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Ukraine Extension Scheme: Requirements

The war in Ukraine has displaced many from their homes and resulted in countries across the world supporting Ukrainian national citizens in finding safety. In the UK, the Ukraine Extension Scheme is there to help individuals remain for longer.

Those who wish to apply for the Ukraine Extension Scheme must meet certain requirements. For help in applying for this scheme, speak to one of our immigration lawyers, Birmingham Immigration Lawyers, by calling 0121 667 6530.

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    What Is The Ukraine Extension Scheme?

    The Ukraine Extension Scheme provides an opportunity to Ukrainian nationals who were permitted to enter or reside in the UK on March 28, or for those whose permissions may have expired on or after January 1, 2022, to extend their UK stay.

    This scheme provides a safe pathway for Ukrainian individuals to continue living in the UK after the Ukrainian war started in February 2022.

    The deadline for Ukraine Extension Scheme applications has been extended to May 16, 2023. As this has been extended, Ukrainian citizens who have permission to enter or remain in the UK between the 18th of March 2022 and the 16th of November 2023 can now be considered eligible to apply. This will grant those who are successful a 36-month-long visa for UK stays.

    The announcement of this scheme has gained the expectation of encompassing a wider range of applicants to provide more opportunities to those who are looking to extend their stay in the UK. The rules for this began in August 2023.

    Ukrainian nationals who arrive in the UK but have not applied to any Ukraine schemes available can now have the opportunity to be considered for a 6-month leave outside of the rules faced at the UK border.

    If these Ukrainian individuals want to extend or prolong their stay in the United Kingdom for over these 6 months, they will have to apply for permission to stay longer.

    This means that for Ukrainians, this extension of the eligible period will grant them more advantages. This is especially true for those who arrived in the UK and gained leave outside of the rules at the border, as well as for those who arrived with permission to stay and enter the UK using a different route after March 18th, 2022.

    The extension of this scheme provides Ukrainians with a valid path to obtaining an extended period of permission to stay, which can provide these individuals with more certainty surrounding their immigration status.

    Ukrainians in the UK should also consider whether they wish to maintain their current visa or switch to the Ukraine Extension Scheme visa. This is not currently a path to settled status, so time spent in the UK on this visa does not count towards an application for UK indefinite leave to remain.

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    Eligibility Requirements For The Extension Scheme

    To be eligible to apply for the Ukraine Extension Scheme, you need to be a Ukrainian or one of the immediate family members of a Ukrainian national who is applying to this scheme. It is important to note that the applicant needs to be in the UK at the time of application.

    If Applying As A Family Member Of A Ukrainian National

    If you, the applicant, are not Ukrainian but you have a family member who is, you will be able to apply if the family member you have is one of the following:

    • Your civil partner or spouse
    • Your unmarried partner, who you have lived together with and been in a relationship with for a minimum of 2 years
    • Your child under the age of 18
    • A parent if you (the applicant) are under 18 years of age

    Required Documentation

    When applying, you need to provide documents such as a valid Ukrainian passport or a similar travel document that proves your identity. As well as this, it is essential for the applicant to prove that they have been granted permission to be in the UK. This could include:

    • A biometric residence permit.
    • A visa or vignette in the passport.
    • A Home Office-provided document that highlights your permission to enter and/or remain in the UK.

    Should the applicant be a non-Ukrainian relative of a Ukrainian citizen, they will also need to prove that they are related to the Ukrainian citizen by providing evidence of a relationship. This can be done by obtaining a biometric residence permit or a visa in their passport if they are in the UK as a dependent individual.

    However, if this individual does not have one of these documents, there are alternatives, and instead, they could provide one of the following:

    • A marriage certificate or a certificate of civil partnership in the case that the Ukrainian national is the applicant’s civil partner or spouse.
    • Evidence that shows that the applicant and Ukrainian national have been living together and in a relationship for a minimum of 2 years if the family member is the applicant’s unmarried partner. This can include financial documentation or a lease with both parties’ names and information on it.
    • A birth certificate if the relative is the parent or child of the applicant.

    BRP & UKVCAS

    Those migrating into the UK are required to give their photograph and fingerprints at a UKVCAS (UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service) point; this provides the applicant with a BRP (Biometric Residence Permit).

    Those who are under 5 years of age will not need to have their fingerprints taken; however, they do still have to attend a UKVCAS service point to have a digital photograph taken.

    Be aware that some UKVCAS service points may have a fee, but these do not need to be used to complete an application, and there is no need to pay for these in advance. If these UKVCAS services are essential for you, you do not have to pay for them.

    The Application Process For The Ukraine Extension Scheme

    Overview

    The Ukraine Extension Scheme visa enables successful applicants to stay in the UK if they are Ukrainian or a close family member of a Ukrainian. This visa type does not require the applicant to have a sponsor based in the UK.

