Ukrainians no longer eligible to enter Canada under CUAET special measures

Vimal Sivakumar
Published: March 31, 2024

Today, March 31, 2024, marks three key deadlines for the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) program.

Two of these deadlines are specific to the program itself, while the third concerns what Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) calls “post-CUAET measures”.

Deadlines 1 and 2: CUAET program

Today is the last day eligible visa holders can enter Canada under IRCC’s CUAET special measures. IRCC gave foreign nationals with a visitor visa under CUAET until today to travel to Canada and be eligible for the various supports offered through this program.

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According to IRCC figures cited by the Globe and Mail last week, “960,000 Ukrainians have been approved to join [CUAET], but, as of the end of February, only 248,726 had arrived in Canada.”

Note: Those who obtained a visa through CUAET and arrive after today (meaning April 1, 2024, and beyond) will be required to meet Canada’s general set of entry requirements. They will also not be eligible to receive CUAET-related supports from IRCC.

Additionally, today is the last day for those in Canada under CUAET to apply for an extension or change to their temporary resident status through this program. IRCC notes that the waiving of application fees related to these processes will also end today.

Deadline 3: Post-CUAET measures

For those already in Canada under CUAET, today also marks the deadline for visa holders and their family members to apply for an open work permit, for a study permit, or to extend their stay for up to three years under IRCC’s post-CUAET measures.

What is CUAET?

The CUAET program was established to provide “Ukrainians and their family members free, extended temporary status … in Canada until it is safe for them to return home.”

Under this special immigration measure, Ukrainian nationals and their family members (of any nationality) were given a dedicated pathway to obtaining temporary resident status in Canada for up to three years.

Important: The application deadline for IRCC’s CUAET program passed on July 15, 2023.

Eligible foreign nationals pursuing temporary residence through CUAET were not required to pay application fees associated with this visitor visa and they were also eligible to apply for an open work permit simultaneously. The open work permit application would also be provided at no cost to the applicant.

More: Click here for more information about CUAET.

Other initiatives to support Ukrainian nationals coming to Canada

Beyond the temporary residence options provided through CUAET, IRCC established two dedicated permanent residence pathways for Ukrainians with Canadian family ties. Both of these new immigration options are family sponsorship streams that took effect starting on October 23, 2023.

In both scenarios below, the Canadian family member of the Ukrainian applicant must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who is 18 years of age or older, be currently living in Canada and not have obtained PR status through this special measure themselves.

Stream 1

The first stream is specific to Ukrainian nationals who are a family member of a Canadian PR or citizen. Specifically, the Ukrainian applicant must be related to the Canadian citizen/PR in one of the following ways:

  • A spouse/common-law partner
  • A child
  • A grandchild
  • A parent
  • A grandparent
  • A sibling/half-sibling

Note: Visit this webpage for a complete list of eligibility criteria and additional details about the first permanent residence stream.

Stream 2

IRCC’s second permanent residence stream for Ukrainian nationals is dedicated to applicants “who are the spouse or common-law partner of a Ukrainian national who has family in Canada.” Among the eligibility criteria for this second pathway are the following:

  • The applicant must be the spouse or common-law partner of a Ukrainian national
  • The applicant is the family member of a Canadian citizen or PR including their: spouse or common-law partner, child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, and/or sibling (or half-sibling)
  • The applicant is in Canada both when they submit their application and when they are granted permanent residence
  • The applicant must have not re-married or engaged in a new common-law relationship with another person since leaving Ukraine

Note: This webpage contains the complete eligibility criteria and details for Ukrainians looking to pursue Canadian PR through this second pathway.

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