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Canada launches new measure to support Ukrainians at home and abroad; The Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel

Sara Espinal Henao

In acknowledgement of the dire situation faced by Ukrainians today, and in a committed show of support for their ongoing fight for sovereignty, the Canadian government is instituting new measures to facilitate the temporary immigration of Ukrainian nationals seeking safe haven in Canada.

One such measure is the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (“CUAET”). Officially launched on March 17, 2022, this accelerated temporary residence pathway facilitates and expedites the processing of visas for Ukrainians fleeing their country, and provides avenues for authorized work and study once in Canada.

Who is eligible

This temporary residence option is now available for Ukrainian nationals and their family members. Eligible family members include spouses, common-law partners, dependent children, and the dependent children of those dependents, regardless of their nationality.

If already in Canada, Ukrainian nationals and their family members must have valid or maintained status, or remain able to restore their status as visitors, students, or workers to be eligible.

Why we like it

  1. Longer authorized stay

Unlike the standard visa application option available to visa-required foreign nationals, the CUAET allows Ukrainians and their immediate family members to stay in Canada for a longer period of time. Successful applicants are authorized to remain in the country for up to three years, whereas standard visa applications usually authorize shorter stays.

Furthermore, the CUAET gives successful applicants a visitor visa that is valid for 10 years or until their passport expires, whichever happens first, and allows them to travel in and out of Canada throughout the visa’s period of validity.

  1. Available options to work and study

This option also allows applicants to obtain an open work permit that authorizes their employment in Canada in almost any occupation.

Elementary and high school students under the age of 18 are also able to register for and attend school in Canada immediately upon their arrival without the need for study permits if they are unaccompanied, or if their accompanying parents have been approved for open work permits. If their accompanying parents will be entering Canada as visitors, their minor dependents can apply for a study permit at the port of entry.

Post-secondary students under the age of 18, can also apply for a study permit at the port of entry when they arrive in Canada. Those seeking to attend post-secondary education who are over the age of 18 can apply online for a study permit after their arrival, from inside Canada.

Eligible applicants who are already in Canada also benefit from this new pathway. They may apply online to extend their status as visitors or as workers for up to three years, or until their passport expires, whichever happens first. Eligible students have the option of extending their status for the duration of their studies.

  1. Less documentation required

Moreover, the new program waives many of the eligibility and documentary requirements needed for standard visa applications.

Applicants are not required to provide documentation supporting their financial capacity, proof of family or friends willing and able to host them in Canada, proof of having undergone upfront medical examinations (with a few exemptions), or proof of their current activities as workers or students in Ukraine. The process also waives the requirement to include proof of valid status in their current country of residence in case the applicant is already in countries neighboring Ukraine. Similarly, applicants requesting a work permit as part of their application are not required to show they have a valid offer of employment in Canada.

What is more, eligible candidates can submit their CUAET applications with either a valid Ukrainian Passport or another national identity document. Those with expired passports can request single journey travel documents to allow their entry into the country.

  1. Expedited processing

CUAET applications will be processed on a priority basis. For standard cases, the CUAET will facilitate the rapid processing of visa applications within 14 days of receipt of a complete application.

  1. Waived fees

Lastly, this option waives all application fees, including those that would otherwise apply to visa applications, work permit applications, study permit applications, or biometrics.

How it works

Eligible applicants must undergo the following steps to be processed under this program:

  1. Apply online

Eligible applicants who are outside Canada and who do not already have a valid visitor visa can submit their application for a CUAET online by creating an online account with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”), or using their existing accounts for that purpose. If they would like to work while in Canada, they can request an open work permit as part of the application process. Represented applicants can submit their applications via their representative’s online portal with IRCC.

  1. Give your biometrics and provide your passport

Applicants between the ages of 14 and 79 remain required to give their biometrics (photo and fingerprints) following submission of their application, provided they have not given their biometrics in the past.

If biometrics are required, eligible applicants will receive a biometrics instruction letter during the processing of their application and can attend the Visa Application Centre closest to give them.

Once the application has been processed and is ready for approval, the applicant may also be required to provide their passport at a Visa Application Centre for their visa to be affixed to it. Passports may be received at the biometrics delivery stage to expedite the process.

  1. Arrive in Canada

Once a visa has been issued, successful applicants will be authorized to travel to Canada with their valid passports or single journey travel documents. Open work permits will be issued at the Canadian port of entry if a request for such permit had been included at the time of submission of the CUAET application. Study permits, if required, can be requested at the port of entry by eligible travellers.

In order to further facilitate the entry of successful CUAET applicants, Ukrainians and their family members are exempt from Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination entry requirements. However, they must still meet all other public health requirements for travel, such as quarantine and testing. With limited exceptions, all travellers to Canada, including anyone arriving under the CUAET, must also use the ArriveCAN app to register their travels prior to their arrival.

We are here to help

In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Stewart McKelvey is offering pro bono immigration support for Ukrainian candidates immigrating to Canada. This service is at no cost to the qualified candidates. For more information, please contact a member of our immigration team.


This client update is provided for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about the above, please contact a member of our Immigration group.

 

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