The new Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (“CUAET” visa) is one of Canada’s most inviting visas in decades.
This new visa permits Ukrainian Citizens and their extended family members to come to Canada to work, study, and live for up to three years in a 10 year period. Once in Canada for one year or more, there are pathways for these visa holders to remain in Canada permanently.
Canada already has over one million citizens who claimed full or partial Ukrainian ancestry, so it is not surprising that the Canadian Government has decided to open its borders for Ukrainians. In this post, we review the basic workings of this beautiful visa, which comes at the right time for Ukrainians facing the worst humanitarian crisis in the country’s history. We want to also draw particular attention to the fact that the CUAET is available to Ukrainians residing in the USA, in valid status, or not.
A Ukrainian Citizen who is not in Canada must initiate the process by applying for a visa through a special portal set up by Immigration Refugee & Citizenship Canada. The portal is readily available on the IRCC website. The applicant may or may not have a valid Ukrainian passport. Once they have applied, they will receive an email (our firm sees these in 24 hours) with instructions on how to provide biometrics. This requirement is essential for Canada to monitor the safety of Canadians as it consists of a minimal background search on each applicant and traced them when in Canada.The application process is expedited. There is currently no other visa available online in Canada that processes this quickly. The visa, however, is not available at the border if a Ukraine national goes from the USA to Canada.The CUAET grants the visa holder a three year right of stay in Canada, with a possible work or study permit.
Ukrainians and their family members are exempt from the COVID-19 vaccination requirements for entrance into Canada. They must, however, comply with all other travel-related public health obligations, such as quarantine and testing.
It takes up to 14 days for IRCC to process the application and issue by email a single entry counterfoil-less visa letter. The applicant can board a plane to Canada with that letter from one of several surrounding countries (e.g. Romania). At their option, the Applicant can also submit their passport to a Visa Processing center in the areas outside Ukraine in order to obtain a multiple-entry CUAET visa for Canada. We note that Canada will not issue a CUAET visa to an applicant with a validity date that goes beyond the passport expiry date. For example, if a Ukrainian citizens passport expires in 2023, then the CUAET visa will be given up to the expiry date and the applicant will need to apply to extend it, with a new passport, once in Canada. The subsequent visa will add the remaining available time to that initial grant.
A Window of Opportunity for Ukrainians In USA?
When the CUAET visa was announced, it seemed that it would only apply to Ukrainians who were located in Ukraine or fleeing to neighboring countries for assistance. It would appear that the Minister of Immigration of Canada is extending the visa to any Ukrainian, no matter where he or she is residing, and regardless of his or her immigration status. As the Canadian Law Group has offices in the United States and services many U.S. residents, our Ukrainian clients residing in the U.S. are strongly considering the opportunity for a move to Canada. Reasons given include joining their relatives arriving from Ukraine in Canada, better business or work opportunities, an option for permanent residence in a great country, affordable healthcare and education, etc. Canada boasts the third largest Ukrainian community after Ukraine and Russia, making it a natural landing pad for Ukrainian nationals and their families. Moreover, Canada has many work and trade opportunities for newly arrived Ukrainians, who may find that their talents will be well-received in a country that has serious labor shortages in IT and skilled trades. Canada’s education system is one of the best in the world, and study permits are also available to Ukrainians as part of the CUAET visa package.
CLG lawyers are assisting applicants who are in Ukraine on a pro bono basis. We charge a very reasonable fee for Ukrainians residing in the USA. Our Firm’s founder and managing lawyer, Veronique Malka, sits on a panel of pro bono lawyers for Ukraine with the Canadian Bar Association. We welcome inquiries by Ukrainians, their friends, colleagues and relatives. We are taking action to make a difference in these very troubling times and are very pleased that Canada has shown a great willingness to receive Ukrainians. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on the CUAET and possible benefits to moving to Canada.