The Ukraine family scheme visa was launched by the UK Government on 4 March 2022.
The visa is open to Ukrainian family members of British nationals, UK settled persons and certain others to come to the UK or to extend their stay.
What does the Ukraine family scheme visa allow?
Under the visa, you will be allowed to live, work and study in the UK for up to three years. You can also access benefits (public funds) if you qualify.
Ukraine family scheme visa requirements
To be eligible for the visa, you have to meet three criteria:
- You have to be applying to join a family member in the UK.
- You have to be Ukrainian or the immediate family member of a Ukrainian national who is applying to the scheme.
- You also have to have been residing in Ukraine prior to 1 January 2022 (including those who have now left Ukraine).
Applicants must also pass Home Office background security checks.
Ukrainian refugees without ties to the UK may be able to come to the UK if they have sponsorship under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
Which relatives qualify?
You will have to show that your relative in the UK is either:
- A British national, or
- Has lawful settled status in the UK, such as indefinite leave to remain, EU settled status or has a valid permanent residence card, or
- Is a national of an EU member state, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland with UK pre-settled status and they started living in the UK before 1 January 2021, or
- Has refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK.
The family member must be your:
- Immediate family member or
- An extended family member or
- An immediate family member of an extended family member
Who is an immediate family member?
An immediate family member is your:
- Spouse or civil partner
- Unmarried partner (you must have been living together in a relationship for at least two years)
- Child who is under 18
- Parent (if you are under 18)
- Fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner
Who is an extended family member?
An extended family member is your:
- Parent (if you are over 18)
- Child who is over 18
- Grandchild or your partner’s grandchild
- Brother or sister
Who is an immediate family member of an extended family member?
An immediate family member of an extended family is the:
- Spouse or civil partner 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
- Fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner of an extended family member
If your UK-based family member is your (or an extended family member’s) spouse, civil partner, fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner the relationship must have started before 1 January 2022.
Other family members will be considered where there are exceptional circumstances.
If you have a family member from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland
If you are the relative of someone living in the UK with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme who is from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you may also be eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit as well as the Ukraine Family Scheme.
If eligible, individuals can decide which scheme they want to apply for, but the Home Office has requested that applicants do not apply for both.
Regardless of which scheme you apply to, if you’re eligible you’ll be able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme once you’re in the UK.
How to apply for the Ukraine family scheme visa
Guidance on how to apply for the scheme from within the UK is not yet available. We will update this article once the information has been provided by the Home Office.
For applications from overseas, you will have to apply online on the UK government website and then book an appointment at a Visa Application Centre (VAC) outside the UK.
At the VAC appointment, you will need to provide your passport to be scanned. If you do not have your passport, the Home Office has advised that you can still make an application although you will need to explain why you aren’t able to provide your passport.
All applicants for the scheme, including children, will have a digital photo taken at the VAC, and applicants aged 5 and over will also have their fingerprints taken.
Where are the VACs?
The VAC Kyiv is closed and all UK visa services in Kyiv have been suspended.
Temporary VACs for people applying for the Ukraine Family Scheme have opened in the Lemberg Business Centre in Lviv, Ukraine, and in Rzeszow, Poland.
You can also apply for the scheme from a VAC in any country overseas. There are VACs across Europe, including Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania and France.
When you apply, you will also have to provide documentation to prove your relationship to the family member qualifies under the visa. As evidence, you will need to give a copy of an official document confirming your relationship to your UK-based family member. Acceptable documents could include a marriage certificate if you have one.
If it is not possible for you to provide documentary evidence of your relationship, the Home Office has advised that you still apply but you should explain why you are unable to provide proof.
How long do applications take to process?
The Home Office is advising that it is prioritising applications for the Ukrainian family scheme visa and that decisions will be made “as quickly as possible”.
How much is the Ukraine family scheme visa?
It is free to apply for the Ukraine family scheme visa. Applicants are also exempt from the Immigration Health Surcharge.
Home Office helpline
The Home Office is operating a freephone helpline for individuals in Ukraine who want to apply for the scheme: +44 (0)808 164 8810. This line is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Ukraine Family Permit Scheme Visa FAQs
How much does the Ukraine family scheme cost?
The Ukraine family scheme application is free of charge.
How do you apply for the Ukraine family scheme?
To apply from outside the UK, you need to complete the online form and make an appointment at a Visa Application Centre (VAC) overseas.
Who can apply for the Ukraine family scheme?
To be eligible, you have to be the Ukrainian family member of a qualifying relative, such as either a British national, or someone with UK settled status in the UK, or certain others.
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.