Overview of the Ukraine Extension Scheme UK
Following the breakout of the Russo-Ukrainian war in February 2022, the Home Secretary introduced the Ukraine Scheme to Parliament, allowing Ukrainian nationals and their close family members to apply to come to or stay in the UK, where they had family in the UK and were Ukrainian residents before 1 January 2022.
The Ukraine Extension Scheme was announced to Parliament on 29 March 2022, as one of the three Ukraine schemes, the other two being a) the Ukraine Family Scheme and b) the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme.
The Ukraine Family Scheme is applicable for those Ukrainian nationals who have their family settled in the UK, while the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme is intended for Ukrainian citizens who wish to be sponsored by a UK household for six months.
The Ukraine Extension Scheme is applicable to those Ukrainian nationals or close family members of an Ukrainian national if they have had permission to remain in or enter the UK on or between 18 March 2022 and 16 November 2023, or if their previous immigration permission in the country ended on or after 1 January 2022.
The Ukraine Extension Scheme began on 3 May 2022. Subsequently, the Immigration Rules were amended in September 2022 to extend the eligibility period of this scheme. In August 2023, the application deadline for the Ukraine Extension Scheme was extended until 16 May 2024.
Successful applicants under the Ukraine Extension Scheme will receive a 36-month-long permission to live, work and study in the UK. They can also claim public funds in the country i.e. social benefits.
However, please note that if you have already been in the UK under any of the other Ukraine schemes, your time spent in the country on those schemes will be deducted from the 36-month duration. This is so because as per the Home Office guidelines, applicants are eligible to stay in the UK for a maximum of 36 months under the Ukraine schemes.
- Overview of the Ukraine Extension Scheme UK
- Ukraine Extension Scheme Requirements
- Required Documents for the Ukraine Extension Scheme
- How to Apply for the Ukraine Extension Scheme
- Ukraine Extension Scheme Processing Time
- Is It Possible to Switch to the Ukraine Extension Scheme?
- How Can I Extend My Stay in the UK?
- What Can I Do If My Application Has Been Refused?
- How Newcastle Immigration Lawyers Can Help
- Frequently Asked Questions
To be eligible to apply to extend their stay in the UK under the Ukraine Extension Scheme, Ukrainian nationals or their non-Ukrainian close family members will have to meet the validity, suitability and eligibility requirements of the said scheme.
Before we discuss the requirements in detail, please note that, in this context, close family members mean an Ukrainian national’s:
- Spouse/civil partner
- Unmarried partner if they have been living together with the Ukrainian national in a relationship for at least two years
- Minor children
- Parents (if the Ukrainian national is under 18)
Applications under the Ukraine Extension Scheme must meet the below criteria to be considered valid:
- Applications must be made online on the specified application form
- The applicant should be able to provide:
- Any biometrics information required
- Proofs of their identity and nationality
- At the time of their application, the applicant must physically be in the UK
- Applicant must have had permission to enter or stay in the UK on or between 18 March 2022 and 16 November 2023, exempting:
- Applicants who have had permission to enter or stay in the UK immediately before 1 January 2022, but that permission has since expired
- Children born in the UK to a parent who meets the validity requirements for the Ukraine Extension Scheme
The eligibility criteria for the Ukraine Extension Scheme are as follows:
- The applicant must be a Ukrainian national, or a non-Ukrainian citizen who has or, in the past, had permission to stay in the UK as the spouse/civil partner or child of a Ukrainian national
- The applicant will have to meet the requirements in Appendix Relationship with Partner if applying as a partner
- They must provide a birth certificate if applying as a child born in the UK to a parent who meets the validity requirements for the Ukraine Extension Scheme
An application under the Ukraine Extension Scheme will be considered suitable unless one or more of the following grounds for visa refusal, under Part 9 of the Immigration Rules, be applicable in that particular case:
- Exclusion and deportation
- Non-conducive to the public good
- Criminality grounds, including sentences over 12 months, persistent offending or serious harm as well as sentences less than 12 months or non-custodial
- Exclusion from asylum or humanitarian protection grounds
- A case of sham marriage or sham civil partnership
- False representations and deception, including submitting false supporting documents or evidence
- Admissibility to the Common Travel Area or other countries
- Grounds for refusal and cancellation on arrival
However, there are some other grounds for refusal under Part 9 of the Immigration Rules, which normally apply to all other immigration cases but do not apply to the Ukraine Extension Scheme. These are:
- Breach of immigration laws in the past
- Failure to provide immigration authorities with required information
- Any NHS debt
- Any unpaid litigation costs in the UK
- Rough sleeping (which is one of the most visible forms of of homelessness)
- Crew members (where a person has permission to enter the UK only as a crew member to join a ship, aircraft, international train service etc.)
