Is ECA Mandatory for Canada Immigration – Federal Self-employed Stream

Mandatory ECA for immigration to Canada is an inquiry I receive a lot of emails about.

I’m creating this post to address the ECA requirements and provide a point of easy reference while researching the federal self-employed immigration stream.

What is the ECA?

The ECA is an educational credential assessment carried out to verify that a foreign qualification is valid and equal to a Canadian qualification.

There are different types of ECA and it’s important to indicate the ECA you require is for immigration.

Usually, an ECA is required to be submitted with your online profile or application.

Is ECA Mandatory for Canada Immigration - Federal Self-employed Stream

Do You Need An ECA for Self-employed Immigration?

To qualify for the federal self-employed stream, you need a minimum of 35 points, which is based on IRCC’s five selection criteria and point system.

To receive points for your education, all you need to do is submit a copy of your degree, diploma or certificate.

You receive 5 – 25 points depending on the education category and how high your qualifications are.

You do not need an ECA to apply for the federal self-employed stream or submit your application.

However, I always advise people to get one anyway for the following reasons:-

  • Rules might change suddenly and you need one. If you start applying for it then, it might delay your approvals.
  • If you’re planning to go back to school at some point in Canada, the school will require an ECA so you might as well bring it with you.
  • Some jobs in Canada might also require an ECA to verify your qualifications.
  • Submitting an ECA with your application could provide a boost to your chances of success. In any case, it can’t hurt.

An ECA is valid for 5 years so why not just get it done before you move to Canada?

If you want to get an ECA (educational credential assessment) , I’ve outlined the steps below.

How Can I Get an ECA?

The IRCC has specific organizations designated to provide ECA services. Processing times and costs vary from organization to organization.

The designated organizations for getting an ECA include:-

I used World Education Services and found the service responsive and satisfactory.

I paid for the ECA and also paid the company that contacted the school back home to prepare and send the transcripts to them.

How Long Does An Education Credential Assessment Take?

It depends on your qualifications and the responsiveness of the institution.

Mine took some time (25 weeks) because there was some back and forth with the school about my birthdate.

Once it was verified, I received a notification and downloaded the ECA report from my profile.

Though a lot of these organizations mention short processing times on their websites, in the end, it’s really dependent on your school’s response time.

Documents Required for the ECA

For the company I used World Education Services, they required:-

  • Photocopy of my degree certificate
  • Copies of my transcripts for each year sent directly to them from the school

If you have more than 1 credential such as 2 degrees or a degree and a master’s, you need to get an ECA for each one.

If your ECA report shows your credential isn’t equal to a Canadian credential or your institution is not recognized, then you won’t get any points.

Best ECA for Canada Immigration

There are 5 organizations designated by IRCC for ECA but the fastest and most responsive seems to be WES (World Education Services).

This is based on the feedback from people on various immigration forums and websites.

To summarize, you don’t need an ECA report to submit your application for the federal self-employed program but it doesn’t hurt to get one done.

Coupled up? Go ahead and get one for your partner too for their highest level of education.

If you have any questions about getting an ECA, drop them in the comments section.

This post may contain affiliate links which means I will make a small commission if you purchase through those links. Read full disclosure HERE.

2 thoughts on “Is ECA Mandatory for Canada Immigration – Federal Self-employed Stream”

  1. Hi, thanks for this in-depth article; it’s super helpful as I’m also in the middle of starting my application for the self-employed program. You mentioned you paid a company back home to collect transcripts from your school, do you mind sharing which company it is, please?


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