Canada-Ukraine authorization for emergency travel (CUAET)
In response to Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Canadian government has created a special, accelerated temporary residence pathway for Ukrainians seeking safe haven in Canada while the war in their home country continues. On March 22, 2023, the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced that the Governmnet of Canada will extend the CUAET.
With the CUAET:
- Ukrainians and their immediate family members of any nationality may stay in Canada as temporary residents for up to 3 years;
- Applicants who are overseas need to 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, which will allow them to work in Canada;
- 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, where appropriate.
Ukrainian workers, students and visitors and their family members who are already in Canada 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.
To ease the burden on applicants, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is waiving all application fees for these programs.
The Government of Canada is also calling on 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. IRCC will continue to monitor volumes of travellers and their needs closely and will take action as required.
Launched on March 17, 2022, the CUAET provides Ukrainians and their immediate family members of any nationality the opportunity to stay in Canada as temporary residents for up to 3 years. They are also eligible for a free open work permit or study permit, which allows them to take a job with almost any Canadian employer or enrol in an education program in Canada.
After July 15, 2023, Ukrainians wishing to come to Canada from abroad can still apply for a visa or a work or study permit through our existing temporary resident programs, but they will be subject to fees and standard requirements.
The extended visitor, work or study status offered by the CUAET, along with settlement services such as skills identification and language training, can help candidates seeking to transition to permanent residence through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s existing programs.
Updates from July 2023
- Since inception, CUAET has provided temporary safe haven to over 166,000 Ukrainians.
- Starting October 23, 2023, a new pathway will be made available to CUAET users to provide permanent residence in Canada.
- Ukrainians holding a CUAET visa will have until March 31, 2024 to travel to Canada.
- Overseas applictions under CUAET ended on July 15, 2023, but Ukrainians and their family members can still apply for a temporary resident visa to come to Canada, under pre-existing immigration measures.
Read the full July 15, 2023 news release here.
How CUAET measures compare with the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) Program
When people arrive in Canada through the PSR pathway, they arrive as Permanent Residents – their refugee days are over and they can stay in Canada permanently.
When people arrive through the CUAET pathway, they arrive as visitors, students, or temporary workers – they will need to renew this temporary visa in 3 years if they want to stay longer. The expectation is that some will return to Ukraine when it is safe to do so.
The PSR pathway is sponsor driven – Canadians must apply to bring refugees to Canada.
The Ukrainian pathway is refugee driven – Ukrainians must complete the on-line visa application, complete biometrics, and arrange their own travel to get to Canada.
The PSR pathway is long - typically several years from application to arrival.
The Ukrainian pathway is quick – typically less than 1 month to arrive.
In the PSR pathway, sponsor responsibilities are very clear – the amount of money required, the length of time we will be responsible to help newcomers, settlement responsibilities are clear.
The Ukrainian pathway is not clear. If we welcome someone into our home, we don’t know if it will be for 2 months, for 8 months, or longer. It will depend on how soon they can find work and become self-supporting. Every family will likely be different.
In the PSR pathway, an entire family unit is usually sponsored.
The Ukrainian pathway will see many women and children and elderly people coming to Canada. Most husbands and fathers are staying behind to fight.
Our government is considering some kind of program for Canadians who are opening up their homes to Ukrainians - perhaps monthly payments or tax credits of some kind - but at this point nothing has been established. New measures will be made public as they become available.