Uriel is an intellectual property lawyer, a fiction writer, and a language enthusiast.
My Experience With the Canadian Express Entry
My one-year journey in becoming a permanent resident of Canada via the Express Entry Program may seem short compared with other people’s experiences. But believe me, if you are as anxious as I can be, one year can easily feel like five years!
I'll tell you all about it.
A Little Bit About Me
I am originally from Cameroon, Central Africa. I am a lawyer by profession with a few years of experience in the field. I am in the 20–25 age bracket; at the time I initiated the procedure, I was not married, and my highest qualification was a BL (Barrister-at-Law) from the Nigerian Law School, which is the equivalent of a one-year Canadian postgraduate degree. French is my mother tongue, and English is my working language (all my post-secondary education was in English, and my work experience was in an Anglo-Saxon environment). I started by entering all the information I just listed in an Express Entry tool guide to see if I stood a chance of being selected. And it turned out that I did.
The Research Process
Afterward, I proceeded to obtain a detailed explanation of the Express Entry procedure. From the Government of Canada’s website to Immigration websites and independent blogs, I read over and again the detailed requirements of the procedure and people’s experiences/testimonies. It may just be a lawyer’s thing, but whenever I’m faced with an important document, I’m capable of reading it dozens – and I mean hundreds! – of times, until I no longer find additional pieces of information in there. But even if "crazy reading" is not your thing, fear not! The Express Entry as a whole is pretty easy to understand.
The Preliminary Steps
- The first step was to apply for the Canadian equivalence of my qualifications. I chose the World Education Services (WES) for the evaluation of credentials. I created an online account with WES and then applied for an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA). My fiancé – now husband – then paid the necessary fees, and we made arrangements for my attestations and transcripts to get to WES.
- Then, I needed to take a language test for at least one of Canada's official languages. Although French is my first language, I opted to take the English test, namely the IELTS General Training. I downloaded a few apps and prepared on my own, having an objective to score at least a 7.5 on the scale of 9. Less than two weeks after the test date, when I got mine, I found I had scored an 8.5!
A Note About Language Tests
Language test results count for two categories in the Express Entry profile submission: Language Proficiency and Skill Transferability. As such, they greatly impact your eligibility for the program. So prepare very well before scheduling your exam. If you have taken the test but are not satisfied with your results, you should work harder and retake it.
The Invitation to Apply
When I got the ECA report from WES, I entered my profile in the Express Entry pool (The link is attached in the "Useful Links" section at the end of this article). It was necessary to have my ECA report and language results before submitting my profile, as these are mandatory fields on the application. The articles I had read mentioned that it could take up to three months from there to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA). Mine took four days! I entered my profile on January 6th, 2019, and I received the ITA on January 10th.
The Application for Permanent Residence
The ITA mentioned that in order to apply for Permanent Residence, I had 60 days to submit the documents on the Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)’s checklist, which were:
- Police clearances from countries where I had resided for more than six months since my 18th birthday
- Proof of employment
- Proof of education
- Proof of funds
- Copy of travel document(s)
- Medical examination
- A passport-size picture taken less than six months ago
- A letter of explanation for any discrepancy or missing document (optional)
I gathered and submitted all the requested documents on March 9th, 2019. The processing time given by the IRCC was six months, starting from the date all the documents had been received. I was aware that it could take less or more, depending on the specificities of each case.
The Final Decision
- About six weeks after submitting all the documents, I got a notification in my IRCC account informing me that my medical examinations had been approved.
- Then, at the beginning of May 2019, I received a letter via my IRCC account instructing me to give my biometrics at the nearest Canada immigration office, which I did within a week of receiving the correspondence.
- Nothing really important happened until September 19th, 2019, when I received a letter via my account requesting me to pay my Right of Permanence Fee: from my readings, this was a strong indication that my application had been approved!
- The payment was done the next day, and about a week later, on September 27th, I received the request to submit my passport at the nearest Canada immigration office, which I did the day after.
- My fiance booked a ticket to Toronto for me to travel on October 26th, and I received my passport back with the Immigrant Visa and the Confirmation of Permanent Residence about four days before my scheduled date of travel.
- I arrived in Toronto on a Sunday morning and met my sister and her husband who had come all the way from Maryland, USA to welcome me at the airport.
Facts And Figures About the Express Entry
Do I need to go through an agency for my Express Entry Application to Succeed?
You can either do it yourself or use an immigration consultant
How much does the procedure cost?
The fees are updated from time to time. At the time I submitted my documents, the total fees (application, biometrics and right of permanent residence fee) were approximately 1,100 Canadian Dollars
Do I need work experience?
Yes, you need at least one year of work experience
Which language test(s) should I take?
You can take either the IELTS General Training or the TEF Canada or both tests
How long does the procedure take?
The processing times are updated frequently too. At the time I submitted my application, it was six months from the time you submit all your documents to IRCC.
Another Express Entry Story
- How the Canadian Express Entry Worked for Me
To make an informed decision, it is best to have all the possibilities available! I gathered the experience of a good friend of mine with the Canadian Express to give you a different perspective of the program.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Uriel Eliane
Nathan Bright on September 05, 2020:
Thanks for sharing your experience.
Dakam mbouotcheng on May 17, 2020:
Merci Uriel...Its helpful
Pultra Shaloca on May 17, 2020:
My dear daughter, this is a good resume that will help many. In any procedure, patience is the key and submitting the good documents will help also. Enjoy your stay in Canada
Danutia on May 17, 2020:
Thanks for sharing Uriel. It's inspirational and look quite simple.