An application under the Ukraine Extension Scheme cannot be refused on suitability grounds if any of these situations are present.
Ukrainian Nationals Entering the UK through the Common Travel Area
The Republic of Ireland lifted the requirement for Ukrainian nationals to hold a valid visa prior to travelling to the country on 25 February 2022.
Ukrainian nationals, who have not applied to one of the Ukraine schemes prior to travelling to the UK but who have legally entered Ireland since 25 February 2022, are considered for a grant of six months’ leave outside the Immigration Rules (LOTR), with no restrictions on their access to work, public benefits and services, by Border Force or Immigration Enforcement.
Such Ukrainian nationals are eligible to apply under the Ukraine Extension Scheme to obtain permission to stay in the country for a maximum of 36 months.
Ukrainian nationals arriving in the UK through the CTA may:
- Have an endorsement in their passport as evidence of being granted six months’ LOTR, or
- Have a letter from the Home Office (Returns Preparation) granting six months’ LOTR
You will have to upload the following supporting documents while making an online application under the Ukraine Extension Scheme:
- A valid passport or other travel documents showing your identity
- In the absence of a valid passport or other travel documents, you may also submit:
- A recently expired passport, which has not exceeded its expiry date by more than five years
- Your Ukrainian National identity card (Passport Card)
- Other official documents, which have your photo and can establish your identity and nationality, e.g. your driving licence, birth certificate etc.
- An emergency certificate issued to you by a Ukrainian authority since March 2022
- Proofs to show that you have, or had in the past, permission to be in the UK, such as:
- Your biometric residence permit
- A visa vignette in your passport
- Any Home Office documents showing that you have/had permission to enter or remain in the country
A non-Ukrainian family member of a Ukrainian national will also have to submit a proof of relationship to the Ukrainian national, such as:
- Their biometric residence permit or visa in their passport if they are in the UK as the Ukrainian national’s dependent family member, or
- A marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate (for spouses and civil partners)
- Proof that they have been living together in a relationship for at least two years (for unmarried partners)
- Birth certificates for children or parents
For children aged under 18 who are not applying along with their parent(s), a written consent from both parents, or one parent if they have the sole legal responsibility for the child applicant, or the child’s legal guardian is required.
This written consent must include support for the application as well as the child applicant’s living and care arrangements in the UK, in compliance with the relevant UK laws and regulations.
Applicants under the Ukraine Extension Scheme will have to provide their biometric information during the time of their application. This is required for their biometric residence permits if their applications are successful.
After submitting your online application along with supporting documents, you must book an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point, to give your biometrics. For all applicants aged over five years, a scan of their fingerprints and a digital facial image will be taken.
Children below the age of five years will not have their fingerprints taken, but they will still need to attend the UKVCAS service point and have a digital facial image taken.
How to Apply for the Ukraine Extension Scheme
You will have to apply online on the Home Office website under the Ukraine Extension Scheme. The current deadline for application under this scheme is 16 May 2024.
Each applicant is required to apply on a separate application form. So, even if you are applying as part of a group or family, each person in your group including children must complete an individual application form, and book a biometric appointment at a UKVCAS service point.
The time required to complete the online form and to upload your documents will vary based on your personal circumstances. You can save your application and come back to it later if required.
You will have to provide an email address and password to save your answers. The Home Office will send a verification email to this email address, which must be verified by clicking the link in the verification email before you can submit your application.
Ukraine Extension Scheme Processing Time
UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) is prioritising the applications under Ukraine schemes, striving to make a decision as fast as possible, sometimes within seven days.
Please note that, however, given the significant number of applications being submitted under the Ukraine schemes, the processing time may be extended. The Home Office may also ask you for additional information to further understand your case, which will increase the processing time of your application.
The Home Office has reassigned further resources to tackle the increased volumes of applications from Ukrainian nationals. UKVI will get in touch with you when a decision has been made.
Is It Possible to Switch to the Ukraine Extension Scheme?
Ukrainian citizens residing in the UK, who are unable to extend their current visa, can switch to a Ukraine Extension Scheme visa, provided they fulfil the aforementioned validity, suitability and eligibility requirements.
The documentary requirements are very few under the Ukraine Extension Scheme. Moreover, due to the war situation in Ukraine, the Home Office has taken a more flexible approach while assessing applications under the Ukraine schemes.
