Guidance

Homes for Ukraine scheme: frequently asked questions

Questions and answers on how the Homes for Ukraine scheme will work.

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Homes for Ukraine scheme

When will sponsors and Ukrainians be able to apply for the sponsorship scheme?

The scheme opened on 18 March for visa applications from Ukrainian applicants who have named people in the UK willing to sponsor them. Either the Ukrainian or the sponsor can complete the application. One application is required per individual coming to the UK.

Visas are already being issued.

How many Ukrainians are expected to be helped under the sponsorship scheme route?

There will be no limit or cap on the sponsorship route. The UK will welcome as many Ukrainians as wish to come and for whom there are sponsors. This is a huge humanitarian crisis, and we are urging the British public to come forward and help where they can.

Which Ukrainians are eligible to come on this scheme?

The scheme is open to Ukrainian nationals who were residents in Ukraine prior to 1 January 2022. It is also open to their immediate family members and family members of such Ukrainian nationals: a spouse, a civil partner, an unmarried partner (must have lived together in a relationship for two years), children under-18, parent if you are under-18, fiancé(e) or a proposed civil partner. These individuals may be of other nationalities.

Children under the age of 18 must be applying as part of a family unit which includes their parent or legal guardian to be eligible for the scheme. That family unit must stay together in the same sponsor accommodation.

Children who are currently outside of the UK can use the scheme to reunite with their parent or legal guardian who is currently living in the UK, if they are the child’s sponsor.

Unaccompanied children who are under 18 are not allowed to be sponsored by, or reside with, unrelated sponsors, unless they are their legal guardian.

Applicants can apply from Ukraine or from any other third country.

People or organisations wanting to be sponsors who do not have a named individual to sponsor can record their interest in being a sponsor. They will then be kept updated as the scheme develops.

We know our charities, faith groups, universities, businesses and industry representative bodies will have extensive networks with communities and individuals across Europe. We will be working closely with all of them to ensure people who want to help are matched to people from Ukraine – such as through a charity or social media. We will provide further detail on the support they are able to provide shortly.

How is the scheme going to be delivered?

To make this scheme a success we need a national effort with communities, charities, faith groups, businesses, councils and devolved governments all working together to provide much needed support to those arriving in the weeks and months ahead.

We are asking people in the UK to offer accommodation for at least 6 months – we know this is a significant ask.

Alongside the generous offer of accommodation sponsors will be making, we are providing a substantial level of funding to local authorities to enable them to provide much wider support to families to rebuild their lives and fully integrate into our communities.

Under this scheme people will have access to public services, work and benefits.

Where do I record my interest?

There is a short form on Homes for Ukraine. You will be kept updated after recording your interest.

If you already have a named contact whom you wish to sponsor you should get in touch with them directly and prepare to fill in a visa application with all of their details and yours. The visa application route opened on 18 March for those with named contacts.

If you don’t currently know anyone whom you wish to sponsor, you may wish to get in touch with charities, faith groups or local community organisations who are starting to make connections between individuals.

I’m part of an organisation what role can I play?

You can in the first instance record your interest.

Charities, businesses and faith and community groups will have a big role to play in connecting individuals with those who wish to sponsor and wish to be sponsored and of course providing an excellent welcome to individuals arriving to the UK.

In future we will work to help organisations to allow them to sponsor individuals directly, but we are starting with named individual contacts.

Will I be charged a fee or asked to provide financial information to become a sponsor?

No – you will not be asked to pay a fee or make a payment of any kind, as part of becoming a sponsor and this includes the visa process. Any requests for you to do so will likely be a scam and should be reported. Read more on how to report scams.

Linking up with a guest

What do I do if I want to sponsor but don’t know someone?

There are several ways you can help support and sponsor a Ukrainian household if you do not already know anyone in need. A number of charities and non-government organisations are working to offer services to match potential sponsors and Ukrainian households seeking to come to the UK.

I don’t know the person I’m sponsoring – we met on Facebook – should I give them my passport details?

Whether to share your personal information is always your decision. But if you have concerns about sharing personal details, you may prefer to fill out the visa application form on behalf of the individuals you are sponsoring. To do this, you will need to ask them for their information.

What if I live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland?

Sponsors can apply for the scheme from any part of the UK.

In addition, the Scottish and Welsh Governments are directly sponsoring a number of Ukrainians themselves. Ukrainian individuals can apply through the usual form but should choose the Scottish or Welsh Government as their sponsor.

