Express Entry is one of the most popular pathways for permanent residency to Canada. The digital platform was introduced on January 1, 2015 as a way to invite quality candidates to immigrate to Canada depending on eligibility and CRS points. In this article, we will address a very common question that applicants ask prior to starting a profile: how much money does it cost to apply for express entry? Keep in mind that every application is unique and costs will vary – therefore there is no magic “number” for how much an express entry will cost. We’ll do our best to go over all costs that may be applicable to your case and where to find all CIC fees.
- Immigration Canada processing, landing and biometrics fee(s)
- Proof of settlement funds
- Legal service fee(s)
These costs will vary depending on your situation and some of these costs may not even apply. Let’s take a look more closely.
Processing, landing and biometrics fees
Processing fees are paid prior to filing your “Express Entry” permanent residence application [not your profile!]. For clarity sake, starting an Express Entry profile is completely free and processing fees are paid prior to filing the application [you will receive an ITA]. Once you have completed your online application and uploaded all documents related to your Express Entry class, the system will allow you to pay your processing and government fees. These fees may include the following:
- Processing fee for you and your family members (mandatory)
- Right of permanent residence fee
- Biometrics fee
Due to recent changes in fees in the year 2020, we err on the side of caution by not stating the fees directly in this article and recommend you refer to the IRCC government for details.
How do I pay my processing fees?
In order to pay your fees, you’ll require either a debit or credit card to make payment. It’s worth mentioning that in various situations the total amount of government fees will differ. For instance, you do not have to pay the right of permanent residence fee upfront however, we highly recommend you do so in order to avoid delays. In addition, if you have already taken your biometrics you may not be required to pay this fee. Lastly, the cost of processing fees will depend if you are including dependent family members with your application such as a spouse, common-law partner or child.
Along with these major fees, the various documents that you will require for your Express Entry application may also have fees associated with them. For example, for every post-secondary education obtained outside Canada, you are required to have paid for an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) if you required points for these credentials. You also took an English and/or French exam that involved a fee prior to starting a profile. There will also be expenses associated with medical exam(s) and police clearance(s). These fees will differ depending on your country.
Proof of Settlement Funds
Prior to filing your application, you may be required to show proof of funds – or a minimum amount of transferable funds. As it pertains to your class, evidence of financial support may be necessary to ensure that you (as the applicant) have adequate funds to support yourself and your family members as you move towards a new life in Canada. The amount of funds will differ depending on your family size (whether you include a spouse, common-law partner or children) with your application. It’s important to note that even if your dependent children are not coming with you to Canada and are already Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada – they must be included in the total amount of settlement funds.
Who is exempt from showing proof of settlement funds?
Currently, the CEC (Canadian experience class) is exempt from having to show proof of funds. In addition, you are notrequired to show proof of settlement funds if you’re authorized to work in Canada with a “valid” job offer. We recommend seeking legal counsel to verify the details surrounding what constitutes a valid job offer. A work permit (and open work permit) on its own is not a valid job offer.
What are the minimum requirements for settlement funds?
The provision of the “settlement funds” varies every year as it is measured based on 50% of the Low Income Cut-Off levels. Proof of having enough funds must be met at the time you submit your Permanent Residence application. Throughout processing, the visa officer reserves the right to request updated financial documents until a final decision is reached.
Legal Representative Fees
To prepare and submit your Express Entry application you may choose to hire a representative – either a lawyer or a certified immigration consultant (not including the province of Quebec). The costs associated with recruiting a representative depend on your choice of representative.
The best piece of advice we can provide you is to always enquire if your representative is legally certified to represent your case. An immigration consultant must be a member of the Canada Regulatory Council for Immigration Consultants (ICCRC) and/or a lawyer must be a member of a provincial or territorial law society within Canada.