Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme (Homes for Ukraine)
On 1 March 2022, the Home Secretary announced a bespoke humanitarian support package for Ukrainians. The Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme (Homes for Ukraine) allows Ukrainian nationals and their family members to come to the UK if they have a named sponsor under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.
Who Is Eligible for the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme (Homes for Ukraine)?
To apply to the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme, the applicant must be Ukrainian, or the immediate family member of a Ukrainian national, who:
- has been residing in Ukraine on or immediately before 1 January 2022 (including those who have now left Ukraine);
- is currently outside the UK;
- has a UK-based sponsor who is eligible for the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.
An immediate family member is defined on the scheme as a:
- spouse or civil partner;
- unmarried partner (you must have been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years);
- child who is under 18;
- parent (if you are under 18);
- fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner.
There is no limit or cap on the number of individuals who can use this route.
The eligibility criteria may differ if the sponsor is based in the Bailiwick of Guernsey, Isle of Man or Jersey. If an applicant intends to rely use a sponsor based in one of these locations, the following emails should be contacted to ensure that eligibility for their schemes:
- Bailiwick of Guernsey (Guernsey, Alderney and Sark): email@example.com
- Isle of Man: UkraineGuidance@gov.im
- Jersey: firstname.lastname@example.org
Homes for Ukraine UK Sponsor Requirement
Phase One of the UK government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme opened on Friday 18 March 2022 for visa applications from those who wish to travel to the UK and who have named people in the UK willing to sponsor them.
It is unclear at this stage how individuals are matched with Sponsors. Further guidance is due to be provided, which will hopefully provide some clarity on this matter. If you wish to apply for the scheme and do not have a Sponsor in the UK, you may wish to call the helpline below for further information.
If an applicant knows an individual or organisation in the UK who would be willing to sponsor them, but it is not yet a Sponsor, the intended Sponsor can register their interest on the Home for Ukraine website. Individual sponsors in the UK can be of any nationality, with any immigration status, providing they have at least 6 months’ leave to remain in the UK, so that they can provide at least six months’ accommodation. They can live in any part of the UK.
Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme (Homes for Ukraine) Application Process
Applicants to the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme (Homes for Ukraine) must use the specified online application form. The application is free and there is no immigration health surcharge payment required.
For those with a valid Ukrainian international passport or an expired Ukrainian international passport with a formal extension stamp issued by the Ukrainian government, they do not need to attend a biometric appointment at a Visa Application Centre (VAC) outside of the UK. Applicants in these circumstances will have to attend a biometric appointment once in the UK, as set out below.
If the applicant does not hold a valid Ukrainian international passport, or holds a Ukrainian domestic passport or ID card, they will need to book and attend an appointment at a VAC. VACs in Ukraine are currently closed, but there is a temporary VAC for people applying for the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme in Rzeszow, Poland. There are also VACs in a number of other European countries which can be attended.
Evidence will need to be uploaded to one of the Home Office commercial partner’s websites or assistance with uploading documents can be requested at a VAC appointment. The following documents should be provided:
- Scans of the current passport or expired passport with the formal extension stamp, if relying on these documents;
- Documents that show that the applicant was residing in Ukraine on or immediately before 1 January 2022, if possible;
- Documents proving the identity of the UK based Sponsor such as a passport, driving licence, national identity card or biometric residence permit.
If granted permission under the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme, an applicant will receive either:
- an official letter of permission (if you hold a valid Ukrainian international passport)
- a visa (if you attended a VAC to give your biometrics)
The Home Office have stated that they are prioritising Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme applications and aim to make a decision as quickly as possible, but have not been given a specific timeframe. However, recent reports indicated that there are delays in the processing of these applications.
If you have an official letter of permission
The permission letter will allow individuals to board a plane or other form of transport to the UK. On arrival in the UK, the individual will need to show the permission letter to Border Force officers who will endorse their passport with a 6-month entry stamp. The 6-month entry stamp is evidence of a right to work, study and claim benefits in the UK.
Individuals who enter on this basis will need to submit biometrics within 6 months of arriving in the UK to extend their stay for up to 3 years and be issued with a biometric residence permit (BRP) as evidence of their immigration status.
What Form of Leave Do Individuals Acquire Under the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme (Homes for Ukraine)?
Individuals granted leave under the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme (Homes for Ukraine) can stay in the UK for up to 3 years.
If given the 6 month entry stamp, they will need to apply to extend their stay on the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme (Homes for Ukraine) before the 6 months comes to an end.
Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme (Homes for Ukraine) Helplines
If you’re Ukrainian and need any assistance, there is a 24/7 free government helpline +44 808 164 8810 (0808 164 8810 if you’re in the UK). If you cannot contact UK 0808 numbers, please use +44 (0)175 390 7510.
Contact our Immigration Lawyers
For expert advice and assistance in relation to the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme or any immigration matter, contact our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or complete the enquiry form below.