New authorization for emergency travel for Ukrainians seeking to migrate to Canada
By Miguel A. Martins, Canadian Immigration Lawyer
In support of those affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Canada has introduced the Canada-Ukraine authorization for emergency travel (CUAET) to help Ukrainians and their family members come to Canada as quickly as possible and to provide them with the ability to work or study while in Canada.
Those already in Canada have the option to extend their visitor status, work permit, or study permit through the CUAET.
This article is written to provide Ukrainians and their family members with clarification regarding the application process. If you require further assistance regarding the CUAET, please reach out to us.
Eligibility for the CUAET
Ukrainian nationals and their family members are eligible to apply for the CUAET. Family members can be of any nationality and are defined as:
- The spouse or common law partner of a Ukrainian national;
- Their dependent child;
- The dependent child of their spouse or common-law partner; or
- A dependent child of their dependent child (grandchildren).
Family members must prove that the are a family member of a Ukrainian national. Documents that can be used to prove a family relationship include:
- a marriage certificate or proof of common-law status (documents showing a shared address)
- shared ownership of residential property
- joint leases or rental agreements
- bills for shared utility accounts, such as:
- joint utility accounts
- driver’s licenses
- insurance policies
- tax documents
- a birth certificate for dependent children and grandchildren.
When applicants travel, they should bring the documents above proving their family relationship to a Ukrainian national.
If applicants do not have a valid Ukrainian passport or national identity document, they can still apply. An immigration officer will determine eligibility based on the explanation and documents provided.
Canada will also allow entry to applicants who are not fully vaccinated, although applicants will have to meet other public health requirements, such as quarantine and testing.
Ukrainians and Family Members Outside of Canada The CUAET gives applicants and their family members a visitor visa to come to Canada temporarily. The visa:
- is fee exempt;
- is valid for ten years or until their passport expires;
- allows travel in and out of Canada if the visa is valid; and
- gives applicants the option to apply for an open work permit at the same time.
It is strongly recommended that applicants apply for the open work permit option at the same time, even if they do not intend to work in Canada upon arrival. The open work permit allows applicants to work for any employer they choose, and work experience in Canada will significantly increase the opportunity to qualify for Canadian permanent residence.
Upon arrival in Canada, applicants will be given status as either a:
- worker, if they applied for the open work permit; or
- student, if they’re under 18 and want to study in Canada.
If applicants are over 18 and want to study, they should first apply to the CUAET. After they arrive in Canada, they can apply for a study permit. More information on study permit applications under the CUAET can be found here. Ukrainians and Family Members Inside of Canada
The CUAET is fee-exempt and gives Ukrainian nationals and their family members the option to extend their stay in Canada as a:
- visitor for up to three more years or until their passport expires;
- worker for up to three more years or until their passport expires; or
- a student for the duration of their studies.
The same eligibility and documents required to prove a family relationship apply to those in Canada.
How to Apply
Applications can be submitted online through this link.
Additional Program Details
These temporary residence programs are intended to help those affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine to seek temporary safe harbour in Canada, until it is safe to return to Ukraine. This program does not grant permanent residence in Canada, and it is not a refugee immigration stream.
CUAET applicants will have their electronic visa application processed within 14 days of receipt of a complete application.
Ukrainians and their family members working and studying in Canada will be able to gain valuable Canadian work or education experience to help set them up for future success should they eventually choose to seek permanent residency through Canada’s immigration programs.
Canada is developing a special family reunification sponsorship pathway for immediate and extended family members of Canadian citizens or permanent residents. The details of this program are not yet available.
Employers wishing to support Ukrainians through offers of employment can register available jobs using Job Bank’s Jobs for Ukraine webpage.
Applicants can also contact the Canadian immigration department directly, before or after applying through this dedicated service channel.
Get Further Assistance with the CUAET or other Canadian Immigration Programs
BinHimyar Law Group is a full service immigration law firm with multilingual staff offering services in English, Arabic, Portuguese, & Spanish. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, trades-person, student, or tourist, our firm can assist you navigate Canada’s complex immigration system.
Contact Miguel Martins should you require assistance with the CUAET or any of Canada’s other immigration programs.
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