What UK Schemes & Visas Are Available From The Government For Ukrainian Refugees?
The UK government has extended visa support for Ukrainian nationals in response to the breakout of the war in Ukraine in February 2022.
This support encompasses various visa schemes designed to accommodate the different needs of Ukrainian refugees, and they include:
- What UK Schemes & Visas Are Available From The Government For Ukrainian Refugees?
- What is The Ukraine Family Scheme?
- What are the Key Requirements for the Ukraine Family Scheme?
- What is the Homes for Ukraine Scheme?
- What are the Key Requirements of the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme?
- What are the Documents Required to Apply for the Ukraine Scheme?
- Applying For The Ukraine Schemes
- Other UK Visa Options For Ukrainian Citizens
- Ukranians Already In The UK On a Visa: Options Available
- How Our Immigration Solicitors Can Help You
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is The Ukraine Family Scheme?
If you have a UK-based family member, the Ukraine Family Scheme is a great way to migrate to the UK. It allows you and your family members of any nationality to reunite with your UK-based family member.
You can apply for this scheme if you’re currently in Ukraine, after arriving in the UK, or from a third country you reside in.
What are the Key Requirements for the Ukraine Family Scheme?
To apply for this visa scheme, you must:
- Be a Ukrainian citizen seeking to reside with a UK-based family member or be the family member of a Ukrainian national seeking to unite with their UK-based immediate family member.
- Demonstrate your intent to join your UK-based family member.
- Prove your residence in Ukraine on or immediately before 1 January 2022, regardless of your current location.
Your UK-based family member must be:
- A British citizen
- Someone with indefinite leave to remain in the UK
- Someone holding settled or pre-settled status under the EU settlement scheme
- Someone granted refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK
If you’re applying as a Ukraine national, the UK-based individual could be your immediate or extended family member. However, if you’re applying as a family member (immediate or extended) of a Ukraine national, the UK-based individual must be the Ukraine national’s immediate family member.
Eligible immediate family members for this visa scheme include:
- Spouse, civil partner, durable partner, fiancé(e), or proposed civil partner of the UK resident whose relationship commenced before 1 January 2022.
- Children under 18 of the UK resident or the UK resident’s partner.
- Parents of a UK-resident child under 18.
While eligible extended family members include:
- Children over 18 of the family member or the family member’s partner.
- Grandchildren of the family member or the family member’s partner.
- Parents and grandparents of the family member or the family member’s partner.
- Siblings of the family member or the member’s partner.
- Aunts or uncles of the family member.
- Cousins of the family member.
- Nieces or nephews of the family member.
- The other parent of the family member’s child under 18.
What is the Homes for Ukraine Scheme?
The Homes for Ukraine Scheme or Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme applications are open to Ukrainian nationals with a named eligible sponsor in the UK who can provide them with accommodation.
As such, if you’re a Ukrainian and don’t have a UK-based family member, you can still migrate to the UK through a UK-based sponsor.
Requirements for Sponsors
To be eligible, you must be able to find a UK resident willing to sponsor you for at least six months in the UK. Your sponsor could be a friend that you already know or just met.
If you currently do not have a UK-based sponsor, you can find one by getting in touch with charities, faith groups, and other organisations that assist individuals in making such connections.
Your sponsor can be of any nationality, provided that they have permission to stay in the UK and they have been living in the UK for at least six months.
Requirements for Applicants
The Homes for Ukraine Scheme is open to you if you’re a Ukrainian and were a resident in Ukraine before 1 January 2022. It is also open to your immediate family members, regardless of nationality.
Unlike the Family Scheme, you cannot apply for the Sponsorship Scheme if you’re already in the UK. You can only apply if you reside in Ukraine or another third country.
Additional Requirements for Children
Children under 18 can enter the UK through this Scheme if any of the following applies to them:
- They are applying with their parent or legal guardian,
- They are applying to join a parent or legal guardian who is already in the UK,
- They are applying with the consent of a parent or legal guardian to join an approved sponsor in the UK.
If the child is applying with their parent or legal guardian, they are expected to travel together. However, if the child is applying to join a parent or guardian in the UK, the adult is required to either:
- Travel to meet the child where they are and then travel with them to the UK or
- Pick the child at the point of entry into the UK.
There are further visa requirements for minors who have parental consent to join a sponsor in the UK and are not applying and travelling with a parent or guardian.
The requirements for the UK resident sponsoring a child applying alone include:
- They must have been personally known to the child’s parent or legal guardian before the conflict started.
- They must commit to sponsoring the child for a minimum of three years or until the child reaches the age of 18, provided the child has resided with them for at least six months.
