How to come to, or stay in, the UK

The UK Government provides the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme which allows Ukrainian nationals and their family members to come to the UK if they have a named sponsor under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. You can stay in the UK for up to 3 years and under this scheme people will have access to public services, work and benefits. You must apply online for the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme. You and your sponsor can fill in the form together1.

1 According to the UK government’s websites: Homes for Ukraine scheme: frequently asked questions  and Apply for a visa under the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme

Help and Guidance...

Places to get advice and help

Guide for Ukrainians arriving in the UK provides information for Ukrainians arriving in the UK.  The  welcome guide, produced by the UK Government, includes:

  • a glossary of useful words and phrases
  • what people need to know in their first few days of arriving in the UK
  • information to support getting used to life in the UK
  • what to do if things go wrong
  • legal rights and responsibilities
  • applying for a school place in England
  • a quick guide to key services


Ukrainian Refugee Support – This page includes useful links, information and guidance for UK hosts looking to support Ukrainians and for Ukrainians arriving in the UK. This page is managed by the Ukrainian Institute London. They are an independent charity, dedicated to broadening knowledge about Ukraine in the UK and beyond. If you have suggestions of additional links and information to add to this site, please write to us at


The Ukraine Support Helpline – is run by the charity Barnardo’s and provides counselling and therapy with a qualified psychotherapist – delivered via the phone or online, with access to Ukrainian and Russian interpreters. The number is 0800 148 8586 or you can access it from the web. The ‘phone line is open Monday to Friday – 10am to 8pm, Saturday – 10am to 3pm.


The British Red Cross supports people from Ukraine who are in the UK. Their information helps families from Ukraine find out about services and support that might be available. There is information in Ukrainian to download.

  • There is a free British Red Cross support line, which people can call for any more information about British Red Cross, or for emotional support.  Please call:
    0808 196 3651 (open between 10am – 6pm daily).
  • If people need a support line interpreter, call and say: ‘can I speak to an interpreter?‘.


UK Government has put emergency support in place for Ukrainian nationals entering the UK with their pets.  Using an emergency licence, people fleeing Ukraine can bring their pets to the UK with any quarantine costs met by the government.


UK Government provides immigration information for Ukrainians in the UK, British nationals and their family members.  The information is updated regularly.


Buckinghamshire Council – provides support with food, bills and finances (Helping Hand). Their team are available to help individuals or families in need, those on low incomes and those who are experiencing a financial emergency or crisis.


Ukraine Advice Project UK are a group of volunteer legal professionals with immigration and asylum expertise. They are providing a free service to connect Ukrainian citizens in need of free legal advice on UK immigration, visas and asylum with qualified and regulated lawyers.


Ukraine Family Scheme allows applicants to join family members or extend their stay in the UK.  It is a free scheme and people coming to the UK through this scheme will be to live, work and study in the UK and access public funds.


National Rail are offering guests from Ukraine arriving in the country a single onward journey via national rail, bus, light rail, and coach. This is free of charge to anywhere in England, Scotland and Wales.

Guide for Ukrainians arriving in the UK

Help and support if you’ve recently arrived from Ukraine. The UK Government have put together a helpful welcome guide for Ukrainians arriving the in UK, which you can find online here: A guide for Ukrainians arriving in the UK.


Buckinghamshire Family Information Service – Information, support, childcare and things to do for families, children and young people aged from birth to 19 years (up to 25 years with a disability/additional need).

Claiming benefits in the UK

Benefits – Citizens Advice are an independent charity specialising in providing confidential advice to help people find a way forward with their problems. Their advice is free and confidential and covers benefits, employment, housing, debt management, family and other areas. See their Benefits Guide in English and Ukrainian


Funding for 2 year olds – Carol has contacted HUSC to offer her help.  Carol is from the Early Years Service (Buckinghamshire Council) and she can help with  applications for 2 year old funding (predominantly for families on a low income) and she supports parents with finding childcare and provides information about early years funding.  You can email Carol or ‘phone her on 01296 38 7000 to have a chat.

Help with Languages

For a list of organisations providing help with languages please visit our Employment and Training page.

Schooling for children
Oak Academy provided a lot of the online teaching resource during lockdown. You can follow the curriculum using the online lessons, which are now partially available in Ukrainian via subtitles . Families can take a look to see what sort of things are being taught here.

Buckinghamshire Council – School admissions guidance for Ukrainian refugee sponsors and parents This guide is for the sponsors or parents of Ukrainian children applying to start school during the academic year (in-year transfer).

The steps required to come to the UK

Coming to the UK
You need a visa

If you have a Ukrainian passport, you need a visa to travel to the UK. You are almost certain to be refused entry without one. 

There is a UK government immigration helpline for Ukrainians who want to ask about visas: call +44 808 164 8810 or +44 175 390 7510 (0808 164 8810 if you’re in the UK).

If you have family in the UK

There are special visa arrangements in place allowing any British person or immigrant who is settled in the UK to sponsor Ukrainian family members to come to the UK, including parents, siblings, adult children, in-laws and cousins. This “Ukraine Family Scheme” opened for online applications on 4 March 2022.

Unfortunately, Ukrainian citizens with only temporary permission to live in the UK, such as a Skilled Worker or Student visa, cannot sponsor relatives under the Ukraine Family Scheme.

If someone else will let you live with them

Ukrainian citizens can still come to the UK even if they don’t qualify for the Family Scheme, so long as they can find someone who will agree to let them stay for at least six months. This “Homes for Ukraine” scheme opened on 18 March 2022.

If you already know someone willing to sponsor you, either you or the sponsor can apply online for a Homes for Ukraine visa. The sponsor can be British or an immigrant, so long as they have immigration permission to be in the UK that lasts at least six months.

If you would like us to try and find you a sponsor within our community then please send us your details in our contact form.

Work or study visas

If you don’t have a British sponsor but might qualify for a normal UK work or study visa, these can also be granted without providing the usual documents.

Visitor visas

You can apply for a visa to enter the UK as a visitor and include “clear compelling or compassionate reasons for your visit”. You must intend to leave the UK at the end of the visit – a maximum of six months.

Claiming asylum

You cannot apply for asylum from outside the UK. 

Already in the UK
Visa extensions

The UK government has made it easier for Ukrainian citizens already in the UK to stay on within the mainstream immigration system, including by applying to switch from a visit visa to another type of immigration permission (such as a work or study visa).

You can also apply for the Ukraine Family Scheme from inside the UK.

Claiming asylum

If you do not already have indefinite leave to remain in the UK you may wish to apply for asylum but should speak to a lawyer first.

Ukrainian citizens in the UK may be entitled to refugee status and / or humanitarian protection. This may also apply to stateless people normally resident in Ukraine.

There is more information about the asylum process in the UK on the Right to Remain website and the Free Movement website.