Ukraine Extension Scheme


The Ukraine Extension Scheme is an initiative designed to support Ukrainian nationals and their family members residing in the UK due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Introduced in May 2022, it formed part of a series of changes to the UK’s Immigration Rules as a response to the humanitarian crisis triggered by military aggression against Ukraine. The scheme allows those affected to extend their stay in the UK, ensuring they continue to have legal status and access to public services.

Against the backdrop of UK immigration and an evolving geopolitical landscape, the significance of the Ukraine Extension Scheme has only intensified, ensuring continued safety, security and a chance of normalcy for those affected by the conflict in their home country.


Section A: Scheme Changes from 16 May 2024


The scheme will, however, be closed to new adult applicants from 16 May 2024. It will remain open to children born in the UK to parents who have permission under one of the Ukraine Schemes, who can be granted leave in line with their parent(s).

Extensions to stay will instead be processed under the Ukraine Permission Extension Scheme, which is due to open in 2025.

Read more about the Ukraine Permission Extension Scheme here >>


Section B: Overview of the Ukraine Extension Scheme


1. What is the Ukraine Extension Scheme?


The Ukraine Extension Scheme is a UK government initiative designed to provide extended support to Ukrainian nationals and their family members who have sought refuge in the UK due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

This scheme is an extension of earlier routes, such as the Ukraine Family Scheme and the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, allowing those already in the UK under these schemes to extend their stay.

The scheme was specifically designed for Ukrainian nationals coming to the UK to escape the conflict in their home country, as well as family members of Ukrainian nationals, including spouses, partners, dependent children, and other dependents who might be vulnerable if left alone in the conflict zones.

Those with valid status under the scheme have the right to work and access public funds and healthcare.

Successful applicants can extend their stay for up to three years.


2. Purpose of the Scheme


The Ukraine Extension Scheme was introduced in March 2022 as part of the UK’s humanitarian response to the escalating conflict in Ukraine.

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the UK government, along with other global nations, moved quickly to provide refuge and support to those fleeing the violence.

The Ukraine Extension Scheme was a natural progression from initial temporary measures designed to provide a more durable solution for those whose stay in the UK became inevitably longer due to the prolonged nature of the conflict.

The primary objectives of the Ukraine Extension Scheme were: to offer continued protection and stability to Ukrainian nationals and their families affected by the conflict, ensuring they aren’t forced to return to a dangerous environment; to assist in the longer-term integration of Ukrainian nationals into British society, including access to employment, education, and healthcare services; and to provide legal certainty and status to Ukrainians in the UK, allowing them to plan for a longer or permanent stay if necessary.


3. Benefits of the Scheme


The Ukraine Extension Scheme provides several key benefits designed to support Ukrainian nationals and their families in the UK. These benefits not only assist in the immediate term but also aid in long-term integration and stability.


a. Legal Residency Status

Participants receive extended legal residency in the UK, which provides a stable foundation for planning their future without the constant worry of visa expiration in the near term.


b. Right to Work

The scheme grants the right to work in the UK, enabling participants to seek employment, earn a livelihood, and contribute economically to society.


c. Access to Public Services

Eligible individuals gain access to the National Health Service (NHS), educational facilities, and other public services, which are crucial for basic welfare and integration.


d. Social Benefits

Participants are eligible for various social benefits, including housing support and social security, helping to alleviate financial pressures during their stay.


e. Pathway to Further Residency

For some, this scheme provides a pathway to longer-term residency options, paving the way for potential permanent settlement in the UK.


4. Upcoming Changes


a. Final Application Deadline: 16 May 2024 

This is the cut-off date to submit your application for the Ukraine Extension Scheme. Ensure all your documents are in order and the application is submitted well before this deadline to avoid any complications.


b. Children Born in the UK

The scheme remains open for children born in the UK after 18 March 2022 to Ukrainian parents with permission under the scheme. Full details about when the application process for these children will officially begin have yet to be published.


c. New Ukraine Permission Extension Scheme (For Existing Permissions): 2025

A new scheme, the Ukraine Permission Extension Scheme, was announced in February 2024. This scheme is intended for Ukrainians who already have permission under another Ukraine scheme, but it is not yet open for applications. The application process is expected to launch in early 2025.

Read more about the Ukraine Permission Extension Scheme here >>


Section C: Eligibility Criteria


The Ukraine Extension Scheme was designed to cater to Ukrainian nationals and their family members who are already in the UK under specific programmes.


