- What Are The UK Visas For Ukraine Refugees?
- Ukraine Family Scheme
- Eligibility Requirements for the Ukraine Family Scheme
- Documents Required to Apply for the Ukraine Family Scheme
- How to Apply to the Ukraine Family Scheme
- Homes for Ukraine Scheme
- Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme Eligibility Requirements
- Requirements for Minors Applying Alone
- Documents Required for the Homes for Ukraine Scheme Application
- How To Apply For The Homes for Ukraine Scheme
- Cost and Processing Times for the Ukraine Schemes
- Other Visa Options For Ukraine Nationals
- What To Do If You’re Already in the UK on a Visa
- How Our Immigration Lawyers Can Help You
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Are The UK Visas For Ukraine Refugees?
In light of recent global events, the UK government has extended its support to Ukrainian nationals seeking refuge on its shores.
If you are a Ukrainian living abroad, you may be eligible to enter the UK through the Ukraine Family Scheme or the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. If you already reside in the UK, you may be eligible to extend your visa through the Ukraine Extension Scheme.
These visa schemes provide vital pathways for reuniting with family members, finding safe haven, or securing your existing stay in the UK.
If you’re considering moving to the UK from Ukraine or extending your current UK visa, our immigration lawyers can help you. Call us at 0121 667 6530 to discuss your case.
Ukraine Family Scheme
The Ukraine Family Scheme is open to Ukrainians and their family members of any nationality to join a family member who lives in the UK. If you intend to apply for this visa scheme, you must:
- Be seeking to join or accompany your UK-based family member.
- Be a Ukrainian citizen or a family member of a Ukrainian national who is applying to the scheme to reunite with a UK-based immediate family member.
- Have resided in Ukraine on or immediately before 1 January 2022, even if you have since left Ukraine.
If you’ve already arrived in the UK and meet these requirements, you can still apply.
Eligibility Requirements for the Ukraine Family Scheme
To be eligible for this scheme, you must be a family member of any of the following:
- A British citizen
- Someone with settled or pre-settled status under the EU settlement scheme.
- Someone with refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK.
- Someone with indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
Also, you must be an immediate or extended family member of the UK resident. Immediate family members include:
- Spouses or civil partners, durable partners, fiancé(e)s, or proposed civil partners of the UK-based family member.
- Children under 18 of the UK-based family member or the UK-based family member’s partner.
- Parents of a child aged under 18 who is based in the UK.
It’s important to note that if you intend to join someone in the UK as their spouse, civil partner, fiancé(e), or proposed civil partner, your relationship with them must have commenced before 1 January 2022.
Eligible extended family members include:
- Children over 18 of the UK-based family member or the UK-based family member’s partner.
- Grandchildren of the UK-based family member or the UK-based family member’s partner.
- Parents and grandparents of the UK-based family member or the UK-based family member’s partner.
- Siblings of the UK-based family member or the UK-based member’s partner.
- Aunts or uncles of the UK-based family member.
- Cousins of the UK-based family member.
- Nieces or nephews of the UK-based family member.
- Parent of the UK-based family member’s child under 18 or of the UK-based family member’s partner’s child under 18.
You can also apply if you are the immediate family member of an extended family member of a UK resident. This means you can be the extended family member’s spouse, civil partner, durable partner, fiancé(e), proposed civil partner, child under 18, or parent (if the extended family member is under 18).
Documents Required to Apply for the Ukraine Family Scheme
You must provide the following documents when applying for the Ukraine Family Scheme.
- A valid Ukrainian international passport.
- Proof of relationship to the UK-based family member with documents such as birth certificate or marriage certificate.
- Documents showing you were residing in Ukraine on or before 1 January 2022, such as a bank statement, utility bills, or employment letters showing your address.
- Other documents that prove your identity if you’re applying without a passport.
- Details of any criminal conviction, previous deportation, or visa refusal.
- Other evidence that is requested as part of the application.
Applying With a Biometric Passport
If you have a valid biometric international passport, create a UKVI account and submit an online application. You should upload your supporting documents to the application.
At a stage during the application, you will be required to verify your information using the ‘UK immigration: ID check’ app. The verification process involves scanning the biometric chip on your passport or taking a picture of the passport photo page and taking a selfie as instructed.
The UK Visas & Immigration will review your application and notify you via email if you have been granted permission to travel to the UK. After arriving in the UK, you should visit the post office indicated in your online application form to pick up your biometric residence permit (BRP).
With a biometric passport, you don’t need to attend a Visa Application Centre (VAC) to submit your biometric or apply to extend your stay once you arrive in the UK.
Applying With an Expired Ukrainian International Passport That has a Formal Extension Stamp
If your valid passport is expired, even if it has a formal extension stamp, begin by completing the online application and submitting your supporting documents. You must also upload the photograph page of your passport and the page with the formal extension stamp.
If your application is successful, you will receive an official permission letter confirming that you can enter the UK.
Once at the border, you must present this letter and your passport to the officials. The border officials will endorse your passport with a six-month entry stamp. You must then apply to extend your stay and get your biometric residence permit within six months of arriving in the UK.
