Ukraine Family Scheme Overview
The Ukraine Family Scheme enables applicants to join their family members in the UK or help them extend their UK stay. Every individual must make a separate application, even children travelling with an adult family member.
This scheme is free to apply for and enables successful applicants to live, work, and study in the UK, as well as enabling the receipt of public funding.
The UK government created special rules to make it easier for people to bring their family members into the UK from Ukraine. Doing this is considered ‘sponsorship’, and the UK-receiving citizen is considered a ‘sponsor’ for the family members travelling from Ukraine.
Due to the special rules surrounding the immigration of Ukrainian families into the UK, the following rules apply:
- There are no costs or fees for sponsoring family members.
- How much the receiving individual earns does not matter.
- Family members do not need to prove that they have English-speaking abilities.
- Family members do not need to have a medical test to show that they do not have TB (tuberculosis).
It is also possible to sponsor people from Ukraine to be able to enter the UK even when they are not your family.
Where this is the case, the sponsoring individual needs to be able to show that they can house the family for a minimum of six months, in a spare room or otherwise. This is a part of the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme.
The Homes for Ukraine scheme came into being in March 2022 and allows people who reside in the UK to sponsor named Ukrainian nationals or families to live in the UK with them, as long as they have suitable accommodation they can offer to the family or individual.
- Ukraine Family Scheme Overview
- Eligibility & Requirements For The Ukraine Family Scheme
- Family Members Based In UK Eligibility
- From Where Can I Apply For The Scheme?
- Are There Any Fees For Applying For The Scheme?
- Ukraine Family Scheme Application Processing Time
- Trust In Our Total Law Immigration Solicitors
Homes For Ukraine Scheme Vs Ukraine Family Scheme
The Ukraine Family Scheme enables immediate and extended family members of British national citizens, those settled in the UK, and some others who reside in the UK to travel to and enter the country to live and work.
Those who are supported under this scheme get granted a visa that will last for three years. The scheme is free and has no language or salary requirements.
The primary difference between these two schemes is that those who apply via the Ukraine Family Scheme need to apply to accompany or join a family member who is based in the UK.
Alternatively, those on the Homes for Ukraine scheme are Ukrainians who have been matched with specified people in the UK who are willing to sponsor them and provide them with accommodation for at least 6 months in the UK.
Eligibility & Requirements For The Ukraine Family Scheme
For an individual to be able to apply for the Ukraine Family Scheme, they must fit the following criteria:
- The individual must be applying to join or accompany a family member who is based in the UK.
- The individual must be Ukrainian, or a family member of a Ukrainian national, and apply to the scheme to join a UK-based immediate family member.
- The individual has been living in Ukraine since, or just before, January 1, 2022, even if they left Ukraine after.
Alternatively, for individuals to apply for the Ukraine Extension Scheme, they must be Ukrainian or the immediate family member of a Ukrainian national who is applying to the scheme.
This scheme can only be applied if one of the following applies to the individual:
- The individual held permission to be in the UK on or between March 18, 2022, and November 16, 2023; the permission does not cover the whole period.
- The individual held permission to be in the UK previously; however, that permission expired on or after January 1st, 2022.
Regardless of the above, always be aware that the application is subject to security checks.
Those who are immediate family members of a British national can easily apply for the Ukrainian Family Scheme. However, the British national relative needs to be at least one of the following:
- Civil partner or spouse.
- An unmarried partner with whom the individual has lived in a relationship for a minimum of 2 years
- A child under the age of 18
- parent (in the case that the applicant is under 18).
- Fiance or proposed civil partner
If the applicant is an extended family member, they could apply to the Ukraine Family Visa Scheme from March 2022.
Every applicant applying to the Ukraine Family Scheme needs to follow the following steps:
- Complete an online application.
- Book an appointment at a Visa Application Centre (any are valid throughout Europe).
- Attend a Visa Application Centre appointment for security checks.
- Remain in the location where the individual has submitted their application until contacted.
For a family member in the UK to be eligible to accept the migrating individual for their application, they must be one of the following types of UK residents:
- A British national.
