The Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) is a temporary residence program that grants temporary sanctuary in Canada for Ukrainian nationals and their immediate family members. CUAET enables Ukrainian nationals to obtain Canadian visas rapidly and provides a path to authorize employment and study while they reside in Canada. Temporary residence visas are issued through the CUAET by the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), which allow visa holders to reside in Canada for up to three years.
CUAET applicants are encouraged to apply for a three-year open work permit at the same time as their temporary residence visas application. An open work permit will allow them to work for any employer in Canada.
IRCC has strengthened operational readiness in Europe and Canada in anticipation of a high volume of applications. This process includes relocating workers and supplying additional equipment, such as mobile biometric collecting kits. As a result, IRCC expects processing times to be only a few weeks.
IRCC is presently discussing scaling settlement services for newcomers with provincial governments and other partners.
Overseas CUAET applicants must apply online and provide background biometric assessments to obtain a temporary resident visa. Ukrainian nationals living in Canada have three options:
- Extend their visitor status or work permit for three years
- Apply for new work or study permits
- Extend their existing visas/permits
IRCC will waive all fees associated with visa applications, extensions, and work or study permits for Ukrainian nationals. All CUAET applicants will still be subject to background checks (including biometrics) and security screening.
Qualified CUAET applicants will receive a biometrics instruction letter if biometrics are required. They will be responsible for completing it at the nearest Visa Application Centre (VAC) in their country of residence. All VAC offices are open in Moldova, Romania, Poland, Austria, and other countries. After an application has been thoroughly reviewed and approved, the applicant may be required to return to the VAC office with their passport to affix the temporary resident visa. Alternatively, the VAC office may also receive passports earlier when the applicants visit for biometrics. Planning in this way helps to expedite the process.
Ukrainian nationals and their family members are also exempt from COVID-19 vaccine requirements for entry into Canada. However, they must still comply with all other public health standards for travel, including quarantine plans and completion of COVID testing. Anyone arriving under the CUAET must upload their travel documentation to ArriveCAN before arrival in Canada.
Ukrainian nationals who cannot procure a passport from state authorities due to institutional breakdown in their country may still submit a CUAET application. Applicants, in this case, must petition a single-journey travel document from IRCC, which they will assess on a case-by-case basis.
Once temporary residence visas are issued, successful applicants will be authorized to travel to Canada with valid passports or single journey travel documents. Border officials will give open work permits at the Canadian port-of-entry if the applicant included a request for such a permit with the CUAET application. Furthermore, eligible travellers can also request study permits at the port of entry.
CUAET allows Ukrainian nationals and their family members to come to Canada temporarily for relief and safety from the crisis in their country and return when it is safe. It is not a refugee immigration program. Anyone who fears persecution for their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion should seek recourse under refugee or asylum programs in the first safe country they reach.
Cambridge LLP professionals are available for consultation should you require assistance with the CUAET program.
As Senior Immigration Consultant, Kieran Verboven leads the Cambridge LLP Immigration Practice Group. He is a member in good standing with the ICCRC, holds a Bachelor of Arts from McGill University and has extensive experience representing Canadian immigration and refugee clients since 2007.
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