Lately, I have received a lot of requests from friends about permanent migration visa application to Canada. To ease the pain of having to go through a monotonous descriptive process for each and every one of my friends, I have decided to write a lengthy post detailing a no brainer step by step guide on how to apply for a permanent migration visa application to Canada.
This post hopes to establish a blueprint, describing the application procedures, requirements, processes and forms required for Canada immigration. I have painstakingly gone through the post to ensure each and every bit of the Canada visa immigration process is explained. I have also provided my contact information at the end of the post, so if you require further assistance, do not hesitate to get in touch.
The truth is that Canada is a lovely country and unlike many other countries, Canada provides a very easy path to permanent migration. Of course, by easy, I do not mean you will literally walk into Canada without going through a scrupulous vetting process. However, I believe all the stages required for a successful permanent visa application to Canada are easily attainable and if you are diligent and dedicated to the course, you should be able to migrate within 1 year.
Before we get started, it is imperative that I explain some of the perplexing terminologies about Canada immigration, especially when it involves permanent residence visa application and immigration. I believe knowledge of these keywords would ease your understanding of the immigration process and make you better prepared.
Important information for Canada Permanent Visa Application
Express Entry (EE): The express entry, also known as EE, is the new selection system for Canadian Permanent Immigration. It was designed to select the BEST skilled workers for immigration to Canada. Except for the refugees and asylum seekers who get into the country using dubious means, the Express Entry system is now considered the only formal process for permanent immigration to Canada.
In addition, unlike the previous system where you will need to fill out a lot of paper based Canada visa application forms before posting to the nearest Visa office, the Express entry is completely an electronic process and it requires no paperwork other than your passport request. That being said, if at any point, the Visa consulate finds it difficult to verify your submitted scanned documents, you might be requested to present the original copy of that document at any of the nearest visa office closer to you.
Lastly, it is important to note that sending in an application through the Express entry is just to show an expression of interest. The application you sent in is not officially reviewed by anyone but the computer. For instance, you cannot apply for Express Entry for a permanent migration visa application to Canada and go to sleep. It is only a preliminary stage for permanent migration.
Having said that, your application needs to be approved by the system before you are allowed to proceed. An approved application on the system will only last for a year. After a year, you will be required to reapply for a new express entry application because most likely, your condition would have (or is expected to have) changed.
Provincial Nominee Program (PNP): The Canadian Provincial Nominee Program, also known as the PNP, allows provinces and territories to nominate prospective immigrants who will live and work in a specific province in Canada. Typically, these immigrants will have the skills, education and work experience that benefits the relevant provinces.
Besides this, one of the major requirements for nomination by a province is that you must show or have an intention of living in that province. For instance, you cannot decide to live in other cities or provinces once your permanent migration visa application to Canada has been approved. There is no penalty for not living in the province that selected you for a permanent residence. However, for ethical reasons, you are required to live within that province.
This is why the PNP procedure often gives a higher preference for those that have a strong tie (relations, family or friends) or those that manage to get a job in the province. In addition, each of the province’s eligibility, requirements and application procedures can be different. Nonetheless, the most important requirement for nomination by a province is that you have an approved express entry application form in the system and you are eligible for one of the paths for a permanent migration to Canada.
Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS): Now this is where it gets a little bit complicated. If migrating to Canada was a walk in the park, everyone would be in Canada. This is why the government of Canada introduced a Comprehensive Ranking System also known as CRS. The Comprehensive Ranking System ranks eligible candidates for immigration to Canada through the Express Entry process.
All candidates will be assessed based on a number of criteria, and the highest ranking candidates will be invited to apply to immigrate to Canada. Your CRS rank will come as points. Your CRS total points is the number one determinant factor that decides whether you get to formally apply for a Canada Visa Permanent Application or not.
Depending on your profile, you can claim up to 1,200 points with at least 600 points coming from a Job offer in Canada or the Provincial nomination programme (as described previously). The criteria for CRS varies and can been seen from the eligibility requirements for Canadian permanent migration visa as discussed in the next point below.
Eligibility Requirements for Canadian permanent migration visa: Sadly, not everyone is eligible to apply for a permanent Canada Immigration through the Express Entry system. You will be required to meet certain expectations and assessed through ranking criteria such as Age, Language ability, relations in Canada, education, work experience, and any potential job offer in Canada. These criteria are what will be used to determine your CRS points.
