An invitation to apply (also known as ITA) is a document issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly CIC) to candidates in the Express Entry pool. Express Entry is not an immigration program in itself, but rather a system used by IRCC) to select candidates for immigration to Canada using one of many economic immigration programs. See the following links:
Express Entry candidates who appear to meet the minimum entry criteria (MEC) and have registered with Job Bank, if applicable, are automatically entered into the Express Entry pool. Once in the pool, candidates are eligible to be issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for the program(s) whose requirements they appear to meet based on the self-declared information in their profile.
The ITA is an auto-generated correspondence issued to Express Entry candidates through their online account. The ITA is issued to candidates who rank the highest in a round of invitations, based on their score in the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Candidates with a provincial or territorial nomination certificate are awarded an additional 600 points in the CRS and are normally invited to apply at the next round of invitations to which they are eligible.
With an Invitation to Apply, a candidate may apply for Canadian permanent residence, with processing times of six months or less.
What is included in the ITA?
The candidate will receive a message from IRCC indicating which skilled immigration program they should apply under and how to apply for permanent residence.
The ITA invites the candidate to apply under a specific class (i.e., FSWC, FSTC, CEC or PNC). A candidate cannot apply under a class other than the one specified in their ITA, even when the candidate appears to be eligible for multiple classes.
The ITA includes the following chart, which outlines how the candidate’s points were calculated in the CRS at the time of the round of invitations:
Express Entry criteria
CRS – Human Capital – Age
CRS – Human Capital – Level of Education
CRS – Human Capital – First Official Language Proficiency
CRS – Human Capital – Second Official Language Proficiency
CRS – Human Capital – Canadian Work Experience
CRS – Spouse – Level of Education
CRS – Spouse – First Official Language Proficiency
CRS – Spouse – Canadian Work Experience
CRS – Skill Transferability – Education
CRS – Skill Transferability – Foreign Work Experience
CRS – Skill Transferability – Certificate of Qualification
CRS – Arranged Employment
CRS – Provincial or Territorial Nomination
Your overall points score
NOTE: Receiving an ITA does not automatically guarantee permanent residence. After receiving an ITA, an applicant must submit a fully completed application for permanent residence. The application will be accepted or rejected depending on whether or not the applicant meets relevant criteria.
Applicants who receive an ITA may be asked to prove that the information they entered into their Express Entry profile is accurate. If it is found that the applicant gave false information in his or her profile, the application will be refused and the applicant may be subject to further punishment such as:
Being deemed inadmissible to Canada
Being barred from entering Canada in any way for five years
Deadline for responding to an ITA
Upon receipt of an ITA, a candidate has 60 calendar days to do one of the following:
Submit a complete application for permanent residence (APR) in their online account. This includes providing all supporting documentation up front.
Decline the ITA in their online account, if the candidate is not ready to apply within 60 calendar days of receiving the ITA or if they believe that a change in their circumstance has made them ineligible to be invited. In this case, the candidate’s profile will become “active” in the pool for the remaining days of the profile’s validity and the candidate will be considered for future rounds of invitations, as long as they continue to meet the MEC.
If the candidate does not respond to the ITA (i.e., the candidate does not submit a complete APR within 60 calendar days of receiving the ITA and does not formally decline the ITA within this delay), the ITA will expire and the candidate will no longer be in the Express Entry pool. To re-enter the pool, the candidate must submit a new profile in their online account and be assessed for the MEC at that time.
Note: It is the candidate’s responsibility to check their online account frequently. IRCC does not grant extensions to the 60-calendar-day deadline for submitting a complete APR. Where candidates claim they did not check their online account or read their ITA letter, this is not a valid reason for an extension.
What You Can Do During 60-Day
During the 60-day period, it is recommended that applicants be sure to complete the following:
1. Check Language Test Results
Applicants should check to make sure that their language test results will still be valid on the day that they submit their permanent residence application. Language test results are valid for two years. If the test results will expire before application submission, applicants should either.
Be tested again, or
Make sure to submit their application before the results expire, or
Decline their invitation to apply
2. Get a police certificate
Permanent residence applicants must obtain a police certificate for themselves and all family members over 18. Further, each family member must get a police certificate from each country in which they lived for more than six months while older than 18. It may take a long time for these police certificates to be processed so applicants should begin obtaining the certificates as soon as possible.
3. Check program requirements
Once applicants have determined which skilled immigration program they will be applying under, they should confirm that they meet the requirements for that program.
For information on the Federal Skilled Worker Program requirements, click here. For information on the Federal Skilled Trade Program requirements, click here. For information on the Canada Experience Class requirements, click
4. Update Personal Information
If a candidate realizes after having been issued an ITA that their circumstance has changed or that the information in their profile, on the basis of which they were issued an ITA, is no longer accurate, the candidate is instructed to recalculate their CRS score using the Express Entry calculator on the IRCC website. Examples of changes in circumstance that can impact a CRS score are listed below.
Examples of change in circumstance that would impact a candidate’s CRS score
Changes that could increase a candidate’s CRS score:
Graduation from a higher level of schooling;
Reaching an additional year of Canadian work experience;
Obtaining a certificate of qualification
Improved language test scores.
Changes that could decrease a candidate’s CRS score:
New language test score sat a lower level (e.g., original scores expire and candidate retakes the test, with lower results);
Loss of a qualifying offer of arranged employment.
Change that could either increase or decrease a candidate’s CRS score:
Addition of a spouse or common-law partner, since an applicant’s CRS score may increase or decrease, depending on the spouse or partner’s own human capital.
Change for which candidates are not penalized for losing points:
If an applicant applies for permanent residence and it is discovered that their score is no longer high enough, the application will be refused and the application fee will not be refunded. Changes that can lower an applicant’s score include:
The loss of a job offer
The loss of provincial nomination for permanent residence
Expired language test scores
New language test results that are lower than prior results
Note: Adding a spouse or common law partner can increase or decrease the applicant’s score based on the spouse or partner’s
Chances of becoming successfully established in Canada
For more information on Creating an Express Entry profile, click here.
5. Declining an Invitation to Apply
Declining an ITA does not, in and of itself, have a negative effect on an applicant’s chances of getting another ITA in the future. In some cases, applicants will be better served by declining their ITA. Applicants who decline their ITAs will be placed back in the pool of candidates as long as they are still eligible for the Express Entry system. While in the pool, applicants should be sure to keep their personal information up to date. Candidates in the pool should also seek opportunities to increase their Comprehensive Ranking Points Score score by:
Obtaining a job offer
Obtaining nomination for permanent residence by a provincial government
Improving their language test scores
For more information on improving your CRS score, click here. For more information on Provincial and Territorial Nominee Programs, click here.
As per the Express Entry Ministerial Instructions, candidates are encouraged to decline an ITA if their change in circumstance negatively impacts their eligibility such that they no longer meet the MEC of the federal immigration program to which they were invited to apply, or if their recalculated CRS score falls below the lowest ranked candidate in their round of invitations. Applicants who cannot provide proof of the information provided in their profile, on the basis of which they were invited to apply, will be refused on section A11.2 and assessed for misrepresentation. Cost recovery fees will not be refunded.