- An individual who has settled in the UK, including individuals who have indefinite leave to remain, permanent residence with proof of permanent residence, or settled status
- Someone who is from the EU, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Switzerland, or Norway has pre-settled status via the EU Settlement Scheme and began living in the UK before January 1st, 2021.
- An individual who has refugee status or UK humanitarian protection
The family member who is based in the UK needs to be one of the following:
- An immediate family member.
- An extended family member.
- A spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner, child, parent, fiance, or proposed civil partner of an extended family member
The individual who is applying for the Ukraine Family Scheme should provide a copy of the official documentation that confirms the family relationships, if this is at all possible. This includes the use of marriage or birth certificates.
Even if the applicant is unable to provide these documents, they will still be eligible to apply.
However, the applicant will be required to explain why they are unable to provide these documents when they apply. An example of a reason for not having these documents would be if they left all documentation behind upon fleeing Ukraine.
Who Are Immediate Family Members?
An immediate family member will be one of the following relatives of you or your UK-based family member:
- Civil partner or spouse.
- An unmarried partner with whom the individual has lived in a relationship for a minimum of 2 years.
- A child under the age of 18
- parent (in the case that the applicant is under 18).
- Fiance or proposed civil partner.
Who Are Extended Family Members?
Extended family members will be one of the following relatives of you (the applicant) or your UK-based family member(s):
- Parent (over 18).
- Child over 18.
- Grandchild or partner’s grandchild.
- Brothers and sisters.
- Aunts and uncles.
- Nieces and nephews.
Should your UK-based family member or extended family member be your spouse, civil partner, fiance, or proposed civil partner, then the relationship must have started before January 1st, 2022.
In exceptional circumstances, other family members may also be considered.
Family Members From The EU, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Switzerland, or Norway
If the applicant’s family members are from any of these countries, they may be eligible for an EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit.
This is the case if the applying individual is a family member of someone living in the UK with a pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. To apply for this, however, the applicant needs to be outside of the UK.
Applicants do need to choose which type of application they will make, but they cannot apply for both the Ukraine Family Scheme and the EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit. Doing so would cause a delay in obtaining a decision on the application.
No matter what route the individual takes to apply to enter the UK, if the applicant is eligible, they can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme once they have arrived in the UK.
Checking How Family Members Can Apply
If you are in the UK and seek to aid your family members in coming to the UK, you should note that your family member can apply online on the gov.uk website. As their sponsor, you will need to give the relative your name, address, and passport number.
Alternatively, you can apply for a family member, although you will first need to acquire their permission to do so. It is best to be in communicative contact with them while you do the application to acquire all the necessary information.
What the migrant party needs to do will depend on whether or not they have their Ukrainian passport with them. Be mindful that it does not matter if their passport expires, just as long as it has an extension stamp on it.
Applying With A Ukrainian Passport
The family member will need to scan or take a photograph of their passport and then upload it when they are applying. When the application is done, they will receive confirmation, which will enable them to travel to the UK and stay for 6 months.
Once the migrant family member has arrived, they will have to book an appointment to have their biometrics taken to complete the application. Once the total application is completed, they will then receive permission to stay in the UK for 3 years from their arrival date.
Applying Without A Ukrainian Passport
The family members applying will have to attend an appointment at a visa application centre before they travel if they do not have their Ukrainian passports with them. When they apply, they can book an appointment.
The visa application centre will ask the family member to provide proof that they are related to you; this could be done using birth or marriage certificates. They will also ask for the family member to provide proof of the family member’s identity; this can be done using an ID card or a non-Ukrainian passport if they have one.
If it is possible, the family member should seek to scan or take photographs and then upload them on the visa application centre website before they attend their scheduled appointment.
The migrant family members’ documents may be in Ukrainian; if this is the case, it is best to have them translated into English. That being said, the applicant should still apply as soon as they possibly can; even if the documents have not yet been translated, they can always be uploaded later on.
Should your family member not have any evidence, it will be required for them to explain why this is the case. Visa Application Centres will likely accept their application as long as they have a good and valid reason why they cannot get any evidence.
