FAQ: General Applicants

Is a certified or notarized copy of a document acceptable in place of the original?

No. Certified/notarized copies will be treated as copies and not original or official documents by ICES. Some organizations require that the ICES evaluation be based on an original document. If this is not required by the organization that you are applying to, ICES can complete your report with a document alert that says originals were not submitted.

The alert will read as follows: "IMPORTANT NOTE - Document Authentication: ICES recommends all official or original documents be submitted for evaluation. Since original documents were not submitted for evaluation, authentication of this credential was not possible."


How do I know if ICES considers my documents to be an original, official, or a copy?


ICES defines Original documents as the original document that was given to you from your educational institution. For example, the degree certificate you received at your graduation ceremony, or what you would hang on your wall. Normally, an Original document will be printed on special paper and contain seals, signature and stamps from your educational institution.


An Official document is a document sent directly to the ICES offices by the Registrar or other appropriate authority from the educational institution that awarded your credential. For a document to be considered Official, it must also have the proper seals and/or signatures according to the practices of your home country.

ICES does not consider a document to be Official if it has been couriered and/or mailed by a third party (for example, a relative in your home country) or if the document was sent and/or given to you before it was sent to the ICES offices. It is also important to note that a document with a stamp on it stating the document is 'official,' it may not necessarily meet ICES standards as an Official document. Please note that any official documents sent to ICES from your educational institution(s) become the property of ICES and will not be returned to you.


ICES defines a copy of a document as a photocopy of an original document. Certified/notarized copies are also treated as copies and are not considered to be original or official documents by ICES.


Can you tell me how many points I have for immigration and give me an idea of what my credential is comparable to over the telephone or by email?

No. ICES evaluations do not assign points for immigration purposes. Although Citizenship and Immigration Canada often refer to our evaluation reports when considering a candidate for immigration, we cannot answer questions on their behalf. The web-site for Citizenship and Immigration Canada is www.cic.gc.ca/.

Please note ICES representatives are unable to provide statements of comparability over the telephone or by email. In all cases, ICES needs to research the credential further before providing any statement on comparability. This ensures that ICES goes through with an accurate and reliable process in assessing the credential.


How do I know what kind of evaluation I need?

Please click Applying for evaluation. If you are planning to apply to an organization, you need to read and follow the instructions they are linked to when filling out your application form. To see the list of organizations please click the Organizations using ICES link.

If the organization your report is for is not listed, you should consider the needs of the person you are going to show the report to. There is a description of the ICES evaluation reports at Applying for Evaluations.

In general, employers and immigration authorities require a Basic Evaluation (which does not include a list of your individual subjects studied).

If the report recipient wants to see all your courses, grades, and credits then you need a Comprehensive Evaluation. If you are still not sure, ask the person or organization you will show the evaluation to if they need to see the courses you took, your grades, and your credits; or if they only want to know how your education compares to education in Canada (Basic Report).


I'm having my university send you documents. Do I need to apply before the documents get there?

We don't throw out mail that universities send us, but in general your evaluation will proceed more quickly if you have applied before official documents get here. That way the mail goes into your file the moment it arrives.


I don't have all the necessary documents. Can you start work on my evaluation?

Yes, ICES is able to base evaluations on photocopied or incomplete sets of documents. In order to request that ICES start your evaluation based on photocopied or incomplete documents, please check the box at the end of "Educational History and Credential Order Form" of your ICES application form. ICES includes a document authentication warning on reports that were based on incomplete documentation. The alert similar to this will appear: "IMPORTANT NOTE - Document Authentication: ICES recommends all official or original documents be submitted for evaluation. Since original documents were not submitted for evaluation, authentication of this credential was not possible.'

If you later submit a full set of original or official documents, ICES can revise your evaluation report; however, a $50 revision fee must be submitted along with the new documents. If a complete set of documents is submitted before the evaluation is completed, then no additional fee is required.

It is important to note that some organizations will not accept reports based on incomplete documents. If your evaluation is clearly for one of these organizations, ICES will not begin work until the full set of necessary documents has arrived. We do not want to start work and then discover that you want to cancel your evaluation because the documentation is not available. In these cases, we encourage you to gather all necessary documents before submitting your application form to ICES.


Does ICES have any offices or agents outside of Canada?

The International Credential Evaluation Service operates out of an office in Burnaby, BC, Canada. Our services may be directly accessed from anywhere in the world by submitting an application form, which is available on our website. Educational documents may be sent to us via regular mail or courier.

While there are many agencies that assist individuals in seeking an assessment of their education from ICES, they are not authorized to charge any premiums for this service. It is not necessary to access our service through any third party as individuals may come to us directly.


How long does an evaluation take?

This varies with the type of evaluation you ask for. It normally takes a minimum of four weeks to complete a Basic evaluation from the date all necessary documents are received by ICES and currently takes a minimum of 7 weeks to complete a comprehensive evaluation from the date all necessary documents are received by ICES.


I need to prove that I have Math 12 and Chemistry 12. What evaluation will help me prove I have those?

ICES evaluations measure the level of education, not the content of the courses, and do not specifically mention which courses in the country of your education match courses and programs here. A comprehensive evaluation will list the courses you took and convert the grades and credits to a Canadian scale, but the decision of whether or not your courses satisfy BC requirements is left to the person who receives the report.