    Under this scheme, the applicant can live, work, and study in the UK, and they can even claim public funds such as benefits if they are eligible.

    Those who apply for this scheme will be accepted if one of the following applies to them:

    • The applicant has permission to be in the UK on the 18th of March 2022, between the 18th of March 2022 to the 16th of November 2023. This does not mean that the applicant needs to have permission for this entire period. The applicable leave can be obtained under the Homes for Ukraine scheme or the Ukraine Family scheme.
    • The applicant previously had permission to be in the UK, and this permission expired on or after January 1, 2022.
    • The applicant must have been in the UK at the time they made the application.
    • The applicant must apply before May 16, 2024.

    At the time of writing, applicants cannot count time spent in the UK on the Ukraine Extension Scheme towards any future applications for indefinite leave to remain. Yet, this being said, there has been no additional guidance or information from the Home Office regarding the potential for this to become the case.

    How To Apply

    Applications for the Ukraine Extension Scheme must be completed online by May 16, 2024. Once the online application is completed, the applicant needs to book and attend an appointment at a UKVCAS (UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services) service point.

    Documents For Your Application

    When an individual applies for this visa, they will be required to provide certain documentation. They must provide a valid passport or another similar travel document that can verify your identity.

    As well as this, the applicant will need to show they have (or previously had) permission to be in the United Kingdom. This includes documents such as:

    • A BRP (Biometric Residence Permit)
    • A visa (or vignette) in the applicant’s passport
    • A Home Office document that can serve as proof of being allowed in the UK.

    Family members who apply on behalf of a Ukrainian relative will need to prove the relationship is genuine and valid to do so.

    Additionally, if not already taken, the applicant will need to provide biometrics to obtain their BRP.

    Applicants for this visa should expect a fairly quick turnaround, and decisions on these applications should be made quickly. The applicant will be contacted once a decision has been made on the application.

    If the applicant requires assistance in their application, they can contact UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) directly or seek the help of a professional immigration lawyer, such as one of our lawyers at Birmingham Immigration Lawyers at 0121 667 6530.

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      What Is The Processing Time For The Ukraine Extension Scheme?

      The Ukraine Extension Scheme has one of the fastest processing times for visas in the UK. The processing of an application will be completed as quickly as possible. The UK government is prioritising visa applications for Ukrainians applying through this and other Ukraine-specific schemes.

      Permission & Grant Conditions

      The applying individual will be permitted to stay for some time depending on whichever option is the shortest; either of the following applies:

      • 36 months.
      • A period that would mean the applicant is granted a maximum total of 36 months under the scheme

      Permission is granted with certain conditions in place; these are as follows:

      • Access to public funding is permitted.
      • Work, which includes self-employment or voluntary work, is permitted.
      • The study is permitted and subjective to ATAS conditions in the Appendix ATAS. This means that an individual must obtain a valid ATAS certificate before they can commence study or research in a specific subject or field of research. Persons will be subject to this condition if they’re granted permission to study or work in a way that is subjective to this condition. This applies only to nationals of countries listed in the ATAS Appendix.

      Refused Applications

      If an applicant doesn’t meet the requirements of the Ukraine Extension Scheme or the Ukraine Family Scheme and discretion is not appropriate to apply, the applicant will be refused upon agreement of an SCW (Senior Caseworker).

      Can You Appeal A Refusal On The Application?

      Under the Ukraine Extension Scheme, there is no right to appeal or conduct an administrative review should the application be refused.

      Should an applicant wish to challenge a decision on their refused application, they will simply be advised that they can apply for a second time under the Ukraine Family Scheme or Ukraine Extension Scheme. Either of these UK Ukraine schemes has no limit on the number of times a person can apply to them.

      New applications can ensure that there will be a more thorough consideration of applicant eligibility and can assist in the case of the individual as it will enable them to submit further evidence that may have been missing in their previous application. Missing evidence or documentation could be the cause of grounds for refusal; thus, if rejected, it is advised to ensure all necessary and potentially required documents are included to enhance the individual’s case.

      Should an applicant make another application after a previous application was rejected, each application will be reviewed fresh and open-mindedly. UKVI will note any changes made to the original or any previous applications. If nothing on the application has changed, a full notice of refusal will be written; however, an application cannot simply be refused because there has been no change in the circumstances of the applicant.

