Help for Ukrainian nationals
Information and support for people from Ukraine, including the family migration visa and the Ukrainian family scheme.
Last updated 4 May 2022
The British Red Cross supports people from Ukraine who are in the UK.
The information on this page will help you and your family to find out about services and support that might be available. For any more information about British Red Cross, or for emotional support please call the free British Red Cross support line:
0808 196 3651 (open between 10am - 6pm daily).
If you need a support line interpreter, call and say: 'can I speak to an interpreter?'.
- Якщо вам потрібен перекладач лінії підтримки, зателефонуйте і скажіть: 'can I speak to an interpreter?' (Ukrainian)
Если вам нужен переводчик линии поддержки, позвоните и скажите: 'can I speak to an interpreter?' (Russian)
Supporting people in Ukraine
I want to find out about:
Supporting Ukrainian refugees in the UK
I want to:
Are you a British national in Ukraine?
British nationals in Ukraine should register their presence with the Foreign Commonwealth Development Office.
Please note that the British Embassy office in Kyiv has temporarily relocated due to the conflict. Embassy staff are now operating from the British Embassy office in Lviv.
Supporting non-British family members in Ukraine
Applying for a family migration visa
Family members of British nationals can apply for a family migration visa to come to the UK.
The Home Office has announced that some of the normal eligibility criteria has been removed for family members including language requirements and salary thresholds.
Ukrainian family scheme
The Home Office has announced a Ukrainian family scheme where British Nationals and people with settled status in the UK can sponsor family members in Ukraine to come to the UK. You can find out more information about the scheme here.
Details of the scheme can be found on the Home Office website.
If you need any assistance, please call the 24/7 free helpline: +44 808 164 8810 - select option 1.
If you cannot contact UK 0808 numbers, please use: +44 (0)175 390 7510.
People are strongly recommended to seek legal advice before they apply for these visas.
A group of volunteer legal professionals with immigration/asylum expertise are available to provide free UK immigration and asylum advice to Ukrainian citizens affected by the current crisis.
Settled is a charity for EU citizens in the UK which can offer legal advice to Ukrainian nationals in the UK looking to bring family members to the UK.
Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also get more information about legal advice by emailing: email@example.com
Humanitarian Sponsorship Pathway
The Home Office has also announced a Humanitarian Sponsorship Pathway led by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC).
Individuals, charities, businesses and community groups will be able to sponsor Ukrainian nationals with family ties to the UK.
Extend your permission to be in the UK
Where an application is made outside the UK for entry clearance under the Ukraine Family Scheme or Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme, then in certain circumstances the applicant can travel to the UK on a “permission to travel” letter.
This is issued prior to entry to the UK, before providing biometrics and before the entry clearance application is decided.
The applicant will be granted six months leave to enter at the border. Before the end of the six months, the applicant must complete complete Ukraine Scheme Status to extend permission to stay in the UK.
This process is only open to a Ukrainian national with a valid international passport.
- Find out more information about the Ukraine Scheme: process for in-country variation of entry clearance
Ukraine Extension scheme
The Ukraine Extension Scheme visa allows Ukrainian nationals to live, work and study in the UK and access public funds.
Ukrainians can apply to this scheme if they hold any valid UK visa, or held one that expired on or after 1 January 2022. They should consider whether you want to keep your current visa or switch to the Ukraine Extension Scheme.
This route does not currently lead to settlement. This means that time spent in the UK with this visa may not support an application for indefinite leave to remain in the UK in future.
You may be able to extend your stay by switching to another immigration route.
Bringing a pet to the UK
People fleeing Ukraine are welcome to bring pets to the UK. To protect the health of your pet and other pets, they will need to stay in quarantine upon arrival in the UK for up to four months, or until they meet our health requirements.
The UK government will pay for the quarantine placement, along with the transport and treatment of your pet. Please contact us about your pet before you travel to the UK or immediately upon arrival in the UK Border.
To make the necessary quarantine arrangements for your pet:
- Email the Animal and Plant Health Agency: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call +44 3000 200 301 and select option 2
While in quarantine, your pet will be assessed by a vet. If they are considered safe and well, you may be able to collect them sooner than four months.
Support for Ukrainian refugees travelling to the UK
Several travel companies are offering free travel to get to the UK:
- The Ukrainian Displaced Persons Travel Scheme offers free rail journeys across all train operators in England, Scotland and Wales. All Ukrainians who arrive in the UK will have 48 hours from arrival to access free tickets and complete their journey. You will need to show a Ukrainian passport and a boarding pass or ticket to access this offer. You will also be able to travel for free across London using TfL's London Underground, Docklands Light Railway (DLR), bus and tram services.
- Eurostar is offering free tickets to help Ukrainian nationals travel from any Eurostar station to London St Pancras International. Individuals who have been granted a valid visa to enter the UK can show this together with their Ukrainian passport to a member of the Eurostar team at Paris Nord, Brussels-Midi, Lille Europe, Rotterdam Centraal or Amsterdam Central stations, and they will issue a ticket for travel to London
- Airline Wizz Air is supporting Ukrainian nationals by offering 100,000 free seats on flights from Ukraine's border countries (Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania). They are also offering €29.99 rescue fares on flights from other locations (excluding the UAE, Iceland and the Canaries which are €69.99).
How to find missing family in Ukraine
If you have lost contact with your family in Ukraine during the conflict and you know they have crossed the border, please keep trying to contact them. It may be a temporary loss of contact as they transition to networks in other countries.
