Frequently Asked Questions

This page addresses some of the legal questions commonly asked by Ukrainians arriving in Canada affected by the Russian invasion. It contains information only, and is not legal advice.

To obtain advice specific to your situation, call our free telephone hotline Canadian Legal Support for Ukrainians to speak to a lawyer.

The Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel Program (CUAET) is a program to allow entry into Canada or extend current status in Canada for Ukrainian nationals and their families fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It was introduced by the Canadian government on March 3, 2022.

People eligible for CUAET can apply for a free visitor visa (also called a Temporary Resident Visa or TRV) to stay in Canada for up to 3 years. They also have the option to apply, free of charge, for an open work permit with their visa application, enabling them to find work as quickly as possible. Students under 18 will be given a study permit and can enroll in Canadian schools.

Ukrainian citizens  and their immediate family members who are already in Canada will also be eligible to renew, extend, or change their status (e.g. from student to worker) under the CUAET program. Most fees are also waived for applications by Ukrainians and their families.

CUAET is not a refugee stream or an immigration stream. It is intended to allow people fleeing the invasion of Ukraine to live in Canada temporarily and then return home when it is safe to do so. There is no cap on the number of people who can apply.

For more information, see:

Press Release from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), “Canada to welcome those fleeing the war in Ukraine”, March 3, 2022
Government of Canada Backgrounder, “Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel
Government of Canada webpage, “Canada-Ukraine authorization for emergency travel
Government of Canada PDF, “Fact sheet: Applying for the CUAET

CUAET is available for

  • Ukrainian citizens
  • Immediate family members (of any nationality) of Ukrainian citizens

Immediate family members are defined as:

  • the spouse or common-law partner of a Ukrainian national
  • the dependent child of a Ukrainian national
  • the dependent child of a Ukrainian national’s spouse / common-law partner or
  • a dependent child of a dependent child of one of the above

(Government of Canada webpage, “Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel”)

Below is a brief outline of the process of obtaining CUAET authorization and entering Canada.

Step 1: Apply Online

The first step in obtaining a CUAET visa is to complete the online application process. Details on the process and a link to the portal can be found on the Government of Canada webpage, “Apply for the Canada-Ukraine authorization for emergency travel (visa and work permit”.

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress’s FAQs webpage includes links to detailed guides on the application process, including:

  • A PDF guide prepared by the law firm Fasken, available in English, Ukrainian and Russian
  • Video guides in English and Ukrainian.

You will have 60 days to complete your application once you begin it.

Step 2: Provide Biometrics

Once your application has been processed, you will receive an email asking you to provide biometrics (fingerprints and photograph) before arriving in Canada, and providing instructions on how to do so.

Step 3: Receive a Visa

If you are approved, you will either receive a “foil-less visa” letter, which you can use immediately to enter Canada from certain countries, or you will be asked to mail in your passport to a Visa Application Centre (VAC) so that a counterfoil visa can be inserted into it.

Step 4: Enter Canada

Once you have your visa, you can book a flight or make other travel arrangements.

When you arrive at the Canadian border, you will be interviewed by an official at the border, who will examine your paperwork and may ask additional questions before approving your entry

Dependent children of Ukrainian citizens or their common law partners or spouses are eligible to apply for entry into Canada under CUAET.

To be considered a “dependent child”, a child (biological, adopted or step-child) must, on the date a completed application is submitted:

  • be under 22 years old, and
  • not have a spouse or common-law partner.

OR

  • be 22-years-old or older but:
    • have depended on their parents for financial support since before they reached the age of 22, and
    • be unable to financially support themselves due to a mental or physical condition (called an “over-age dependant”)

The Government of Canada has an online tool to check if your child qualifies as a dependant.

(IRCC Glossary webpage, “dependent child”; Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, SOR/2002-227, s 2)

Common law partners of Ukrainian citizens are eligible to apply for entry into Canada under CUAET.

A common law partner is defined as a person who has been living with another person in a conjugal relationship for at least one year. The term refers to opposite-sex and same-sex relationships.

(IRCC Glossary webpage, “common law partner”; Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, SOR/2002-227, s 1(1))

Parents of independent adults are not considered “immediate family members” under CUAET and are not eligible to apply on the basis of their relationship with their Ukrainian child, unless that child is a “dependent child”. Note that a dependent child may be up to 22 years old, or older than 22 if they are unable to support themselves financially due to a mental or physical disability. See the FAQ above for a full definition of “dependent child”. They can apply on their own if they are eligible on other grounds (e.g., if they are Ukrainian themselves or are married to a Ukrainian citizen).

Grandparents of Ukrainian children are not considered “immediate family members” under CUAET and are not eligible for CUAET on the basis of their relationship to their grandchild. They can apply on their own if they are eligible on other grounds (e.g., if they are Ukrainian themselves or are married to a Ukrainian citizen).

People who fall into any of the above categories are not considered “immediate family members” under CUAET and are not eligible to apply for CUAET based on the relationship listed above. They can apply on their own if they are eligible on other grounds (e.g., if they are Ukrainian themselves or are married to a Ukrainian citizen).

There is no financial requirement to apply for a travel authorization under CUAET.

CUAET is not a permanent residency pathway, but CUAET applicants, once inside Canada, may consider regular pathways to permanent residency, such as:

  • An application for permanent residency on humanitarian and compassionate grounds
  • A family sponsorship
  • Other existing pathways based on your specific situation.

We strongly recommend obtaining legal advice from a Canadian lawyer on your specific situation before applying for permanent residency.

The Government of Canada has stated that they are developing a new pathway to permanent residency for Ukrainian nationals based on family reunification, but no details have been announced to date (Government of Canada Backgrounder, “Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel”).

People already in Canada who are applying to extend their stay under CUAET and who do not have a valid passport or have a passport that is expiring should renew their passport at a Ukrainian embassy in Canada.

(Government of Canada Backgrounder, “Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel”)