For instance, you will get higher points if you are young, speak good English, have an advanced education, good work experience, are married to an educated spouse, and most importantly have a job offer in Canada.
There are three schemes you can be eligible to apply to. They are: 1) Federal Skilled Worker Program also known as FSW/FSWP, 2) Federal Skilled Trades also known as FST or 3) Canadian Experience Class also known as CEC.
Here is a deal breaker for a Canadian permanent immigration: You will be rejected by the Express Entry system if you do not possess the minimum language skill requirement or work experience (either Canadian Experience or International Work experience) or training certificate for a specialized skill. i.e. Plumbing, Electrician or Rig Worker.
Explanation: The first deal breaker is your language level and ability. To migrate to Canada, you will need to be able to listen, speak, read and write a very good English language. The standard criteria are CLB 7 in all aspects, i.e. you must take a test of English such as IELTS and you must get at least 6.0 in all of the tests (speak, read, write and listen) – anything below 6 is an automatic rejection.
The second deal breaker is the number of years of work experience (either at international level or Canadian work experience) you have in a specific area of occupation (see primary NOC below). For FSWP, you are required to have at least one-year full time (or the equivalent in part-time) experience coupled with your language ability described above.
On the other hand, the Canadian Experience Class is different. It allows those with Canadian work experience to become permanent residents. You must have at least 12 months of full time (or the equivalent in part-time) skilled work experience in Canada with the proper authorization. For instance, the part time work you did as a student will not count towards a one year Canada experience. As a foreign immigrant willing to migrate to Canada, this might be very hard to get if you have never lived in Canada before.
Primary NOC: The primary National Occupational Classification also known as the NOC is a crucial factor used to determine the work experience relevant for the federal skilled worker program. In order to get approved by the Express Entry system for the FSW category, you will need to have at least one-year work experience in NOC A, B and O.
Typically, the occupation under these classifications include Engineers, Scientist, Analyst, Operations, Managers and Management. For instance, you will be approved by the system if you have at least one-year full time work experience as a Civil Engineer, Chemical Engineer, Mechanical Engineer, Surgeon, Doctor, Professor, Lawyer, Programmer, System Analyst, Developer, Human Resource Coordinator among other jobs. For a full listing, see the reference at the bottom of this page.
Job Bank: The Canadian job bank is a dedicated Government website for people looking for work, deciding on a career, exploring learning options or dealing with a workplace issue. The Job Bank can help you make well-informed decisions about where to live and work by producing a report that contains information on job. It was strategically incorporated into the express entry so as to help prospective migrants decide which province they want to live in when they come to Canada.
Upon acceptance of your application by the express entry system, a unique express entry ID and Job Bank registration code will be provided to you. You will be required to register on Job Bank immediately after your Express Entry application gets approved. For this reason, your express entry application will be automatically deleted unless you have completed and validated your Job Bank registration.
Invitation to Apply (ITA): The invitation to apply also known as the ITA, is a request from the Canadian Government that allows you to formally apply for a permanent migration visa. This is the main application form and it will be reviewed by a representative of the Canadian Government hence, it is important you take it seriously. It will ask you to provide all the evidence of the details you provided on your Express entry application form. If you have incorrectly provided a statement in your express entry application form, the best thing to do is to reject the invitation. A new request will be sent to you provided your CRS points fall within the range of profiles chosen to make an official application form.
This is where it gets really interesting. ITA is one of the biggest hurdle to hinder your immigration process as it is only issued at least once every month. In most case, an ITA will be issued twice. The ITA is based on your overall CRS points. In order to have a good chance of getting an ITA, you need to have a highly-ranked Express Entry profile, have a valid job offer or must have been nominated by a province.
If you accept the invitation, and submitted your ITA successfully, your application will be processed in 6 months or less.
Documents Required for Canada Immigration Visa Application:
Having gone through some of the necessary terms for permanent migration visa Application to Canada, I can now confidently go through the documents required, as well as the process of application without sounding too ambiguous with the terminologies.
