What is the Ukraine Family Scheme?
The Ukraine Family Scheme is one of three schemes put in place by the UK government to help Ukrainian nationals and residents travel to the United Kingdom.
Under the scheme, successful applicants will be able to join other family members in the UK for up to 3 years. Unlike other UK Ukraine Schemes, you do not need to have a sponsor to apply.
While in the UK, you will enjoy multiple benefits, including the right to:
- Work and study
- Access public funds and claim benefits
- Access healthcare and other public services.
- What is the Ukraine Family Scheme?
- How Much Does the Ukraine Family Scheme Cost?
- Ukraine Family Scheme Eligibility Criteria
- Eligible UK-Based Family Members
- How to Apply for the Ukraine Family Scheme
- Supporting Documents Required
- Ukraine Family Scheme Processing Time
- What If I Don’t Have Family in the UK?
- How Newcastle Immigration Lawyers Can Help
- Frequently Asked Questions
Ukraine Family Scheme Eligibility Criteria
You may be eligible to apply for the Family Scheme if you meet the following criteria:
- You are travelling to join an eligible family member who is already in the United Kingdom.
- You’re a Ukrainian national or a family member of a Ukrainian who is also applying to the scheme.
- You lived in Ukraine on or immediately before 1st January 2022.
There is no income threshold, and you do not have to have a medical test that shows you do not have tuberculosis (TB). There is also no requirement to show sufficient knowledge of English.
How Much Does the Ukraine Family Scheme Cost?
It is free to apply for the Family Scheme, and there are no additional processing fees.
However, you should consider any travel costs, such as travel to your VAC appointment or to pick up your visa vignette.
To apply for the Family Scheme, your family member must satisfy one of the following criteria:
- They’re a British national.
- They are considered to be settled in the UK, such as those who have obtained settled status or proof of permanent residence.
- They’re from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland and have:
- Obtained pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, and
- Started living in the United Kingdom before 1st January 2021.
- They have refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK.
Your UK-based family member must also have an eligible relationship with you.
Eligible family members include:
- A member of your immediate family, such as a:
- Spouse or civil partner
- Fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner
- Unmarried partner, who you have been in a relationship with for at least 2 years
- Child under the age of 18
- Parent, where you are under the age of 18
- A member of your extended family, such as a:
- Parent, where you are over the age of 18
- Child over the age of 18
- Grandparent or grandparent-in-law
- Grandchild or your partner’s grandchild
- Brother or sister
- Aunt or uncle
- Niece or nephew
- Mother-in-law or father-in-law
- Brother-in-law or sister-in-law
- The spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner, proposed civil partner, or fiancé(e) of your extended family member
- The child or parent of your extended family member
If you are applying to join a spouse, civil partner, fiancé(e), or proposed civil partner in the United Kingdom, your relationship must have begun before 1st January 2022 in order to be deemed eligible.
Any family relationships that are not present on the above list may be considered by the UK government if you are able to provide evidence of exceptional circumstances.
Alternatively, if your UK-based family member is from the EU or certain European countries, you may be able to apply for an EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit.
This permit would allow you to travel to the UK to join your family for up to 6 months.
To be eligible, your UK-based family member must be:
- Living in the UK with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, and
- From the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland.
However, it’s important to note that this is an alternative route, and you should not apply for both the Family Scheme and an EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit, as your application may be delayed.
Applying Outside the UK
If you are currently outside the UK, you should apply to the Ukraine Family Scheme online.
During your application, you will be asked to prove your identity. The process of doing this will vary depending on the identification documents you provide.
If you have a valid Ukrainian international passport, you can either:
- Scan or take a photo of your passport using the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app, or
- Provide your biometric information within 6 months of arriving in the UK.
If you have an expired Ukrainian international passport with a formal extension stamp, you must:
- Provide biometric information within 6 months of arriving in the UK, and
- Upload copies of both the photograph page of your expired passport and the page of your expired passport with the formal extension stamp during your online application through either the TLS or VFS app.
If you don’t have a valid Ukrainian international passport or an expired Ukrainian international passport with a formal extension stamp, you should:
- Arrange and attend an appointment at a visa application centre (VAC). If you’re applying on behalf of a child, they will also need to attend an appointment. In Ukraine, the VAC is located in Kyiv, however, you will need to travel to the VAC in Warsaw to collect your visa.
