Can I still apply for permanent residence if my CRS score changes after I receive an Invitation to Apply?

Vimal Sivakumar
Published: March 6, 2024

Express Entry candidates have two choices if their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score changes after they receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence (PR): decline their ITA or continue to submit their Application for PR (APR).

Through the Express Entry application management system, which handles immigration applications from three different economic immigration programs*, the only way to apply for Canadian PR is by receiving an ITA from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) when the department conducts an Express Entry draw.

*The Express Entry system manages applications from the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP).

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Click here to learn more about Express Entry and visit this link for more information on IRCC’s new category-based selection draws for Express Entry.

Once an Express Entry candidate receives their ITA, they transition to “applicant” status and IRCC gives the individual 60 days to submit their APR.

What happens if my CRS score changes after I get an ITA?

However, in some cases, there may be a material change that impacts a candidate’s eligibility for the ITA they received from IRCC (both negatively and positively). Examples of such changes that may impact a candidate’s CRS score will be outlined below.

At this time, IRCC clarifies that “if a candidate realizes … that their circumstance has changed or that the information in their profile, [based on] which they were issued an ITA, is no longer accurate”, they have two options for how to proceed.

Note: Before proceeding with either option below, IRCC instructs candidates to recalculate their CRS score reflecting the altered circumstance(s).

Option 1: Decline the ITA

Express Entry candidates who experience a change in circumstance that may have a negative impact on their CRS score are “encouraged” by IRCC to decline their ITA. Declining an ITA is the only way for candidates to revise the information in their Express Entry profile.

A negative change in circumstance can mean anything that either negatively impacts a candidate’s ability to meet the minimum entry criteria (MEC) for the program they applied to or drops their recalculated CRS score below the minimum CRS score for their round of invitations.

Option 2: Proceed with submitting the APR

Candidates who experience a change in circumstance but do not want to decline their ITA may still submit their APR to IRCC. However, it is important to remain aware that candidates who choose to continue with their application are responsible for ensuring that the change in circumstance is properly reflected in their APR.

This means that, whether the change in circumstance was positive or negative, the candidate must take the time at this stage of the process to correct the information that IRCC brought over from their Express Entry profile to their APR before submitting the application.

Examples of changes that may affect your CRS score

The following outlines different ways that a change in circumstance may affect an applicant’s CRS score after they receive an ITA.

The applicant’s CRS score may increase if they:

  • Graduate from a higher level of schooling
  • Reach the threshold for an additional year of Canadian work experience
  • Obtain a certificate of qualification
  • Improve their language test scores

The applicant’s CRS score may decrease if they:

  • Retake their language test after their original scores expire but complete the test with lower results
  • Lose a qualifying offer of arranged employment

An applicant’s CRS score may either increase or decrease depending on the addition of a spouse or common-law partner to their Express Entry application. This addition may positively or negatively impact the CRS score of a principal applicant because their score can either increase or decrease based on the human capital of their spouse or partner.

Note: One change for which applicants are not penalized as it relates to their CRS score after receiving an ITA is if their birthday occurs after their ITA was issued. Although age is a prominent factor in the human capital section of an applicant’s CRS score calculation, IRCC provides an exemption that prevents ITA recipients from losing CRS points in this case.

What happens when you decline an ITA from IRCC

When an Express Entry applicant declines their ITA, they are returned to “candidate” status.

At this time, the candidate’s profile will be returned to the Express Entry pool and remain active for as long as the profile maintains its validity. Once a profile returns to the candidate pool, the candidate will be able to update their profile information and they will continue to be considered for a new ITA in future Express Entry draws as long as they continue to meet the MEC.

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