What if I live in Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man?

If you are based in the Bailiwick of Guernsey, Isle of Man or Jersey, you should contact the relevant authority listed below before making an application to check the details of the sponsorship schemes available in those jurisdictions, which may differ from that provided by the UK government.

I’m a foster carer, can I offer to care for an unaccompanied child arriving from Ukraine through this scheme?

The Homes for Ukraine scheme is open for adults and children within family units. Unaccompanied children cannot be hosted through this scheme.

Sponsors

How can I be confirmed as a sponsor?

To be confirmed as a sponsor you must be based in the UK; with at least 6 months permission to be in the UK. You can be of any nationality. You will need to prove your identity using a recognised identity document for ID check. A full list of applicable identity documents is available in the sponsor guidance but a British passport or driving license would suffice. You must also have a spare room, or separate self-contained residential accommodation that is unoccupied. The accommodation must be available for at least six months, be fit for people to live in, and suitable for the number of people to be accommodated.

I’m a foster carer, can I apply to be a sponsor?

The decision to become a host family should involve everyone living in the household. The views, wishes and feelings of children in foster care should be taken into account in all aspects of their care.

There will be particular considerations when the household includes children in foster care. Foster carers are required to give written notice to their fostering provider when there is a change in the composition of the household. We would expect foster carers to contact their fostering service provider and also the council for any children already living in their care when considering applying to the Homes for Ukraine Scheme (where the council is not their fostering service provider).

If a foster carer has capacity to take additional children, we would encourage them to approach their council about what support they can provide including to unaccompanied asylum-seeking children already in the country and those who continue to arrive.

What sort of room/accommodation is required?

The most important thing is that you’re able to provide at least 6 months of stable accommodation. This can be anything from an empty room to an unoccupied home, as long as it’s safe, heated and free from health hazards, and gives your guests adequate access to bathroom and kitchen facilities.

What about a sofa bed in my sitting room?

We are asking for sponsors who can at least offer an empty room, to ensure the safety and privacy of guests. A bed in a shared space would not be an appropriate offer of accommodation for 6 months.

Will I be able to state any preferences?

It will be for you as a sponsor to apply with a specific named person and any immediate family members applying with them. You should consider what sort of support you are best able to provide and who you are most comfortable to support. For example, you should consider whether your accommodation is suitable for someone with a young child, the elderly or someone with a disability. You may want to consider if you are able to accommodate someone with pets. Everyone who applies to this scheme will be subject to a range of checks, including those in the sponsoring household and those coming to the UK.

What do I need to do to make sure my home is suitable for my guest?

All accommodation will be different and while there is no set expectation, your accommodation needs to be free from serious health and safety hazards. You should make sure your home is safe for your guests and that it is in a suitable condition.

You should also consider how many people you can accommodate so they have sufficient space. Two people should not be in one room unless they are: adult cohabiting partners; a parent and child; two siblings of the same gender if aged over 10; two siblings regardless of gender if aged under 10. Individuals who didn’t previously know each other should not be given the same room.

Further to this we ask that accommodation:

  • be kept clean and in a reasonable state;
  • have adequate kitchen and bathroom space;
  • have access to drinking water;
  • have a working smoke detector on each floor of the property and other fire safety precautions suitable for the building e.g. fire doors or escape routes as appropriate (further information on making a home safe from fire);
  • have a working carbon monoxide detector in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a coal fire, wood burning stove);
  • have sufficient heating to keep the property at a comfortable temperature;
  • have safe gas appliances, fittings and flues and have undertaken a Gas Safety check within the last year (see more information);
  • have safe and working electrics, which a qualified electrician can help with if you are unsure;
  • be almost entirely free of damp or mould;
  • have doors and windows at entry level that lock properly;
  • be easy and safe to move around in, without excessively steep staircases that may cause harm.

How should my guest(s) reach me?

If you are unable to meet your guest, you should provide them with instructions on how to reach you from their chosen point of arrival.

Your guests will be eligible for a single onward journey via national rail, light rail, bus and coach, free of charge to your destination anywhere in England, Scotland and Wales. They will only need to show their Ukrainian passport and boarding pass or ticket showing arrival into the country within the last 48 hours:

For more information see the Ukrainian Displaced Persons Travel Scheme.