- During your appointment, you will have your photograph and fingerprints taken. Children under the age of 5 will only have their photograph taken.
- The VAC in Kyiv is open for biometric enrollment and document scanning.
- Where possible, upload copies of any identity documents you have during your application by using either the TLS or VFS app. These documents may include:
- A Ukrainian national identity card
- Official documents such as a photo driving licence and birth certificate
- An emergency certificate issued by a Ukrainian authority since March 2022
You must wait until you receive a decision about your application before arranging travel to the UK.
When a decision has been made, you will receive a letter confirming the outcome of your application.
You’ll also receive further guidance about the next steps, including whether you need to collect a biometric residence permit or provide biometric information.
Applying Inside the UK
If you are already in the UK, you should first apply to the Ukraine Family Scheme online.
After submitting your application, you should then arrange and attend an appointment at the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to provide biometric information.
You should bring the following documents to your appointment:
- A printed copy of your appointment confirmation
- Your passport or official travel identification
- Other supporting documents, unless you have already uploaded them during your application
If the applicant is under the age of 16, they must attend the appointment with the person named as the ‘responsible adult’ on their application.
The ‘responsible adult’ should bring:
- Photo ID such as a passport, national identity card, a photo driving licence or a UK Biometric Residence Permit.
- Written proof of responsibility for the child from the parent or legal guardian, if they’re not the legal guardian.
You won’t be informed of a decision at the appointment but will be contacted when a decision has been made.
Supporting Documents Required
In addition to proving your identity and any other requested information, you should provide any supporting documents that prove:
- Your relationship with your UK-based family member, for example, a marriage or birth certificate
- You were living in Ukraine on or immediately before 1st January 2022
You can do this by either uploading the documents via the TLS or VFS app or by appointment at a VAC.
If you are unable to provide any of these documents, you may still apply for the Scheme. In this circumstance, you should explain the reason for not being able to produce the requested documents.
Ukraine Family Scheme Processing Time
Ukraine Scheme applications are prioritised, and the UK government aims to process them as quickly as possible, in date order from when the documents were uploaded or your appointment at a VAC.
However, during periods of high application volume, decisions may be delayed, with some applications waiting around 3 weeks for their application decision.
If you apply for more than one scheme, for example, the Family Scheme and the Homes for Ukraine scheme, you may delay your application.
Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme
Also known as the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme allows Ukrainian nationals and their immediate family to travel to the UK and remain for up to 3 years if they are sponsored by a household or organisation in the UK.
To be eligible, you must:
- Have been living in Ukraine on or immediately before 1st January 2022.
- Be currently outside of the UK. You cannot apply for this scheme if you are already in the UK.
- Have an eligible UK-based sponsor. This includes one of the following:
- A named sponsor who can provide accommodation for at least 6 months
- The Scottish Government
You will be responsible for finding a sponsor. This can be done through a government portal or a charity. However, if you have already made contact with your sponsor, they do not need to register their interest.
As of September 2023, applications sponsored by the Scottish and Welsh governments have been paused, and application decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.
Similar to the Family Scheme, you will be able to work, live, study, claim benefits, and access public services while in the UK.
Ukraine Extension Scheme
If you’re Ukrainian or have a Ukrainian family member, you may be eligible to apply for the Ukraine Extension Scheme.
To apply for the Extension Scheme, you must meet one of the following criteria:
- You held permission to be in the UK on or during the period between 18th March 2022 and 16th May 2023
- You did hold permission to be in the UK, which expired on or after 1st January 2022
Similar to the Family Scheme, you will be able to work, live, study, claim benefits, and access public services whilst in the UK.
Apply for a Different UK Visa
Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible to apply for an alternative visa to come to the UK.
Some of the most popular types of visas are:
- Health and Care Worker visa for medical professionals such as qualified doctors and nurses to work in eligible jobs. It is valid for an initial period of 5 years, after which you may be able to extend it or apply for permanent settlement.
- Skilled Worker visa for those sponsored by an employer to undertake a role on the list of eligible occupations. It is valid for an initial period of 5 years, after which you may be able to extend it or apply for permanent settlement.