- The sponsor must successfully pass essential background checks, including criminal records, council checks, and disclosure and barring service checks (DBS).
Before the Home Office can approve the application, the following parental or legal guardian consent must be provided:
- A notarized document that consents the child to leave their current country of residence.
- If the child is applying from Ukraine, the document must be notarized by the Guardianship Service of the respective city or regional council in Ukraine.
- If the child is applying from another country, the document must be notarised by either the notary authorities in that country or the Ukrainian Embassy or Consulate.
- A UK sponsorship arrangement consent form for the council where the child will reside, signed by the parent or legal guardian. This form should include the following details and declarations:
- That the parent or legal guardian believes it’s in the child’s best interests to stay with a known sponsor in the UK.
- The parent or legal guardian’s contact details
- The sponsor’s contact details.
- The child’s next of kin’s contact information for emergencies.
- The child’s personal details.
- Explain the nature of the relationship between the child and the sponsor.
- State if an adult relative will accompany the child to the UK.
- State which party, the sponsor or any accompanying adult relative, will be responsible for the child’s care, including educational and medical decisions.
- Confirmation that the child’s specific needs, such as medical, developmental, and special requirements, have been discussed with the sponsor or accompanying adult relative and that they can meet them.
- Confirmation that the parent or guardian will inform the sponsor if they wish to end the sponsorship arrangement prematurely, and the sponsor will notify the council accordingly.
- Acknowledgment that the council may need to assume responsibility for the child’s care if the sponsorship arrangement ends before the child reaches the age of 18.
- Recognise 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 the child’s best interests.
These requirements for children applying alone are for the safety and best interest of the child. If you’d like to learn more about applying for your child to travel to the UK alone, discuss with a UK immigration lawyer at 0333 305 9375.
What are the Documents Required to Apply for the Ukraine Scheme?
If you are applying for the Ukraine Schemes, you will need these documents:
- The online application form
- A valid Ukrainian international passport
- Alternative official documents containing a facial photograph to verify your identity if you are making an application without a passport. These include:
- Your Ukrainian national identity card.
- An emergency certificate issued by a Ukrainian authority provided it is dated no later than March 2022.
- A combination of other official documents, such as a driver’s licence and a birth certificate.
- Documents demonstrating your residence in Ukraine on or before January 1, 2022, such as utility bills and bank statements.
- Details of any criminal conviction, previous deportation, or visa refusal.
- Proof of relationship to the UK-based family member with documents such as birth or marriage certificates.
- Documents from your UK-based sponsor verifying their identity, including:
- A copy of the biographical page of their British passport or
- The front and back copies of their biometric residence card if the sponsor has EU-settled status or
- 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.
- Any other documentation required by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as part of the application.
Depending on your passport type, there are three ways to apply for the Ukraine Family Scheme and the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. You can apply with:
- A valid Ukrainian passport.
- An expired passport that has a formal extension stamp.
- Other identity documents if you don’t have a passport.
If you’re applying for the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, you or your sponsor can begin the process and fill out the online form with details of both parties.
Once your application is submitted, the UK authorities will conduct checks on you, your sponsor, and all adults in your sponsor’s household. Furthermore, if you’re applying with your family members, you must complete a separate application for each individual.
Applying with a Valid Ukrainian Passport
If you have a valid biometric Ukrainian international passport, you should begin by creating a UKVI account and submitting an online application. You’ll need to upload the necessary supporting documents along with your application.
During the application process, you’ll be asked to prove your identity and verify that the passport you’re using belongs to you. You should download the ‘UK immigration: ID check’ app to complete the verification process.
To verify your identity with the app, scan the biometric chip on your passport or take a picture of the passport’s photo page and take a selfie as instructed. You won’t be required to visit a Visa Application Centre (VAC) to submit your biometric information or do so in the UK once you use the app.
If you cannot use the ID check app, you still don’t need to visit the VAC. Instead, upload a photograph page of your passport during your online application and give your biometric information within six months of arriving in the UK.
Following your application, UKVI will review it and notify you via email if your application has been granted. Upon your arrival in the UK, you must visit the post office location indicated in your online application form to collect your biometric residence permit (BRP).
Applying with an Expired Ukrainian International Passport
If you have an expired passport, even if it has a formal extension stamp, you can’t use the ‘UK Immigration: ID check’ app. You are also not required to visit a VAC to provide your biometric information. Instead, you must submit your biometrics within six months of your arrival in the UK.
During your application, you must submit the photograph page of your expired passport and the page with the formal extension stamp.
