Full details of visa concessions for the Ukrainian citizens have not yet been announced but some steps have been taken to facilitate the visa application process.
Family visas will be granted free of charge for close family members of British citizens or of Ukrainian citizens with indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK.
The UKVI aims to process a family visa application within 24 hours from submission of biometrics at the chosen visa application centre.
Close family members are
- Spouse or unmarried partner
- Children under 18
- Parents of children under 18
- Adult dependant relatives who need care due to a medical condition
There is a free telephone number you need to call and give information about your circumstances. The UKVI will confirm if you are eligible and will provide further details on how to make a free application. The number to call is +44 300 3032785, then select option 1.
The only functioning visa application centre in Ukraine is in the Lemberg Business Centre in Lviv. You can also make a concessionary application in Poland, Romania, Hungary or Moldova. You can also apply from a visa application centre from anywhere else, but these four centres are designated for expedited processing of applications during the crisis.
There is no announcement of any additional routes for Ukrainians who do not meet the rather restrictive definition of a family member. Most frustratingly, there is no route for parents of adult British citizens if they are not in need of daily care. On 1st March Priti Patel announced intention to create a route for extended family members – this would include parents, grandparents and siblings.
In the meantime, it is expected that visitor’s visas would be granted compassionately and that the Home Office will not insist on proof of intention to return home (which is a standard requirement in a visitor visa application). Unfortunately, visa requirement is not waived in the UK for Ukrainians. This means that you would have to wait for the visa to be issued before you can board a flight or Eurostar train. If you are travelling to the UK by car without a visa, you will need to make it clear at the border that you are fleeing violence in Ukraine and that you are coming to the UK for protection. You should not be turned away.
Unfortunately, an application for humanitarian protection cannot be made from outside the UK. It is important that you apply at the border once you have reached the UK.
Ukrainian nationals in the UK
There has been a number of concessions for Ukrainian nationals currently in the UK. The UK will grant applications for humanitarian protection to those who are unable to return home. Family reunion route should be open to close family members of Ukrainians who are already in the UK even if they do not yet have a permanent or settled status.
Exceptionally, Ukrainian nationals in the UK on a visitor visa can switch into a points-based route or a family visa route.
If you have a job offer in the UK, you can apply for the Skilled Worker route without leaving the UK. This visa application process has to be initiated by the employer who will need a sponsor licence in order to issue a certificate of sponsorship for you. Your prospective employer may contact us if they have any questions on how best to proceed.
If you do not have a job offer or the job offer you have cannot be supported under the Skilled Worker route, you need to make an application for permission to stay in the UK because of the war crisis. You will not be allowed to work while the application is under consideration but once the permission is granted, you will have the right to work in the UK without restrictions.
- Main Home Office page on special visa rules for Ukrainians and people in Ukraine
- Work Rights Centre resources on leaving Ukraine safely, entering neighbouring countries, coming to the UK
- Ukraine Advice Project UK
- The Right to Remain toolkit, a general guide to the UK immigration and asylum system in plain English
Please get in touch if you or your family needs help.