The Government of Canada has announced a series of special measures for Ukrainian nationals who want to come to Canada temporarily or permanently and for those already here. The specific eligibility criteria and procedures for many of these measures are expected to be released in the coming weeks. What follows below is a summary of the information available as of March 7, 2022.
UKRAINIAN NATIONALS ABROAD
Temporary Resident Visas
To travel to Canada, Ukrainian nationals require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV). This application can be made online. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is prioritizing TRV applications for applicants from Ukraine and has stated that they will waive government filing fees for these applications. The fee waiver is not yet in place.
The requirement to submit to biometrics (fingerprinting and photo) prior to the issuance of a TRV has not been lifted. Often this step is completed at Visa Application Centres – however, the Visa Application Centres in Ukraine are closed at this time. IRCC is taking steps to implement mobile biometric collection kits and it will be possible to do biometrics outside of Ukraine (in neighbouring countries).
If a person has previously completed biometrics for Canadian immigration purposes (within the last 10 years), they likely will not be required to complete this step again.
A Web Form should be submitted to IRCC after the TRV has been applied for online. The Web Form should include UKRAINE2022 at the end of the description and the description should include details about the request that has been made. For example: “I require urgent processing of my TRV application as I am currently affected by the crisis in Ukraine. My application number is: X. UKRAINE2022.”
Ukrainian nationals are not required to meet the definition of a “fully vaccinated traveller” to travel to Canada at this time provided they have been approved for a TRV, a Temporary Resident Permit or Permanent Residence. However, Ukrainian nationals are still required to complete an accepted pre-arrival COVID-19 test to board a flight to Canada and to submit to on-arrival testing and/or any period of quarantine imposed.
Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel
This program is expected to launch in approximately two weeks and to be the fastest way to facilitate travel to Canada as it will eliminate many of the normal visa requirements. All Ukrainian nationals will be able to apply through this program and may be able to extend their stay in Canada for two years or more.
There is no cap on the number of applicants that IRCC will accept through this program. Currently, there is nothing preventing an applicant from applying for a TRV in the interim while awaiting the launch of the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel program.
UKRAINIAN NATIONALS WITH PENDING TEMPORARY OR PERMANENT RESIDENCE APPLICATIONS
If a Ukrainian national has already submitted an application to IRCC and if that application is pending at this time, a Web Form should be submitted to request expedited processing of that application. The Web Form should include UKRAINE2022 at the end of the description and the description should include details about the request that has been made. For example: “I require urgent processing of my Work Permit application as I am currently affected by the crisis in Ukraine. My application number is: X. UKRAINE2022.”
UKRAINIAN NATIONALS WITH CANADIAN CITIZEN/PERMANENT RESIDENT FAMILY MEMBERS
Family sponsorship is a pathway to Permanent Residence in Canada. IRCC has committed to implementing a special reunification sponsorship pathway to Permanent Residence for Ukrainian nationals. The details of this program will be announced in the coming weeks. This program may facilitate sponsorship of a wider circle of family members (not just spouses and dependent children).
At the present time, IRCC has indicated that priority processing will be available for family sponsorship applications if the sponsored person is a Ukrainian national outside of Canada and either the spouse, common law partner, conjugal partner, or dependent child (including adopted children) of a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident.
CANADIAN CITIZENS & PERMANENT RESIDENTS
IRCC is also prioritizing proof of citizenship applications and Permanent Resident Travel Document applications (for Permanent Residents who do not have valid Permanent Resident Cards to use for travel to Canada). The Web Form should be used to flag the urgency of travel by inserting UKRAINE2022 at the end of the description section.
UKRAINIAN NATIONALS IN CANADA
IRCC has announced that it will issue Open Work Permits to Ukrainian visitors, workers and students who are currently in Canada and cannot go home. This is significant as typically an applicant must meet very particular immigration criteria to qualify for an Open Work Permit.
The specifics of this Open Work Permit program have not yet been announced.
Ukrainian nationals who are currently in Canada and who have a job offer and wish to begin working may be able to apply for a Work Permit from within Canada even before the launch of the program described above.
It should be noted that Ukrainian nationals may also be eligible to make a claim for refugee protection whether they are currently in Canada or will be arriving in Canada in the near future.
EMERGENCY INFORMATION LINE
IRCC has established a phone line for immigration inquiries related to the crisis in Ukraine: 613-321-4243.