Check what you need to do before you travel to the UK and what to do after you arrive.
Before you travel to the UK
You need permission to enter the UK.
If you have settled family in the UK, you can apply for the Ukraine Family Scheme visa for free.
If you do not have settled family in the UK, apply for a visa under the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme (also known as ‘Homes for Ukraine’) for free.
Once your application has been processed, you’ll be given either:
- an official letter of permission (if you hold a valid Ukrainian international passport)
- a visa (if you attended a visa application centre to give your biometrics)
Use this to board a plane or other form of transport to the UK.
If you’re not eligible for one of these schemes, you may be able to apply for other visas.
What happens at the UK border
If you have a permission letter
When you arrive in the UK, show your permission letter to the Border Force officer.
The Border Force officer will put a 6-month entry stamp in your passport. This stamp proves your right to work, study and claim benefits in the UK.
If you have a visa
When you arrive in the UK, show your visa to the Border Force officer.
You’ll then be able to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).
If you’re bringing belongings, money or pets
You can bring most personal belongings into the UK without having to speak with a customs officer. Use the green channel marked ‘nothing to declare’.
You must speak with a customs officer if you’re bringing:
- a personal vehicle
- a pet
- prohibited or restricted goods, for example controlled drugs or weapons
- £10,000 or more in cash (or the equivalent in another currency)
When you first arrive in the UK
In England, Scotland and Wales, you can get free onward travel by train, bus, coach or light rail from the major airport or port you arrive at. To be eligible, you must travel within 48 hours of arriving in the UK.
You may be able to claim certain benefits immediately, including Universal Credit. You can do this using the stamp in your passport. If you do not have a passport, you can use your BRP or Home Office document.
If you plan to work or claim other benefits, you can apply for a National Insurance number yourself.
Living in the UK
If you did not attend a visa application centre when you applied to the Ukraine Family Scheme or Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme, you need to provide your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) within 6 months of arriving in the UK. This will allow you to stay in the UK for up to 3 years.
You’ll get a BRP that shows your immigration status.
You can live with family members, sponsors or in a property of your own. If you live in your own property or rent, you must register to pay Council Tax.
Working in the UK
When you find a job with a UK employer you’ll need to prove your right to work. To use the online service you’ll need to have a BRP or a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account.
If you cannot use the online service, you can show your employer:
- a visa
- a stamp in your passport (if you’ve not yet applied for your BRP)
If you’re self-employed, you need to do a Self Assessment tax return each year.
You may need to set up a UK bank account. Read more about bank accounts on the Citizens Advice website.
If you have children
If you have children aged 4 to 16, you can apply for a school place. Contact the council where you live to find out which schools still have places and how to apply for an ‘in-year admission’.
You can get help paying for childcare, for example nursery or childminder fees.
You can also claim Child Benefit. You get £21.80 a week for your eldest or only child and £14.45 for each additional child.
Getting healthcare from the National Health Service (NHS)
You should register with an NHS doctor (known as a GP) for everyday health issues.
You can use the NHS for free, including NHS hospitals. You may be asked to show the stamp in your passport or BRP. You do not have to pay the immigration health surcharge.
Driving in the UK
You can use your Ukrainian driving licence for the first 12 months after you arrive. You’ll then need to exchange it for a British licence.
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