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Best Practices - Pre and Post ITA (Lessons Learned Post)


Star Member
Aug 13, 2017


This is a lesson learnt/best practices post. There are loads of stuff I have gained while applying for my PR under FSW through Express Entry – and practically whatever issues/concerns I ever had were answered by this forum itself. I didn’t have to resort to any consultant for the same. So if you have a straight forward case (no prior rejections, no criminal cases, clean medicals), I seriously advise to do the application all by yourself. Some of the points mentioned below shall be pretty obvious for some of you – but not for others.

Download the folder structure – this will come handy.


(click the DOWNLOAD ALL button to download the folder to your machine)

A) Pre ITA: The goal is to have an accurate ‘Express Entry’ profile created before the ITA is received – so that the ‘Permanent Residence’ application created (automatically, post ITA) doesn’t differ much from the EE Profile. The reason being – such deviations between the two profiles are usually visible to the visa accessing officer/agent and may lead to unnecessary flagging or delayed application process.

· Ensure that you select the primary NOC code that you can defend – in most of the cases, the applicant (you) will have to give a draft letter to the Personnel Office/HR – so ensure that you select a NOC code for which the job duties shall be approved without question/concerns.

· If you have had a change of language scores post Enquiry of Result, do ensure to update the Test Score Card number, the result date and the latest scores. Always make sure that the CRS score is inline with your own calculation. Discrepancy, if any, is almost always due to some mistake from your end. CIC’s system is as such pretty accurate.

· If you aren’t claiming any points for your Spouses Work Ex, you may very well ignore filling the same in the profile – such experiences should be covered in personal experience section.

B) Post ITA - NOC Letters:

Have good confidence on the NOC code you select. Ensure that you understand the rules clearly. You need to select a Primary NOC on which your immigration application shall be based on. Even if the Personnel department have their own format, you need to ensure that the letter covers each of the component: Your Name (as mentioned in the EE Profile), Date of Joining, Date of Leaving, Designation, Salary drawn, Hours worked per week, Job Description (this should include ALL of the lead statement and at least 50-60% of the main duties – check the rule). So if you have an opportunity to give the HR department a draft, first run the draft with a trusted friend or spouse to give the letter an unbiased look. Also ensure that you check the Education Qualification required – and if you are over or under qualified for the NOC, do ensure to cover this in the LOE.

Don’t assume that the HR or your Ex- Manager will not issue the letter – people are generally good in nature and if you give them reason for the letter, they will relent. I practically assumed the same for quite some time and was planning to give a self-declaration – but then on spouse’s insistence I started communicating with my ex-organisations – and voila! Remember that a letter from HR or your manager is much stronger than a self-declaration.

In case the letter is issued with any of the elements not mentioned – cover the same in LOE. Also make sure that you attach the offer letter, joining letter, salary slips, IT Returns. FORM 16, relieving letters etc that you have (search your email, you will get some of this). The more document you submit, the stronger your case will be.

Basically put yourself in the shoe of an analyst – you need to convince yourself first that the proofs you are giving doesn’t leave any doubt in the mind of analyst. For example, in case the word ‘Full Time’ isn’t mentioned, ensure that you put a link of labour law from the country of experience to substantiate that full time work ex implies 8-9 hours per day. Agents and Officers are used to go through voluminous data, and so if you feel that a document will add even 1% value to your case, do no hesitate to include the same in the necessary section. Always remember that the onus to provide the required document is with you - so if a sub-standard document is provided by the HR, it is your application which is getting affected. Be accountable.

C) Proof of Funds:

The best Proof of Funds you can give is to show the funds in your Bank Account. Don’t show any Stocks/Mutual Funds (Debt/Equity), Pension Funds etc. They aren’t valid. If you plan on showing Fixed Deposit – liquidate the monies to your savings account and then get the balance confirmation. You are free to Fixed Deposit the next day you receive the AOR.

Do send them 6 months – 12 months bank statements for all the saving account that you have. Explain all the high value transaction in the POF Section itself (for ex: if you sold some stocks/mutual funds to show an POF, mention the same in a letter in POF section and show them the contract note and the DP holding statement for the last 6-8 months to assure them that the stocks or mutual fund belonged to you all these while). I repeat, show only funds in Savings Bank Account and Explain ALL high value transactions.

If the bank letter hasn’t converted the funds to CAD, you mention the same in POF section that the converted value is CAD ___ as on YYYY_MM_DD based on the exchange rate taken from ____.ca on this date.