Ukrainians coming to Northern Ireland are entitled to free public transport as soon as they arrive, for their journey to their final destination.

From 22 March, Wizz Air announced it is supporting people coming to the UK from Ukraine by offering them 100,000 free seats on all continental Europe flights departing from Ukraine’s border countries (Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania).

In addition, Wizz Air recognises that many people from Ukraine have already started moving and may be stranded in other locations. As such, the airline is also offering a 29.99 Euro rescue fare on all other flights (excluding the UAE, Iceland and the Canaries), as well as a 69.99 Euro rescue fare on all flights to the UAE, Iceland and the Canaries.

Stena Line travel are offering free transport onboard their ferries to Ukrainians seeking shelter in another country. They are also offering free transport to registered charity and humanitarian organisations. As long as safety and capacity allow, the passengers will be booked on the first available sailing and all passengers need to bring a valid passport. For more information visit Stena Line travel

Eurostar is offering free travel on its network. Passengers with a valid visa to enter the UK and a Ukrainian passport can receive the free ticket by speaking to any Eurostar team member at Paris Nord, Brussels-Midi, Lille Europe, or Amsterdam Central.

Guests will be asked to produce their passport of Ukrainian government ID for free travel on buses or trains.

Where are welcome points?

There are a number of major entry points to the UK, including airports, where there will be Welcome Points for guests to meet you and where guests can seek support, including to arrange their onward travel.

These have been established at the following major port of entry locations:

Major Ports of Entry Council
Stansted Airport Essex County Council
Luton Airport Luton Borough Council
Heathrow Airport LB Hillingdon
St Pancras International Rail LB Camden
Manchester Airport Manchester City Council
Birmingham Airport Solihull Council
Gatwick Airport West Sussex Council

There are also welcome arrangements set up or on standby at the following locations:

Airports

  • Bristol
  • Liverpool
  • East Midlands
  • Leeds Bradford
  • Doncaster (Robin Hood)
  • Southampton
  • Bournemouth
  • Humberside
  • Newcastle
  • Teesside International
  • Southend
  • London City
  • Cornwall
  • Cardiff
  • Belfast International
  • Belfast City
  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow

Ports

  • Birkenhead Ferry Port
  • Portsmouth International Port
  • Dover Port and Folkstone
  • Plymouth Port
  • Port of Newhaven
  • Port of Tyne
  • Port of Poole
  • Harwich International Port
  • Port of Hull
  • Holyhead Port
  • Fishguard Port
  • Pembroke Dock
  • Cairnryan
  • Lerwick

Rail and coach

  • London Victoria Rail and Coach station
  • Wrexham General Station
  • Cardiff Central Station

What is provided at welcome points?

Staff at welcome points will be able to support guests on their arrival to the UK and resolve any immediate problems. This may be through helping make onward travel arrangements, or through answering any questions they may have until you arrive. The Welcome Points will be able to support guests by providing access to:

  • Welcome/rest point, with toilet facilities, telephone, telephone charging facilities and translation capability.
  • Provision of any necessary immediate assistance including food, drink, (over the counter) medical supplies and other sundries; and
  • Signposting access to public services and advice.

What can I do to help my guest settle in?

Your guest is unlikely to be familiar with the layout of your local area or how to get around easily. Some practical advice on things like getting to and from your home, where the local shops are, and where to catch buses and trains will go a long way. As a sponsor, you’re not expected to provide transport for your guests throughout their stay.

It would be helpful to direct your guests to public services. For example, this could involve helping your guests to contact and register with a local GP and NHS dentist. Additional guidance on how to access public services can be found on the gov.uk website.

As a sponsor, the first thing to do will be to make sure guests are comfortable in their accommodation and setup with the basics. They should have enough food and essential supplies like toiletries and it’s worth checking that they’ve got access to a mobile phone and the internet so they can stay in touch with family and friends.

Will I be paid rent?

No. You should not charge any rent. We appreciate people’s generosity and do know that there will be costs associated with helping out, and so we are offering an optional ‘thank you’ payment of £350 per month to people who can accommodate one or more household (subject to the accommodation they have).

The ‘thank you’ payment is limited to one payment per residential address. You will continue to receive payments for as long as you sponsor somebody and for up to 12 months. This payment will be made in arrears.

The UK government is ensuring ‘thank you payments’ do not affect benefit entitlement and will remain tax-free. Prior to payment, checks will be carried out which will include a visit to your home.