It should also be noted that the Visa Application Centre will take the family members’ fingerprints and photos to generate their BRP (biometric residence permit). After this, the Visa Application Centre will generally inform the family member to return later to get the visa; this is the document that will enable them to enter the United Kingdom.
From Where Can I Apply For The Scheme?
If the applicant is outside of the UK and intends on applying for themselves, they can apply for the Ukraine Family Scheme from outside the UK using the gov.uk website.
Using the website the applicant will need to prove their identity using the UK Immigration: ID Check app to do so if they have a valid Ukrainian passport. By doing this, the applicant will not need to attend an appointment at the local visa application centre to provide their biometric information.
However, if the applicant is unable to use the UK ImmigrationID Check app, they do not necessarily need to attend a visa application centre to provide their biometrics; this can be done within six months of entering the UK.
Should the individual have an expired Ukrainian international passport with a formal extension stamp, they can apply by attending an appointment at the Visa Application Centre local to them. However, this can still be done during the 6 months of arriving in the UK.
During their application, they need to upload copies of the expired passport with the formal extension stamp as well as a copy of the photograph page of their expired passport.
However, if the applicant does not have a valid Ukrainian International Passport or an expired one with a formal extension stamp, they will need to book an appointment with the local Visa Application Centre, be they an adult or a child.
During the process of applying, they will be asked to upload copies of ID documents, including a Ukrainian ID card, the emergency certificate issued by Ukrainian authorities since March 2022, and a combination of official documentation such as a birth certificate and diving licence.
These documents are not mandatory for the application, but they do assist in supporting the application.
Are There Any Fees For Applying For The Scheme?
Thankfully, the Ukraine Family Scheme is cost-free, with no associated fees for this scheme. This means that the Ukraine Family Scheme has no costs for applications or processing applications.
There are also no fees for the biometric enrollment, and applicants do not need to pay the immigration health surcharge either.
However, should the applicant or applicant’s family choose to seek out legal assistance with the application process, they will be faced with the associated fees of said legal practice applying.
After The Application
If the applying party attended a visa application centre, they will need to return to the application centre they applied at to collect their visa.
The UK government is working to prioritise Ukraine Family Scheme applications and hopes to make decisions on these applications as quickly as they can. UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) will contact the applicant once a decision has been made on their application; this will include guidance and information regarding the process of travelling for the applicant.
The letter of decision that the applicant receives will inform them of whether or not they will need to collect a BRP (biometric residence permit) upon their arrival in the UK or if they will be required to give biometrics first upon their arrival.
Attending A Visa Application Centre
If the applicant attended a visa application centre as a part of their application, they will be granted a visa, which will allow the individual to board a plane or alternative transport to travel to the UK.
Applicants should not visit the Visa Application Centre to collect their visa until they have been contacted to collect the visa. BRPs can be picked up once in the UK; this is useable to confirm your rights and status in the UK.
Not Attending A Visa Application Centre
If the applicant did not attend a visa application centre as part of their application process, upon processing, UKVI will send the applicant an official permission letter that will confirm if they can travel to the UK.
This permission letter will enable the individual to board a plane or alternative transport form to get to the UK. If the applicant also makes use of the UK Immigration: ID Check app, they will be able to pick up their biometric residence permit upon their arrival in the UK.
If the applicant did not use the UK Immigration: ID Check app, they will have to submit biometrics within the 6-month timeframe of their arrival in the UK.
Trust In Our Total Law Immigration Solicitors
The Ukraine Family Scheme has to be one of the most straightforward immigration processes the UK has; however, it is not without its complexities. The situation in Ukraine is complex, so sometimes having an immigration solicitor on hand to help you join the Ukraine Family Scheme can make all the difference.
Our legal team are experts in helping Ukrainian citizens and Ukrainian refugees seek safety in the UK with a UK-based sponsor. Whether you are a Ukrainian citizen or a British citizen with a Ukrainian family, our legal team can help you bring family members into the UK and understand the Ukraine sponsorship scheme. Contact us today at 0333 305 9375 or send us a message online to get started with the Ukraine Family Scheme.
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