      Options To Extend Your Stay

      Overview

      Ukrainians in the UK have several visa options specific to them. As a Ukrainian who is fleeing from the war, a visa is necessary to enter UK grounds. The UK has three visas on offer to Ukrainians. These are as follows:

      • The Ukraine Family Scheme: This visa is for Ukrainians who have relatives in the UK with a right to remain in the UK permanently.
      • The Ukraine Extension Scheme: This is available for Ukrainians who have already had a valid visa in the UK on certain dates and effectively extends their visa.
      • The Homes For Ukraine Scheme: This enables people in the UK to act as hosts or sponsors to provide a home for Ukrainians fleeing the war.

      Under any of these schemes, Ukrainians will not officially be regarded as:

      • Refugees.
      • An asylum seeker.
      • Person(s) under humanitarian protection

      The Ukraine Family Scheme

      One of the above schemes is the Ukraine Family Scheme. This scheme enables Ukrainians to join family members they have living in the UK. To apply to this scheme, the applicant must meet the following criteria:

      • The applicant must be applying to join or accompany their UK-based family members.
      • The applicant must be Ukrainian, or the family member of someone from Ukraine, applying to the scheme to join their UK-based family member.
      • The applicant must have been living in Ukraine on or just before January 1, 2022.

      Applicants can apply if they have already arrived in the UK and meet the above requirements. However, the applicant’s family member must fit the following criteria:

      • They must be British nationals.
      • They must be settled in the UK, have indefinite leave to remain, have settled status, or have proof of permanent residence.
      • They must be someone from the EU, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Norway, or Iceland with pre-settled status in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme who started living in the UK before January 1st, 2021.
      • They must be someone with humanitarian UK protection or refugee status in the UK.

      The Ukraine Extension Scheme

      This scheme is designed to enable people who already have permission to be in the UK but do not have sponsors or family members in the UK to switch to this scheme.

      This scheme applies to Ukrainian nationals or close family members of Ukrainians if one of the following options is true:

      • The individual had permission to be in the UK between March 18th, 2022, and November 16th, 2023.
      • The individual previously had permission to be in the UK, and this expires on or after January 1, 2022.

      The Homes For Ukraine Scheme

      This scheme is a sponsorship scheme allowing Ukrainians to come to the UK and have 6 months of rent-free accommodation with a sponsor in the UK, enabling them to find the grounding to get their own accommodation and get a job.

      Under this scheme, the applicant needs to be Ukrainian or the immediate relative of a Ukrainian national who has been granted permission for this scheme. The applicant must also fit the following criteria:

      • The applicant must have been living in Ukraine on or before January 1, 2022.
      • Be outside of the UK.
      • Have a sponsor in the UK who is eligible.

      Switching To A Work Or Study Visa

      Those who are Ukrainian citizens in the UK can switch to a work or study visa in the UK. The UK government has made it easier for applicants to switch their visas if they are Ukrainian citizens. If you fit one of the following options, it will be easy to switch to a work or study visa:

      • Ukrainians in the UK legally before February 24, 2022.
      • Ukrainians who applied to enter the UK before February 24, 2022.

      It is typical to be able to switch to one of these visas if you qualify and can pay the fees, even if, typically, applicants would need to leave the country to apply. Ukrainians can now switch to work or study visas of many types. These types include:

      • Visitors.
      • Temporary Workers.
      • Students/Short-Term Students
      • Parent/Child of a student
      • Domestic Worker.

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        Can You Switch To The Ukraine Extension Scheme?

        Yes, you can switch to the Ukraine Extension Scheme. The immigration rules for this visa scheme were amended back in August 2023, extending eligibility to 2024. Anyone who has permission to enter or stay in the UK that was granted on or after November 16, 2023, is now also eligible to apply to the Ukraine Extension Scheme.

        This means that applicants who previously held permission to be in the UK through a different visa, such as the Ukraine Family Scheme or the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, can now switch to this visa type to extend their stay in the UK.

        This scheme is also ideal for Ukrainians in the UK with a three-year validity, enabling longer UK stays than some alternatives for Ukrainians who may be concerned about their visa security and safety in the UK.

        How Our Immigration Lawyers Can Help You

        Understanding the eligibility criteria of the Ukraine Extension Scheme may be rather complex, and knowing which of the UK schemes for Ukrainians fleeing the war in their homeland is best for you can be difficult.

        At Birmingham Immigration Lawyers, we are a team of experienced immigration lawyers that can help with immigration cases. Whether you are concerned about the application process, the documentation that needs to be provided, or if you have to pay any fees, such as the Immigration Health Surcharge, we can help.

        We can help you with all of the Ukraine schemes, including the Ukraine sponsorship scheme. We can also help if you are considering switching to another type of visa, such as a seasonal worker visa or a skilled worker visa.

        Those who leave Ukraine will face security checks, immigration route decisions, and having to apply online. But, whatever the case, our legal team is here to help. We can help you throughout the whole period of your application. Give us a call today at 0121 667 6530 to get started with your application to one of the Ukraine scheme types.

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