- Student visa for those who have been accepted on a course by a licenced student sponsor. The duration of this visa will depend on the length of your course. However, generally, a visa for a degree course will be valid for up to 5 years, and a course below a degree level will be valid for up to 2 years.
- Graduate visa for students who have successfully completed an eligible educational course in the UK. It is valid for 2 years, or 3 years if you have completed a doctoral qualification, and cannot be extended.
- Seasonal Worker visa for those wishing to temporarily work in the UK in horticulture or poultry. You will be able to stay in the UK for up to 6 months if you wish to work in horticulture, but you must only stay in the UK between 18th October and 31st December if you wish to work in poultry.
Extend Your Visa or Switch to a Different Visa
If you’re already in the UK, you may be able to extend your existing visa or switch to an alternative if you meet the relevant criteria. This includes Ukrainians who have travelled to the UK on a Visitor visa and are now unable to return to Ukraine.
Depending on the type of UK visa you hold, you may also have other options, including the possibility of applying for settlement.
Applying to the Ukraine Schemes and moving to a new country can be an overwhelming experience.
If you’re a Ukrainian national or resident and are thinking of applying to one of the Ukraine Schemes in the UK, Newcastle Immigration Lawyers can help.
We’re the UK’s leading immigration specialists and have experience helping Ukrainians apply for the Ukraine Scheme.
Whether you would like help with your application or guidance about your visa options, our understanding and friendly team of solicitors and legal advisors is waiting to guide you through the process.
Last modified on November 21st, 2023 at 11:23 am
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If your application has been successful, you will receive either a visa or an official letter of permission, depending on where you have applied and how you have confirmed your identity.
You can use either of these documents to travel to the UK, and you will be required to show them to the Border Force officer at the port of entry.
Your document will also explain if you need to collect a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) or provide biometric information once in the UK.
If you need to collect a BRP, you must do so within 10 days of arriving in the UK or by the expiration date of your visa, whichever is later. Your permission letter will tell you where to collect it.
If you are required to provide biometric information, you must do this within 6 months of your arrival to receive your BRP, allowing you to stay in the UK for up to 3 years.
No. The Ukraine Family Scheme, Homes for Ukraine Scheme, or Ukraine Extension Scheme do not lead to permanent settlement.
You can only stay in the UK through one of these schemes for up to 3 years. If you wish to stay in the UK for longer, you will need to apply for another visa.
If you are a Ukrainian national or resident and already in the UK on a different visa, you should consider which route is best for your circumstances before applying to one of the Ukraine Schemes.
Yes, you can bring your pet to the UK from Ukraine if you are able to meet the required criteria.
You can apply to bring your pet into the UK online.
After applying, the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) will contact you to discuss your pet’s proposed travel arrangements.
Your pet must arrive in the UK at the agreed time and date, using an approved carrier and route.
You must also hold a visa, allowing you to enter the UK.
Cats Dogs or Ferrets
Your cat, dog or ferret will not need to go into quarantine or isolation if they have:
- Been microchipped.
- A GB pet health certificate. If you wish to use an EU pet passport instead of a health certificate, you should contact APHA before arranging travel.
- Been vaccinated against rabies. They will then have to have a blood test after 30 days and wait in Ukraine for 3 months before travelling.
Dogs should also have had a tapeworm treatment between 1 and 5 days before the trip.
If you are unable to meet these criteria, you should apply for a licence before arranging your pet’s travel to the UK.
One licence allows you to bring up to 5 pets into the United Kingdom if they are:
- Your own pet, and
- Travelling with you
If you need to bring more than 5 pets from Ukraine, you must obtain Approved Importer status.
When discussing your pet’s travel arrangements, APHA will inform you if your pet will need to go into quarantine or isolate, and any conditions you must follow. This could be for up to 4 months.
Ukrainians travelling to the UK with their pets do not have to pay any quarantine or isolation fees.
Birds, Rodents, Rabbits or Other Small Mammals
If you would like to bring your pet bird, rodent, rabbit, or another small mammal from Ukraine, you must obtain a licence from APHA.
Your licence will allow you to bring up to 5 pets into the UK.
During your pet’s first 30 days in the UK, you must:
- Keep it in an indoor enclosure at your home
- Prevent it from having contact with another pet or any wildlife
- Not let it go in a garden or outdoor area
- Inform APHA if they become sick. You should not take it to the vet during this period.