This guidance outlines important information for sponsors including responsibilities of sponsors and how sponsors may support their guests.
Overview and purpose
We have published guidance on Homes for Ukraine which will be regularly updated. Please ensure you read all the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and that you regularly check the website for the latest advice and support.
The Homes for Ukraine Scheme was launched on 14 March 2022 by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
This scheme is open to Ukrainian nationals who were residents in Ukraine prior to 1 January 2022 and to their immediate family members (for example spouse/partner and children under 18) who may be of other nationalities, to be sponsored to come to the UK. Applicants can apply from Ukraine or from any other third country.
Currently 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.
Currently this guidance does not cover children under 18 who are not travelling with or to join a parent or legal guardian. Our intention is to include children, who are not travelling with or to join a parent or legal guardian, to stay with a “Known Sponsor” in the UK (where sponsor eligibility and parental consent requirements have been met). Safeguarding and welfare of minors remains a key priority. Further guidance will be published when this aspect of the scheme is open, setting out all relevant requirements. This document is additional to the FAQs, and anyone wishing to be a sponsor through this scheme should read both.
This additional guidance covers:
2. Other information: checks; thank you payments; interim payments for guests
4. Adapting to life in the UK
5. Further support
You can find further information on how the scheme works, who is eligible and how to apply. The FAQs also include more information on how to support guests on arrival, and permissions required for mortgages, insurance, landlords and leaseholders.
Businesses and other private organisations are not currently eligible to sponsor people coming to the UK from Ukraine directly.
Sponsors can live anywhere in the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) and can be of any nationality, provided they have at least six months’ permission to stay in the UK.
Additionally, the Scottish Government is running a Devolved Government Sponsorship Scheme which means that the Scottish Government, rather than individuals, sponsors the visa application. Households in Scotland can sign up to host a family, without the need to have sponsored their visa application. Guidance for hosts has been published on the Scottish Government website.
The Welsh Government also has a Devolved Government Sponsorship Scheme. At present, new applications to Welsh Government are paused but all existing applications will continue to be processed and existing visa holders can travel and will be supported as planned.
Detailed information for sponsors is available in the Homes for Ukraine: guidance for sponsors
In Northern Ireland, support for arrivals and services more generally are provided by different organisations to those mentioned in this Guide. Please see the following links for more details:
To meet the requirements to be approved as a sponsor you must:
1. Be over the age of 18
2. Be based in the UK;
3. Have at least 6 months permission to be in the UK (from the date of the beneficiary’s visa application).
4. Provide one of the following documents (must be valid):
- UK Passport
- Irish Passport or Passport Card
- Biometric Residence Permit
- Biometric Residence Card (issued to non-EEA family members granted leave under the EU settlement scheme).
- Refugee Travel Document
- Alternatively, if your sponsor or adults you will be living with have an eVisa you can enter their ‘share codes’ in the box on this page to prove their identities
- UK -issued photo driving licence
- Irish-issued photo driving licence
- Crown Dependency-issued photo driving licence
5. Confirm you can provide accommodation for a period of at least 6 months in the UK;
6. Ensure that all adults in the sponsor household meet suitability requirements as set out in text below.
If you do not meet the requirements for approval as a sponsor the beneficiary will not be able to progress their application with you as their sponsor and you will not be eligible for the payment.
A sponsor may also be found not to meet the requirements for approval after a visa has been issued, for example based on local authority welcome checks. In these instances, the sponsor will not be able to receive the £350 thank you payment, and any beneficiaries will be supported to find a new sponsor.
Suitability requirements to be approved as a sponsor
To ensure you meet the requirements for approval as a sponsor under the Scheme, the Home Office will conduct security and criminal checks on you as well as on all adults aged 18 and over who will be living in the same household as the guests. This includes checks against government databases and those of other third parties such as the Police National Computer, or its equivalent in Northern Ireland.
The Home Office will make these checks when considering the visa application. If, as a result, you, or other adults who are required to undergo checks, do not meet the suitability requirements for approval as a sponsor the visa application may be held, and the applicant offered alternative options. The Home Office will consider whether any information received as a result of these checks could represent a risk to the applicant, in particular if the applicant is a child or vulnerable adult, when deciding whether the sponsor is suitable.
As the lead sponsor, you will need to ask the consent of all adults in the household to provide their details on the application form for these checks.
If you (or a member of the household) have a criminal conviction, caution, or warning, this may be identified through Home Office checks and the nature of the offence and the time since it happened will be taken into account. Not all convictions, cautions or warnings will mean you are unsuitable to be a sponsor.
2. Other information you should know about being an approved sponsor:
Your local authority will complete checks on the accommodation and living arrangements, along with safeguarding checks (including Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks) to determine your suitability as a sponsor. If you do not consent to undergoing these checks, you will not be able to become a sponsor.
Your local authority will decide which type of DBS checks are required in line with government guidance. You will not be charged for these checks.
If your guests include children, an Enhanced DBS check (including a check of the children’s barred list) will be undertaken, for all those who are 16 or over in the sponsor household who are not related to the guest.
If you are applying to host a child who is not travelling with or joining their parents/legal guardian, enhanced DBS checks will be carried out before their arrival into the UK
If the local authority decides, while undertaking other checks, that an adult guest requires additional support due to age, disability or illness (that an unrelated sponsor or adult aged 16 or over within the household you intend to provide) then the local authority may ask for an Enhanced DBS check (including a check of the adults’ barred list) to be undertaken on any such members of this household.
In all other circumstances, where you are accommodating guests in your own home, all members of the household who are 16 or over will need to undergo a basic DBS check regardless of their relationship to the guests.
Your local authority will also undertake at least one in-person visit once your guest(s) has arrived to see whether there are any welfare concerns or formal assessments that should be undertaken.
