The situation on the ground in Ukraine changes by the day forcing millions of people to leave their homes. The UK government has opened up a scheme to allow Ukrainian nationals to move to the UK via a Visa scheme. There has been some confusion about this system, its extent and its requirements, with changes being made in an attempt to make it more responsive and easier to use.
Here we’ll take a look at the UK Visa scheme and support for Ukrainian nationals and their family members.
Ukrainian nationals and other nationals in Ukraine who have family members in the UK
The immediate family members of UK nationals who live or who normally live in Ukraine can apply for a family visa.
UK immigration rules class an immediate family member as:
- A husband, wife or civil partner.
- An unmarried partner who meets the unmarried partner eligibility criteria. In practice, this means you must have been in a relationship for at least 24 months.
- An under-18-year-old who is the child of a British national.
- The parent of a UK national who is a child under the age of 18.
- A dependent adult that meets the family eligibility criteria
If you are a Ukrainian citizen and currently have family members in the UK who are British nationals or UK settled persons, then you will be able to come and stay in the UK through the Ukraine Family Scheme.
There is a range of criteria for the scheme, both for the applicants and their UK family members. To apply for the scheme you must be Ukrainian or the immediate family member of a Ukrainian national who is applying for the scheme and have been residing in Ukraine on or immediately before 1 January 2022. This includes those people who have already left Ukraine as a result of the Russian invasion.
You must be applying to join or accompany a UK-based family member. You can apply if you meet the above criteria and have already arrived in the UK and your application will be subject to security checks.
A free 24/7 helpline (+44 808 164 881000) is available that can provide advice with any questions you might have.
Ukrainian nationals who do not have family members in the UK
Ukrainian nationals who don’t have family members in the UK can apply to come to the UK if they have a named sponsor under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. It’s free to apply and successful applicants will be able to live, work and study in the UK as well as access public funds.
Any UK resident who is interested in providing a home for Ukrainian nationals can apply to become a sponsor via the scheme. Any would-be sponsor will need to be able to provide accommodation for at least 6 months. Checks will be carried out on each potential sponsor, their family and accommodation that they will provide. The accommodation should be heated, safe and free from health hazards, providing guests with adequate access to bathroom and kitchen facilities.
Visa Application Centres
If you don’t currently have a Ukrainian passport you will need to attend an appointment at a Visa Application Centre (VAC). There is a temporary VAC for anyone applying for the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme in Rzeszow, Poland. You will need to complete an online application and book an appointment before attending the centre as walk-in appointments are no longer accepted.UK VACs are also currently available in:
- Budapest, Hungary
- Chisinau, Moldova
- Warsaw, Poland
- Bucharest, Romania
- Paris, France
How long does it take?
The UK authorities are currently prioritising Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme applications and aim to make a decision on every application as quickly as possible. Applicants will need to await a decision on their application before they travel. If an applicant has been granted permission under the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme they will receive:
- An official letter of permission if you hold a valid Ukrainian international passport.
- A visa if you attended a VAC to give your biometrics.
Successful applicants will also receive travel guidance to assist them on their journey to the UK. Applicants are requested not to attend the VAC to collect their visas unless they have been contacted and asked to do so.
Help and support from Murria Solicitors
The experienced team of birmingham based immigration solicitors at Murria can help you through the application process. We’re happy to answer any questions you might have and advise on any disputes and provide clarity.
Contact us today to find out more about our services and how we can help.