Most of the documents required for Canada Permanent Visa application are very straight forward and easy to get. Although some of these documents are time bound (expires over time) and might require a lengthy process to acquire. However, unlike some other countries, Canada has a very rigorous document verification process. Every document you provide as part of your application will be verified. Starting from your age, place of birth, and where you have worked or lived for the past 10 years of your life.
The truth is that there are no specific document requirements, all submitted applications will have a different list of documents based on the profile of the applicant. See below some of the most important documents you will need to submit once you have received your ITA:
1) Language test results such as IELTS
2) Education Assessment and evaluation report (WES Assessment Result)
3) Employer Reference letters for all the companies you have worked
4) Bank Statement (Proof of Financial funds) – up to $12,000 CAD for a single applicant.
5) Police Clearance Certificates – for all countries you have lived for more than 6 months.
6) Birth Certificates (If you have child/children)
7) Marriage Certificate (If you are married)
8) Educational Certificates (Regardless of your ECA report)
9) Medical Report (Not required until application form has been submitted)
10) International Passport (Not required until application has been pre-approved)
Further Clarification regarding documents required:
I have introduced other light terms within the documents required for a successful application. It is important that I explain and clarify these terms as failure to provide the right documents could automatically mean an application rejection.
Education Assessment Report (ECA Report): The educational credential assessment report, also known as the ECA, is a report that evaluates your foreign academic credential and see what it is worth in the Canadian institutional system. The ECA report is one of the first few documents required in order to complete your express entry application. It is mandatory for all main applicants into the express entry system even if you are presently in Canada doing a Masters. To assess your education, you will need to send your educational qualifications to a designated Canadian approved organization. There are several organization that can help you with the assessment. One of the most recognized organizations is the World Education Services (WES).
Any qualification received in Canada do not require external assessment. Only education obtain outside of Canada needs assessment for the permanent migration programme. It is important you send all your transcript as indicated by the preliminary questionnaire in order to get the maximum point under education. In addition, if you are married, it might also be necessary to let your spouse evaluate their Canadian education equivalent because it can give you more points on the comprehensive ranking system (CRS).
The process for assessment of certificate is quite straightforward. Although the majority of the delays will be as a result of a slow response for sending a transcript to WES from your previous place of study. For this reason, it is important you follow up on a daily or weekly basis in order to expedite the process. If you require more information about WES, see the reference link at the end of this post.
Proof of Funds (POF): The proof of funds also known as POF is a crucial requirement for a successful permanent migration visa application. This is one of the intermediary steps between applying for express entry and waiting to be called for application (ITA). Unless you are currently authorized to work in Canada and have a valid job offer from an employer in Canada, or you have been invited to apply under the Canadian Experience Class, you must show that you have enough money to support yourself and your family after you get to Canada. You necessarily do not have to get a bank statement or money ready before you apply.
However, once you make an express entry application, it is important you start saving up (or gathering the necessary documents for your proof of funds). For instance, you might want to sell your shares, cars, landed properties or anything that can give you the equivalent minimum proof of funds required depending on the family size.
Starting from an individual applicant, the POF required is $12,164 and up to $32, 191 for a family of seven (as at the time of writing this post). The amount requires increases as the family size increases. It is better to overestimate the amount required as the Canadian government tends to increase these requirements every year.
In addition, it is important to note that you cannot borrow this proof of funds. It must come from you. However, if your parents or a member of family or well-wisher decides to provide you with this funds, they must document (either in writing or otherwise) that this is not a loan and you will not be required to pay back this money given to you under any circumstances.
Employers Reference Letters: The employment reference letter is a document that shows the history of all your employment records, especially the ones you are claiming a CRS point under. The employment letter MUST describe the job title or position, duties and responsibilities, the start and end date, the hours required to work per day and how much you earn for this role. Of course, not all appointment letters carry these details, however, you are required to contact your previous company to provide you a reference stating all the details above with a signature from the HR or your supervisor. Canada government will call to verify these details. Failure to provide necessary information can hinder the progress of your application.
In addition, it is important to note that the reference letter provided by your present employer will only be valid for a year, while a reference letter from your previous employer can be used indefinitely.
Medical Examination Report: The medical examination report is to proof to the Canadian government that you are fit to live in Canada. It is also one of the most important stages during the process, as any failure with your system can lead to a rejection. For instance, if you have a contagious disease such as tuberculosis or a permanent disability that will result in re-occurring expenses for Canadian government, the officer can decide to reject your application as it might cause a burden.