What if I want another credential added to my other credentials after my report is finished?

Adding another entirely new credential onto a completed evaluation will cost the same as getting a new report for a single credential.


What does it mean if ICES has sent inquiries seeking more information about my credentials?

ICES may require further information regarding credits/hours, grade scales, minimum admission requirements, minimum duration of the program, recognition of the program and institution and in some cases verification that the credential was awarded.

In all cases we do our very best to contact the appropriate authority by email, fax and mail (when all contact information is available to us). We notify ICES clients by letter if we have initiated an inquiry and we urge our clients to contact their school records or registrar's department to encourage them to respond to any inquiry that has been sent out.

Please note, ICES will resend this inquiry if it goes unanswered. ICES periodically resends inquiries until a response is generated. Clients may also want to contact our office to confirm when the last inquiry was sent out. Also, clients are welcome to provide any updated contact information they may have to assist ICES in clarifying and requesting information. This information should be sent to us in writing via email, fax or written letter.

Please be advised, responses to our inquiries must be sent by the school and or appropriate authority directly and must bear all the required stamps, seals, signatures and postal markings. In many cases we will ask that a written response be sent by mail (hard copy) if the answers to inquiries have only been returned via email or fax.


What is a credential?

A credential is one partially or fully completed educational program from one institution leading to a certificate, diploma or degree. Each certificate, diploma or degree program you have taken is a separate credential. Course work or credit completed at two or more different institutions and applied (or transferred) towards a credential is considered to be more than one credential.


If I'm having more than one credential evaluated, will all my credentials appear on the same report?

Yes, if a client is having more than one credential evaluated they will appear on a single report; however, if a client would like the report split into separate reports, a $50 fee is required. Please note that it is not usual that an employer, regulatory body or post-secondary institution require this separation.


Has ICES changed the security paper of the evaluation report?

The International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES) has changed its security paper over the years and security features vary throughout time. If you have received a report and question its authenticity please contact our office immediately.


I completed my Ph.D, but the only requirement was my dissertation and research. There is no transcript because no courses were required for completion. Should I get a comprehensive evaluation?

Since you completed a research only degree it is probably not necessary for you to have a comprehensive evaluation as there will be no courses listed in your table. Generally, ICES recommends that only a Basic evaluation be completed.


I want a comprehensive evaluation for my high school/secondary studies, but I've been told my credits/hours will not converted?

Please note that ICES only converts credit information for post-secondary studies. ICES is unable to convert credit information for secondary programs.


Why doesn't ICES exclusively use email to contact clients?

Although in many cases we use email to correspond to clients, it is our policy to normally correspond by written letter.


Why will you not take my information over the phone, why must I submit everything in writing?

Due to the international nature of our service we have found that having a written record of questions, concerns, and information changes helps significantly with clarity. If clients have concerns, questions, or address changes we require them to be sent via fax, email, or regular mail.


Why will you not call me when my official documents arrive?

Although we would like to keep everyone informed about the status of their files, due to the sheer volume of mail we receive we are unable to individually contact each client to inform them that documents have arrived. If you wish to find out more about the status of a file, please contact our office via telephone or email.


Damage to documents.

Although ICES makes every effort to protect documents from damage, we cannot take responsibility for damage sustained by weather, postal services or courier companies. ICES is not responsible for damage sustained to documents in transit either arriving or departing our office.


Final evaluation report will be issued in English (unless the original documents are only in French and no English translations have been submitted.

In cases where an individual only submits documents in French, ICES will not translate these documents into English, course names, titles and other information will remain in French if applicable. If an individual submits English translations ICES will use this information in the evaluation report, no information will be translated into French.


Students with Punjab Technical University credential must read the attached document:

Please see Punjab Technical University credential information [PDF].


Embossed Seal.

As of April 16, 2012 ICES has updated the embossed seal that appears on the evaluation report. Institutions, organizations, regulatory bodies and employers familiar with our old seal will notice a modernization in our logo. If you have any questions about the authenticity of the report please contact our office.


I'm applying for immigration under the Federal Skilled Worker Category (FSWP), what do I do?

Starting August 6th, 2015, BCIT's International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES) is pleased to announce that it will become a designated service to provide Educational Credential Assessments (ECA) reports for Canadian immigration purposes. ICES will join some of the other members of the Alliance of Credential Evaluation Services of Canada (ACESC) in providing this service for Canadian immigration. For more information about designated services and the ECA please visit the CIC site.

For more information on obtaining an ICES ECA please see our website at: www.bcit.ca/ices/ecaTop

I've applied to two different organizations/regulatory bodies with my original documents, and I realized they both have different document requirements. Why did you not start working on my evaluation for the one organization that only requires original documents?

Please note different organizations and regulatory bodies may have different document requirements. If you are applying to more than one organization, ICES will put your file on hold until all document requirements have been met and then proceed with your evaluation from that date forward. Unless otherwise notified this is the standard policy of ICES.


Should I submit my original documents for evaluation, are they safe from loss or damage?

Please note, it is recommended that you arrange for official documents to be sent directly to the International Credential Evaluation Service to mitigate any risks related to loss or damage of educational documents. ICES cannot be responsible for lost or damaged documents.