The situation in Ukraine continues to escalate, and the Russian troops are moving ever further into the country, bringing with them a feeling of terror and uncertainty. The Home Office sees this, and has now opened a new route for Ukrainian’s with family members living in the UK.
The route allows eligible Ukrainian nationals and their family members to join their UK-based family member in the UK, or extend their stay in the UK, free of charge. The focus of this blog will be the eligibility requirements and process of this new visa.
Who is eligible for the Ukraine Family Scheme?
It is important to remember that those applying will be subject to security checks, but as far as the guidance states to far, many people should be eligible for this scheme.
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)
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 from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland 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
Applicants 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.
Please note you can still apply if you are unable to provide this document, explaining why you are unable to do so. For example, it may be impossible to renew certain documents due to closures and issues in Ukraine.
What counts as an immediate family member?
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
What counts as an extended family member?
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
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.
How long will the Ukraine Family Visa last?
Your visa will last up to 3 years. During this time applicants will be able to live, work and study in the UK and access public funds.
It is free to apply to the Ukraine Family Scheme.
You do not need to pay the immigration health surcharge for this scheme.
How long will it take to get a result?
Currently, this remains a little vague. There is no concrete timescale established as of yet, as the route is so new. However, the Home Office has said that it will prioritise applications of this kind. Hopefully some more information will be revealed on this soon.
Can you apply from inside the UK?
Further guidance on this is yet to be revealed, but we will let you know as soon as it is. What’s positive is that this seems to be an upcoming option.
We are pleased to see this route opened up and hope that it can lead many Ukrainian’s to safety. It is positive that there is no cost, and with the security checks in place, we feel that there is no reason not to welcome Ukrainian’s into the UK. If it was the other way round, UK citizens would hope to be met with the same courtesy.
More data on this route will be revealed as more and more people use it, but for now we can only see positives here.
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