- The Home Office stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the people fleeing Ukraine following the Russian invasion.
- The generous Ukraine Family Scheme provides an immediate pathway for people from Ukraine with family already in the UK to come here.
- It is designed to allow as many as people as possible to come to the UK and gives them immediate access to the support they need.
- The Scheme was developed in close consultation with Ukrainian leaders and the diaspora community to ensure our measures respond directly to their needs and asks, and we will continue to work with them to make changes as necessary.
- Ukrainians with valid passports and who are eligible for the Scheme do not need to go to a Visa Application Centre to give their biometrics before they come to the UK.
- The Ukraine Extension Scheme, which will go live on 3 May, will give Ukrainians already in the UK on temporary visas, alongside their family members, three years’ leave and full access to work, study and public funds.
- We continue to keep our support under constant review and will adapt and develop the visa routes in place to ensure they keep pace with the rapidly shifting situation in Ukraine.
Family members of British nationals and those settled in the UK are eligible to come to here. This includes:
- Immediate family members (spouses, civil partners, partners, children under 18 and parents of children under 18)
- Adult children
- Aunts and uncles
- Nieces and nephews
The Ukraine Family Scheme is a fee-free visa route. There are no salary or language tests, but people will need to pass security checks.
How to apply with a valid passport
From Tuesday 15 March, valid Ukraine passport holders do not need to attend in-person Visa Application Centre appointments to submit fingerprints or facial verification when making applications under the Ukraine Family Scheme.
Once their application has been considered and the appropriate checks completed, they will receive direct notification that they are eligible for the scheme.
The majority of applications can be completed entirely online without attending a Visa Appointment Centre.
All applicants will still need to complete an online application form. Application forms must be completed for each family member, including one application per child.
- Individual fills in the online application form
- Individual uploads scan of their passport
- Casework teams in the UK do appropriate biographical / security checks
- Individual receives email confirming permission to come to the UK, which they present to the transport carrier as authority to travel
- Border Force officers do any appropriate additional checks (e.g. safe guarding) on arrival and stamp their passport with six months’ leave to enter
- Individual visits a visa centre in the UK to give biometrics which finalises the grant of 36 months’ leave
How to apply without a valid passport
Applicants who hold identity cards and do not have a valid passport will still need to attend a VAC in person and provide their biometric information.
When applicants have completed an online form, they can book an appointment at any Visa Application Centre throughout Europe.
They should then attend their Visa Application Centre appointment, where they be required to submit their biometric information.
Once the visa application has been processed, we will contact applicants.
Applicants should remain in the location where they have submitted their application until they are contacted.
Leave to remain in the UK
- Those joining family in the UK through the Ukraine Family Scheme and people with temporary visas in the UK who apply to the Ukraine Extension Scheme will be granted leave for three years.
- Valid passport holders who have not attended a VAC will be granted six months leave to enter the UK outside the rules, enabling them to work, study and claim benefits immediately. Once they have submitted biometric data in the UK, they will have their leave extended to three years.
Ukraine Extension Scheme
- The Ukraine Extension Scheme will go live on 3 May and will be open to Ukrainians in the UK on temporary visas, including work, study, or visitor visas, alongside their family members, to apply for three years’ leave to remain in the UK.
- Any Ukrainian whose leave to remain in the UK expired between 1 January 2022 and the Ukraine Extension Scheme coming into effect will still qualify for three years’ leave.
- The following will be eligible under the Ukraine Extension Scheme:
- Ukrainians here as workers (including under the Seasonal Work route)
- Ukrainians here as students and graduates
- Ukrainians here as visitors
- Ukrainians here with leave under the family and private life routes
- Ukrainians here as the dependants of third country nationals in any route
- Ukrainians here with exempt status
- Ukrainians here who have been granted temporary leave to enter or remain outside the rules
- Ukrainians here with pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
- The non-Ukrainian dependants of Ukrainians in these cohorts, who would be granted leave in line.
- If you want information on the Ukraine Family Scheme, you should call the dedicated Home Office line +44 (0)808 164 8810 – select option 1. This option is now available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
- If you are a Ukrainian national in the UK and need assistance, please call the dedicated Home Office line +44 (0)808 164 8810 – select option 1. This option is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
- Further advice can be found at: Support for family members of British nationals in Ukraine, and Ukrainian nationals in Ukraine and the UK - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Why don’t you just waive visas?
- We’ve already waived some of the normal requirements under this scheme, in order to help people forced to flee be reunited with their families in the UK as quickly as possible.
- Security and identity checks are a fundamental part of our visa process in order to keep people in this country safe, and this is consistent with our approach to the evacuation of Afghanistan.
- That is vital both to keep British citizens safe, but also to ensure that we are helping those in genuine need – as the Minister set out, we are already seeing people presenting false documents claiming to be Ukrainians.
Can’t you just do biometric checks on the street? Why do you need to go to the VAC?
- We take biometrics in secure VACs for the safety and security of our customers and staff, and to ensure sensitive data captured on our biometrics equipment is secure.