If you do not have adequate supporting documentation, for example, the caseworker assigned to you by the Home Office will ask for a reasonable alternative or an explanation why you cannot provide such documents.
If your extension visa application is successful, you will be allowed to live, work and study in the UK for a maximum of 36 months, minus any time you have already spent in the country on the other Ukraine schemes. You will also be able to claim public funds in the UK.
Ukrainian children aged under 18 years will need written consent from their parents or legal guardians. In cases where parents and/or legal guardians are missing or have died in the war, a reasonable explanation of the situation may suffice.
Please note that, however, you will not be able to count any time you spend in the country on this visa if you are planning to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK in future. Please consider switching to a work or study visa instead.
How Can I Extend My Stay in the UK?
You can stay in the UK under the Ukraine Extension Scheme for a maximum of 36 months. This period cannot be extended as of now.
So, Ukrainian nationals who are already in the UK on a skilled worker or a family visa should instead apply to extend their current visa, if possible.
Alternatively, they may consider switching to a different visa or settlement pathway in the country, instead of applying under the Ukraine Extension Scheme, provided they fulfil the eligibility criteria for their chosen route.
The Home Office has made the process of switching a visa easier for the Ukrainian nationals who either were in the country lawfully before 24 February 2022 or applied to enter the UK before that date.
Provided you meet the eligibility criteria for either a work or a study visa in the UK, you can apply for the same even without leaving the country. This is referred to as a ‘concession’ since normally foreign nationals need to leave the country to apply for a UK work or study visa.
Ukrainian nationals can switch to a work or study visa in the UK from most types of visa, such as:
- Visitor visa
- Temporary Worker visa
- Student or Short-term Student visa
- Parent of a Child Student visa
- Domestic Worker visa
Your dependent spouse/civil partner and children will also be eligible to switch to a work or study visa.
Alternatively, you may claim asylum in the UK if you want to stay in the country as a refugee. It is advisable to consult a lawyer if you want to go for the asylum route, to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria and document requirements.
Please call +441913038965 to speak to one of our expert immigration advisers to receive bespoke advice depending on your personal circumstances.
What Can I Do If My Application Has Been Refused?
You do not have a right of appeal or administrative review if your application under the Ukraine Extension Scheme has been refused by the Home Office.
In case of an application refusal, it is advisable that the applicant make a fresh application again under the Ukraine Extension Scheme. There are no restrictions as to how many times you can apply under this scheme.
A new application will ensure a fresh review every time of your eligibility and circumstances, and you will also get an opportunity to submit any additional evidence you may have gathered since which was not submitted along with your previous application.
The Ukraine Extension Scheme is a viable option to remain in the UK for the Ukrainian nationals who arrived with permission to stay or enter the UK on a different visa on or between 18 March 2022 and 16 November 2023, or whose previous immigration permission in the country ended on or after 1 January 2022.
It is also a viable pathway for Ukrainian citizens who received LOTR at the border to extend their stay in the UK.
Although considering the war situation in Ukraine the Home Office has taken a flexible approach in dealing with applications under the Ukraine Extension Scheme, it is advisable to seek legal help before or during the application process.
At Newcastle Immigration Lawyers, we have a team of expert immigration advisers who can advise and assist you with your application and supporting documentation, regardless of the complexity of your case.
You may book a one-to-one advice session with one of our immigration advisers to find out more information about the Ukraine Extension Scheme and whether you are eligible to apply. We can complete your application on your behalf as well.
Our team also offers document and application checking services to ensure your supporting documents and application meet the UKVI standards and guidelines.
If required, we can also fast-track the process to help you complete your application within 24 hours.
Last modified on October 17th, 2023 at 10:57 am
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The Ukrainian Extension Scheme, or any of the three Ukraine schemes for that matter, is not a valid pathway to settle in the UK. You may not be able to count any time you spend in the country on this visa for any future application made by you for ILR in the UK.
To settle in the UK, you will have to switch to a settlement pathway under the UK immigration rules, provided you fulfil the Home Office criteria for the respective route.
The current application deadline for the Ukraine Extension Scheme is 16 May 2024.
It is free to apply for a visa under the Ukraine Extension Scheme. Applicants will not need to pay the immigration health surcharge or biometric enrolment fee either.
If you have applied to stay in the UK on another route and paid a fee, but are now instead being considered under the Ukraine Extension Scheme, the Home Office will refund your visa fee along with any immigration health surcharge you may have paid.