1. Eligibility Requirements


To be eligible for the Ukraine Extension Scheme, applicants must meet the following criteria:


a. Current Status: Applicants must already be in the UK under either the Ukraine Family Scheme or the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.


b. Residence Requirement: Applicants should have been residing in the UK for at least six months, although this may be waived in exceptional circumstances.


c. Dependency: Family members applying must still be dependent on the Ukrainian national they arrived with or have formed a dependent family unit while in the UK.


d. No Serious Criminal Convictions: Applicants must not have any serious criminal convictions or other security concerns that might pose a risk to UK public safety.


e. Compliance with Previous Terms: Applicants must have complied with the terms of their previous permissions to stay under the initial schemes.


2. Updates to the Eligibility Criteria


Recently, the UK government has made the following adjustments to the eligibility criteria:


a. Flexibility in Residence Requirement: The government has introduced flexibility regarding the six-month residence requirement for those who needed to travel or could not immediately relocate to the UK due to compelling reasons.


b. Extension of Scheme Closure Date: The application closure date for the scheme has been extended to 16 May 2024 accommodate more people and ensure that anyone who qualifies but has not yet applied can still do so.


c. Streamlined Application Processes: Efforts have been made to streamline the application process to make it faster and less burdensome for applicants, acknowledging the challenges faced by those displaced by conflict.


Section D: How to Apply for the Ukraine Extension Scheme


The application process for the Ukraine Extension Scheme is primarily online, ensuring it can be accessed easily from anywhere within the UK.

The scheme closes to new applicants on 16 May 2024.


1. Step-by-Step Guide


Step 1: Check Eligibility

Before beginning the application process, ensure that you meet all the eligibility criteria for the Ukraine Extension Scheme.


Step 2: Gather Required Documents

Collect all necessary documentation needed to support your application.


Step 3: Complete the Online Application

Applications for the Ukraine Extension Scheme should be submitted through the official UK government immigration website.

Access the UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) service website, locate the section dedicated to the Ukraine Extension Scheme and follow the instructions to access the application form.

The online platform is user-friendly and designed to guide applicants through the submission process, with additional resources available for assistance if needed.

Prepare the information and documentation beforehand, and double-check all of the information before you submit it to avoid delays.


Step 4: Submit the Application

Once the application form is completed, submit it with any required documentation online.


Step 5: Wait for Acknowledgment

After submission, you will receive an acknowledgement that your application has been received. Keep this confirmation for your records.


Step 6: Attend an Interview if Required

In some cases, you might be asked to attend an interview to provide further information.


Step 7: Receive Decision

You will be notified via email or through the application portal about the decision on your application.


2. Supporting Documents


Along with the application form, the following documentation will be required:


a. Passport or Travel Document: Valid identification showing nationality and identity.

b. Proof of Residency: Documentation showing your current residence in the UK, such as utility bills or a rental agreement.

c. Evidence of Current Status: Evidence that you are in the UK under the Ukraine Family Scheme or the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.

d. Proof of Dependency: If applicable, documents proving dependency between the main applicant and any family members.

e. Financial Evidence: While not always mandatory, some financial documentation may be required to establish your means of support.


Section E: Case Studies


Since its introduction, the Ukraine Extension Scheme has had a profound effect on participants’ lives, providing them with the means for survival and opportunities for personal and professional growth in a new setting.


1. Elena and Family


Elena, a teacher from Kyiv, and her two children initially came to the UK under the Ukraine Family Scheme. Through the Ukraine Extension Scheme, they have been able to extend their stay. Elena has secured a teaching position, and her children are enrolled in a local school. “The extension scheme has been a lifeline for us,” Elena shares. “It’s given us the stability to rebuild our lives here in the UK. My children are adapting well, and we feel welcomed in our community.”


2. Maxim


Maxim, a software developer, utilized the scheme to extend his stay and continue his work with a UK tech firm. He has also participated in community integration programmes that have helped him network within his professional field and beyond.

“The right to work is vital. It allows me not only to support myself financially but also to maintain my career development during these uncertain times,” says Maxim.


Section F: Summary


The Ukraine Extension Scheme represented a significant support mechanism for Ukrainian nationals and their families residing in the UK due to the ongoing conflict in their country.

