In simpler terms, an Invitation to Apply (ITA) in Canada immigration is a letter offered to qualified candidates in the Express Entry pool who attained a CRS score above the cut-off threshold score as stipulated in each draw. This letter is issued by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and received in the correspondence section of the Express Entry profile.

Qualified candidates who receive the ITA may then apply for Canadian permanent residency. These candidates may also immigrate to Canada with their accompanying family members, if applicable. When IRCC carries out a draw from the pool, those candidates that meet the cut-off threshold are invited to apply for permanent residence. These candidates will receive the letter via their accounts.

Note that the ITA will state the exact program each candidate should be submitting their application for, their CRS score with the details, and the date when they are expected to submit the electronic application for permanent residence. It will also provide extensive instructions on the next steps that the candidates can take after receiving the ITA.

Ideally, obtaining an invitation to apply entails that the candidate now has the opportunity to settle in Canada with permanent resident status within a few months. However, receiving an ITA does not guarantee you will receive permanent residency automatically.

To obtain permanent residency, there are other necessary steps to take. You will be expected to fill out other forms and provide more details. Have in mind that the invitation to apply is valid for just 60 calendar days. Since extensions are not always possible, candidates who are yet to receive the invitation are advised to gather, prepare, and review all their supporting documentation even before they receive an invitation to apply.

Note that by the time they are invited, and considering they only have 60-day validity, it may already be too late to obtain these documents. Note that if a candidate misses the 60-day deadline, according to Canada Immigration, the invitation to apply is considered invalid. The candidate will only be left with the option of declining the invitation.

At this point, the candidate will have their profile returned to the Express Entry pool (if they still qualify) and will be considered in future Express Entry draws. Howbeit, candidates who fail to decline an Invitation To Apply and also do not apply within 60 days will see the Invitation To Apply to expire.

Once the ITA expires, candidates who still intend to immigrate to Canada through Express Entry will have to complete and submit a new Express Entry profile and be accepted to the pool again to be considered in future rounds of invitations.

There is no guarantee that candidates will receive another Invitation To Apply at a later date. Declining an invitation or letting it expire, in addition, will not have a negative effect on whether or not candidates could be invited to apply at a later date.

Required Documents to Apply for Permanent Residence

Note that Candidates who receive an ITA will be expected to submit certain necessary documents along with their application. The following are the main required documents to submit for permanent residency:

  1. Valid passport
  2. Birth certificate
  3. Language test results
  4. Documentation attesting to work experience
  5. Police clearance certificate(s)
  6. Upfront medical receipt
  7. Photographs of the principal applicant and family members
  8. Canadian Education Credential OR Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)
  9. Letter of attestation
  10. Official transcripts of post-secondary education study program courses taken
  11. Secondary education documents
  12. Original letter from a Canadian employer indicating an offer of arranged employment
  13. Proof of family relationship(s) in Canada
  14. Proof of settlement funds
  15. Legal documents showing changes in name or date of birth
  16. Marriage certificate(s)
  17. Signed Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union and documents attesting to cohabitation for at least 12 months
  18. Divorce or annulment certificate(s)
  19. Death certificate(s) for former spouse(s) or common-law partner(s)
  20. Children’s birth certificates
  21. Adoption papers
  22. Proof of full custody for children
  23. Travel documents (non-passport)
  24. Certified copy of a certificate of qualification in a skilled trade occupation issued by a Canadian provincial/territorial authority
  25. Copies of work contracts and/or pay stubs
  26. Documents relating to income taxation

How Long Does it Take to Receive an ITA?

According to reports, the IRCC regularly conducts draws for Express Entry applicants. As long as you are highly ranked, you can expect to receive an ITA within a few days or a few weeks. However, if you fail to make the cut, your profile will remain active in the Express Entry pool for 12 months.

But if after several months you have not received an ITA, it is recommended you seek other ways to boost your CRS score. Consider retaking language tests or seeking viable provincial nomination programs. The time it takes to process files varies and will most often depend on numerous factors. For most applications submitted via the Express Entry pool, IRCC strives to process them all within 6 months wherever possible.

Howbeit, within the past year, the COVID 19 pandemic has seen increased processing times by IRCC with most taking 12+ months to process. But with the pandemic gone and the world returning to normal, processing time is expected to back to normal. Nonetheless, IRCC still provides a great tool for up-to-date processing times.

How Much Does It Cost to Submit an ITA?

Note that the cost of the application will most often depend on the applicant’s family size, the number of countries they have lived in, and if the documents submitted will have to be translated.

  • Principal Applicant: $1325
  • Spouse: $1325
  • Dependent children: $225/child
  • Biometrics: $85/person
  • Medical examination fees: average cost – $450/adult & $250/child
  • Police clearance certificates: average cost – $100/country


The Invitation to Apply (ITA) also referred to as the electronic Application for Permanent Residence (eAPR), is more or less the last stage of the Express Entry program. This application lets candidates submit documents that support the information listed on their initial Express Entry profile.

Note that once you receive an ITA for Canadian permanent residence, you’re almost close to fulfilling your Canadian immigration dreams. Note that once you complete and submit your forms, a personalized document checklist page will be created that will allow you to upload all the required documents IRCC is asking for.