Will I receive an upfront payment to assist with set up costs?

The £350 thank you payment will be issued following checks being carried out, which will include a visit to your home.

Every guest will be entitled to a £200 interim payment to help with subsistence costs. This will be provided by the local council.

What happens at the end of the six-month sponsorship period?

Sponsors are committed to hosting guests for a minimum of 6 months, but you may choose to continue beyond the initial six months if you and your guest wish to.

If you don’t want to continue the arrangement beyond 6 months (or at any time after that), you should let your guest know in plenty of time so they can make other arrangements.

Sponsors should aim to give notice two months before the end of the 6 months (or with 2 months’ notice before any later date).

Guests will have access to public funds and, after leaving your home, will be able to rent a property like anyone else. If they need to, they’ll be able to claim the housing part of Universal Credit or Housing Benefit. The UK Government has useful information on renting property which is available in the How to Rent Guide.

If your guests need further support, your local authority can support them in finding alternative accommodation.

What if sponsorship breaks down?

If for any reason you need to end the sponsorship arrangement early, sponsors should inform the local council as soon as possible.

Will the person I am supporting be eligible for benefits and/or to work?

The UK has a welfare system which is designed to help those who face financial hardship, or who have specific needs. All those from Ukraine coming to the country under the scheme will be able to seek and take up employment.

Your local Jobcentre Plus will be able to help you find out which benefits your guest may be able to access. This may include:

  • Universal Credit – a payment for those of working age, to help with your living costs if you’re on a low income. You could be working (including self-employed or part time) or be out of work;
  • Pension Credit - extra money to help with your living costs if you’re over State Pension age which is 66 in the UK and on a low income;
  • Disability benefits – extra money to help with additional costs for those who have a long term physical or mental health condition or disability;
  • Carer’s Allowance – extra money if you care for someone at least 35 hours a week.
  • Child Benefit – extra money to help with the cost of raising a child.

What is the entitlement to housing benefit of someone coming to the UK under this scheme?

The sponsorship scheme assumes no rent will be paid.

Where someone wishes to rent privately, or when the sponsorship ends, guests will have access to public funds and will be able to rent a property like anyone else. If they need to, they’ll be able to claim the housing part of Universal Credit or Housing Benefit. The UK government has useful information on renting property which is available in the How to Rent Guide.

Will hosting a family from Ukraine affect my own eligibility for government support with childcare costs by changing the number of people in my household?
For the purposes of 30 Hours free childcare and Tax-Free Childcare, a family arriving in the UK through the Homes for Ukraine Scheme will be treated as a separate household from the household of their hosts. This means that the income of the host family will not affect the eligibility of the family from Ukraine, and vice versa. See the 30 Hours eligibility criteria and information about Tax-Free Childcare.

Am I expected to provide meals too or just accommodation?

Just accommodation. However, there is nothing stopping sponsors offering meals should they wish. You may offer this philanthropically or ask guests for a contribution to the cost of food. You will not be expected to cover the costs of food and living expenses (although you may wish to offer this philanthropically). Every guest will be entitled to a £200 interim payment to help with subsistence costs which will be provided by the local council. Under this scheme people will also have access to public services, work and benefits. You may ask guests to pay a reasonable and proportionate contribution (according to use) for water, gas and electricity consumed or supplied to the accommodation or to any shared facilities. With self-contained accommodation, you should agree with your guest who will pay Council Tax.

How can my guest set up a bank account as a newly-arrived Ukrainian?

Councils and sponsors may need to signpost guests from Ukraine to open a UK bank account for the purposes of receiving Interim payments and Universal Credit or other state benefits.

There are a range of providers, and so guests can choose which provider suits them best. More information is available on each provider’s website. Money Helper provides a free comparison tool which lists all providers on its website.

To open a bank or building society account, guests will probably need to:

1. Make sure they have an email address set up in their name and a valid phone number, to help the bank or building society communicate

2. Collect all identification and visa documents.
To open a new bank or building society account, they’ll need to provide some basic personal information. Here’s what the bank or building society may want to know about them: - name - date of birth - nationality - contact details (email address set up in the guest’s name and a valid phone number)

To open a bank or building society account in the UK, guests also need to show proof of ID, and may be asked for things like:

  • Passport
  • Biometric residency permit
  • Driver’s licence
  • Recognised identity card.