This scheme offered a pathway to extended legal residence and crucial benefits such as the right to work, access to public services, and the opportunity for stable integration into British society.

While the scheme closes from 16 May 2024 to adult applicants, it will remain open for certain eligible children born in the UK to Ukrainian refugee parents.


Section G: FAQs for the Ukraine Extension Scheme


Who is eligible for the Ukraine Extension Scheme?

Until 16 May 2024, eligibility is primarily for Ukrainian nationals and their family members who are already in the UK under the Ukraine Family Scheme or the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. From 16 May 2024, the scheme is open only for eligible children born in the UK after 18 March 2022.


What are the benefits of applying for the Ukraine Extension Scheme?

Benefits include the right to work, access to public healthcare and other social benefits, continued legal residence, and educational opportunities for children and adults. These benefits are designed to help beneficiaries integrate into UK society and build a stable life during their stay.


How can I apply for the Ukraine Extension Scheme?
Answer: Applications can be made online through the UK government’s official immigration website. You’ll need to fill out the application form and submit it with all required documents, such as proof of identity, proof of your current status under other Ukraine relief schemes, and evidence of residency in the UK.


What documents do I need to apply for the scheme?

Required documents typically include a valid passport or travel document, proof of your current immigration status, documentation of your UK residence, and any documents supporting dependency claims if applying with family members.


Are there any deadlines I need to be aware of when applying?

Yes, the scheme is closing to adult applicants on 16 May 2024.


What should I do if my application is denied?

If your application is denied, you will receive a reason for the decision. You may have the option to appeal or apply for a review of the decision, depending on the grounds of denial. Legal advice from immigration experts or support from community legal services can be beneficial in this process.


Can I work in the UK under the Ukraine Extension Scheme?

Yes, one of the primary benefits of the scheme is the right to work in the UK. This allows you to seek employment, support yourself and your family, and contribute to the UK economy.


How can I access support services while in the UK?

There are various support services available for Ukrainian refugees, including healthcare, educational support, and social services. Local community centres, Ukrainian community groups, and charities also offer specialized support for Ukrainian nationals.


What legal rights do I have under the Ukraine Extension Scheme?

Under the scheme, you have the right to legal residence, work, and access to public services. You are protected under UK law, including rights to fair treatment at work, access to healthcare, and protection from discrimination.


Section H: Glossary of Terms


Ukraine Extension Scheme: A UK government initiative that allows Ukrainian nationals and their family members already in the UK under certain schemes to extend their stay, providing legal residence, work rights, and access to public services.


Right to Work: The legal entitlement to seek and engage in employment without needing additional permissions, often granted to individuals with certain types of visas or immigration statuses.


NHS (National Health Service): The public health service of the United Kingdom, providing healthcare services to residents, including those covered under immigration schemes like the Ukraine Extension Scheme.


Dependency: A condition where the well-being and financial support of one individual are reliant on another, often used in immigration to define eligibility of family members.


Visa Extension: An allowance granted by immigration authorities that permits an individual to extend their stay beyond the original terms of their visa.


Integration: The process by which immigrants become accepted into society, gaining access to equal opportunities and being included in everyday economic, social, and cultural activities.


Legal Aid: Professional legal services available often free or at a low cost to people who cannot afford to hire a lawyer, including immigrants seeking advice on their rights and legal status.


Refugee Council: A charity that works directly with refugees and asylum seekers, providing support and advice to help them integrate into society.


Section I: Additional Resources


UK Government Immigration and Visas

This is the main portal for all visa and immigration-related matters in the UK, including the Ukraine Extension Scheme.


National Health Service (NHS)

Offers guidance on healthcare rights and services available to Ukrainian nationals under the extension scheme.


Citizens Advice

Description: Provides comprehensive advice on legal rights, public benefits, and immigration matters, useful for understanding eligibility and rights under schemes like the Ukraine Extension Scheme.


Refugee Action

A charity that helps refugees and asylum seekers with advice on legal rights, integration, and accessing services.


Refugee Council

This organization offers support, advice, and information for refugees and asylum seekers in the UK, including specific resources for Ukrainians.



Gill Laing is a qualified Legal Researcher & Analyst with niche specialisms in Law, Tax, Human Resources, Immigration & Employment Law.

Gill is a Multiple Business Owner and the Managing Director of Prof Services - a Marketing & Content Agency for the Professional Services Sector.

Legal disclaimer


The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.

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