If you aren’t able to show proof that you do not have any outstanding loans, mention in your POF section that I have declared all operational Bank Accounts and that since there are no EMIs getting deducted, there isn’t any outstanding loan.

Make sure that the bank account is in your name only. If it is jointly held, even with your spouse, attach a signed declaration for the same. Better – reach an internal arrangement and strike her/his name off before getting the balance confirmation letter from your bank/financial institution.

There have been so many cases of FDs being sent for extra reviews – which leads to unnecessary delays. Avoid FDs at all cost. 1-2 months of Interest lost in FD isn’t a significant amount.

Attach a bank stamped summary of your operational credit card – write in LOE or POF that the outstanding amounts are general day to day expenses and will be cleared before the next billing cycle. Highlight the fact that there are no Finance Charges on the credit card.

If you have an outstanding loan, show the principal and interest outstanding – and show how you plan to clear the same.

Keep around CAD 2-3k extra if possible in the bank account. You do not want the currency fluctuation impact your application.
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Star Member
Aug 13, 2017

D) Travel History

Capture this in an excel sheet first (refer the google doc link in the beginning of the post). Go through each and every page of your passport. Account for EACH entry/exit stamp, visa on your passport. All these stamps should be captured in the travel history.

Go through your Google Photos/Facebook/Instagram history over the past 10-12 years. Look at the vacations you made abroad, and ensure they are captured.

If there are any unstamped Visas on your passport, explain the same in LOE that though I have a visa, I did not travel (make sections in LOE, more later on this).

For exact travel dates, go through your email, scroll through the air tickets.

Do the same for your spouse as well. DON’T MISS ANYTHING.

Always mention the travel from the country of residence. So suppose you are an Indian Citizen working in UAE and that while in UAE you traveled to Oman, KSA, Qatar and even India.

You should cover the same as:

20Mar2017 11Mar2019 UAE (this is the time you were in UAE on work Visa)
19Apr2017 22Apr2017 OMAN (this travel was when your resident country was UAE)
25Apr2017 31May2017 INDIA (this travel was when your resident country was UAE)

So if you are in a foreign country for Work or Study, mention the first and last date of your stay in the country on the corresponding visa. You still will have to cover all the travels made – but then it will be from the ‘country of residence’ and not from ‘country of origin’. If you capture the detail in this manner, the system will generate the requirement for PCC automatically.

E) Work History

Needless to say, only put those work histories for which you will be able to get the Experience letters.

In my case, I wasn’t comfortable to get a letter from my current employer – so I didn’t declare in the EE or PR profile. If you have sufficient work ex – and you are clearly meeting the EE CRS and FSW eligibility - adding any extra experiences will, though not make a difference, but will make your application stronger.

Ensure that the letter covers ALL of the duties mentioned in LEAD STATEMENT and most of the duties mentioned in Main Duties section. It should not be in verbatim. Duties should not repeat exactly across letters. Be careful with this.

The experience letter should be DATED, SIGNED and STAMPED, should have all the necessary ingredients (Number of hours, All emoluments, reporting manager name, job duties - should match with NOC’s)

F) Address History

Use excel sheet first. Cover all addresses where you stayed – this mean – you moved in those addresses with all your luggage. This could include the initial accommodation you stayed during the start of your new job and all the houses you ever stayed (even if it is in the same city),

This may not include your business visit to other country you made for a month – as your permanent address hasn’t changed (you travelled on business or visit or tourist visa).

Make this list in an excel sheet. Use the formulaes in excel to ensure that you do not miss even a single day in the last 10 years for which you haven’t mentioned an address. The EE UI isn’t smart enough yet to point the same conclusively.

G) Personal History

Same as above - Make this list in an excel sheet. Use the formulaes in excel to ensure that you do not miss even a single day in the last 10 years for which you haven’t mentioned an address. The EE UI isn’t smart enough yet to point the same our conclusively.

If you started a company, or you are appointed as an Independent Director – you need to capture the same in this space. Such things can easily be dug out during Background Check and then it can be harder to explain.

If you went for a long vacation on paid leave, the same need not be captured – even if this shows up in your travel history.

If you were in between job shifts for more than a week or two – capture the same. Even if it is less than a month, it needs to be captured.

You need to be as accurate as possible – even if this means having many rows of entry.

