Updates to the Ukraine Family Scheme
Further to our earlier post here, there have been a number of updates in the Home Office response to the war in Ukraine.
However, the humanitarian sponsorship scheme announced on 01 March 2022 has not yet been opened.
Visa Concession for Family Members in Ukraine
Who can sponsor?
British citizens, settled persons, people with refugee status / humanitarian protection in the UK and pre-settled status holders are able to bring non-British family members who usually live in Ukraine to the UK.
It is anticipated (following updates in the Press) that this could soon be broadened to permit further sponsors – those with limited leave to remain in the UK – to bring Ukrainian family members too. This would be a much needed and welcome amendment, but has not yet been announced by official sources.
The Home Office information states:
To apply to the Ukraine Family Scheme you must:
- be applying to join or accompany your UK-based family member; and
- be Ukrainian or the immediate family member of a Ukrainian national who is applying to the scheme; and
- have been residing in Ukraine on or immediately before 1 January 2022 (including those who have now left Ukraine)
Your application will be subject to security checks.
Each individual must submit their own application, and must show their relationship to their UK based family member.
The scope of the scheme has been broadened since opening on 4th March 2022 – it now covers immediate family members, extended family members, and their immediate family members.
These groups are defined as follows:
Immediate family members
An immediate family member is your:
- spouse or civil partner
- unmarried partner (you must have been living together in a relationship for at least two years)
- child who is under 18
- parent (if you are under 18)
- fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner
Extended family members
An extended family member is your:
- parent (if you are over 18)
- child who is over 18
- grandchild or your partner’s grandchild
- brother or sister
- aunt or uncle
- niece or nephew
- mother-in-law or father-in-law
- brother or sister-in-law
Immediate family member of an extended family member
An immediate family member of an extended family is the:
- spouse or civil partner of an extended family member
- child under 18 of an extended family member
- parent of a child under 18 who is an extended family member
- fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner of an extended family member
Relationships must have started prior to 01 January 2022.
The Guidance states that “other family members will be considered where there are exceptional circumstances”.
It is likely to be advisable that all family members with UK based relatives apply under the scheme, as this is a free route and less burdensome than other visa applications.
Applications should be submitted online and biometrics appointments should be arranged. Available documents to show residence in Ukraine prior to January 2022 and the relationship to the UK sponsor should be uploaded electronically prior to attending the biometrics appointment.
Due to the unprecedented circumstances there is limited availability of biometrics appointments, and applicants should be prepared to wait for a long time even if they have appointments.
Further to the Home Secretary’s announcement on 10th March, from Tuesday 14th March, Applicants with Ukrainian passports will no longer need to attend a biometrics appointment – the applications will be processed electronically and they can enrol biometrics within the UK.
How Long Will It Take?
UKVI states that processing the applications is a priority, but does not give a clear indication of processing times.
If the Home Office decides to make any further changes to the visa conditions for Ukrainian nationals then these will be posted on this page.
Contact our Immigration Barristers
For expert advice and assistance with a UK visa application to visit, work, study or join family members in the UK, or to claim asylum if you are a Ukrainian citizen in the UK, please contact our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.