International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES) for Canada Immigration - 2021 Guidelines - CanImmNewsletter.com - Canada Immigration Newsletter
International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES)

International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES) for Canada Immigration – 2021 Guidelines

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What is International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES)?

International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES) provides individuals with accurate, equitable, affordable, and reliable evaluations of their educational documents for Canadian education, work and immigration purposes.

International Credential Evaluation Services is a government-mandated service in British Columbia, but serves the interests of all internationally educated applicants throughout Canada. ICES is provided by the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) and is a member of the Alliance of Credential Evaluation Services of Canada (ACESC).

IMPORTANT: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic ICES is currently accepting applications only by online and by mail. There is no walk-in or drop-off service currently available.  Applying in person is also currently unavailable. Applicants may experience difficulty in requisitioning official educational documents as some institutions may be closed and many mail systems around the world have been disrupted. If you are required to submit your documents, please do so using mail or courier services. 

You may pre-qualify for a Canada immigration program.

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APPLY for ICES Online

ICES Canada mandate

International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES Canada) will provide individuals possessing educational credentials from outside BC or Canada with accurate, equitable, affordable, and reliable evaluations of their educational documents (Per Alliance agreement: Pan-Canadian Quality Assurance Framework for the Assessment of International Academic Credentials (QAF)). 

ICES Canada compares education earned outside of Canada to the general education ladder in Canada. ICES Canada reports offer a general comparability of the years and levels of study. ICES Canada recommendations are set by considering several factors including:

  • The minimum academic credential one must hold in order to be admitted to the program.
  • The level and duration of the program.
  • The program of study to which the credential provides access in the country of origin.
  • The recognition of the institution and program.

For general purposes

If you are seeking employment, professional licensing or further study in Canada, International Credential Evaluation Service will help you to evaluate your formal for-credit educational programs of study for people who have studied in other countries and then determines comparable levels in Canadian terms. The results of an ICES assessment are provided in evaluation reports that are objective, consistent, and reliable.

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If you require ICES Canada assessment for general purposes please click General: Education, Employment, Licensure Registration.

The estimated processing time for a Basic Evaluation Assessments is four (4) weeks from the date all required documents are received.

The estimated processing time for a Comprehensive Evaluation Assessments is seven (7) weeks from the date all required documents are received.

If you are seeking an evaluation for immigration purposes, you will need a different type of report called the Educational Credential Assessment which is discussed below.

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Scope and limits of ICES report

ICES Canada follows the standard methodology used in evaluation services throughout Canada and the United States and we apply this methodology consistently to all of our clients. ICES Canada does not evaluate course content or make a judgment on the quality of individual credentials. ICES is not in a position to evaluate the merits of each individual’s performance or knowledge (other than on the basis of grades). Instead, ICES offers a service which authenticates documents, conducts research based on well established methodologies, and then issues an evaluation report that provides a general recommendation of the comparability of education earned outside of Canada to the Canadian education system.

For Canada immigration purposes

ICES is designated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to provide Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) reports for Canadian immigration purposes (Express Entry, Permanent Residency and Agri-Food Pilot).  Many of the Provincial Immigrant Nominee Programs also accept the ECA.  Please refer to the individual province for further details.

The estimated processing time for an ECA is approximately sixteen (16) weeks from the date on which all required documents are received in ICES office. Timelines apply to all applicants including those already in progress.

The estimated processing time for a renewal is currently two (2) weeks.

The estimated processing time when ordering a duplicate copy of your evaluation is currently seven (7) business days.

An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) is a statement of the general comparability of an international educational credential to a completed Canadian educational credential, in the format that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada requires.

  • Under the guidelines provided by the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), ICES will only provide ECA reports for fully completed academic credentials. A certificate, diploma, or degree must have been completed and awarded.
  • If you intend to apply as a Physician/Specialist Physician (NOC 3111 or 3112) and plan to pursue licensure you are advised to be assessed by the Medical Council of Canada.
  • Individuals applying as a Pharmacist (NOC 3131) and intending to pursue licensure are advised to have an assessment from the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada.
  • If you are applying for the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, please visit Atlantic Immigration site for further details.
  • For more information about the immigration process related to services offered by ICES please visit Canadian Immigration and Express Entry.

If you desire to apply for ICES Canada ECA report, APPLY ONLINE HERE.

ICES Frequently Asked Questions

The following FAQs are directly from ICES, courtesy of BCIT. See more ICES Canada FAQS

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Can you tell me how many points I have for immigration?

ICES cannot answer questions regarding immigration and eligibility for IRCC immigration programs. It is up to you to decide which credential you would like evaluated, again ICES cannot advise you on this matter. Please visit the IRCC website for more information.

Can you give me an idea of what my credential is comparable to over the telephone or by email?

ICES is unable to review credentials over the telephone or via email. If you want your credentials evaluated, submit an application form and pay for the service; only then will we perform research.

Do I need to have my high school credential evaluated?

It is up to you to decide which completed foreign credentials you would like ICES to assess. You will receive immigration points for the Canadian equivalency of your highest level degree, diploma or certificate (or combination) and it is generally sufficient to only have your highest credential assessed and unnecessary to have your high school credential evaluated. For more information, please visit Canadian Immigration and Points Eligibility.

I have not completed my program of study yet, can I still apply for an ICES ECA?

No. As stipulated by the CIC (IRCC) only completed programs of study will be assessed for points purposes. If a credential is not completed we cannot provide comparability to a completed Canadian credential.

