Canada has launched a fast-track visa processing pathway for Ukrainians fleeing the war in Ukraine. The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, on March 17 announced the launch of the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET).
The CUAET Visitor Visa:
- is fee-exempt
- is valid for 10 years or until the applicant’s passport expires
- allows for travel in and out of Canada, as long as the applicant’s visa is valid
- is processed on a priority basis
- allows applicants to apply for a fee-exempt work permit at the same time
To ease the burden on applicants, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is waiving all application fees for these programs and many of the normal requirements for visa processing. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated Ukrainian nationals (or those with vaccinations not recognized by Canada) may be exempt from current entry requirements and can still enter Canada but will need to follow all other public health requirements including quarantine and testing.
Who Qualifies for CUAET: Canadian-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel?
Ukrainians Outside of Canada
Under CUAET, Ukrainians and their immediate family members of any nationality can stay in Canada as temporary residents for up to 3 years:
- Overseas applicants can apply online for a Canadian visitor visa and provide their biometrics (fingerprints and a photo).
- Applicants are encouraged to apply for a 3-year open work permit at the same time as their visa application.
- This permit will allow them to work in Canada.
- Under this special program, many of the regular requirements associated with a normal visitor visa or work permit have been waived.
- Elementary and high school students can register for and start attending school as soon as they arrive in Canada, and anyone looking to study at the post-secondary level can apply for a study permit once on Canadian soil.
- Applicants who do not have a valid passport may still apply, and IRCC will issue a single journey travel document on a case-by-case basis.
Ukrainians In Canada
Ukrainian workers, students and visitors and their family members who are already in Canada also benefit from these measures. They may either apply to extend their visitor status or work permit for 3 years, apply for a new work or study permit, or extend their existing permit. IRCC will waive all extension and work or study permit application fees.
Canadian employers who wish to support Ukrainians with offers of employment to register these offers on Job Bank’s Jobs for Ukraine webpage. Job Bank will then work with local organizations and employers to help connect them with Ukrainians seeking work in their communities.
Canada is also expected to announce the details of a special family reunification sponsorship pathway that will allow Ukrainian nationals to reunite with their immediate and extended family members who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents and settle in Canada permanently.
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