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Ukraine Briefing: UK immigration routes

Posted on 2 March 2022

This page was last updated on 3 March 2022. 

On 1 March 2022, the UK Government announced further visa routes for Ukrainian nationals seeking to come to the UK.

Family Migration: Joining British or settled family members in the UK

The Home Office has made concessions to its family migration rules for family members of Ukrainians settled in the UK and family members of British nationals in Ukraine seeking to come to the UK or remain in the UK. 

While ordinarily, partners (this includes spouses, civil partners and unmarried partners for at least two years), children under the age of 18 and dependant adult relatives need to meet strict requirements in relation to demonstrating finances and English language ability, the Home Office has waived these rules for such applicants.  The Home Office has also waived application fees, meaning it is free to apply. Where any family member does not meet the requirements ordinarily required for such applications, they will be granted permission to enter or remain in the UK for an initial period of 12 months.

Applications can be made under the family migration routes now.  Anyone wishing to apply must contact UK Visas and Immigration prior to submitting their applications to receive confirmation that they are able to apply. The number to call is +44 300 3032785 and select option 1.  

On 1 March 2022, the UK Government announced a "Ukrainian Family Scheme".  This scheme is a further expansion of the family migration route to allow any adult parent, grandparent, child over 18 or sibling, or their immediate family members to make applications to join Ukrainian family members settled in the UK or British national family members in the UK.  There are no costs for the application and those joining family members in the UK under this visa route will be granted permission to enter the UK for an initial period of 12 months. The Ukrainian Family Scheme visa will allow visa holders to work in the UK and access public funds.

Applications can be made under the Ukrainian Family Scheme from 4 March 2022. The application form is not yet available, but we will update this post with a link to the online form when it is published.

Home Office guidance on the concessions for family migration can be found here.

Humanitarian Sponsorship: Those without British or settled family members in the UK

The UK Government also announced plans for the launch of a "Humanitarian Sponsorship" visa route, which will allow Ukrainian nationals without family ties to the UK to come to the UK. 

Details have not yet been made available but it is likely that under this route, Ukrainian nationals would need to be matched with a UK sponsor who may be an individual, a charity, a business or a community group. The visa would be valid for an initial period of 12 months and visa holders would be able to work in the UK and access public services.

This visa route is not yet open to applicants and the timeframe for the launch of the visa route is unknown. However, Ukrainian nationals without family members in the UK can, in the meantime, apply, if eligible, for visit, work or studies visas to enter the UK.

Practical Consideration: Applicants outside of the UK

The visa application centre in Kyiv is closed. 

Applicants who are family members of British nationals who usually live in Ukraine may apply for visa at the temporary visa application centres in the following locations:

  • Lviv, Ukraine  -  Lemberg Businss Centre, Bogdana Hmelnytskogo str., 176, Lviv, Ukraine
  • Rzeszow, Poland – SkyRes Business Center, 2nd floor, Warszawska 18, (35-205), Rzeszow, Poland

All other applicants cannot apply at the application centres in Lviv or Rzeszow.  They may apply, along with family members of British nationals, at visa application centres in:

  • Budapest, Hungary - Budapest Visa Application Centre, DBH-Group Serviced office, Buda Square Business Centre, 3rd floor, Lajos Utca 48-66, H-1036 Budapest, Hungary
  • Chisinau, Moldova - Chisinau Visa Application Centre, 49/3 Tighina Street, Office 5, Chisinau, MD2001, Moldova
  • Warsaw, Poland - Warsaw Visa Application Centre, Sound Garden Hotel, Żwirki i Wigury, 18 02-092 Warszawa
  • Bucharest, Romania - Bucharest Visa Application Centre, DBH-Group Serviced office, Buzesti Business Center 2nd Floor, Buzesti Street 50-52, Bucharest Sector 1, Romania

Prior to attending an appointment, applicants must have completed an online application form and have an application reference number (known as a "GWF" number).

Ukrainian Nationals in the UK

Ukrainian nationals in the UK whose visas are expiring are able to extend their visas in the UK or switch into a new visa category in the UK.    

There are some documentary evidence concessions in place if Ukrainian nationals cannot provide all documentation ordinarily required for the extension or switching application because it is not possible to obtain the document due, for instance, to the institution in Ukraine which would ordinarily provide the document is not operational or providing its usual range of services, or, the document cannot reasonably be obtained by the applicant.

Home Office guidance on the concessions for Ukrainian nationals in the UK who are unable to return to Ukraine can be found here.

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