If you are unable to contact your family and you think they are still within the territory of Ukraine, we may be able to help you.
Please email email@example.com and provide us with your full name and telephone number. A team member from the International Family Tracing service will contact you as soon as possible.
Ukrainian temporary visas in the UK
The Home Office has agreed UK visa support for Ukrainian nationals in the UK unable to return to Ukraine when their existing visa expires.
These measures will help Ukrainian nationals to extend their stay in the UK without having to leave and re-apply from overseas.
If you’re in the UK and unable to return to Ukraine, you may be able to extend your visa or switch to another one even if your visa does not normally allow you to do so.
How to claim asylum in the UK as a Ukrainian refugee
Ukrainian nationals already in the UK may be able to claim asylum.
Finding legal advice
The Home Office has recently withdrawn its’ country guidance on Ukraine for asylum and human rights claims. You will need to seek specialist immigration advice.
You can find a solicitor in the UK on the Law Society website. Search “Legal Issue & Changing Countries”, and enter your postcode, town or city.
You can also search for a legal representative regulated by the UK’s Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) through the ‘Find an Immigration Advisor’.
Appropriate legal representatives will be those authorised in the Asylum and Protection category at Level 2 or 3.
Some barristers provide advice directly to the public. Search the ‘Find a Barrister’ page of the Bar Council.
Safety tips for families escaping conflict
Download our posters for safety tips if you and your family are on the move.
Safety tips for families
- Поради з безпеки для сімей (Ukrainian)
- Советы по безопасности для семей (Russian)
- Safety tips for families (English)
What I need to know about life in the UK
Our short videos, written guides and presentations will provide you with useful information including:
- basic facts about life in the UK
- accessing services online and staying safe
- parenting children in the UK
- getting help from different services in the UK
- women's health and the right to protection.
Support for Ukrainian refugees in the UK
Homes for Ukraine refugee scheme UK
On Friday, 18 March, the UK government launched the Homes for Ukraine scheme which allows Ukrainian nationals to stay with a sponsor in the UK for up to six months. You are eligible if you are a Ukrainian national or the immediate family member of a Ukrainian national, and were resident in Ukraine before 1 January 2022.
Under the scheme, Ukrainian nationals will be able to stay in the UK for three years. During this time, they will be able to work and access benefits and public services – including healthcare, schooling (including state schools).
Applying to the Homes for Ukraine scheme as a Ukrainian national
You can apply to the Homes for Ukraine scheme here. The application can be completed by the prospective sponsor or the person wishing to be sponsored. There is one single application for both parties but one form is required per individual travelling under the scheme. Please note that a separate form must be completed for each person wishing to be sponsored.
If a Ukrainian adult or child has a passport, there is no need to attend a visa application centre.
If they don't have a passport, they will need to book and attend an appointment at a visa application centre (VAC).
Here, they will have their photograph and fingerprints taken as part of their application. Children under the age of 5 who do not hold a valid Ukrainian international passport will not have their fingerprints taken but will still need to book and attend a VAC appointment and have a digital photograph taken.
Security checks for both Ukrainian nationals and the UK sponsor will be undertaken as part of the visa application process.
Biometric checks will be made after Ukrainians arrive in the UK to avoid delays.
Accommodation for Ukrainian refugees in the UK
- You can contact the local authority where you are living regarding accommodation and specialist needs.
- Learn more about British Red Cross services provided for refugees in the UK, and search for your local office.
- There are also a number of Ukrainian charities and organisations in the UK offering support to Ukrainian people in the UK, including the Association of Ukrainians of Great Britain.
- You can check the rules about bringing family members from Ukraine to the UK on the Citizens Advice website. Citizens Advice are a charity providing free, impartial and confidential advice on a range of topics, including housing and immigration.
Borrowing a wheelchair
If you know somebody in need of a wheelchair or mobility equipment, the Red Cross hires out equipment for short-term use. The service is free to Ukrainian refugees.
Call 0300 456 1914, or visit redcross.org.uk/wheelchair
Потрібне крісло-коляска? Служба допоміжних засобів пересування Британського Червоного
Хреста надає обладнання в оренду для короткострокового використання. Відвідайте сайт redcross.org.uk/wheelchair (Ukrainian)
Нужно кресло-коляска? Служба вспомогательных средств передвижения Британского общества Красного Креста предоставляет оборудование в аренду для краткосрочного использования. Посетите сайт redcross.org.uk/wheelchair (Russian)
It is common to feel a lot of different emotions after leaving your homeland.
Call our support line
You can call the British Red Cross support line, which provides help in more than 200 languages.
It helps people who are lonely, worried and finding it hard to get the help they need in the UK.
Call us on 0808 196 3651 (open daily 10am - 6pm) and you can ask for an interpreter if you need one.
Help when you feel at your worst
If you are feeling very distressed, call The Samaritans on 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Download our wellbeing resources
- Благополуччя для українських сімей, які прибувають до Великобританії (Ukrainian)
- Як говорити з дітьми про війну (Ukrainian)
- A wellbeing guide to reducing stress and building inner resilience (Ukrainian)
- Coping with trauma - adults (Ukrainian)
- Coping with trauma - children (Ukrainian)
- Coping with a personal crisis (Ukrainian)
- Благополучие для украинских семей, прибывающих в Великобританию (Russian)
- A wellbeing guide to reducing stress and building inner resilience (Russian)
- Coping with trauma - adults (Russian)
- Coping with trauma - children (Russian)
- Coping with a personal crisis (Russian)