If you held two positions in same time period, mention the same in two rows.

Make sure you do not miss out on Military Trainings/ Government positions by any chance.


Make sure that the addresses, if any, mentioned on the kids birth certificates, or the marriage certificates matches with the address history. If not, cover this point in the LOE.


Contrary the what some people thing – the LOE can be long – but should have only important information that you were not able to capture in the main application.

If your name is mentioned differently in marriage certificate, employment letters, passport or birth certificates (as parents), make a Same Name Declaration (one for you and one for spouse, if needed). Attached a color scanned copy of the document in the LOE.

LOE need not be signed as you always sign the application digitally before submitting.

If some employment reference letters are missing any of the required data (such as number of hours, designation or dates) mention the same here. If the company has closed down or underwent acquisition, make sure to attach the corporate affairs publication or newspaper article links to substantiate the same. The agents for sure do a Google check for all the experiences mentioned – so if they find out of any discrepancy from what you have mentioned, they will flag it as RR and the application may take extra time.

There isn’t any format for LOE, but it’s better to address it to the VISA OFFICER, IRCC and date the same. Ensure that you format the LOE or Client Info properly – it shouldn’t confuse the reader.

Ensure that the letter is written in good and error free English.


If you don’t have a scanner at home, it would be a good idea to borrow one for a while from your friend. Also do download Adobe PRO and take a monthly subscription. The software comes handy for curtailing the size of the document and also to arrange your scanned documents.

You need to ensure that even after degrading the PDF file, the document is easily readable and if a print is taken, the same will be of a decent quality.


Do follow all the instructions mentioned on the IRCC website. Apply early – so that there aren’t any last minute surprises. Make sure you give the latest photo for PCC and if the dates of stay are covered – ensure that PCC is for the entire duration. IRCC has zero tolerance for errors in PCC and will mark your application as incomplete. Remember that officer/agent may ask for additional documents – but there isn’t any compulsion for them to raise such a demand.

Always attach a color scanned copy of the PCC.

L) Peer Review

All said and done, it is a good idea to get your file peer reviewed by a colleague. Make sure you give her ample time to review and incentivise them to find mistakes in your application.


Star Member
Aug 13, 2017

M) Use Excel Sheet and Google Docs

I have made an excel sheet to capture the Education History, Travel History, Work History, Personal History and Work History. This came very handy for me (even during peer review stage).

(Check the link at the beginning of the post)

Upload the scanned documents in the respective folder structure. Each folder has the necessary guideline.

N) Medicals

Ensure that you don’t drink alcohol for at least 2-3 days before the medical exam. You do not want any of your parameters off the track.

Ensure that the BP and Weight is accurately measured. The health centre is usually very crowded and so the staffs (humans!) may make mistake in measuring Blood Pressure or such parameters. If they write anything in RED, try insisting on taking the reading again.

Make sure that NON-EDE is mentioned on the proof of medical that you receive from the centre.

O) Education

Ensure that you attach all the Degree Certificates, Marksheets, WES and IELTS reports (do include 10th and 12th standard mark sheet and passing certificates as well) – it doesn’t hurt giving extra documents!

P) Post PPR

Ensure that you provide the photos as per the specification. Carry a ruler with you, or use the measure app on iPhone to physically verify the size of the photo.

Carry cash to VFSs in India – they still don’t accept plastic money.

Carry two copies of each of the passport to VFS – they will send each of them to IRCC.

Give atleast 12 working days after your package has reached IRCC before following up with High Commission. The CIC Account gets updated first.

If you are going to VFS to personally collect the passport, carry photocopy of passport for each of the passport submitted.

Last but not the least – this is your application, so own it. If you spend good time on your application now, it will save a lot of apprehensions for you post AOR. There is no point in ranting on the forum about no updates, or requesting for GCMS notes in three months, or calling up CIC and learning that even after four months the eligibility hasn’t started. I have been through all these things – and I know it isn’t easy to hold your urge – but then it takes 9 months for a human baby, 70 days for a dog, 66 days for cat, 23 months for elephant and 6 months for EE. Any number of USG examination will not, in any way, expedite the process.


Full Member
Apr 30, 2019
Hi, I got an ITA in the last draw and my agent is saying that there us a technical problem in the system and he isn't able to access and download the the document. He did email CIC but hasn't heard back from them. Any advice as to how to deal with this?? I have all the documents ready but can't do the medical test because I don't have the ITA document.