If your application is successful, you will be issued an official permission letter that grants you entry into the UK. Upon reaching the UK border, you must present this decision letter with your passport to the officials.
These officials will affix a six-month entry stamp to your passport. You should apply to extend your stay and get your biometric residence permit within six months of arriving in the UK.
Applying for the Ukraine Scheme Without a Passport
If you do not have a valid Ukrainian international passport or an expired Ukrainian international passport with an official extension stamp, you must visit a VAC.
During your online application, you should upload copies of your documents that can verify your identity, such as your Ukrainian identity card or a combination of other official documents. While these documents are optional, they can strengthen your application.
If your visa is approved, you must collect your visa vignette. If you used the VAC in Kyiv, you should collect your vignette from the VAC in Warsaw, Poland. Upon your arrival in the UK, visit the post office location specified in your online application form to obtain your biometric residence permit.
Other UK Visa Options For Ukrainian Citizens
Besides the Ukraine Schemes for refugees, other UK visa options are available if you’re seeking to move to the UK. Some of the UK visas for Ukrainian citizens include:
- Work Visas: If you’re interested in working in the UK, you may explore options like the Skilled Worker Visa, Intra-Company Transfer Visa, or Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, depending on their qualifications and employment prospects.
- Study Visas: If you’re interested in pursuing educational and professional studies in the UK, you should apply for a UK study visa.
- Family Visas: If you have family members in the UK, the Family Visa category, including Spouse, Partner, and Family Reunion Visas, may be relevant.
- Investor Visa: If you’re an investor seeking to make substantial investments in the UK, you may be eligible to apply for the Tier 1 Investor Visa.
- Global Talent Visa: This visa is open to individuals with exceptional talents in science, arts, humanities, engineering, or digital technology.
- Visitor Visas: If you wish to visit the UK for tourism, business meetings, short-term study, or to see family and friends, you can apply for a visitor visa.
These visas cater to several immigration needs and have different eligibility requirements. You should discuss with an immigration lawyer to determine which suits your circumstances before applying. Call us today at 0333 305 9375.
If you’re already in the UK on a visa and your permission to stay is expiring, you might wonder what your options are. Here are different ways you can extend your stay in the UK if you find yourself in a situation where returning to Ukraine is not feasible:
- Extend your current visa
- Switch to a new visa
- Switch to the Ukraine Extension Scheme
Extend Your Current Visa
You can extend your current visa if you are on a work, family, or study visa and still meet the eligibility requirements. One significant advantage of this option is that the time you spend in the UK while on these visas will continue to count towards your eligibility for indefinite leave to remain.
Switch to a Different Visa
If you’re not eligible to continue on your current visa, you might be eligible to switch to a different visa category. For instance, if you’re on a study visa and your educational program is ending, you can switch to a Graduate Visa or Work Visa if you meet the requirements.
Ukrainians in the UK also enjoy certain flexibility in their immigration routes. Even if your current visa does not typically allow for switching or extending, such as a Visitor Visa, you may still be able to switch.
Apply for the Ukraine Extension Scheme
You can also apply for the Ukraine Extension Scheme, especially if you do not qualify to extend or switch your current visa. However, the time you spend on this visa will not count towards your eligibility for indefinite leave to remain.
To be eligible for this scheme, you must:
- Be a Ukrainian national or have a Ukrainian family member.
- Have permission to be in the UK on or after 18 March 2022.
- Have previously held authorisation to be in the UK, and that permission ended on or after 1 January 2022.
If you are applying as a family member of a Ukrainian national, you must already have permission to be in the UK as their minor child, parent (if the Ukrainian is under 18), spouse, or partner of at least two years. You’ll also be required to prove your relationship with the Ukraine national.
How Our Immigration Solicitors Can Help You
If you are a Ukraine national seeking refuge in the UK, the Ukraine Schemes are a great opportunity for you and your loved ones. Our expert immigration lawyers can help you navigate these schemes confidently.
We are committed to making your journey toward safety and security in the UK as smooth as possible. Our team will offer you comprehensive advice, ensure your application is meticulously prepared, help you navigate the legal complexities, and represent your interests.
To get started, call us at 0333 305 9375 or fill out the online contact form, and we will reach out to you.
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The Ukraine Schemes are free for all visa applicants. You also don’t need to pay an immigration health surcharge. Furthermore, there is no defined processing timeframe, as the Home Office strives to make decisions on them promptly.
Benefits include being able to work, study, and access public funds in the UK for up to three years.
You can submit a fresh application, as there are no options for an administrative review or an appeal with the Ukraine Schemes. Ensure that you address the reasons for the refusal with your new application. Also, there is no limit to the number of times you can reapply.