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Published by Gabriel Oliveira on October 12, 2020
Updated on April 13, 2021

Express Entry Without IELTS - Is It Possible?

Yes, you can create an Express Entry profile, and even receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) without IELTS, but you still need to do one of the four accepted language tests.

Why you need a language test

Express Entry selects immigrants for 3 different programs*:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program
  • Canadian Experience Class
  • Federal Skilled Trades

And all of them require some level of language skills, which require a language test.

*Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) might also recrute immigrants through Express Entry. In that case, each province/program will have it's own criteria.

Accepted Language Tests

You can choose to use your English or French abilities. Any of these tests is accepted:

Each test has its own format, cost and availability.

IELTS is for sure the one most commonly one, and there are lots of study resources about it available, when comparing to the others. But the choice of which one is better for you is fully yours.

Different Scales of Results

Each of those 4 tests have its own scale of scores. For an example, a 7 on IELTS might be different than a 7 on CELPIP.

To make it easier to understand what the minimum requirements for each are, IRCC converts the results into one of these scales:

  • CLB (Canadian Language Benchmarks) for English
  • NCLC (Niveaux de Compétence Linguistique Canadien) for French.

For an example, a 7 in Reading on IELTS is equivalent to a CLB 9. Click here for the full table of conversions

Minimum Scores Required

Express Entry manages three different programs, and each of them have minimum scores required:

Program English French
Federal Skilled Worker
  • Reading: CLB 7
  • Writing: CLB 7
  • Speaking: CLB 7
  • Listening: CLB 7
  • Reading: NCLC 7
  • Writing: NCLC 7
  • Speaking: NCLC 7
  • Listening: NCLC 7
Canadian Experience Class

Management and Professional jobs (NOC 0 or A)

  • Reading: CLB 7
  • Writing: CLB 7
  • Speaking: CLB 7
  • Listening: CLB 7

Technical jobs (NOC B)

  • Reading: CLB 5
  • Writing: CLB 5
  • Speaking: CLB 5
  • Listening: CLB 5

Management and Professional jobs (NOC 0 or A)

  • Reading: NCLC 7
  • Writing: NCLC 7
  • Speaking: NCLC 7
  • Listening: NCLC 7

Technical jobs (NOC B)

  • Reading: NCLC 5
  • Writing: NCLC 5
  • Speaking: NCLC 5
  • Listening: NCLC 5

Federal Skilled Trades
  • Reading: CLB 4
  • Writing: CLB 4
  • Speaking: CLB 5
  • Listening: CLB 5
  • Reading: NCLC 4
  • Writing: NCLC 4
  • Speaking: NCLC 5
  • Listening: NCLC 5

Note that these are minimum values. You will probably need better scores than those to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA). Read our article about How CRS score is calculated to understand the impact of the language test score on the final result.

Nowhere to run

If English skills is the one big thing on your way to immigrating to Canada, I'm sorry to say, but there is really no way around it. Not even shortcuts. Put up your learning pants and get to it. Good journey :)


Express Entry - Process in place to select candidates to become permanent residents based on their skills. Express Entry is used for different immigration programs, including the Federal Skilled Worker Program

CRS Score - Comprehensive Ranking System score. It is the system in place to calculate a score for each Express Entry candidate, based on their information such as age, skills, education, etc.

ITA - Invitation To Apply - After you submit your Express Entry profile, if you have enough points, IRCC will invite you to apply for permanent residence. This invitation is called ITA.

CLB - Canadian Language Benchmark - System that converts results from different English tests (IELTS and CELPIP) into a single scale.

NOC - National Occupational Classification - Classification that attributes a unique skill level and code to each profession.


I hope this article helps you on your immigration journey!

If you are going through the Federal Skilled Worker program, check out our step-by-step guide and tracking system.

It is 100% free.


Jorge Flores (Guest-205748) 2021-08-20T15:50:20Z

Great info Gabriel. Thanks.

Gabriel (Author) 2021-08-20T21:56:43Z

A pleasure Jorge!

Extremely anxious (Guest-222562) 2021-09-02T13:03:07Z

Hi Gabriel, you only get an ITA without IELTS if your score is good enough without even it right, how else will they pick you then. Please let me know if I’m missing something here. For example, I haven’t given my IELTS yet (unfortunately I only have TOEFL) but I can’t apply for express entry or hope to get an ITA without them because my hitting the benchmark is heavily dependent on my IELTS scores, get it?

Gabriel (Author) 2021-09-14T19:29:02Z

Hi there. Hmmm no. You need to have a language test. That's a fact. Now, it doesn't necessarely have to be IELTS - it can be CELPIP or one of the French ones. But you need a language test, no matter what. Even if you have a super big score without it, you still need it. It's a minimum requirement.

Vaishali Rathod (Guest-268343) 2021-10-11T12:29:32Z

Hi I required job in logistics field so it is mendetory to apply ielts for the same ?

Gabriel (Author) 2021-12-06T05:06:46Z

Hi, yes it is. Unless you get a job offer from abroad, which can be really hard. But even then, you might need IELTS

Fatima (Guest-319040) 2021-11-24T10:30:52Z

How to apply in express entry without English test?

Nadeem iqbal (Guest-319639) 2021-11-24T20:11:20Z


Gabriel (Author) 2021-12-26T03:59:36Z

Hi Fatima, sorry for the delay. You need either English or French test.

Nadeem iqbal (Guest-319639) 2021-11-24T20:11:42Z


Nadeem iqbal (Guest-319639) 2021-11-24T20:11:55Z


Syed abid Hussain (Guest-332742) 2021-12-06T08:23:50Z

Is it possible that I apply for Atlantic immigration pilot program without IELTS and give IELTS exam in after reached to Canada

Syed abid Hussain (Guest-332742) 2021-12-06T08:24:55Z

Please reply my email (

Gabriel (Author) 2021-12-26T04:00:44Z

Hi Syed, sorry for the delay. I believe you need IELTS for AIP at the moment of application.

KAT (Guest-350390) 2021-12-23T02:34:33Z

Hi, If I get a PNP certificate through a Province's pathway that does not require language testing, do I still need to do Language testing exam before I can get confirmation of PR from IRCC?

Gabriel (Author) 2021-12-26T04:01:43Z

Hi Kat. If you have a province nomination, you should be fine.

Zurah (Guest-366197) 2022-01-06T19:19:37Z

Hi what are the score for federal şkilled trades in ielts ...i didnt under stand well..please

Tunku (Guest-369661) 2022-01-10T06:13:29Z

I am doing my pr process without ielts. I have an offer letter from canadian University enghilish language course. In this way can I go to canada . please reply

Bobby (Guest-373554) 2022-01-13T22:33:02Z

hi Gabriel can I apply for a federal skilled worker program, without IELTS

Narayan 2022-02-11T09:47:55Z

How much score required for IELTS for express entry

Laarni 2022-02-13T16:36:08Z

Hello. I have ielts 6 score, i have my wes already. an agent have said he cant proceed with FSW as his initial feedback. but he will try possible options, which i suggested through PNP . from my end, can i still submit my express entry profile?

monir (Guest-450402) 2022-10-22T06:49:19Z

can this NOC 6421 need ILTS

Express Entry Totals

215 Draws
549,177 ITAs
196,685 Profiles

More data...

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