Applying Without a Passport
Suppose you do not have a valid Ukrainian passport or an expired passport with a formal extension stamp. In that case, you must submit an online application and upload copies of any of the following documents to identify yourself:
- Your Ukrainian national identity card.
- An emergency certificate issued by a Ukrainian authority not later than March 2022.
- A combination of other official documents containing a facial image, such as a driver’s licence and a birth certificate.
You must also book and attend an appointment with the Visa Application Centre (VAC) in Kyiv, Ukraine, or other visa application centres across Europe, where you must submit your biometrics. If you’re applying with minors under 5, they do not need to submit their biometrics but must visit the VAC.
If your visa application is successful, you must pick up your visa vignette. If you used the VAC in Kyiv, visit the VAC in Warsaw, Poland. Once you arrive in the UK, visit the post office selected in your online application form to pick up your biometric residence permit.
With the Ukraine Family Scheme, you can live in the UK for up to three years and have the right to live, work, and claim benefits while in the country.
Homes for Ukraine Scheme
You can apply for the Homes for Ukraine Scheme if you do not have a family member in the UK. This visa scheme allows UK-based individuals and organisations to sponsor Ukrainian nationals and their family members to the UK.
To apply for the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, you must find a sponsor willing to accommodate you for at least six months. Your UK-based sponsor can be of any nationality but must have permission to be in the UK at least six months before your application is submitted.
The accommodation your sponsor provides must be fit and suitable for use and will be reviewed by the local authorities.
Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme Eligibility Requirements
Like the Ukraine Family Scheme, the Sponsorship Scheme is available to Ukrainian nationals living in Ukraine before 1 January 2022 (including those who have left Ukraine).
Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme applications are also open to the immediate family members of Ukrainian citizens, regardless of nationality. Immediate family members include spouses, civil partners, unmarried partners who have cohabited for two years, children under 18, parents of applicants under 18, fiancé(e)s, or proposed civil partners.
To apply for the Sponsorship Scheme, you must be in Ukraine or a third country outside the UK.
Requirements for Minors Applying Alone
Children under 18 who are not travelling with or joining a parent or guardian in the UK can also apply for the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme.
The child applicant must provide two different forms of parental or legal guardian consent, and these include:
- Proof of consent document for the child to leave their current country of residence, notarised by an approved government authority.
- If the child is in Ukraine, it must be certified by the Guardianship Service of the city or regional council in Ukraine.
- If the child is in another country, it must be certified by the notary authorities or the Ukrainian Embassy or Consulate in that country.
- A completed UK sponsorship arrangement consent form for the council where the child will live. The consent form must be signed by at least one parent or legal guardian and must:
- Confirm the parent or guardian’s belief that staying with a known sponsor in the UK is in the child’s best interests.
- State whether an adult relative will also be accompanying the child and the sponsor.
- Share the sponsor’s contact details.
- Include the child’s next of kin’s contact information for emergencies.
- Provide the child’s details.
- Explain the nature of the relationship with the sponsor.
- Specify whether the sponsor or any accompanying adult relative will be responsible for the child’s care, including education and medical treatment decisions.
- Confirm that the child’s specific needs, including medical, developmental, and special, have been discussed with the sponsor or accompanying adult relative and that they can meet them.
- Provide the parent or guardian’s contact details for the council’s records and in case of any changes in the child’s circumstances.
- Confirm that the parent, the sponsor, and any accompanying adult relative have discussed financial responsibility for the child during their stay in the UK.
- Acknowledge that the parent/guardian will inform the sponsor if they wish to end the sponsorship arrangement prematurely, and they will then notify the council.
- Acknowledge that the council may need to assume responsibility for the child’s care for safeguarding purposes if the sponsorship arrangement ends before the child reaches the age of 18.
- Confirm an understanding that the UK government will make efforts to facilitate the child’s return to Ukraine once martial law there has ended, following their wishes and considering your child’s best interests.
It’s important to note that the sponsor must be someone the child’s parent or legal guardian knows personally and should have known before the conflict started on 24 February 2022. They must agree to sponsor the child for three years or until the child turns 18 and has been hosted for at least six months.
Additionally, the sponsor must pass the necessary safeguarding checks, including criminal records, council checks, and disclosure and barring service checks (DBS) before the child’s application can be approved.
Ukraine Sponsorship applications for children travelling alone involve a complex process aimed at protecting the safety of minors. If you’d like to apply for your child, discuss it with one of our immigration lawyers to guide you. Call us at 0121 667 6530.
Documents Required for the Homes for Ukraine Scheme Application
The documents required for the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme include the following:
- A valid Ukraine international passport
- Other official documents with a facial image that prove your identity if you’re applying without a passport.
- The online application form
- Documents showing you were residing in Ukraine on or before 1 January 2022.
Your UK-based sponsor must provide evidence of their identity with the following documents:
- A copy of the biographical page of their passport if they are a British citizen
- The front and back copies of their biometric residence card if the sponsor has EU-settled status.
