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9 Common Reasons for Express Entry Application Rejection or Refusal

Updated: May 15

There are 9 common reasons for Express Entry application rejection or refusal and ways how to avoid them.

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9 Common Reasons for Express Entry Application Rejection or Refusal

Express Entry is Canada's biggest immigration program, facilitating the permanent residency of foreign skilled workers into the country. However, we cannot rule out the possibility of being rejected or refused in every application, which often leaves many applicants puzzled. Understanding the common reasons for rejection or refusals can help you avoid the same pitfalls and strengthen your Express Entry application.

Here are 9 common reasons for Express Entry application rejection or refusals:

Inability to Submit Application On-Time

The Express Entry system gives a limited timeframe for eligible applicants to submit their applications. Once you receive an invitation to apply (ITA), you have 60 days to submit your complete application to IRCC. Failing to meet the deadline is an automatic expiry of the invitation to apply for PR. In that case, you need to get another invitation to apply (ITA).

Upon receiving your invitation to apply (ITA), organize your documents and start the application process as soon as possible. If you are having a hard time keeping up with deadlines, you can utilize reminders and checklists to help you stay focused on the steps and make sure that you don’t miss one as the submission deadline approaches.

Incomplete Documents

One of the simplest yet most common reasons for refusal is incomplete applications. Missing documents or information can lead to an outright rejection or sometimes return back of the application as Incomplete. If the application is returned as incomplete, you may have to get the invitation to apply again and submit a new application. 

The required documents in the application package are the most crucial part of the Express Entry application. Hence, IRCC gives a document checklist. Make sure to strictly follow the checklist provided and review if your documents are up-to-date.

Be diligent and thorough in double-checking your documents to ensure completeness and accuracy before submitting your application. 

Ineligibility Under the Express Entry Criteria

Applicants often misjudge their eligibility under the Express Entry criteria. The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores candidates based on factors like age, education, work experience, and language proficiency. Failing to meet the cut-off or applying under the wrong program (Federal Skilled Worker, Federal Skilled Trades, or Canadian Experience Class) can result in refusal.

Failure to Show Financial Capability

IRCC requests proof of financial capability to make sure that you can support yourself and your dependents upon your arrival in Canada. Beforehand, it’s important to understand the financial requirements of the Express Entry system. 

Providing False Information or Misrepresentation

Misrepresentation, whether intentional or accidental, is a serious offense that can lead to application refusal and a ban from re-applying for several years. This includes discrepancies in work experience, educational history, marital status, or failure to disclose criminal records.

You have to foster honesty in the information that you provide in your application, making sure you put accurate and consistent information.

Withholding Information

Full transparency is a must during your Express Entry application process. Never omit significant information that impacts your application or else it may lead to refusal.

If you are in doubt about the information’s relevance, you should consult with an immigration consultant.

Health and Security Risks

Health issues that could pose a risk to public health or safety or excessive demand on Canada’s health or social services can lead to application refusal. Similarly, security concerns, including past criminal convictions, can make an applicant inadmissible.

Inaccuracies in Education Credential Assessment (ECA)

Your foreign education must be assessed against Canadian standards. Mistakes in the ECA report or failing to have your credentials assessed if required can be a stumbling block in the application process.

Procedural Errors and Deadlines

Procedural errors, such as incorrect fee payments or missed deadlines for submitting requested documents, can derail an Express Entry application. Attention to detail and adherence to deadlines are paramount throughout the process.


While the reasons for Express Entry refusal vary, many stem from avoidable mistakes. Comprehensive preparation, thorough documentation, and a keen understanding of the Express Entry requirements can greatly enhance your chances of success. Consider consulting with an immigration professional to review your application before submission to mitigate the risk of refusal. Your dream of settling in Canada deserves careful attention to every detail of the Express Entry process.


Government of Canada. (2023, August 22). Reasons you may be inadmissible in Canada.

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