The quickest way to prove identification is likely to be with a passport and/or Biometric Residence Permit (issued by the UK Government). Some UK banks and building societies may ask for proof of address, though this is not required by law to open a bank or building society account. If they don’t have all the identification documents, guests should take all the information they have with them to the bank or building society. Banks and building societies are encouraged to consider alternative ways to identify and verify their customers, and the Government has been working closely with the sector to support access for people moving to the UK from Ukraine who may not have standard identification documentation.

3. Apply for an account either in person at a bank or building society branch (guests may need to make an appointment), over the phone, online or via a bank or building society’s mobile app. If going into a branch, guests should take all relevant identification documents with them. Guests may need to download and fill in an application form from the bank or building society’s website. Guests might want to ask their sponsor to help them complete the form and go with them to the bank or building society.

Is there any requirement for Ukrainians coming under this scheme to have a particular level of English?

There is no minimum English level. Those arriving from Ukraine may want to access English as a second language classes.

Local councils can support with signposting to advice and support.

Libraries often also offer free access to materials to learn English, and access to physical and online resources in other languages.

Will I be expected to provide any other support?

You should help your guest(s), adjust to life in the UK as much as you can. You should make sure they are comfortable in their accommodation, and that they have access to basics such as food, bedding and toiletries.

Your guest will be able to access support from your local council for instance for helping children access school places, as well as from Jobcentre Plus. It would be helpful if you could assist them in registering with a GP.

There may also be local voluntary groups who can offer support.

What checks need to be done?

HM Government has published Guidance for councils which provides more information on safeguarding checks.

  • In addition to checks prior to visas being issued, all households receiving guests from Ukraine will receive checks by your local council on the property and household. All households will be visited to ensure the accommodation is fit for purpose and suitable to receive guests.
  • If the accommodation is self-contained or only adults without specific vulnerabilities (see below) are coming into the property then basic DBS checks are undertaken on all adult members in the sponsor household.
  • If children under the age of 18 are going to be accommodated in the household, then an Enhanced DBS check (including a check of the children’s barred list) will be undertaken on all people in the sponsor’s household over 16.
  • Councils will follow existing guidance for regulated activity with vulnerable adults. Where the local authority officials know that there is an adult guest arriving in the household, who is vulnerable (due to illness, disability or age) and has particular needs for which the sponsor is to provide support, a request for an enhanced DBS check with check of the adults’ barred list can be made.

How will the DBS checks be carried out?

The council and/or registered body will provide the sponsor (and any adults, 16 or over, in the sponsor’s household) with the appropriate form, basic or enhanced, which will need to be completed by the individual. The council will need to check the identity of each applicant and, for the enhanced check, countersign the application form.

DBS checks are completed prior to or as soon as possible after the guest’s arrival. Visa approval is not dependent on the completion of a DBS check. If the DBS checks raise an issue then the guests are removed by the LA.

Councils should be aware that:

a) DBS is required to charge a fee for checks. Councils will be required to cover the cost of DBS checks from the £10,500 funding that is being provided to enable them to provide support to families to settle in. Guests or sponsors will not be charged.

b) To facilitate processing, councils or registered bodies must include the word “Ukraine” in the ‘position applied for’ field in the form for enhanced checks.

c) To ensure that the relevant Enhanced DBS checks are delivered as efficiently as possible the council or registered body submitting the check must not tick the box on the application form (field x66) which indicates that the applicant will be working at their home address.

Can a guest move in prior to the accommodation checks being carried out?

Yes. Where it is possible, however, we have asked councils to make at least one in-person visit prior to the arrival of guests. The cost of checks should not be passed to the sponsor or guest.

Following the guest’s arrival, councils should confirm as soon as possible that the guest is well and that there are no serious safeguarding or welfare concerns or needs for care and support.

Where it is suspected that the adult may have care and support needs, a needs assessment should be undertaken during this visit in line with the requirements of the Care Act 2014.

What about my council tax discount?

Council tax discounts will not be affected if you sponsor and host a Ukrainian household in your home. We are offering a £350 a month ‘thank you’ payment to all sponsors – this will not affect any council tax discounts.

What about my mortgage / household insurance?

In some cases, you’ll need to check with your landlord, freeholder or mortgage provider, and insurance company, about whether they’ve got any policies which you need to factor in. It’s important you think through any possible implications for your tenancy, mortgage, lease and insurance before your guest arrives in the UK.

