Canada's Express Entry program

Wesley Aptekar-Cassels' recent posts on getting a gold card and moving to Taiwan reminded me that I meant to write about my experience with Canada.

I immigrated to Vancouver, BC in March 2020. I was given permanent residency before setting foot in Canada and without a job offer, under the Express Entry program. From gathering documents to landing in the country took 9 months. Judging by 3rd party trackers this is well over the median - I was pretty disorganized and the London embassy is one of the slowest.

The whole process looks like this:

  1. Check the eligibility requirements and spend 5 minutes filling out this questionnaire. You'll get a score which you can compare to recent admission rounds to see if you have a good chance. (The results aren't recorded, so just guess what your language test scores would be.)
  2. Take an English and/or French exam and get an Educational Credential Assessment. Get the rest of your paperwork ready - proof of employment history, proof of funds, police certificates.
  3. Fill out an Express Entry profile and wait for an invitation to apply.
  4. Get invited to apply. Submit all the paperwork. Take a short medical exam and go the embassy for fingerprints and photos.
  5. Send off your passport and wait for it to come back with a Confirmation of Permanent Residence inside.

The total cost for me was £1456:

One thing I really appreciated is that most of the expense of applying, in terms of both time and money, was at step 4, by which point the acceptance rate is something like 95%.

Other miscellanea:


My move was totally unrelated to current events - I had decided a few years back that I wanted to settle down somewhere and Vancouver ended up at the top of the spreadsheet. But since many of my friends in the US are thinking about emigrating, here are the main points I see for and against.

In favor of Vancouver:

Against Vancouver: