All You Need To Know About The Canada-Ukraine Authorization For Emergency Travel

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All You Need To Know About The Canada-Ukraine Authorization For Emergency Travel
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Canada immigration news: Ukrainian refugees who want to immigrate to Canada can do so under the newly-created Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) pathway.

“Businesses and employers can now add jobs for Ukrainians on Canada’s online job bank and we are working with partners, including provinces and territories, the business community, the Ukrainian-Canadian community, and settlement organizations on how best to support Ukrainians,” says Immigration Minister Sean Fraser.


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The new pathway which is now accepting applications and provides those fleeing the Russia-Ukraine war launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin with the opportunity to stay in Canada for up to three years and be eligible for free open work and study permits.

New Pathways Allows Ukrainians To Come To Canada Until It Is Safe To Go Home

Under the CUAET, Ukrainian nationals who hold a valid Ukrainian passport or another national identity document who are currently outside of Canada can get a visitor visa to come to here temporarily, until it is safe for them to return to Ukraine. 

Those who have neither a passport nor national identity documents can still apply but an immigration officer will then need to determine if they meet the requirements for a temporary resident permit.

The Visitor Visa:

  • is fee-exempt;
  • is valid for 10 years or until the applicant’s passport expires;
  • allows the Ukrainian national to travel in and out of Canada, as long as their visa is valid;
  • will be processed on a priority basis, and;
  • gives the applicant the option to apply for a fee-exempt work permit at the same time.

When those Ukrainian nationals arrive in Canada through the CUAET, they are given the status of a:

  • visitor;
  • worker, if they applied for the open work permit, or;
  • student, if they’re under 18 and want to study in Canada.

When that status in Canada is about to expire, the applicant simply needs to apply to extend their stay.

The CUAET pathway is open even for unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated Ukrainians – or those whose vaccines are recognized by the World Health Organization but not by Canada.

Spouses and Children of Ukrainians Need To Show Family Relationship

“When you arrive in Canada, you need to show that you’re a Ukrainian national or a family member of a Ukrainian national to benefit from this exemption,” states the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

“You must meet all other public health requirements, such as quarantine and testing. With limited exceptions, all travellers to Canada, including anyone arriving under the CUAET, must also use ArriveCAN.”

Ukrainians coming to Canada under the CUAET do not have to pay the biometrics fee but do have to submit those biometrics.

Canada is also waving other fees under this special pathway, including fees for:

  • temporary resident visa;
  • open work permit;
  • study permit;
  • biometrics, and;
  • temporary resident permit.

Applications under the CUAET are done online through the IRCC portal.

“If it’s your first time using the IRCC Portal, you need an invitation code to create an account. We’ll ask for your email and give you a code to sign up,” states the IRCC website.

With that invitation code, the Ukrainian national creates an online portal account and then completes the online application form after logging in.

Online IRCC Portal Allows Ukrainians To Apply For Work Permits

“When you apply for the CUAET, you may be eligible to apply for an open work permit at the same time,” states the IRCC website. “This work permit lets you work for most employers in Canada.”

The new pathway is also open to family members of Ukrainian nationals, including their spouses or common-law partners, their dependent children and the dependent children of their spouse or common-law partner, and their dependent grandchildren. 

These relatives of Ukrainian nationals can apply under the CUAET if they are:

  • are from a visa-required country;
  • can prove they are indeed a family member of that Ukrainian national, and;
  • have a valid passport.

Documents which can be used to prove a family relationship include:

  • a marriage certificate or proof of common-law status;
  • a birth certificate;
  • other documents that show an immediate family connection, such as correspondence from the IRCC showing a spousal sponsorship application in progress or documents that showing a shared home address.

Border services officer may request those documents so those travelling through this pathway are encouraged to have them on their person when they travel to Canada.

Those under the CUAET from a country which requires an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to board a flight to Canada need to apply and pay for an eTA before traveling to Canada.