Insurers have agreed that for homeowners accommodating Ukrainian Nationals in their home there is no need to contact your insurer on the basis that they are accommodated as non-paying guests. Please refer to the Association of British Insurers’ statement for more details. In other situations, including where the sponsor is a landlord or a tenant, you will need to contact your insurer.

Lenders have committed to enable as many borrowers as possible to participate in the scheme. If you have a mortgage on the property you will need to refer to the lender’s website for further instructions. We are working with the mortgage lender sector to standardise and simplify this process as far as possible.

If you are considering applying to be a sponsor you should refer to your mortgage lender’s and insurer’s websites where further guidance will be available as soon as possible.

What if I am a tenant?

If you rent, you may have something in your tenancy agreement that says you should get the permission of your landlord before you host a guest. Any terms in your tenancy agreement that refer to not taking in lodgers or subtenants will also apply to these sponsorship arrangements. The UK Government is also urging landlords to waive any permission fees in these specific cases. If you are uncertain about what your tenancy agreement requires, you can get free advice from Citizens Advice or Shelter.

You can contact Citizens Advice through the national phone service on Adviceline (England): 0800 144 8848 or Advicelink (Wales): 0800 702 2020. For Shelter, please refer to their webpage

What if I am a leaseholder?

If you are a leaseholder wishing to host a guest, you will need to check the terms of your lease to see whether you are permitted to have lodgers or subtenants. If you are uncertain about what permissions your lease requires you to secure, you can get free advice from the Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE). Further information can be provided through the website, or via a telephone appointment with one of LEASE’s advisers, which can be booked through the website’s contact page or by calling 020 7832 2500. The UK government urges freeholders and fellow residents to not withhold consent unreasonably.

What arrangements / agreements should I put in place with my guests?

It’s best to set a few clear expectations between you and your guests. As a sponsor you may want to draw up an agreement with your guests that sets a few ground rules, such as sharing use of common areas of the house, or concerning things like smoking, alcohol or noise.

When the sponsor wants to bring this arrangement to an end, they can ask their guests to leave by giving reasonable notice. As the sponsor will not be charging rent an assured shorthold tenancy is not created but if the arrangement changes from sponsorship to one where rent is charged, the position will be different.

What model agreement should I use?

There are two kinds of model agreement that could be used; an Excluded Licence Agreement or an Excluded Tenancy Agreement. It is not mandatory to use either kind of agreement as part of the sponsorship scheme. Signing an agreement would be beneficial for the guest and host to ensure that they are clear on the terms of their stay. Some mortgage lenders may ask for an agreement to be signed, you should refer to their websites for instructions.

If your guests are sharing accommodation with you, for example using guest bedrooms and sharing a kitchen with you, the Excluded Licence Agreement (ODT, 31.6 KB) is most suitable.

If your guests are living in self-contained accommodation (such as a holiday let) then the Excluded Tenancy Agreement (ODT, 35.9 KB) is most suitable.

Education and childcare

Will children arriving from Ukraine have access to schools and are there any special circumstances for providing them with school places?

All children and young people arriving under these schemes have the right to access education and childcare whilst in the UK. The best place for all school-age children to be educated is in schools, and attending school is vital to help newly arrived children integrate as quickly as possible into the communities in which they are living.

Children arriving from Ukraine will have no specific additional priority for admission, but the council is under a duty to offer advice to parents on the school application process and should advise them where vacancies exist and how to apply.

Where there are no vacancies in local schools, the council should use its in-year fair-access protocol to place any children (including children arriving from Ukraine) into schools, above those schools’ normal capacity where necessary, as permitted by the School Admissions Code.

How will families know how to get their children into a school on arrival in the UK?

The Welcome Pack for those arriving from Ukraine contains advice on accessing education and childcare, in the section ‘Childcare and Education Services’. See more general advice on school admissions.

Any families returning to or moving to the UK should speak to the council school admission team in their chosen areas for information on how to apply for a school place. Councils should support parents in choosing schools, which includes providing information on where schools have vacancies and how to apply. As a sponsor you may wish to support them to do this.

Families in England can contact their local council to find:

  • state-funded schools in their area
  • admission criteria for the schools they’re interested in

The process is different if families live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

How quickly will children arriving from Ukraine be offered a school place?

In England, we would expect that children begin attending school shortly after arriving in an area and councils should help families arriving from Ukraine to apply for school places and to inform parents which schools have places.

