The Ukraine Family Scheme is now open to immediate, extended, and other family members. It is free to apply to and those issued with a visa will be able to live, work and study in the UK, with access to public funds. There is also no Immigration Health Surcharge to pay. The visa can last for up to three years[i].
Currently it is only possible to apply for the visa if the applicant is outside the UK[ii], though the government will issue updated guidance on applying from within the UK soon.
The immediate family members of a UK based family member (“the sponsor”) that can apply for the visa include:
- Spouse/civil partner
- Unmarried partner (the usual 2 years cohabitation rule applies) or fiancé
- Parents if the sponsor is under the age of 18
- Dependent children under the age of 18
- Dependent adult relatives (e.g., if you provide care)
Extended family members that can apply for the visa include:
- Parents and grandparents (that do not need care/are not dependent)
- Adult and non-dependent children and grandchildren
Immediate family members of extended family members may also apply. This includes:
- Their spouse or civil partner if the relationship started before 1 January 2022
- Dependent children, under 18
- Parent of a child under 18 who is an extended family member
- Fiancé or proposed civil partner if the relationship started before 1 January 2022
- Other family members will be considered where there are exceptional circumstances[iii]
The UK based family member must be:
- A British national; or
- Someone settled in the UK (ILR/Settled Status/proof of permanent residence); or
- Someone with pre-settled status who started living in the UK before 1 January 2021; or
- Someone with refugee status or humanitarian protection
Minimum documentation to provide:
- Confirmation of the relationship (e.g., birth/marriage certificates)
- Immigration or citizenship status of the UK sponsor
- Passport and other ID documents to be provided online and at VAC appointments
Applicants who cannot provide any of the above, may be asked to explain why not[iv].
These applications will be prioritised, but there is no confirmation of a turn-around time.
UKVI has provided a contact number for enquiries. Option 1 for immediate family members and for any issues with vignettes etc. not being issued; and Option 3 for extended family members.
Telephone: +44 808 164 8810 (0808 164 8810 if you’re in the UK)
Lines are open 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
This is a free phone number
VAC Centres and Appointments:
Following the submission of their application, applicants must book an appointment at any Visa Application Centre throughout Europe, as convenient to their current location. The applicant will have to attend the appointment and will be given accelerated security checks.
Following their appointment, the applicant must remain in the location from where their application was submitted, until the Home Office contacts them or their representative.
There are currently two additional, temporary VAC centres set up to process family members of British nationals that are in Ukraine. These can be accessed via appointment or as a walk-in:
- Lviv, Ukraine (Bogdana Hmelnytskogo str., 176, Business Centre Lemberg
- Rzeszow, Poland (uk. Warszawska 18, (35-205))
How we can help
Magrath Sheldrick is providing advice and assistance to Ukraine citizens and their UK based family members. Much of this is provided free of charge as part of our pro bono crisis response initiative.
We are also participating in the Ukraine Advice Project UK.
[i] There is no provision currently for the grant of Indefinite Leave to Remain after the first grant of stay. The Home Office will develop policy on this as the Ukraine situation develops.
[ii] Note that Consular Services are very reduced in Ukraine itself.
[iii] It is hard to imagine circumstances that are more exceptional than war. Any family member that forms part of the “family unit” should consider applying.
[iv] Urgent displacement because of war should be considered a sufficient explanation, but the authorities will always want to be satisfied that the applicant is a genuine qualifying family member.