Published by Gabriel Oliveira
on July 24, 2020

How to get an ECA

What is an ECA?

ECA stands for Educational Credential Assessment. It is an assessment done by a certified institution that will analyze your education credentials, and determine what's the Canadian equivalent education level.

For an example, let's say you went through college in your home country, and achieved a bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering. in Canada, a degree with the same name as yours might have different duration , or even different subjects presented on the course program. Therefore, this assessment will find a title equivalent to your education, according to Canada standards.

What does an ECA look like?

It may have a fancy name, but at the end it is just a report that states what is your Canadian equivalency.

This is an actual ECA:

Do I need an ECA?

If you are immigration through the Express Entry process, then yes, you need an ECA.

Express Entry is the process in place to select skilled workers to immigrate to Canada. skilled is the key word here. In this context, "skills" is a combination of work experience and education.

You can prove your work experience by providing letters from your previous employers. That is relatively easy. But to prove your level of education, you will need an ECA.

How to get an ECA?

Alright, let's get down to business.

First thing you should know is that there are different types of ECAs. If your purpose is to immigrate to Canada, then you need to get an ECA for immigration purposes.

There are 5 organizations that are allowed to provide that kind of ECA:

You can chose any of them. Here is an overview of the process in place for each one:

Option 1 - Comparative Educational Service (University of Toronto)

  1. Complete an online application, pay the fee (CAD$210), and obtain a "CES Student Number".
  2. Attach the documents below to your online application:
    1. Scanned copy of government ID with date of birth
    2. Scanned copy of diploma/certificate, on its original language. Both sides.
    3. Scanned copy of academic record/transcript. Both sides.
    4. Certified translation (word-for-word) of all documents that are not in Englilsh.
  3. Send your official academic record (transcript) to CES. It must be:
    1. Sent directly to CES by your college/university/institution, on an institution-sealed envelope. Or
    2. Sent CES by you, as long as it is on an institution-sealed envelope.
  4. Receive your assessment on the mail.

CAD$ 210 per credential + courier fees


Option 2 - International Credential Assessment Service of Canada

  1. Complete the online application form, and pay the fee ($200)
  2. Receive a confirmation e-mail with your file number and a document submission form
  3. Send these items through mail or courier:
    1. Completed document submission form (that you received on the e-mail)
    2. Photocopies of the required documents for your country. See full list here. Some documents might be required to be send directly by your college or awarding body.
    3. Certified translations for all documents that are not in English
  4. Receive the report through regular mail.

CAD$ 200 + courier fees


Option 3 - World Education Services

  1. Submit online application
  2. Submit required documents. Usually these are:
    1. Academic Transcript
    2. Degree Certificate
    3. Certified translations for all documents that are not in English
    You have the option of asking your institution (college) to send it directly to WES, or send them yourself, using a sealed envelope from the institution.
  3. Receive your report

CAD$ 220 + courier fees


Option 4 - International Qualification Assessment Service (IQAS) (Province of Alberta)


  1. Complete on-line application, and pay the fee (CAD$ 200)
  2. Gather and upload the required documents. Usually these are:
    1. Certification
    2. Transcript
    3. Certified translations of every document that is not in English.
    Your institution might be able to upload some of these documents digitally or through e-mail. Or it might be needed to send them via regular mail. It will depend on your institution, country, etc.
  3. Receive the report on the mail.


CAD$ 200 + courier fees


Option 5 - International Credential Evaluation Service (British Columbia Institute of Technology)

  1. Create an online application
  2. Upload required documents:
    1. Identification
    2. Academic records or transcripts
    3. Certificates, degrees or diplomas
    4. Certified translation of any documents that are not in English
  3. Pay the fee (CAD$ 200)
  4. Receive your reports via regular mail or courier

CAD$ 200 + courier fees


Summary of all options

As you probably noticed, all options are very similar. Processes for each are pretty much the same:

  1. Create online application
  2. Pay fee
  3. Send documents
  4. Receive report on the mail

And price is also very similar, always around CAD$ 200 + courier costs.

All of them provide an ECA (Educational Credential Assessment) that lasts 5 years for the Express Entry process, so it is really a matter of personal choice.

I recommend getting in touch with them, and see which one makes you feel more comfortable.

How long does an ECA take?

Each organization mentioned above have its own estimates, and they might be changing due to COVID-19 responses. I encourage you to contact each to get an up-to-date response/estimate.

What is a "Transcript"?

A transcript on the context of ECA is a document with details on all the courses taken, subjects explored, grades received, hours for each subject, etc. Each language might have different names for it.

What are "Certified Translations"?

Certified translation is a word-for-word translation to the English language, performed by a certified translator.


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