Will I be able to use my ICES ECA for other purposes after I arrive in Canada?

The ECA report is intended for immigration purposes only. Please check with the receiving organization to inquire whether the assessment may meet their needs for credential evaluation.

I already have an ICES general purpose report. How can I upgrade to an ICES ECA for immigration purposes?

If you are already an ICES client and have had an evaluation/assessment completed in the past please fill out this form to update your evaluation to meet the requirements of an ECA. Please note you must submit a colour copy of your government photo ID. Also, if your evaluation was not based on official documents, you will now need to arrange for official documents to arrive directly to our office. If your previous report was already based on official documents, it may not be necessary to submit any additional documents.

What is included in my ICES ECA?

  • The name of the client
  • The date of birth of the client
  • The ICES client number
  • The CIC reference number for verification purposes
  • The name of the institution
  • The country in which the institution is located
  • The authenticity of the credential
  • The admission requirements
  • The level and duration of the program.
  • The specialization of the program if any
  • The recognition of the institution and program
  • The comparable level of education in Canada

Does my ICES ECA expire?

The ECA is valid for five years for immigration purposes. Please note, that ICES may retain my personal non-financial information for at least ten years from the date of application and that it may retain this information indefinitely if ICES determines that my documents are not authentic.

How much does an ICES ECA cost?

Please see Service fees associated with the ECA.

How can I pay for my ICES ECA if I’m submitting my application via mail?

Multiple payment options are available to all applicants, including certified cheques, bank drafts, money orders, Mastercard, American Express, Visa. Please note all ICES fees must be made in Canadian funds. Please make payment payable to: International Credential Evaluation Service).

Note: Debit or Cheque cards can only be processed in person. When you access the online application, payment can be made there.

Lastly, please ensure your credit card is authorized to make international payments if you are abroad. You may want to contact your financial institution or credit card provider to authorize these types of transactions. Please submit payment with your application, failure to do so may end up in cancellation of your application request.

How long does an evaluation take?

ECA completion times may be affected by volume. Please see ICES ECA Processing Time.

Are there institutions ICES will not evaluate?

Yes, please review the country-specific information that can be found on our document requirements page. ICES reserves the right to add new institutions to these listings at any time.

What is an ECA credential?

An ECA credential is a fully completed educational program from one institution leading to a certificate, diploma or degree. Each certificate, diploma or degree program you have taken is a separate credential. No partial credentials will be evaluated.

What documents do I have to submit?

Please refer directly to the document requirements listed at For Immigration: Step 1.

What are official documents?

Official documents are:

  • Mailed from educational institution directly to ICES office
  • Document has never been handled by client, client’s friend or relative
  • Bears proper seals, signatures, and postal markings
  • If you have completed your studies in China, you must satisfy the verification through the CDGDC or the CHESICC/CHSI
  • These documents can also be sent by the academic authority directly to our office via email.

I completed my studies from China, where should my verification come from?

Applicants with credentials from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) will be required to have a China Academic Degrees and Graduate Education Development Center (CDGDC) validation sent directly to our offices. For non-university or Benke-level awards you may choose to arrange for credential authenticity reports to be sent directly to ICES by the China Higher Education Student Information and Career Center (CHESICC/CHSI).

I’m having my university send you documents. Do I need to apply before the documents get there?

We don’t throw out mail that universities send us, but in general your evaluation will proceed more quickly if you have applied before official documents get here. That way the mail goes into your file the moment it arrives.

If I’m having more than one credential evaluated, will all my credentials appear on the same report?

Yes, if a client is having more than one credential evaluated they will all appear on a single ECA.

Will you call me when my official documents arrive?

No. Although we would like to keep everyone informed about the status of their files, due to the sheer volume of mail we receive we are unable to individually contact each client to inform them that documents have arrived. If you wish to find out more about the status of a file, please contact our office via telephone or email.

Can ICES contact my school for me?

It is the client’s responsibility to have official documents sent from the source institution.

How can I contact ICES via email?

Please contact ices via email at icesinfo@bcit.ca. Please make sure to include “ECA” in the subject line so we can more accurately serve you.

Can I receive a refund if I cancel the evaluation process?

If applicants cancel the evaluation process they are not entitled to a refund. If however, ICES cancels the evaluation or refuses to accept the application a refund may be issued.

Will ECAs be issued in French?

In cases where an individual only submits documents in French, ICES will not translate these documents into English, course names, titles and other information will remain in French if applicable. If an individual submits English translations ICES will use this information for the ECA. Note, results of the ECA including comparability statements are issued in English only.

What if I want another credential added to my ECA after it is finished?

Adding another entirely new credential onto a completed evaluation will cost the same as getting a new report for a single credential. Please follow the same application process as before. Please note if you are already an existing ICES client, the online application process will not be available to you.

I want to apply by mail. Can I pay online?

No. You can only pay online if you apply online. Mailed applications must include payment.

What does a completed ECA application look like?

For your reference:

Can I apply online for both my spouse and myself?

Each online application should be separately submitted for each individual applicant. Note that each applicant will also need their own email address to apply.

How do you evaluate law degrees?

It is important to mention that the International Credential Evaluation Service has suspended the use of the recommendation of “First Professional Degree in Law” due to information we have received from the National Committee on Accreditation at the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. We will continue to review this issue and provide updates as they become available.

More ICES information links

See also:


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You may pre-qualify for a Canada immigration program.