Some Canadian immigration programs require an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) to verify that your foreign degree, diploma or certificate is valid and equal to a Canadian one. This is especially helpful if you are going to file your Express Entry profile and want to receive points for education. In order to receive the points for your education, you must provide an ECA report.
**You don’t need an ECA if you have a Canadian education.**
Where to get an ECA
Citizenship and Immigration Canada only accepts ECA reports from these institutions:
- Comparative Education Service – University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies
- International Credential Assessment Service of Canada
- World Education Services
- Medical Council of Canada(professional body for Doctors)
- Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (professional body for Pharmacists)
You must choose one of these institutions. The organization will give you an original report that will tell you:
- whether your credentials are valid, and
- if they are equal to a completed Canadian one.
If you are getting an ECA report from the Medical Council of Canada or the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada, your ECA report must show that your foreign education credentials are equal to the Canadian credentials needed to practice that occupation in Canada.
When to get the ECA
Your ECA report must be less than 5 years old in order to use it for immigration purposes. Plan accordingly and get the report when you are closer to the date of applying to CIC.
Processing times depend on the institution. Prepare about 5 to 6 months to process (just to be safe). For doctors and Pharmacists, the process may be shorter; about 2 to 3 months.
How much does it cost?
Fees differ for each institution. Fees will range from approximately $200 to $520, also depending on whether or not you want to pay for an emergency fast processing.
What documents do I need?
Each institution has its own procedure. These are examples of documents you could need:
- Official copy of your graduation certificate, diploma or degree
- Official copy of your transcripts and/or dissertation/thesis
- Application forms specific to each institution
If your documents were not originally issued in English or French, you must provide word-for-word translations in the same format as the original.
These assessments help CIC make sure to choose immigrants with the best possible chances of success in Canada. But, being assessed does not guarantee you will get a job in your field or at a certain level.