Before you start – Express Entry


This guide includes definitions, information and explains timelines related to Express Entry. You’ll need this information for your profile builder/online application during the Express Entry process.

Help text Help

We give you help text to assist you in the Express Entry process, from when you create your profile, to when you submit your electronic application for permanent residence (if you’re invited to).

You will see the symbol “Help” at points when there is more information available. Click on the symbol to see the information.

Important definitions in Express Entry

You can find new terms and definitions in our glossary.

What you need to know before you start

Numbers/codes associated with Express Entry

You’ll get numbers or codes at various points in the Express Entry process. Save or write them down to refer to as needed.

Personal Reference Code

Personal reference codes:

  • look like: JM1234567890
  • are not the same as your Express Entry Profile number
  • are generated when you answer all the questions in the Come to Canada tool
  • are used to transfer your information from the Come to Canada tool to your account

If you access Express Entry directly through your account, you won't get a Personal Reference code.

Express Entry Profile number

Express Entry profile numbers are numbers:

  • we send to you in an account message when you've:
    • successfully entered your profile
    • become a candidate in the Express Entry pool
  • you need for:
    • registering with Job Bank
    • giving to a province or territory who has shown interest in your profile
    • submitting a new Express Entry profile within 90 days of expiry of previous one

Job seeker validation code

Job seeker validation codes are numbers that:

  • identify your Express Entry profile in Job Bank
  • we send to you in an account message once you submit your Express Entry profile
    • you need for:
      • registering with Job Bank
      • giving to a province or territory who wants to nominate you

Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score

The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) is:

  • a points-based system used to:
  • displayed in your account as a table with your overall score and breakdown

How long your information is valid

Information you enter into our online forms and applications will stay in the system for a certain amount of time.

To protect your personal information, when you’re in the Come to Canada tool or signed in to your account, your session will expire if you haven’t been active for 20 minutes. You’ll have to sign in again if you want to continue what you were doing.

Save your information often so you don’t lose unsaved information and need to enter it again.

Place in process How long your information stays in the system
Completed Come to Canada tool and got a Personal Reference Code 30 days from the day you're issued a Personal Reference Code.
Profile started, but not submitted 60 days from the date you first started your profile
Profile submitted (but waiting for Job Bank registration, confirmation of a nomination from a province or territory, or confirmation of a valid job offer) and got an Express Entry Profile Number 30 days from the date you submit your Express Entry Profile.
Complete profile submitted (includes registering with job bank, a nomination from a province or territory, or a valid job offer) One year from the date you submit, or until you're invited to apply or withdraw your profile — whichever comes first.
Invitation to apply (ITA) 90 days from the date you're invited to apply.
Invitation to apply: declined Your profile is placed back into the pool for the time left in the original one year since completing your profile. You can update your information.
Invitation to apply: within 90 days (didn't submit an electronic application for permanent residence, and didn't formally decline the ITA) The ITA will expire and your profile will no longer be in the Express Entry pool. (To enter the pool again, you'll have to complete and submit a new profile in your account.)
Profile submitted but expired If you still want to come to Canada as a skilled immigrant, you must complete and submit a new profile. If you meet minimum entry criteria, you'll get a new Express Entry Profile Number.
Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: