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UK immigration provisions for Ukrainian citizens

19 May 2022

This guide summarises the main immigration provisions the UK government has put in place for Ukrainian citizens and their family members who have been impacted by the invasion of Ukraine. It covers the options both for individuals who intend to enter the UK and those who are in the UK already.

The information in this guide is correct at 18 May 2022.

Most recent updates

This guide has been updated to confirm that from 18 May 2022, Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme applicants with a valid Ukrainian international passport may use the UK Immigration: ID check app.

Introduction

The quickly evolving situation in Ukraine has meant that the UK Government has needed to put in place immediate concessions while also working to amend the Immigration Rules and primary legislation. The legal position is therefore subject to change.

The below links may assist you to stay up-to-date with the most current immigration information.

UK visa support for Ukrainian nationals - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Apply for a Ukraine Family Scheme visa - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Apply for a visa under the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme (Homes for Ukraine) - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Homes for Ukraine: sponsor guidance - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Homes for Ukraine – Homes for Ukraine – Local Sponsorship Scheme for Ukraine (campaign.gov.uk)

Homes for Ukraine scheme: frequently asked questions - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme: caseworker guidance - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Move to the UK if you're from Ukraine - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Immigration information for Ukrainians in the UK: your next steps - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Ukraine Scheme in-country variation guidance - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Apply to stay in the UK under the Ukraine Extension Scheme - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Ukraine Extension Scheme: caseworker guidance - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Additional guidance has also been published for employers and landlords on Ukraine scheme participants’ right to work and right to rent private accommodation in England. See:

Right to work checks: an employer's guide - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Landlord's guide to right to rent checks - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The information in this guide focuses on additional immigration measures introduced by the Government. It remains possible for Ukrainian citizens and their family members to apply under any UK immigration route they are ordinarily eligible for.

Some existing UK immigration routes currently include concessions to normal immigration status and documentary requirements. For further information see Ukrainian nationals on family routes: concession to the Immigration Rules - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) and Ukrainian nationals on work and study routes: concessions to the Immigration Rules - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). At the present time, care should be taken to assess the intentions and circumstances of Ukrainian citizens and those who are ordinarily resident in Ukraine, as this visa includes requirements to have an intention to leave the UK at the end of the visit and to otherwise be a genuine visitor.

Table of options for applicants who are currently outside the UK

Note that Ukrainians are visa nationals, which means they must obtain a UK visa before travelling and cannot request permission to enter at the border or a juxtaposed control point in France or Belgium.

Scenario
Immigration Route    Where to Apply
 Individual who:
•Was residing in Ukraine on or immediately before 1 January 2022; and
•Has a relevant family relationship (see definitions below) with a UK-based family member.
 Ukraine Family Scheme
An applicant with a valid Ukrainian international passport (including one with an official extension stamp) can apply online and does not need to attend a Visa Application Centre (VAC) to provide biometrics. They will however need to continue their application under the scheme in the UK and provide biometrics at that stage, unless they use the UK Immigration: ID check app to verify their identity as part of the application process before arrival.

An applicant who does not hold a valid Ukrainian international passport must book an appointment at a VAC in any country they can travel safely to. There are currently no UK VACs operating in Ukraine.
 Individual who:
•Is a Ukrainian citizen or immediate family member (see definition below), or the immediate family member of a Ukrainian citizen; and
•Was residing in Ukraine on or immediately before 1 January 2022; and
•Has an offer of a room or self-contained accommodation for at least six months, from an individual who has at least six months’ existing immigration permission in the UK.
Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme An applicant with a valid Ukrainian international passport (including one with an official extension stamp) can apply online and does not need to attend a VAC to provide their biometric information. They will however need to continue their application under the scheme once in the UK and provide biometrics at that stage, unless they use the UK Immigration: ID check app to verify their identity as part of the application process before arrival.

An applicant who does not hold a valid Ukrainian international passport must book an appointment at a VAC in any country they can travel safely to. There are currently no UK VACs operating in Ukraine
Family member of an individual who is living in the UK with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) who is from the EEA or Switzerland. EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit A VAC in any country the applicant can travel safely to. There are currently no UK VACs operating in Ukraine.

*Note that an individual should not apply for an EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit as well as under another Ukraine scheme. They should only apply for one. It is possible to apply under the EUSS after arriving in the UK under one of the Ukraine schemes.

 

Table of options/provisions for applicants who are currently in the UK

Immigration category   Relevant provisions  
Ukraine Family Scheme (in-country applicants) Ukrainian citizens and their family members who are in the UK and who meet the criteria for the scheme (see definitions below) can apply in-country. Those who already have immigration permission under the scheme and have not already enrolled their biometrics at a VAC must make a further in-country application after arrival.

Eligible individuals must apply online here, then book and attend an appointment at a UKVCAS service point.
Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme It is not possible to make an initial application under this scheme from within the UK.

Those who already have immigration permission under the scheme and have not already enrolled their biometrics at a VAC must make a further in-country application after arrival.

Eligible individuals must apply online here. Those who are not eligible to use the UK Immigration: ID Check app must book and attend an appointment at a UKVCAS service point.
Ukraine Extension Scheme

This is an in-country only scheme launched from 3 May 2022. It is intended to benefit Ukrainian citizens and their recognised dependants, where they are currently are in the UK and have, or previously had, UK immigration permission.

See Apply to stay in the UK under the Ukraine Extension Scheme - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Visitor There are temporary concessions allowing a Ukrainian citizen in the UK on a visitor visa to switch into a points-based route or a family visa route without having to leave the UK. An applicant will need to meet the requirements of the relevant route and pay the associated fees.

See Ukrainian nationals on work and study routes: concessions to the Immigration Rules - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) and Ukrainian nationals on family routes: concession to the Immigration Rules - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Skilled Worker A Ukrainian citizen with a Skilled Worker visa that is due to expire can apply to extend their leave or settle in the UK as normal and can benefit from a document flexibility concession.
Student A Ukrainian citizen who is in the UK on a student visa can apply to extend their immigration permission or switch to a Graduate visa if they meet the Immigration Rules. They can benefit from a document flexibility concession.
Seasonal Worker A Ukrainian citizen who is currently in the UK on a Seasonal Worker visa can extend their visa until 31 December 2022. The individual must continue working in a job permitted by the Seasonal Worker route, with the same Scheme Operator (sponsor). Pork butchers can alternatively apply under the Skilled Worker route if their employer is willing to sponsor them and they otherwise meet the Immigration Rules for the route.
HGV driver A Ukrainian citizen who is currently in the UK as a HGV driver can extend their visa until 31 December 2022. They must continue to work in their current occupation with the same sponsor.

 

Further explanation and details of Ukraine Family Scheme and Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme

Details common to both schemes

The applicant must have been ordinarily resident in the Ukraine on or immediately before 1 January 2022, unless they are already in the UK (for the Ukraine Family Scheme only) or they are a child born or adopted on or after that date. Residence in Ukraine is initially confirmed through self-certification on the application form, however caseworkers can ask for evidence of residence in limited circumstances. 

The scheme is free for applicants, with no application fee, immigration health surcharge or biometric enrolment fee. There is also no TB testing requirement. 

Individuals who hold a valid Ukrainian international passport and who do not either use the UK Immigration: ID Check app or attend a VAC outside the UK are issued with a permission letter and are then given six months permission to enter the UK by a Border Force official on arrival.

Applicants who use the UK Immigration: ID Check app will receive an eVisa, which they can use to travel to the UK.

Applicants who enter the UK with a permission letter can have their application varied, after arrival, from being an entry clearance application to one for permission to stay in the UK. The permission to stay will be granted to take their overall immigration permission under the Ukraine Schemes up to a total of three years. To do this, they must complete an online application using the ‘light touch’ form and provide their biometrics. Biometrics will need to be submitted within six months of arriving in the UK.

The form is available here: Ukraine Scheme BRP (visas-immigration.service.gov.uk).

All other applicants who have enrolled their biometrics are given immigration permission for three years (less any time already spent under one of the Ukraine schemes). Scheme participants are allowed to work, study, rent private accommodation, use the NHS, access English language tuition and claim benefits in the UK.

For specific queries, applicants can contact a free UKVI helpline on +44 808 164 8810 (0808 164 8810 from within the UK), or +44 (0)175 390 7510 for those who cannot contact UK 0808 numbers. Opening hours are available here.

Ukraine Family Scheme 

The Ukraine Family Scheme (UFS) allows applicants who have a family connection with UK-based family member to make a visa application from abroad or extend their stay in the UK under the scheme. An applicant can be in or outside the UK at the time they apply.

A UK-based family member is defined as a:

  • British citizen;
  • Person settled in the UK, e.g. with indefinite leave to remain or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme;
  • EEA or Swiss citizen with pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme who started living in the UK before 1 January 2021; or
  • Person with refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK.

The applicant must meet the definition of an ‘immediate family member’, ‘extended family member’ or ‘immediate family member of an extended family member’.

An immediate family member of a UK-based family member or an applicant under the scheme is defined as a: 

  • Spouse or civil partner;
  • Unmarried partner (living together in a partner relationship for at least two years); 
  • Child who is under 18;
  • Parent (if applicant is under 18); or
  • Fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner. 

An extended family member is defined as a:

  • Parent (if the applicant is over 18);
  • Child who is over 18;
  • Grandparent;
  • Grandchild or the applicant’s partner’s grandchild;
  • Brother or sister;
  • Aunt or Uncle;
  • Niece or nephew;
  • Cousin;
  • Mother-in-law or father-in-law;
  • Grandparent-in-law; or
  • Brother-in-law or sister-in-law.

An immediate family member of an extended family member is defined as a: 

  • Spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner (living together in a partner relationship for at least two years) of an extended family member;
  • Child under 18 of an extended family member;
  • Parent of a child under 18 who is an extended family member; and
  • Fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner of an extended family member. 

Note that where an applicant’s UK-based family member is their (or an extended family member’s) spouse, civil partner, fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner, the relationship must have started before 1 January 2022. Also, individuals granted UK immigration permission as a visitor after 18 March 2022 are not eligible to apply under the scheme from within the UK.

For further details on UFS, see Apply for a Ukraine Family Scheme visa - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) or Ukraine Scheme: caseworker guidance - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
 
Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme

The Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme (HUSS) offers a route for a Ukrainian citizen, or the immediate family member (which has the same definition as for the UFS) of a Ukrainian citizen to apply from abroad to come to the UK where they have a confirmed sponsorship offer under the Homes for Ukraine scheme. The sponsorship offer can be a for an appropriate spare room or vacant self-contained accommodation for at least six months.

Applicants under HUSS must be aged 18 or over unless they are applying with a parent or legal guardian, or intending to join a parent or legal guardian in the UK.

During the first phase of the scheme, any UK-based individual (of any nationality and any immigration status provided they have at least six months immigration permission in the UK) can be a sponsor. The Scottish Government is also acting as a sponsor.

Organisations interested in being a sponsor under a later phase of the scheme can register their interest here.

For further details on HUSS, see Apply for a visa under the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme (Homes for Ukraine) - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)Homes for Ukraine scheme: frequently asked questions - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) and Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme: caseworker guidance - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Further explanation and details of Ukraine Extension Scheme

The Ukraine Extension Scheme (UES) offers a route for a Ukrainian citizen and their eligible dependants to extend their immigration permission from within the UK.

To be eligible, an applicant must be:

  • A Ukrainian citizen;
  • A partner or child of a Ukrainian citizen who has/last had UK immigration permission in that capacity; or
  • A child of a Ukrainian citizen born in the UK after 18 March 2022.

Applicants must also be in the UK and have had UK immigration permission on 18 March 2022 unless:

  • They were in the UK with permission immediately before 1 January 2022 and that permission has expired by the time they make their application; or
  • They are a child born in the UK after 18 March 2022.

The application is free and applicants must provide their biometrics at a UKVCAS service point.

Immigration permission will be granted for up to three years. Those who have previously been granted immigration permission under any of the Ukraine Schemes will be granted a shorter period, to take the total permission under the Schemes up to three years.

UES participants are allowed to work, study, rent private accommodation, use the NHS, access English language tuition and claim benefits in the UK. UES is not however a route to settlement in the UK, so individuals who are currently on a route to settlement may prefer to extend in that capacity if eligible.

For further information on the UES, see Apply to stay in the UK under the Ukraine Extension Scheme - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) and Ukraine Extension Scheme: caseworker guidance - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

For specific queries, applicants can contact a free UKVI helpline on +44 808 164 8810 (0808 164 8810 from within the UK), or +44 (0)175 390 7510 for those who cannot contact UK 0808 numbers. Opening hours are available here.

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