UK visa options for Ukrainians

Ukraine visa scheme

What are the UK immigration options for Ukrainians

In this blog we focus on the immigration options that were created by the UK Home Office following the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. There are three recently introduced immigration routes for those affected by the conflict in Ukraine:

  • the Ukraine Family Scheme;
  • the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme; and
  • the Ukraine Extension Scheme.

Home Office published immigration rules and various guidance documents to explain the Schemes. Some short summary from the Home Office can be found here

For all three schemes applicants have to meet the Suitability (‘good character’) requirement.

The applicant must not fall for refusal under any of the following ‘General’ grounds for refusal:

(a) 9.2.1 to 9.2.2 (exclusion or deportation orders); or

(b) 9.3.1 to 9.3.2 (non-conducive); or

(c) 9.4.1 to 9.4.5 (criminality); or

(d) 9.5.1 to 9.5.2 (exclusion from asylum or humanitarian protection); or

(e) 9.6.1 to 9.6.2 (involvement in sham marriage or sham civil partnership); or

(f) 9.7.1 to 9.7.3 (false representations and deception); or

(g) 9.10.1 to 9.10.2 (admissibility to the Common Travel Area or other countries); or

(h) 9.14.1 to 9.20.2 and 9.23.1 to 9.24.1 (grounds for refusal and cancellation on arrival).

Ukraine Family Scheme

A Ukrainian national can qualify under the Ukraine Family Scheme if they are a ‘family member’ of a UK-based sponsor who is a British citizen, person settled in the UK, refugee, person with humanitarian protection, or EEA or Swiss citizen with pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (where based on residence in the UK before the end of the transition period).

Family members for the purpose of this Scheme are immediate family members (meaning a partner, child under 18, parent of a child aged under 18, fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner), and extended family members of the UK-based sponsor or their partner (meaning parent, grandparent, grandchild, adult child, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, and cousin) and the immediate family members of extended family members of the UK-based sponsor or their partner. We write about the Ukraine Family Scheme here

Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme

A Ukrainian national may also qualify under the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme if they have an Approved sponsor who will provide accommodation for at least 6 months. Home published a list of frequently asked questions which has some useful clarifications on the requirements for the Scheme. 

To be confirmed as a sponsor you must be:

  • based in the UK;
  • with at least 6 months permission to be in the UK
  • can be of any nationality.
  • will need to prove your identity using a recognised identity document for ID check. A full list of applicable identity documents is available in the sponsor guidance but a British passport or driving license would suffice.
  • must also have a spare room, or separate self-contained residential accommodation that is unoccupied.
  • The accommodation must be available for at least six months, be fit for people to live in, and suitable for the number of people to be accommodated.

An applicant applying for entry clearance under the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme must have been ordinarily resident in Ukraine immediately before 1 January 2022, unless they are a child born on or after that date.

Where a family group is applying under the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme, the Ukrainian national and their immediate family members must have the same Approved sponsor under the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme.

The applicant must be either:

(a) a Ukrainian national; or

(b) part of an immediate family group which includes an immediate family member who is a Ukrainian national who qualifies under the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme

If the applicant is not a Ukrainian national, they must be the immediate family member of a Ukrainian national who qualifies under the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme, meaning a:

(a) partner of the Ukrainian national; or

(b) child aged under 18 on the date of application of the Ukrainian national or of their partner; or

(c) parent of a Ukrainian national child aged under 18 (where the child is applying under the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme); or

(d) fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner of the Ukrainian national.

An applicant applying as a partner, fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner must be in a genuine and subsisting relationship with the Ukrainian national which commenced before 1 January 2022.

An applicant who is applying as a partner must meet the requirements in Appendix Relationship with Partner.

The applicant will be granted permission for a period of up to 36 months.The permission will be granted subject to the following conditions:

(a) access to public funds permitted; and

(b) work (including self-employment and voluntary work) permitted; and

(c) study permitted, subject to the ATAS condition in Appendix ATAS.

Ukraine Extension Scheme

A Ukrainian national can qualify under the Ukraine Extension Scheme if they are in the UK with immigration permission on 18 March 2022 or if their last permission ended after 1 January 2022. This scheme will open on 3 May 2022.

The applicant must have had permission to enter or stay in the UK on 18 March 2022, unless:

(a) they were in the UK with permission to enter or stay immediately before 1 January but that permission has since expired; or

(b) they are a child born in the UK after 18 March 2022.

An application which does not meet all the validity requirements for the Ukraine Extension Scheme is invalid and may be rejected and not considered.

 The applicant must be either:

(a) a Ukrainian national; or

(b) a person who has or last had permission as:

(i) a partner of a Ukrainian national; or

(ii) a child of a Ukrainian national; or

(c) a child of a Ukrainian national born in the UK after 18 March 2022.

An applicant who is a partner must meet the requirements in Appendix Relationship with Partner.

A child born in the UK must provide a full UK birth certificate.

The applicant will be granted permission to stay for whatever is the shorter of either:

(a) 36 months; or

(b) a period which would mean the applicant has been granted a maximum of 36 months under the Ukraine Scheme.

The permission will be granted subject to the following conditions:

(a) access to public funds permitted; and

(b) work (including self-employment and voluntary work) permitted; and

(c) study permitted, subject to the ATAS condition in Appendix ATAS.

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