Your local authority will assess whether any of the information gathered through these checks impacts on your ability to act as a sponsor. Sponsors will not be eligible for the £350 ‘thank you’ payment until local authorities have completed their checks and are satisfied that the sponsor meets the requirements of the scheme. Where a sponsor is assessed to not meet the suitability requirements, they will not be able to receive this payment.
If as a result of these checks, you do not meet the suitability requirements to be a sponsor, the visa application may be held, and the applicant offered alternative options in cases where a visa had not already been issued.
A sponsor may also be found not to meet the requirements for approval after a visa has been issued. This may be a result of failed accommodation checks or other safeguarding concerns (such as any raised through the completion of DBS checks) identified by your local authority. In these instances, the guest(s) will be supported to find a new sponsor.
Thank you payments
You must be certain that you are in a secure position to offer a stable home to someone who needs it. You have the option to receive a monthly payment of £350 for up to 12 months, paid in arrears, for as long as you are hosting your guests and provided that the accommodation provided is of a suitable standard. You will be eligible for the first monthly payment once the local council has visited to check the standard of the accommodation.
There can only be one payment per residential address and in England it will be administered through your council.
For sponsors who receive welfare payments, the government is ensuring ‘thank you’ payments do not affect your benefit entitlement. ‘Thank you’ payments will not affect any council tax discounts for single occupancy. They will be tax free.
If your guest moves out of your home for any reason, you must inform your local council at the earliest opportunity as you will need to let them know that you are no longer eligible for the monthly payments.
Interim payment for guests
If your guests are old enough to work, they will be able to apply to receive Universal Credit and will be able to apply for advance payments, where eligible. Guests who are of pensionable age will have access to Pension Credit and Housing Benefit, provided they meet eligibility criteria.
Guests are eligible for an interim payment of £200 per guest for subsistence costs. This will be administered by the local council where the sponsor accommodation is located. The £200 payment does not need to be repaid by the guest. Local councils will also have discretion to top-up or further support guests with interim or additional payments.
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 will need to make sure that you have a working fire alarm, a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance, and a safe gas supply. You should have safe gas appliances, fittings, and flues. It is a good idea to have gas appliances checked regularly to ensure they are safe, a Gas Safe Registered engineer can do this for you (find one at Find an engineer). You should also make sure that your guests have access to kitchen and bathroom space.
You should also consider how many people you can accommodate so they have sufficient space. The law states that 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.
A decision to become a host family should always involve everyone in the household, including children, whose views, wishes and feeling should be taken into account. There will be additional considerations when the household includes children in foster care.
Please see the FAQs for permissions required for mortgages, insurance, landlords, renters, leaseholders and foster carers.
Accommodation in your own home and self-contained accommodation
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. One option is to agree ‘terms of occupation’. Further information on model agreements can be found in the FAQs. There is guidance on sharing your home with a lodger, and whilst it is written for those living in rented homes, it also covers many of the points that any sponsor will want to think about. Rent should not be charged under the sponsorship scheme and therefore tenancy rights should not be created. 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.
4. Adapting to life in the UK
As a sponsor, you’re here to support and help your guests to adapt to life in the UK. The first thing to do will be to make sure they’re 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.
Every guest will be entitled to a £200 interim payment to help with subsistence costs which will be provided by the local council. Under the Homes for Ukraine scheme people will also have access to public services, work and benefits. Guests will have the right to work in the UK. There is no obligation for guests to work in exchange for accommodation. Work undertaken by a guest must be paid and not, in any way, linked to their sponsorship arrangement.
Access to public services
You should try to help direct your guests to public services. For example, this could involve helping them 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.
Your local council is responsible for support like:
a. registering children with local schools
b. English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes
c. giving advice and referring guests to mental health services and to specialist services if needed
d. advising on how to access local Jobcentre Plus services and explaining what their role is
While existing sponsorship relationships should be sustained for six months or longer, in a minority of cases this will not be possible. If your sponsorship breaks down, or you are worried it is about to breakdown, you should contact your council to make them aware. If appropriate, your local council may offer a rematch with a new guest within the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
If you, or anyone you know, has any concerns about potential abuses of the scheme, you should report them at the earliest opportunity to the local council, or to the police if you are concerned that a crime has been committed or if there is a threat of a crime being committed.
As guests adapt to life in the UK, there is the possibility that they make be at risk of exploitation and modern slavery, by those seeking to profit from their exploitation. There are many different indicators of modern slavery and Unseen UK have produced information on signs of modern slavery to look out for. If appropriate, your local council may offer a rematch with a new guest within the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
If you suspect that your guest is being exploited, you can report this to the Modern Slavery and Exploitation Helpline.
If you are concerned about a child’s overall development and wellbeing, and you think they may need some extra support, you can use the NHS website for further information and the support that is available.
5. Further support
- Homes for Ukraine contains information about the scheme, including a set of ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.
- Your local council will provide information about what support they are providing in your area.
- The government has published a list of Recognised Providers - voluntary and community sector organisations running schemes which provide support for and help match sponsors with people coming to the UK from Ukraine.
- This guidance will be published on GOV.UK and updated as necessary
- In addition to the information we have provided online, a number of charities are providing helpful guidance, toolkits, and training on what it means to be a sponsor. We have provided some examples of the support on offer below and encourage you to visit the charities’ websites:
- Refugees at Home
- The No Accommodation Network and Good Practice Guide
- City of Sanctuary
- VITA Network
- The government is sharing a welcome guide with guests, setting out some useful information on the support available to them once in the UK, including housing, employment and access to health facilities and education.
- Guidance on how to support your guests has also been issued to your local council.
6. Data sharing
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Home Office are data controllers for the Homes for Ukraine visa sponsorship scheme. Further information can be found in this privacy notice.