Schools’ admission arrangements apply in the normal way. When parents apply for a school place, the School Admissions Code states that admission authorities should aim to notify parents of the outcome of an application for a school within 10 school days and that they must do so within 15 school days.

Where there are no vacancies within a reasonable distance of the child’s home, the council must place the child quickly under its in-year Fair Access Protocol.

Fair Access Protocols exist to ensure that vulnerable children who are struggling to secure a school place through the normal admissions routes, are able to access one as quickly as possible. All admission authorities are required to participate in their local Fair Access Protocol, this includes admitting children when asked to do so via the Fair Access Protocol. The School Admissions Code sets out the categories of children that are eligible to be placed via the Fair Access Protocol, which includes children of refugees and asylum seekers.

Please see the following links for further information about school admissions arrangements in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

How can I help the family staying with me find childcare?

Childcare Choices is a useful website to explain parents’ options. For more information, parents can also speak to their council or go to gov.uk/get-childcare.

Government funds early education entitlements (free hours of childcare) for parents of young children:

  • All parents of 3- and 4-year-olds can access 15 free hours of childcare per week, regardless of their immigration status or whether they are working.
  • Eligible working parents of 3- and 4-year-olds can access an additional 15 hours of childcare, known as the ‘30 Hours’ entitlement.
  • Disadvantaged 2-year-olds may be eligible to access 15 free hours of childcare.

You can find more information about the eligibility criteria here: 30 Hours free childcare; free education and childcare for 2-year-olds.

Children arriving in the UK through the Homes for Ukraine Scheme will be able to access the Department for Education’s free early education entitlements if they meet the existing eligibility criteria. You can find more information about the eligibility criteria here: 30 Hours free childcare; free education and childcare for 2-year-olds.

Further questions

Can people bring their pets?

We recognise that many people fleeing the conflict will not have been able to complete the full health preparations required for their pets, especially in relation to rabies.

We have, therefore, put in place a new streamlined process for people bringing their pets from Ukraine. The Animal and Plant Health Agency will provide quick approvals and relevant quarantine arrangements, for which we will cover the costs.

Before arriving they or their carrier should contact the Animal and Plant Health Agency who will confirm their approval and will then organise any necessary stay in quarantine which is required to complete the rabies treatment process.

The maximum stay in quarantine for a pet which has received no rabies treatment is four months. Pets will be considered case by case, and those which have already received some treatment would spend less time in quarantine.

Ukrainians should contact the Animal and Plant Health Agency at pettravel@apha.gov.uk or should call +44 3000 200 301 and select option 2.

Why have you offered this scheme for Ukrainians and not for previous refugee groups?

The UK has a long and proud history of welcoming migrants including recent arrivals from Syria, Afghanistan and Hong Kong. Every scheme is different and learns from the successes or challenges of those before. There has been a sponsorship route in operation for some years, and Homes for Ukraine is a developed version of that. We will look to see whether there are lessons we can apply from this scheme in future.

Can Ukrainians who have arrived in the UK under the Family Scheme swap onto Homes for Ukraine?

It is currently not possible to switch between schemes after arrival into the UK. However, where the family in the UK cannot offer accommodation and there is a sponsor available who can provide accommodation, they may apply through the Homes for Ukraine scheme before arriving to the UK.

What is the level of support for local authorities for arrivals under the family scheme?

Homes for Ukraine is a unique scheme that has been set up specifically to support those escaping the conflict in Ukraine. As such, the government is providing additional funding to local authorities to enable them to provide support to families to rebuild their lives and fully integrate into communities.

The Ukraine Family Scheme is very similar to existing family visa routes, and provision of public services from this route should be managed in the usual way.

Are those accommodating people via the Family Scheme eligible for the £350 thank you payment?

The ‘thank you’ payments are only available to those sponsoring guests via the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.

Published 14 March 2022
Last updated 29 April 2022 + show all updates
  1. Added section on education and childcare, and questions about foster care. Amended sections on eligibility, opening a bank account, accommodation and food, accommodation checks, DBS checks, mortgage and household insurance, and model agreements.

  2. Ukraine and Russian translations updated.

  3. Updates include further information on welcome centres, DBS checks and support offered under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

  4. Updated Ukrainian and Russian translations.

  5. Updated to include further information for sponsors.

  6. Added translations in Ukrainian and Russian.

  7. First published.