What is the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme?
Also known as Homes for Ukraine, the Sponsorship Scheme is one of 3 schemes created by the UK government in response to the Ukraine war. These schemes aim to streamline the UK visa process, allowing Ukrainian nationals and residents to seek refuge in the United Kingdom.
Under this scheme, successful applicants can come to the UK and remain there for up to 3 years if they are sponsored by a UK-based person or organisation for at least 6 months.
While in the UK, you will enjoy many benefits, including being able to work or study, access public funds services such as healthcare, and claim benefits.
- What is the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme?
- Who Can Apply for the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme?
- Child Applicants Under 18 Years Old
- Homes for Ukraine Sponsor Requirements
- How to Apply to the Homes for Ukraine Scheme
- How Much Does It Cost to Apply to the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme?
- Ukraine Sponsorship Application Processing Time
- How Newcastle Immigration Lawyers Can Help
- Frequently Asked Questions
Who Can Apply for the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme?
For your Homes for Ukraine application to be successful, you must be either:
- A Ukrainian citizen or resident; or
- An immediate family member of a Ukrainian citizen who has either made a successful application to the Homes for Ukraine Scheme or is currently applying.
You are considered an immediate family member of a Ukrainian if you are a:
- Spouse, civil partner, proposed civil partner, fiancé(e), or unmarried partner with whom you have been living together for a minimum of 2 years
- Child of the Ukrainian citizen, where you are under 18 years old.
- Parent, where the Ukrainian family member is under 18 years old.
In addition, you must also satisfy the following eligibility criteria:
- You lived in Ukraine on or during the period immediately prior to 1st January 2022.
- You are applying from outside of the United Kingdom.
- You have obtained an eligible UK-based sponsor.
To apply to the Homes for Ukraine scheme, applicants under the age of 18 must make their own application and apply through one of the following routes:
- An application to come to the UK at the same time as their parent or legal guardian.
- An application to enable them to reunite with a parent or legal guardian who is already in the United Kingdom.
- An application made with the consent of a parent or legal guardian to enable the child to live with an approved sponsor.
Child applicants must also comply with further conditions, depending on the application route taken.
Applications Made at the Same Time as a Parent or Legal Guardian
If a child’s application to the Homes for Ukraine scheme is made at the same time as that of a parent or legal guardian, the child and parent or guardian should travel to the United Kingdom together.
Applications to Join a Parent or Legal Guardian Already in the UK
If the parent or legal guardian of the child applicant is already in the UK, the parent or legal guardian should take one of the following routes:
- Leave the UK and travel to meet the child applicant in their current country of residence. They can then travel back to the UK together, or
- Arrange to meet the child applicant at their point of entry into the UK, such as an airport, train station, or port.
Please note that the UK government advises against children under the age of 18 travelling without a parent or legal guardian undertaking journeys by way of Calais, Coquelles, or Dunkerque.
Applications to Join an Approved Sponsor
If a child applicant is travelling to the UK to join an approved sponsor without their legal guardian or parent accompanying or joining them, they must have:
- Evidence that their parent or legal guardian has consented to their travel to the UK. This should be certified or notarised by:
- The Guardianship Service of the city or regional council, where the child applicant is applying from Ukraine;
- Notary authorities, the Ukrainian Embassy or Consulate, where the child applicant is applying from a different country.
- Evidence that their parent or legal guidance has consented to their sponsorship arrangement.
- Evidence that the approved sponsorship has committed to sponsoring the applicant for:
- 3 years, or
- Until the child applicant turns 18 years old, if shorter. The minimum duration of sponsorship through this route is 6 months.
- Confirmation that the local authority of the area in which the child will reside in the UK has approved the sponsorship arrangement.
Ukrainian citizens or their family members must find an eligible sponsor for at least 6 months before applying to the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.
To be eligible, a sponsor must satisfy the following criteria:
- They’re at least 18 years old.
- They reside in the United Kingdom.
- They have permission to stay in the UK for a minimum of 6 months.
- They can provide one of the following:
- A UK passport, an Irish passport, or an Irish passport card
- A Biometric Residence Permit or Card
- An e-Visa “share code”
- A UK, Irish, or Crown Dependency-issued photo driving licence
- They can provide appropriate accommodation in the UK for at least 6 months.
- They pass security and criminal checks. This could include references from an employer and criminal record checks in the UK and abroad if they have ever lived in another country.
- All other adults ages 16 and older in the household where the applicant will live must also pass the required security and criminal checks.