Everyone coming to Canada under you must undergo the medical examination process. The medical examination cannot be done privately. You must make use of available medical doctors as recommended by the Canadian government. After the tests are completed, you will get a medical form that you can upload along with the other documents on the checklist. For this reason, you can decide to do your medical right away or wait till you have been called for medicals.
Police Clearance Certificates: The police clearance certificate also known as the PCC is a document required to proof that you have no criminal conviction since you became an adult. When you apply to become a permanent resident or a Canadian citizen, you and your family members must include a police certificate. This certificate is required for all applicants and family members over the age of 18.
Typically, you are required to produce a police clearance certificate from your original country, current country of residence and all other countries you have lived continuously for a period of 6 months or more. The process of getting a foreign police clearance certificate can be extensively long due to the process, hence, it is imperative to be proactive in order to avoid delays.
Technically, the Police certificate issued by a foreign country is valid indefinitely for as long as you did not go back to that country. However, for the country which you reside the police clearance would have an expiry date. It is important you apply and use a valid police certificate as of the time of submitting your application.
In addition, the address on the police clearance certificate must match the address of your home address or wherever you live based on your documentation of where you have lived since the age of 18 years. Details on these sections will be found on the ITA application form.
Temporary Resident Visa (TRV): A temporary resident visa also known as TRV is a conditional authorization granted by a Canada to enter and temporarily remain within, or to leave Canada. Often coming as a form of sticker on an international passport, the Temporary Resident Visa is the only evidence required to be seen by an immigration officer within the original country of residence before you leave that country.
Authenticity of a Temporary Resident Visa cannot be proved without passing through some advanced technologies hence, a TRV is therefore subjected to entry permission by an immigration official within the country of interest, at the time of actual entry and can be revoked at any time. To put it in short words, a Temporary Resident Visa to Canada does not guarantee automatic entry to Canada.
For a permanent resident application to Canada, you do not necessarily have to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa, once your application has been approved, your passport will be requested and most likely, your Temporary Resident Visa will be granted. It is not until you get to Canada that you will receive a permanent residence permit.
Step by Step Process on How to Apply for a Visa for Canada Permanent Residence:
By following these steps, I will assume you have read every detail of the previous sections and I won’t have to go through some of the key details within each step.
Step 1) Take an English Test: – As previously mentioned, in order to prove your eligibility for express entry, you will need to provide evidence that you can read, speak, listen and write in the English Language. This is the first step required as details of this results will be required during your eligibility test.
Step 2) Take an Eligibility Test: – The eligibility test takes about 10 – 15 minutes roughly. The test will access your age, nationality, language, work experience, relationship i.e. spouse and financial status. This step is quite critical, as the preliminary information you provide will be used to pre-assess you. In addition, you will be provided with a unique code that carries your information. Some of this information you entered will be automatically used to pre-fill your express entry application form.
- Intermediate Steps between 2 and 3: In this step, you will be expected to get all your academic certificates assessed. All certificates after your high school graduation should be assessed. Depending on your qualifications, you might want to start from your university degree, masters and then any PhD degree. It is important to note that you do not need to assess your junior and senior secondary school grade certificates. However, you can use your OND, HND diplomas if you do not have a degree yet. You will not be able to submit an application until you have a WES confirmation of your highest qualification. The certificate number will be required during your express entry application process.
Step 3) Register for a CIC account: – To submit any application to the government, you will need to have a CIC account. This account enables you send in any form of application whether it being student visa, work permit or permanent residence. You can process any application via your CIC account. You will need to have a CIC account before you can submit an express entry application form.
Step 4) Fill your express entry permanent migration visa application: Using the code provided during your eligibility test, you will be able to create a new form from your account. The express entry form is very evident from the dashboard. You can check your score after submission for record purposes.
Step 5) Register for Job Bank and Validate your Express Entry Applications: Upon successful completion and approval of your express entry application form, you will be provided with a Job Bank Validation code. Use this during your Job Bank registration process. Your Express entry application will be validated and you will be officially entered into the pool.
