Ukraine Family Scheme

The new amendments come into force from 08 March, regarding what family members fall under the category of "Extended family members of the UK-based family member"

Ukraine Family Scheme – now available to apply from inside the UK

What to do after arriving in the UK under the Ukraine Family Scheme and Homes for Ukraine Scheme

Employment of Ukrainian nationals

What benefits are provided to applicants

A. Overview

The Ukraine Family Scheme allows applicants to join family members or extend their stay in the UK.

It is free to apply.

No visa fee or Immigration Health Surcharge will need to be paid to make an application and so applications should not be rejected for non-payment of such fees.

You will be able to live, work and study in the UK and access public funds.

B. Eligibility requirements

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 prior to 1 January 2022 (including those who have now left Ukraine)

Your application will be subject to security checks.

You might also be eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit if you are the family member of someone who is living in the UK with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme who is from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.

You can choose which scheme you apply for, but please do not apply to both the Ukraine Family Scheme and the EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit.

Applicant’s identity document

The best evidence of identity applicants on the Ukraine Scheme can provide is a valid passport. In the absence of a valid passport, the applicant may provide one or more of the following:

  • A recently expired passport, which has not exceeded its expiry date by more than 10 years for applicants aged over 25 and for applicants aged under 25 years by no more than 5 years
  • Ukrainian National identity card
  • UK issued biometric residence permit or card
  • A combination of other official documents containing a facial image that would enable the applicant to establish their identity and nationality, which could include a photo driving licence and a birth certificate
  • An emergency certificate issued by a Ukrainian authority since March 2022

No adequate documentation confirming identity

Where the applicant does not have any of these documents, Home Office caseworker should ask them to explain why and record this on the case-working system, and to provide any other documentation that may help to evidence their identity and nationality.

Tuberculosis (TB) Testing

It has been agreed to waive the TB requirement for the Ukraine Scheme.

Ordinarily Resident in Ukraine

To qualify for the Ukraine Scheme a person must have been ordinarily resident in the Ukraine on or immediately before 1 January 2022 unless they are already present in the UK or they are a child born or adopted on or after that date.

The bullet points below are a non-exhaustive list of evidence an applicant can submit if available, to confirm they were ordinarily resident in Ukraine on or immediately before 1 January 2022:

  • Passport with travel stamps
  • Official documents issued by the Ukrainian authorities
  • Utility bills
  • Bank statements
  • Medical letters
  • Mortgage or tenancy agreements
  • Employment letters
  • Education letters

Relationship Requirement

To be eligible under the Ukraine Scheme the applicant must be an eligible family member of a UK based sponsor, who is resident in the UK (although the sponsor does not have to be physically present in the UK at this moment), unless they are a British citizen.

Ideally applicants should provide one of the following pieces of evidence to confirm their sponsors status in the UK:

  • Screenshot/copy or original of a British passport or BRP
  • Home Office reference number (so a check can take place in the internal systems)
  • Screenshot/copy or original Home Office documentation/electronic documentation (email on phone etc.) to confirm settled status in the UK
  • Screenshot/copy or original Home office documentation/electronic documentation to confirm pre-settled status under EUSS

C. Who is a UK-based family member?

Your family member must be one of the following:

  • a British national
  • someone settled in the UK - for example, they have indefinite leave to remain, settled status or proof of permanent residence
  • someone who has pre-settled status and started living in the UK before 1 January 2021
  • someone with refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK

You must provide evidence that your UK-based family member is one of the following:

  • an immediate family member
  • an extended family member
  • an immediate family member of an extended family member

You will be asked to provide a copy of an official document that confirms your relationship to your UK-based family member. For example, a marriage or birth certificate if you have one. If you are unable to provide this document you can still apply, explaining why you are unable to do so.

D. Who are 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

E. Who are extended family members?

An extended family member is your:

  • parent (if you are over 18)
  • child who is over 18
  • grandparent
  • grandchild or your partner’s grandchild
  • brother or sister
  • aunt or uncle
  • niece or nephew
  • cousin
  • mother-in-law or father-in-law
  • grandparent-in-law
  • brother or sister-in-law

Where applying as an immediate family member of an extended family member, the extended family member must be applying at the same time or have been granted under the scheme.

F. Who are 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

If your UK-based family member is your (or an extended family member’s) spouse, civil partner, fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner the relationship must have started before 1 January 2022.

Other family members will be considered where there are exceptional circumstances.

Evidence of Relationship

Applicants should provide evidence of their claimed relationship.

The best evidence will be an appropriate certificate issued by a relevant authority, for example a marriage or civil partnership certificate for a partner or a birth or adoption certificate for a parent or child.

In the absence of such evidence an applicant should be asked to provide any other official and independent evidence to demonstrate the relationship, such as tenancy agreements or joint bank statements.

These can include digital versions or copies. Where an applicant is unable to provide evidence of their claimed relationship caseworkers have discretion to take into account the circumstances of the application and any reasonable explanation for a lack of evidence. The starting point should be to accept statements provided with the application unless there is good reason to suspect otherwise.

