Canada Immigration - Educational Credential Assessment
An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) is an assessment of your degree, diploma, or certificate compared to Canadian standards of education.
Depending on the program you're applying for, you may need to submit specific documents when you apply for immigration to Canada.
An Educational Credential Assessment, or ECA, is a typical document needed for the majority of federal economic immigration streams, including Express Entry.
Processing time: 3-6 months.
Fee: Processing fee $300++
Original Transcripts Required: Yes
Program required for: FSW - Express Entry.
Minimum qualification required: Post Secondary.
What is an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)?
Before you can submit to the pool for Express Entry under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, you must first obtain an ECA for Canada.
You don't need an ECA Canada to submit to the pool if you qualify for the Federal Skilled Trades Program or the Canadian Experience Class. However, you will need one if you aim to claim any Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points for your education.
You don't require an education credential assessment for any education you received in Canada. This is because an ECA compares your foreign education to its Canadian equivalent.
If you possess multiple post-secondary degrees, typically, only your highest degree needs an ECA evaluation.
To maximize your CRS points in the pool, consider getting all of your post-secondary credentials evaluated. If your spouse or partner has a post-secondary degree, they too can apply for an ECA for Canada.
Even though it's not mandatory for Express Entry, having an ECA for your spouse or partner might allow you to claim additional CRS points for their education.
Who Requires an Educational Credential Assessment?
If your education was completed outside of Canada, you'll need an ECA to:
Be eligible as a primary applicant for the Federal Skilled Workers Program (Express Entry)
Earn CRS points for education obtained outside of Canada
If your spouse or common-law partner is joining you in Canada, their education can also earn you points. An ECA will be necessary for their credentials.
How to Obtain an ECA for Express Entry
To get your ECA for Canada, you must approach a designated organization or professional body approved by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
These organizations will provide a report detailing the Canadian equivalent of your education. Note that processing times and fees might vary.
After selecting a designated organization, they will guide you on document submission for your evaluation.
Designated organizations by IRCC include:
World Education Services
Comparative Education Service – University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies
International Credential Assessment Service of Canada
We often recommend World Education Services (WES) for their swift processing times, except for doctors or pharmacists.
Which Credentials Require Assessment?
Usually, only your highest education level needs an assessment. For instance, with a Master’s degree, you don't need an assessment for your Bachelor’s.
However, to get points for multiple credentials, each one needs an assessment.
Duration for Obtaining an ECA Report
The evaluation can range from weeks to months. Starting your ECA is crucial as it's often the initial step in the Express Entry process.
Contents of Your ECA Report
Your report should validate your foreign credential's legitimacy and its equivalence to a Canadian one post-secondary school. If it does, include the result and reference number in your Express Entry profile.
If your report indicates your credential doesn't meet Canadian standards or your foreign institution isn't recognized, you won't qualify under the Federal Skilled Workers Program.
Submitting Your ECA Report
Your report should:
Be issued for immigration by an IRCC-designated organization
Be recent (not older than 5 years) when you submit your Express Entry profile or apply for permanent residence
After obtaining your report:
Enter the results and reference number in your Express Entry profile
Retain your original documents
Be ready to upload report copies upon receiving an invitation for permanent residence
Handling Multiple Credentials
For full points for multiple credentials:
At least one credential should represent a 3+ years program
Each credential needs a valid ECA
The sequence of completing your credentials doesn't impact points.
Entering Multiple ECAs in Your Profile
Each credential and its corresponding report should be entered individually. You cannot submit multiple ECAs in the same field.
FAQ's - Educational Credential Assessment
Q: Can I use an ECA issued for another purpose for my immigration application?
A: No, the ECA must be issued specifically for immigration purposes by an organization or professional body designated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
Q: What happens if my ECA is more than five years old?
A: ECAs must not be more than five years old on the date you submit your Express Entry profile or apply for permanent residence. If your ECA is older, you will need to obtain a new one.
Q: Can I submit my ECA report directly to IRCC?
A: No, you should not ask the designated organization or professional body to send your report to IRCC. You need to enter the results and reference number into your Express Entry profile yourself.
Q: What should I do if my ECA report states that my credential is not equivalent to a completed Canadian credential?
A: If your ECA report states that your credential is not equivalent to a completed Canadian credential, you will not meet the education requirement under the Federal Skilled Workers Program and will not receive points for your education.
Q: Can I get an ECA for a credential I haven't completed yet?
A: No, you can only get an ECA for a completed degree, diploma, or certificate.
Q: What if I have two or more credentials?
A: If you have more than one credential, you may want to get an ECA for each one to maximize your points. However, to receive full points for more than one credential, at least one of the credentials must represent an education that required three years or more to complete.
Q: Can I use the ECA from my spouse or partner for my application?
A: No, you cannot use your spouse or partner's ECA for your application. However, if your spouse or partner has a post-secondary degree and an ECA, you might be able to claim more CRS points for their education.
Q: What happens if I lose my original ECA report?
A: You should contact the organization that issued your ECA report to see if they can provide a replacement. It's important to keep your original documents safe, as you may need to provide them later in the application process.
Q: Can I get an ECA for a credential I earned through an online or distance learning program?
A: Yes, as long as the degree, diploma, or certificate is from a recognized institution and the program is equivalent to a similar program in Canada.
Q: What should I do if I disagree with the results of my ECA?
A: If you disagree with the results of your ECA, you should contact the organization that issued the report. They can explain their evaluation process and how they determined the Canadian equivalency of your credential.