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International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES): Why & How to Apply for an ECA Report

ICES only evaluates international academic credentials. Professional qualifications and trade assessments are not done by ICES.

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An assessment of your foreign education will be required if you are interested in Canada immigration, work in Canada as a skilled worker, or study abroad in Canada as an international student.

Various organizations issue assessments for foreign education. ICES is one of them.

What is ICES?

Here, ICES stands for International Credential Evaluation Service, an organization designated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to assess a foreign education’s equivalency in terms of Canadian education.

Established in 1995, International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES) assists individuals in getting the recognition they need for going ahead with their career and educational goals in Canada.  ICES compares education secured outside Canada to the general Canadian education system. A general comparison of the levels of study is provided.

Whether or not the institution and the program are recognized as per the Canadian standard is also established. While designated by the government of Canada, ICES works towards the benefit of all internationally-educated applicants across Canada.

Why do I need an ECA from ICES?

The evaluation reports are designed with the aim of facilitating the admission or hiring decisions made by employers, government bodies, educational institutions, and regulatory bodies.  Only advisory in nature, an ECA does not guarantee an admission to educational institutions or a job in Canada.

Helping an individual pursue a wide variety of goals overseas, an ECA report establishes if the credentials held by an individual successfully meet the requirements for admission, employment, or licensure in Canada. While the ICES evaluates credentials from all countries, certain countries have specific requirements.

Generally, it is the highest degree held by the applicant that will have to be assessed for an ECA report. If you hold a Master’s degree, you will only have to get an assessment for that degree. In such a case, an assessment will not be needed for your Bachelor’s degree.

ICES only evaluates international academic credentials. Professional qualifications and trade assessments are not done by ICES

What are the kinds of ECA reports offered by ICES?

The ICES offers three kinds of ECA reports -

  1. Immigration ECA
  2. Comprehensive, for work overseas or study abroad
  3. Basic, for general employment

What is the basic step-wise process to get an ECA?

Step 1: Selecting the right report

Step 2: Meeting the requirements

Step 3: Get to know what you pay for the ECA from ICES

Step 4: Applying

However, you can also apply for an ECA by ICES through a printable mail-in application.

If unable to apply online, the documents will have to be sent to -

International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES)

c/o General Application

3700 Willingdon Avenue

Burnaby, British Columbia




The processing time for your application will be as per the present volume of applications with ICES. No expedited or fast-track service available.

The timeline for a particular ECA Report procurement from ICES will be calculated from the day that all of the required items, including the fees, have been duly received.

Kindly note that the processing time does not include the time taken for you to get your report delivered, by mail or courier.

Due to external factors like the challenges thrown by COVID-19, new timelines were introduced with effect from April 1, 2021.

All immigration ECA applications received after April 1, 2021 will be processed within a 30-week timeline. The previous processing timeline was that of 20 weeks.

For those applying generally, and not for immigration purposes, the estimated timeline is between 4 weeks (for a Basic Report) to 7 weeks (for a Comprehensive Report).

While ICES is one of the organizations that provides assessment reports for foreign academic qualifications, it is not the only one around.

IRCC-designated organizations for a ECA Report

World Education Services (WES)

International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES)

International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS)

International Credential Assessment Service of Canada

Comparative Education Service - University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies


If planning to work in a regulated occupation, you might be required to get your assessment done by a specific designated organization.

Physicians, that is, individuals with their primary occupation as NOC 3111 or NOC 3112 - as per the National Occupational Classification (NOC) matrix of Canada - must get an ECA from the Medical Council of Canada.

The Canadian NOC is a comprehensive database that includes all the occupations, including the job titles and role requirements, available in the Canadian labour market.

NOC 3111 is for Specialist Physicians. NOC 3112, on the other hand, is the occupation code for General Practitioners and Family Physicians.

The occupation group of Pharmacists (NOC 3131) also requires a license before they can practice in Canada.

To be able to work in Canada as a pharmacist, you will require an assessment from the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada, the professional body for pharmacists.

If your position does not require a license to practice in Canada, you can get an assessment done through any of the other IRCC-designated organizations.

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