The application process for provincial nominees

How you will apply depends on which Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) stream you are applying to. You might need to apply using the paper-based process, or the online process through Express Entry.

In both cases, you must apply in two stages:

  1. First, you must decide where you want to live in Canada and apply to that province or territory for a nomination. They will review your application based on:
    • their immigration needs,
    • if you really plan to live there, and,
    • for Express Entry only—if you meet the minimum criteria of at least one of the federal immigration programs covered by Express Entry.

    Note: If you are creating an Express Entry profile, you will be asked which provinces and territories you are interested in. They may contact you and ask you to submit a PNP application so they can nominate you. If you already have a nomination, you must show this in your profile.

    The criteria by province and territory vary and can change without notice. To be nominated, you must follow the instructions on their website and contact them directly.

  2. After a province or territory nominates you, you must apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for permanent residence. We will assess your application based on Canadian immigration law.
    • If your nomination is through Express Entry, you must be invited to apply by IRCC before you can submit an electronic application for permanent residence.

    As part of the process, you will have to pass a medical exam and get a police check (certificate). All immigrants must have these checks, no matter where they plan to live in Canada.

Decide which process you will use

The application process is determined by the PNP stream that you are applying for. There is a paper based process and an electronic process.

In the paper-based process:

  • You apply to the province or territory for nomination under a non-Express Entry stream  
  • You need to meet the eligibility requirements of the province that nominates you
  • Once you have been nominated, you submit a paper application for permanent residence to IRCC
  • Application processing times are longer than through Express Entry  

Find out more about how to apply through the paper-based process.

In the online Express Entry process, there are two ways to apply:

  • You contact the province or territory and apply for a nomination under an Express Entry stream
  • If the province or territory agrees to nominate you, you create an Express Entry profile (or update your profile if you already have one) and show you have been nominated

OR

  • You create an Express Entry profile and show the provinces and territories you are interested in
  • If a province or territory sends you a “notification of interest” to your account, you contact them directly
  • You apply to their Express Entry stream

In both cases:

  • You must meet the eligibility requirements of the province or territory, and
  • You must submit an Express Entry profile and show that you meet the minimum criteria for Express Entry, including being eligible for one of the immigration programs it covers
  • If you are invited to apply, you submit an electronic application to IRCC
  • We expect to process most Express Entry applications in 6 months or less.

Note: We are updating the Express Entry system:

  • you can now earn additional points if you studied in Canada
  • a valid job offer now only needs to be for one year, and some job offers no longer need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
  • the amount of points you get for a job offer has changed
  • if you are invited to apply, you now have 90 days instead of 60.

Find out more about these changes and how they may affect you.

Find out more about how to apply through Express Entry.

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