Those countries are:

  • Andorra;
  • Australia;
  • Austria;
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados;
  • Belgium;
  • British citizens;
  • British nationals (overseas);
  • British overseas citizens (re-admissible to the United Kingdom);
  • British overseas territory citizens with citizenship through birth, descent, naturalization or registration in one of the British overseas territories of:
  • Anguilla;
  • Bermuda;
  • British Virgin Islands;
  • Cayman Islands;
  • Falkland Islands (Malvinas);
  • Gibraltar;
  • Montserrat;
  • Pitcairn Island;
  • Saint Helena;
  • Turks and Caicos Islands;
  • British subjects with a right of abode in the United Kingdom;
  • Brunei Darussalam;
  • Bulgaria;
  • Chile;
  • Croatia;
  • Cyprus;
  • Czech Republic;
  • Denmark;
  • Estonia;
  • Finland;
  • France;
  • Germany;
  • Greece;
  • Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China;
  • Hungary;
  • Iceland;
  • Ireland;
  • Israel;
  • Italy;
  • Japan;
  • Republic of Korea;
  • Latvia;
  • Liechtenstein;
  • Lithuania;
  • Luxembourg;
  • Malta;
  • Mexico;
  • Monaco;
  • Netherlands;
  • New Zealand;
  • Norway;
  • Papua New Guinea;
  • Poland;
  • Portugal;
  • Romania;
  • Samoa;
  • San Marino;
  • Singapore;
  • Slovakia;
  • Slovenia;
  • Solomon Islands;
  • Spain;
  • Sweden;
  • Switzerland;
  • Taiwan;
  • United Arab Emirates;
  • United States;
  • the Vatican.

Those With eTAs Can Still Benefit From CUAET On Arrival

Ukrainian nationals and their family member who already have a valid visitor visa or eTA, can travel to Canada on their existing visitor visas or eTAs and benefit from the CUAET once they arrive.

Those Ukrainian nationals who are already in Canada can also benefit from the CUAET to extend their stays as visitors or workers for three more years, or until their passports expire, or remain in Canada as a student for the duration of their studies. 

Canadian immigration officials advise any Ukrainian national in Canada whose passport is expiring to renew it at a Ukrainian embassy in Canada.

Canada has vowed to accept an unlimited number of Ukrainians and could see a massive influx of newcomers.

Among the new immigration measures announced since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war are:

  • a dedicated service channel for Ukraine enquiries that will be available for clients both in Canada and abroad at 613-321-4243, with collect calls accepted. In addition, clients can now add the keyword “Ukraine2022” to the IRCC Webform with their enquiry and their e-mail will be prioritized;
  • urgent processing of travel documents, including issuing single-journey travel documents for immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents who do not have valid passports;
  • an updated web page to provide current information on measures. This page will include content in Ukrainian for ease of reference;
  • permission for Ukrainians currently in Canada to extend their stay or stay longer in Canada by prioritizing the renewal of work and study permits, and extending a policy that allows individuals to apply for a work permit from within Canada. This policy would allow temporary residents who receive a job offer to remain in Canada and start working while they wait for their work permit application to be processed, and;
  • the issuance of open work permits to Ukrainian visitors, workers and students who are currently in Canada and cannot go home, so they can stay longer if they wish. Fees are being waived, retroactive to Feb. 22, for certain travel and immigration documents, such as Canadian passports, permanent resident travel documents, proofs of citizenship, visitor visas, and work and study permits. 

Special Family Reunification Plan For Ukrainians In The Works

The IRCC is also planning to soon put in place a special family reunification sponsorship pathway for permanent residence for the immediate and extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents who may want to start a new life in Canada.

Ottawa is working with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress to hammer out the details of that program and expects to unveil it in a few weeks.

“To the people of Ukraine, you have inspired the world with your courage and resilience, and Canada is here to support you,” the IRCC states on its website. “We are actively working to launch these measures and stand ready to welcome more Ukrainians to Canada.” 

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Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of immigration.ca featured on Wikipedia. Colin Singer is also founding director of the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center (CCIRC) Inc. He served as an Associate Editor of ‘Immigration Law Reporter’, the pre-eminent immigration law publication in Canada. He previously served as an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec and National Immigration Law Sections and is currently a member of the Canadian Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Colin has twice appeared as an expert witness before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He is frequently recognized as a recommended authority at national conferences sponsored by government and non-government organizations on matters affecting Canada’s immigration and human resource industries. Since 2009, Colin has been a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the profession, and became a lifetime member in 2018.