Relationships not covered by the Ukraine Family Scheme

Applications received by applicants who do not meet the relationship requirements may be refused.

However, caseworkers may apply discretion to accept and consider applications from other family members where they are evidenced and there are exceptional reasons to do so. Caseworkers should take a pragmatic approach and consider the applicant’s circumstances as well as what meaningful connection the applicant has to their immediate family unit, their sponsor and the UK.

A case may be exceptional where, for example, the decision to refuse would mean separating an individual from their long-term family unit. An applicant should provide evidence of their situation where possible, and all decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis.

Nationality and mixed families

Applicants to the scheme must be Ukrainian nationals unless they are applying as part of a family group with their immediate family member who is a Ukrainian national and qualifies under this scheme. This ensures this scheme does not cause a family to break up.

For example, a Ukrainian national resident in the UK would be able to sponsor their Indian partner with their Ukrainian child and both are ordinarily resident in Ukraine.

G. How long you can stay in the UK

Your visa will last up to 3 years.

H. Official fees

It is free to apply to the Ukraine Family Scheme.

You do not need to pay the immigration health surcharge for this scheme.

I. How long it takes

We will prioritise your application and aim to make a decision as quickly as possible.

J. How to apply

Apply from outside the UK

You must apply online for the Ukraine Family Scheme – by the following link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-ukraine-family-scheme-visa.

You will then book and attend an appointment at a Visa Application Centre.

Visa application centres

You will need to have your photograph and fingerprints taken at a Visa Application Centre as part of your application. Children under the age of 5 will not have their fingerprints taken but will still need to attend the Visa Application Centre and have a digital photograph taken.

When you attend the Visa Application Centre you will need to provide your passport which will be scanned. If you do not have a passport you can still apply but will need to explain why you are unable to provide it.

The Visa Application Centres in Kyiv and Lviv are closed, and all UK visa services are suspended therein.

There are temporary Visa Application Centre for people applying for the Ukraine Family Scheme in:

  • Rzeszow, Poland

You can apply at a Visa Application Centre in any country if you are able to travel safely. Visa Application Centres are currently operating throughout Europe including:

  • Hungary
  • Moldova
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Paris, France

Apply from inside the UK

Ukraine Family Scheme – now available to apply from inside the UK

K. Police registration

Applicants to the Ukraine Scheme are not required to apply for police registration following the receipt of visa.

L. Appeals and Administrative Review

There will be no right of appeal or right to an administrative review for this Ukraine Family Scheme in case of refusal.

In case of getting refusal, we will need to carefully study the reasons for the refusal and submit the visa application again, taking into account the primary grounds for refusal.

M. Definitions under the Ukraine Family Scheme

Partner

A partner includes a spouse, civil partner and a person who has been living together with the applicant in a relationship akin to a marriage or civil partnership for at least two years prior to the date of application. Partners must meet the relationship requirements, specifically the applicant and the sponsor must:

  • be aged 18 or over at the date of application
  • have met in person
  • demonstrate a relationship that is genuine and subsisting
  • show that any previous relationship has broken down permanently
  • intend to live together permanently in the UK, and
  • not be engaged in a polygamous relationship

A partner relationship must have existed on or before 1 January 2022.

Parent

A parent includes (beyond biological parents), stepfathers where the father is dead, and stepmothers where the mother is dead, father and mother of illegitimate child where the person is proved to be the father, an adopted parent where the child was legally adopted in their country where the UK authorities recognise adoption orders, or where a de facto adoption otherwise meets the requirements in the rules, and, where the child was born in the UK, a person with parental responsibility on the ground that the parents are unable to care for the child. For the purposes of the Ukraine Scheme a stepparent can be classed as a parent if both biological parents are alive.

Grandparent

A grandparent includes grandparents by blood and adoption.

Siblings

A sibling should be taken to include biological, adopted and step siblings. Where the relationship is of sibling by marriage or civil partnership, the ‘in-law’ relationship must be to the UK-based sponsor.

Aunt and Uncle

An aunt or uncle should be taken to mean biological and step aunt/uncle. This is the brother or sister (or stepbrother/stepsister) of either of the UK-based sponsor’s parents, and the partner of the uncle or aunt.

Cousin

A cousin should be taken to mean the biological, adopted or stepchild of the UK-based sponsor’s aunt or uncle.

Niece and nephew

A niece or nephew should be taken to mean the biological or stepchild of the UK-based sponsor’s sibling, adopted sibling or step sibling.

Our services

  • We can advise on the procedure, requirements and merits of making an application for Ukraine Family Scheme visa
  • We can advise and represent our clients in making representations in support of their immigration matters
  • We can advise on the merits in case of refusal

Whatever the case, we are here to assist, advise and represent our clients in relation to any aspect of their immigration matters.

Posted in English on Mar 03, 2022.