Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) are used by Canada’s provinces and territories to nominate foreign nationals for permanent residence. Except for Nunavut and Quebec, each province and territory has its own Provincial Nominee Program. PNPs consist of different streams that target various types of candidates, such as skilled and semi-skilled workers, students and/or business people.

How does PNP work?

In general terms, obtaining permanent residence through Provincial Nominee Programs consist of two main steps.

First, a candidate must qualify for a specific PNP stream and submit an application to a provincial immigration office. If approved, the candidate receives a provincial nomination (i.e. Provincial Nomination Certificate).

Second, with the Provincial Nomination Certificate and a complete application, the candidate applies to the federal government for permanent residence.

Provincial Nominee Programs Requirements

As said, the first step is to choose a suitable Provincial Nominee Program and make sure that you meet the requirements of a specific PNP stream.

Most PNP streams will assess your qualifications based on your skills, education, work experience and other factors. The prerequisite of all PNPs is that you intend to live in the province where you are applying.

Click on the Provincial Nominee Programs below to learn about their streams and requirements

What is the Provincial Nomination Certificate

In plain words, a Provincial Nomination Certificate is a permission given to you by a provincial government to apply for permanent residency.

It is given to you as a letter. It will say that you were approved by the Provincial Nominee Program and that the next step is to apply for permanent residence. Therefore, receiving a provincial nomination certificate is not the end of the journey. You still need to apply for permanent residence. The nomination certificate is your ticket for the rest of the journey.

The nomination letter will list your name (and the names of your family members if applicable), date of birth, passport number, what occupation you were nominated under (if applicable), the nomination expiry date and other information specific to your situation.

In some PNP streams, a Provincial Nomination Certificate is given to you together with a PNP Work Permit Support Letter. This second letter will allow you extending or applying for a work permit.

If you need clarification on any part of your Provincial Nomination Certificate, try my Ask-an-Immigration-Question tool and ask an immigration consultant a specific question. It will likely cost you only a few dollars and you will get the peace of mind you need. 

What is a PNP Work Permit Support Letter?

A PNP Work Permit Support Letter allows you and your spouse to apply for work permits or extend existing work permits without a Labour Market Impact Assessment. Read also Spouses and Common-Law Partners of Provincial Nominees.

It is given mostly to applicants who were nominated with a job offer from a Canadian employer.

You will likely not get this letter if your PNP stream is aligned with Express Entry or if a job offer was not required as a part of the Provincial Nominee Program requirements.

A PNP Work Permit Support Letter often does not have an expiry date and can be used during the entire permanent residency (PR) processing, providing that the applicant’s PR application has been accepted into processing.

Paper-Based Permanent Residency Process

Most Provincial Nominees (holders of the Provincial Nomination Certificate) will have to apply for permanent residence to the Federal government through a paper-based process.

This applies to nominees of PNP streams that are not aligned with Express Entry. In fact, majority of PNP streams are not Express Entry aligned at this time.

Your paper-based application will consist of application forms, supporting documents and application processing fees.

Importantly, you will need to attach your Provincial Nomination Certificate.

For all requirements visit the federal government site here.

Online Express Entry Process

Currently, each Provincial Nominee Programs has at least one stream that is aligned with Express Entry. Permanent residence applications, under these PNP streams, are submitted online upon an Express Entry Invitation to Apply. You will need to create an Express Entry profile prior or after receiving an Express Entry-aligned provincial nomination. This depends on the specific requirement of the PNP stream.

Read on submissions through Express Entry-aligned provincial nominee programs.