If you are applying for a child under the age of 18 to stay in the UK without a parent or legal guardian, your sponsor must satisfy the following criteria:
- They personally knew the applicant’s parent or legal guardian before 24th February 2022 and have evidence of this relationship, such as letters, photos, or emails.
- They have written consent, signed by at least one parent or legal guardian. To do this, the sponsor should receive both :
- Consent for the applicant child to leave Ukraine, certified by either:
- The Guardianship Service in the city or regional council in Ukraine
- The notary authority in the country of the child’s residence
- The Ukrainian Embassy or Consulate in the country of the child’s residence
- A signed UK sponsorship agreement consent form
- Consent for the applicant child to leave Ukraine, certified by either:
- They agree to sponsor the applicant for either:
- 3 years, or
- Until the applicant turns 18, with a minimum duration of 6 months.
- If the sponsorship ends when the applicant turns 18, the sponsor must agree to support them as they transition to living independently.
- They will live in the UK for the duration of the sponsorship.
- They pass all safeguarding and criminal checks, including a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and a sponsor suitability assessment by the local authority.
The proposed accommodation will be checked through an in-person assessment by the local council to confirm the suitability of the accommodation.
Ukrainian applicants should not share a room with another person unless they are:
- Spouses or adult partners who are cohabiting
- A parent and child
- Siblings that are:
- Under 10 years old, or
- Over 10 years old and the same gender
In addition, the proposed accommodation must
- Be safe and clean, including:
- Being easy to move around and not featuring anything that could pose a risk to an applicant, such as extremely steep staircases.
- Having safe, working electrics
- Almost entirely free of damp or mould
- Having entry-level doors and windows with working locks, if relevant.
- Be kept clean and in a reasonable state
- Have access to:
- An adequate kitchen and bathroom
- Drinking water
- Adequate heating
- Have suitable fire safety precautions, such as a working smoke detector on each floor and a working carbon monoxide alarm in rooms where a solid fuel-burning appliance is located.
You will not be charged rent or expected to work in exchange for accommodation while staying in the accommodation under the scheme. However, you may be asked to pay a reasonable amount for household bills such as water, gas, and electricity in proportion to your usage.
Your sponsor may also ask you to sign an Excluded Licence Agreement or an Excluded Tenancy Agreement that sets out what you can and cannot do on the property.
Step 1: Find a Sponsor
Before applying to the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, you must obtain sponsorship from a UK-based person or organisation for at least 6 months.
While there is a UK government list of Recognised Providers for the Homes for Ukraine Scheme to help you find interested sponsors, the UK government will not match you.
It is your responsibility to find an eligible and appropriate sponsor before you begin your application.
Step 2: Apply Online
You must apply to the Homes for Ukraine Scheme online. By completing this form, you will also apply for a biometric immigration document.
Each person who wishes to come to the UK through the scheme must make their own, individual application. This includes children under the age of 18.
The application form is created for the person who wishes to come to the UK. This means that if you are applying on behalf of another person, you should complete the form as if you’re the applicant, making sure to include the applicant’s contact details so they can see the decision letters.
Please note that you must complete your application through the Crown Dependency route if you apply to the Isle of Man or Guernsey Sponsorship Scheme.
Step 3: Confirm Your Identity
During the application process, you will be asked to provide evidence of your identity. If you have a named sponsor, they may also provide evidence of their identity to support your application.
You will need to do this even if your sponsor is applying to the scheme on your behalf.
Depending on which form of identification you have available, there are several ways you can prove your identity.
Using a Valid Ukrainian International Passport
- Use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to; or
- Provide biometric information within 6 months of travelling to the United Kingdom and upload a copy of the photograph page of your passport to your application form by using either the TLS or VFS document upload app.
Using an Expired Ukrainian International Passport with a Formal Extension Stamp
- Provide biometric information within 6 months of travelling to the United Kingdom; and
- Upload copies of the following to your application form:
- The photograph page of your expired Ukrainian international passport; and
- The page with the formal extension stamp issued by the Ukrainian government.
- Arrange and attend an appointment at a visa application centre (VAC) such as the VAC in Kyiv. Applicants over 5 years old will have their fingerprints and photograph taken, and applicants under 5 years old will only have their photograph taken.
If possible, you should also upload copies of any official identification you have to your application form using either the TLS or VFS document upload app. Documents you could provide include a Ukrainian national identity card, a birth certificate, a photo driving licence or an emergency certificate issued by a Ukrainian authority after March 2022.
Sponsor Identity Evidence
Your sponsor can support their application and prove their identity by providing the following documents through the TLS or VFS document upload app:
- UK or Irish passport or passport card
- Biometric residence permit or card
- Refugee travel documents
- UK, Ireland, or Crown Dependency-issued photo driving licence.