- A copy of their Right to Work Share Code if the sponsor has an eVisa
- A copy of both sides of their biometric residence permit if the holder has other types of visas.
How To Apply For The Homes for Ukraine Scheme
The application process for the Homes for Ukraine Scheme depends on the applicant’s passport type and is the same as the application procedure for the Ukraine Family Scheme.
However, the applicant or the sponsor can begin the application process for the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. The online visa application form must be filled with details of both parties, and all supporting documents must be submitted with the form.
If you’re applying with your family members, a separate application form must be filled out for each person.
After the application is submitted, the UK authorities will conduct some checks on the sponsor, all adults in the sponsor’s household, and the applicant.
Once all parties pass the checks, UK Visas & Immigration will issue a letter confirming the applicant can travel to the UK or get their visa vignette from Warsaw, Poland, depending on their passport type.
Cost and Processing Times for the Ukraine Schemes
The Ukraine Scheme application is free for all applicants. Additionally, applicants do not need to pay for the Immigration Health Surcharge.
Furthermore, there is no specific processing timeframe for this scheme. The Home Office aims to make decisions on applications as quickly as possible.
Once you’ve applied to one scheme, it’s essential to avoid making another application to a different scheme, as it could delay the application process.
Other Visa Options For Ukraine Nationals
There are additional pathways available to Ukrainian nationals seeking entry to the UK. However, each has different requirements from the Homes for Ukraine and Ukraine Family schemes.
As a Ukrainian, you can apply for a visit, study, work or family visa to enter the UK if you meet the eligibility requirements.
The visa application processes are also different from the routes under the Ukraine Schemes. To start the process, you should complete an online application form to generate a GWF reference number. This number is essential for booking an appointment at a visa application centre (VAC) to collect your biometrics (fingerprints and photographs).
You can visit the VAC in Kyiv to submit your biometrics if you reside in Ukraine. If your visa application is approved, you must travel to the VAC in Warsaw with a valid international passport to obtain your visa vignette.
If you want to find out if you’re eligible to come to the UK through other immigration routes, call our immigration lawyers on 0121 667 6530.
If you are already in the UK and your visa is ending, there are ways you can stay longer. You can choose to:
- Extend your current visa.
- Switch to a different visa,
- Apply for the Ukraine Extension Scheme or
- Claim asylum if there is no other way to remain in the UK.
Extend or Switch Your Visa
If you have a work, study, or family visa, you can extend your current visa if you still meet the eligibility requirements. The advantage is that your time in the UK will continue to count towards indefinite leave to remain.
If you can’t extend your current visa, you might be able to switch to another visa. For instance, you can switch from a Study Visa to a Skilled Worker Visa if you meet the requirements.
Ukrainians in the UK can also switch and extend immigration routes, even when their visas will typically not allow them to do so. For instance, Visit or Seasonal Worker Visa holders cannot usually switch routes. Still, if you cannot return to Ukraine, you can switch to another visa, provided you meet the requirements.
Apply for the Ukraine Extension Scheme
If you do not meet the requirements to switch or extend your visa, you can apply to the Ukraine Extension Scheme. You can only apply to this scheme if:
- You are Ukrainian, or have a Ukrainian family member, and
- You held permission to be in the UK on or after 18 March 2022, or
- You previously held authorisation to be in the UK, and that permission ended on or after 1 January 2022
If you’re applying as a family member of a Ukrainian, you must already have permission to be in the UK as their minor child, parent (if the Ukrainian is under 18), or partner. Acceptable partners include:
- Civil partners or proposed civil partners
- Any partner that the Ukraine national has lived with for two years.
When applying, you must show that you had permission to be in the UK with the following documents:
- Biometric resident permit
- Visa vignette on your passport
- Home Office document indicating your permission to enter or remain in the UK.
If you are applying as a family member, you must show proof of your relationship with the Ukraine national.
The Ukraine Extension Scheme will allow you to stay in the UK for three years. However, this time will not count for you towards indefinite leave to remain.
You can claim asylum if you have no other way to remain in the UK, which happens in rare cases. Discuss with a UK immigration lawyer how you can claim asylum in the UK.
Moving to the UK or trying to extend your permission to stay amid the current situation in Ukraine can be overwhelming. But you’re not alone.
At Birmingham Immigration Lawyers, our dedicated UK immigration lawyers can guide you through this journey. We specialise in handling cases related to unique immigration routes like the Ukraine Schemes.
We will advise you on how to meet the criteria and help you apply, and we’ll be there every step of the way, making your path to the UK as smooth as possible. Contact us at 0121 667 6530 or by completing the online contact form.
Last modified on November 1st, 2023 at 8:03 am
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If your application for the Ukraine Family Scheme or Homes for Ukraine Scheme is refused, you will neither have a right to appeal nor apply for an administrative review. As such, you will need to apply again. Also, note that there are no restrictions on the number of times you can reapply.
The Ukraine Family, Homes for Ukraine, and Ukraine Extension Schemes are currently not pathways to settlement or indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
Yes. You can leave and re-enter the UK anytime within your three-year validity period.