- Intermediate Step between 5 and 6: This is not a step rather a pro-active attempt to ensure your application steps go smoothly without any delay after getting your ITA. During this step, you are expected to get as many documents ready in order to prove all the details of your express entry application form. In this step, you will be expected to request all your reference letters from current and all previous employers. See the guidelines above for the details of these letters. In addition, you will need to get Police Certificates, Marriage Certificates, Birth Certificates and most importantly your account statement showing evidence of the funds (proof of funds) you will bring to Canada. Get all these items ready because once the ITA is issued, you will only have only 2 months to apply for your permanent residence.
Step 6) Make an official permanent migration visa application form: This step is not an automatic stage. It is only required if you have been officially invited to submit an application (ITA). As previously explained, your CRS ranking will be the primary factor used to send an ITA. You will get an email notification in your email account once an ITA has been issued to you. You must apply for this ITA within 60 days.
Step 7) Go for medication: Upon successful submission of your main application form, you will be required to have your medicals. You can decide to take a pro-active step by going for your medicals immediately after application (or even before you submitted your application). Alternatively, you can wait until you are instructed to do so.
Step 8) Original International Passport Request: This is the penultimate step. Once your original passport has been requested, unless there are ambiguities with your identity, chances are you permanent resident application will be approved and your Canada Temporary resident visa (TRV) will be issued.
Step 9) Travel to Canada: You will not be issued a permanent residence visa until you arrive to Canada and successfully gone through Canada immigration and border control. In addition, if you have been nominated by a province, you will be required to show up at the province, fill some paper work before your permanent residency is issued. Otherwise, if you have not been nominated, you will be required to select any province of your choice. This will be your official province and they will be in charge of your permanent residency. The card will take about 3 months to get delivered.
Step 10) Apply for Canadian Citizenship: This step is not compulsory but if you intend to become a full Canadian citizen, you will be required to apply for a Canadian Citizenship after four years of living in Canada.
Good Luck, you will need it.
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References and Useful links:
For the steps described above, you can get more information by using the following links
For Canada Visa Application eligibility requirements:
You will need to get your Education Credential Assessment. Use this link for more details
For more information about the language result, charts and analysis click this link
The job sector is also important. To determine the National Occupation Classification (NOC) for your job list http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/skilled/noc.asp
To create your express entry profile.
Job Bank Registration can be done using this link
See how the point system work and calculate or estimate your potential CRS points http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/express-entry/grid-crs.asp
You will be required to make an application fee for your permanent residence. See the link below for more information http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/fees/fees.asp
Proof of funds for your first year is very crucial. For details on fund instruments click the following link http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/skilled/funds.asp
More information for police certificates
More information for medical reports and duration
Increase your chances of getting selected by applying through a province. Click any of the links below if you are interested in more information about any of the Provincial Nomination Programmes.
1) Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP): There are 3 sub-streams under AINP with different eligibility criteria: They are Employer Driven Stream, Strategic Recruitment Stream and Self-Employed Farmer Stream. For more information about Alberta Nomination Programme click here:
2) British Columbia (BC PNP) – Express Entry: BC provides up to four streams for express entry applicants. This includes: – Skilled Worker, Health Care Professional, International Graduate, and International Post-Graduate. For more information about British Columbia Skilled Worker nomination
3) Ontario Express Entry:Ontario has two dedicated PNP streams towards Express Entry. This includes:- Human Capital Priorities and French-Speaking Skilled Worker Streams. For more information, click the link below;
4) New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NBPNP):
Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP): You can check out nova scotia express entry provincial scheme using the following link;
Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Nominee Program (NLPNP):
Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP): There are two pathways to Manitoba under Skilled Workers stream. Skilled Workers currently in Manitoba and Skilled Workers living overseas. For skilled workers in Manitoba: Applications are accepted from qualified temporary foreign workers and international student graduates who are currently working in Manitoba and have been offered a permanent job with their Manitoba employer. For more information about Manitoba Skilled Worker nomination
Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP): The International Skilled Worker is the only stream for Saskatchewan express entry programme. For more information about this programme, click the link below;
Prince Edward Island Provincial Nominee Program (PEI PNP): Complete the “Express Entry Expression of Interest” form below and email it to email@example.com. For more information click this link http://www.gov.pe.ca/forms/pdf/2889.pdf
For more information about immigration to Canada and the express entry, click on the following links