UNHCR UK information and links on Ukraine Situation
This page provides information for those affected by the situation in Ukraine, or for those looking to assist, as well as UNHCR's observations on the UK response, highlighting the need to ensure the protection for those who were already in the UK and are not included in the current schemes.
March 2022, UNHCR Press Release: UNHCR calls on the United Kingdom to establish new 3-year visa route for all Ukrainians already in the UK
The following information is to assist persons hoping to leave Ukraine or persons with friends and/or family in Ukraine or who are forcibly displaced in the region.
The UK Government has announced two schemes to support Ukrainian nationals to come in the UK: the Ukraine Family Scheme and the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. Please note that UNHCR UK is currently not involved in these schemes.
Ukraine Family Scheme
The Ukraine Family Scheme allows applicants to join their family members in the UK. The scheme is also suitable for applicants who are currently visiting their family members in the UK, so that they can extend their stay in the country.
It is free to apply to this scheme, and if granted, applicants will be able to stay in the UK for up to three years, work, study and access public funds.
Who is eligible to apply?
To apply to the Ukraine Family Scheme, you must:
- be Ukrainian or the immediate family member of a Ukrainian national who is applying to the scheme, AND have been residing in Ukraine on or immediately before 1 January 2022
- be applying to join or accompany your UK-based family member,
- be an immediate family member, an extended family member or an immediate family member of an extended family member.
To learn about who qualifies as an immediate family member and extended family member, as well as more information on eligibility criteria, please visit: Apply for a Ukraine Family Scheme visa – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
In addition, the family member in the UK must be one of the following:
- a British national
- someone settled in the UK – for example, they have indefinite leave to remain, settled status or proof of permanent residence
- someone from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland who has pre-settled status and started living in the UK before 1 January 2021
- someone with refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK
How to apply for the Ukraine Family Scheme?
UNHCR UK is not involved in the application process, and applications should be made directly to the UK Government’s Home Office. More information can be found here: Apply for a Ukraine Family Scheme visa – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
If you are outside of the UK, you must apply online for the Ukraine Family Scheme. You will then need to book and attend an appointment at a visa application centre (VAC).
If you hold a valid Ukrainian passport, you will still need to complete an online application, but you will not need to attend an in-person appointment at a Visa Application Centre (VAC). If you do not hold a valid Ukrainian passport you will need to book and attend an appointment at a VAC.
If you are in the UK, you must apply online for the Ukraine Family Scheme.You will then book and attend an appointment at UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point.
You can call the free 24/7 helpline on +44 808 164 8810 (0808 164 8810 from within the UK, or +44 175 390 7510) for help with any questions about the scheme. This helpline is managed by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and not by UNHCR UK.
Homes for Ukraine Scheme
This scheme will offer a route to those who have no family ties to the UK but instead have someone here willing to provide them with a home. It will enable individuals, charities, community groups and businesses to volunteer accommodation and provide a route to safety for Ukrainians, and their immediate family members, forced to escape their homeland.
Those who come under this scheme will be able to live and work in the UK for up to three years, and access public services.
UNHCR UK is not currently involved in this scheme.
Who is eligible for the Homes for Ukraine Scheme?
Ukrainian nationals or the immediate family members of a Ukrainian national who were resident in Ukraine prior to 1 January 2022 are eligible for the scheme.
How can I sponsor someone?
If you have a named person who you wish to sponsor, you should get in contact with them directly and prepare to fill in a visa application with all their details and yours. The visa application process will go live on Friday 18 March.
If you don’t know anyone to sponsor but wish to participate, you can also get in touch with charities, faith groups or local community organisations who are starting to make connections between individuals.
To register your interest, please visit: Homes for Ukraine – Homes for Ukraine – Local Sponsorship Scheme for Ukraine (campaign.gov.uk) and for further information about expectations under this scheme, security checks, and support available to sponsors please visit: Homes for Ukraine scheme: frequently asked questions – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Support for Ukrainians in Ukraine and Neighbouring Countries
If you are in Ukraine or in a neighboring country, or you have friends and families who are there, you may wish to refer them to UNHCR Help Pages:
- UNHCR Ukraine – Help for refugees and asylum-seekers
- UNHCR Poland – Help for refugees and asylum-seekers
- UNHCR Hungary – Help for refugees and asylum-seekers
- UNHCR Romania – Help for refugees and asylum-seekers
- UNHCR Slovakia – Help for refugees and asylum-seekers
- UNHCR Serbia – Help for refugees and asylum-seekers
- UNHCR Bosnia and Herzegovina – Help for refugees and asylum-seekers