Your sponsor may also use the View and Prove service with a UKVI account.
Step 4: Sponsor Checks
Once you have applied to the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, the UK government and local council where the proposed accommodation is located will carry out safeguarding and criminal checks on the sponsor.
This is to ensure that the safety and needs of the applicant will be met while in the United Kingdom.
If successful, your sponsor will be granted a Sponsor Certification code, enabling you to finalise your application.
Step 5: Home Office Decision
The Home Office will make the final decision regarding your Ukraine Sponsorship application, and you will be notified of this once it has been made.
You must receive your decision notification before arranging travel to the United Kingdom.
Further guidance on the next steps you should take will be provided, including whether you need to collect a biometric residence permit or provide biometric information when you arrive in the UK.
If you didn’t need to attend an appointment at a VAC earlier in the application process, you will receive an official permission letter, allowing you to travel to the UK.
If you don’t have a valid or expired Ukrainian passport and attended a VAC to provide biometric information, you will need to travel to the VAC in Warsaw, Poland, to collect your visa vignette after receiving your decision letter.
Step 6: Provide Biometric Information or Collect Your Biometric Residence Permit
Your decision letter will explain whether you will need to collect a biometric residence permit or provide biometric information after arriving in the UK.
A biometric residence permit proves your immigration status and rights while in the United Kingdom.
If you need to collect a biometric residence permit, you will be told the time, date, and location you must do so.
If you are required to provide biometric information, you must do so within 6 months of arriving in the UK. This will enable you to remain in the United Kingdom for up to 3 years and receive your biometric residence permit.
If required, you should use the following methods to provide your biometric information:
- Complete the online Ukraine Scheme biometric application form.
- Arrange and attend an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to have your fingerprints and photograph taken. Applicants under 5 years old will only have their photograph taken.
Following your appointment, you will receive your biometric residence permit by post at the address stated in your application form.
How Much Does It Cost to Apply to the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme?
Applications made to any of the Ukraine Schemes, including the Sponsorship Scheme, are free.
In addition, there are no immigration health surcharges or biometric enrolment fees.
However, you should consider the cost of travel to the UK and other living expenses before applying.
Ukraine Sponsorship Application Processing Time
Applications made to the scheme are prioritised and processed in date order.
However, due to the volume of applications and the required safeguarding checks, it may take approximately 3 weeks for a decision to be made.
If you are eligible for more than one Ukraine Scheme, you should apply for the one which meets your needs the best. Applying for multiple schemes at the same time could delay your application.
Applying to the Ukraine Schemes can be an understandably overwhelming experience.
There’s a lot to consider when you’re thinking of moving to a new country, particularly if you’ve had to make a decision quickly.
If you’re a Ukrainian national and are thinking of applying to the Homes for Ukraine Scheme in the UK, Newcastle Immigration Lawyers can help.
As the UK’s leading immigration specialist, we have a team of understanding legal advisors who are experienced in helping Ukrainians come to the UK.
Whether you would like help with your Ukraine Scheme application or guidance about your visa options, our team will guide you through the process.
For advice and support with your application, call Newcastle Immigration Lawyers on (+44) 0191 303 8965, contact us online, or visit our office in the UK.
Last modified on October 16th, 2023 at 8:16 am
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Your application decision letter will explain the reason for your refusal and the next steps you should take.
If your decision letter states your sponsor wasn’t approved, you can reapply to the scheme if you find a new sponsor and submit a new application.
Ukrainian nationals or their immediate family members of a Ukrainian citizen may be eligible for another Ukraine Scheme, such as the Ukraine Family Scheme or the Ukraine Extension Scheme.
Neither of these schemes requires a sponsor but they do have their own eligibility criteria. If your application is successful for one of these schemes, you can live, work, study, and, access benefits and public-funded services in the United Kingdom for up to 3 years.
Alternatively, you may be eligible to apply for another UK visa.
For more information about which UK visas you may be eligible for, call Newcastle Immigration Lawyers on (+44) 0191 303 8965, contact us online, or visit one of our offices in the United Kingdom.
No. The time spent in the UK on the Sponsorship Scheme, Ukraine Family Scheme, or Ukraine Extension Scheme does not count towards obtaining a settlement in the United Kingdom.
The Sponsorship Scheme allows you to remain in the UK for up to 3 years. If you wish to live in the UK after this period expires, you must obtain another visa.
Ukrainian nationals who have already obtained a UK visa should consider whether switching to one of the Ukraine Schemes is the best option for their circumstances before applying.