submitting a perfect application. Here are the documents that we recommend for you to prepare well before receiving your ITA to save time and avoid last-minute problems. 

  • Employment Records – This includes proof of work for all your previous and current employment experiences. 
  • Police Certificates – This is needed to ensure the absence of any criminal records. If your country doesn’t issue such certificates directly to you, you are then expected to submit a letter of explanation in place of the police certificate. 
  • Marriage Certificate or License in case you are married and immigrating with your spouse. 
  • Proof of Means of Having Financial Support – You must be at a standing to support yourself and your spouse/dependents at the time of immigration. This means that you will have to show bank statements and proof of assets along with other details to prove a strong financial standing. 
  • Educational Diplomas and Degrees.
  • Medical Exam Document – You are required to get a medical exam and submit the document that shows an upfront medical report. 
  • Current Digital Photos. 
  • National ID or any other travel document. 
  • Additional Documents of the principal applicant can include a letter of explanations for any missing documents, or other travel and health documents. 
  • Supporting Documents for Spouse include Employment Records, Education Degrees and Diplomas, Police Certificates, Medical Exam Document and National ID. 

All these documents must be under 4MB and submitted in PDF format. One thing to note here is that this list is not set in stone, and the requirements vary depending on the candidate’s profile and the program they applied and were invited for.

You can’t make any changes to your express entry application after you have submitted it and received the ITA. Make sure that you have checked your application thoroughly and included every mandatory document, as well as any recent changes to it before submitting it into the pool. 

Misrepresentation of Application

Any false information or forged documents submitted to your express entry profile for Canadian immigration is a serious offense and is called ‘misrepresentation’. This will lead to a ban from immigration or even temporary visits to Canada for as long as 5 years or more. This doesn’t have to be a clear fraud, but even small errors made with no malicious intent can be considered as misrepresentation. This can include misleading information in the employment or education certificates, discrepancies in supporting documents, or any other misinformation.

Eligibility to Receive an ITA

As mentioned above, you will receive your ITA if you have scored above the cut-off threshold of CRS score for that particular draw. Understanding the CRS system is very important as it is the core determining factor of your selection. You are scored out of 1,200 points. This scoring system is based on a number of factors including your age, level of education, language tests, work experience, and other skill factors. 

You are eligible to apply under three sets of programs for Express Entry, namely the Federal Skilled Worker Class, Federal Skilled Trades Class, and Canadian Experience Class. You can only apply through one of these programs, and create an online Express Entry profile to enter the pool. Once your profile is approved, you will be given a CRS score based on the information you provided. The most recent CRS cut off threshold was 473 points (January 8th, 2020). 

You may also check your eligibility onilne:

Responding to the ITA

If you fail to submit all the required documents within the 60 days period, the ITA will expire without any extensions or warning, and you won’t be in the express entry pool anymore.

The only way to be back in the game is to submit a new profile online and being reassessed for CRS scores and eligibility. Therefore, it is very important to be ready beforehand and always keep a check on your online account to make sure you don’t miss out on any updates.

On the other hand, you can decline the ITA if you don’t think you can be ready to apply and proceed with the immigration within the next 60 days, or if there has been a change in your profile that makes you ineligible or changes your CRS scores. In such instances, the express entry profile of the applicant remains ‘active’ in the pool till its validity, so that they can update their profile information accordingly while waiting for future draws and a new ITA.

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