Advise for ukranians arriving in the uk2023-05-16T14:28:31+01:00

Help for Guests and Sponsors in Ukraine and the UK

How do i get immigration help?2023-06-11T08:59:25+01:00

Depending on what visa or immigration status you have been given to enter the UK, you may need to access immigration advice from a qualified immigration adviser about extending this or making a different kind of application in future.

Legal aid can help meet the costs of legal advice and representation but is only available for certain types of applications and for people who cannot afford to pay for a solicitor privately.

You can search for a solicitor in the UK on https://solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk/ by selecting “Legal Issue & Changing Countries” and entering your postcode, town, or city. Visit https://www.lawsocni.org/ to search for solicitors in Northern Ireland.

Find a legal representative regulated by the UK’s Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) use the ‘Find an Immigration Advisor’ search function https://www.gov.uk/find-an-immigration-adviser. You can also email ukraine@freemovement.org.uk explaining your situation and requesting free immigration advice.

Note: Sunflower Sisters is not a regulated immigration adviser, and as such users must seek professional advice before travelling to the UK 

Does the UK government pay any benefits?2023-05-14T22:16:49+01:00

The state provides basic welfare benefit payments for people who are unable to work, who are looking for work but have not yet found a job, or who are on a low income. This is called Universal Credit.

Am in entitled to universal credit?2023-05-14T22:16:47+01:00

Universal Credit is a payment from the government to help you and your family live in the UK. It’s paid monthly and you need to apply for it online.

Universal Credit can be used to pay for your living expenses such as food, clothing, transport, household bills and anything you want to buy.

Your Universal Credit payment is made up of a standard allowance. Any extra amounts that apply to you, for example, if you have children; a disability; a health condition which prevents you from working; or need help paying your rent, will be added in addition.

How do i apply for universal credit?2023-05-14T22:15:52+01:00

Universal credit applications should be submitted online via this website https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit

Can i apply for benefits without using the internet?2023-05-14T22:15:52+01:00
The below telephone numbers should only be used if someone is unable to maintain a digital claim. Immigration status Benefits & financial support
  • Universal Credit Full Service: 0800 328 5644
  • Citizens Advice Help to Claim 0800 144 8 444
How do i start a universal credit application?2023-05-14T22:15:52+01:00

When you complete the online application, the website will tell you if you need to go to a local Job Centre. When you go to the Job Centre, you will meet a ‘work coach’. They will offer help and support about finding work in the UK and also help you apply for a National Insurance Number (NINO) if you do not have one. This is a unique and personal number. It takes about 2-6 weeks for a NINO to come. It will be sent to you in the post.

If you are joining a Universal Credit claim with your partner their claim will be suspended. It is important to be aware that after making a joint claim, your partner’s Universal Credit may be stopped for around five weeks.

If you already have a national insurance number and a bank account, you can ask your work coach for advance payment. This payment is a loan and will be repaid by deducting from future payments of Universal Credit. If your partner is working, you may still be able to get extra help by applying for Universal Credit jointly and your partner’s income will affect how much money you receive

What do i ask for at the job centre?2023-05-14T22:15:51+01:00

You can ask for an interpreter for Job Centre appointments if you need one. It is important you understand what you need to do and when. If you do not do what the Job Centre asked you to do, some or all the money you receive may be stopped (this is called being “sanctioned’).

What benefits can i get for my children?2023-05-14T22:15:51+01:00

There is a difference between Universal Credit and Child Benefit:

Child Benefit

is money paid to parents or other people who are responsible for bringing up a child? You can apply for Child Benefit for children under 16, and sometimes for older children (aged 16-20) if they are in approved full-time education.

You can download a Child Benefit form from this website:

Do i need to open a bank account2023-05-14T22:15:51+01:00
Universal Credit is paid into one bank account, yours or your partner’s. To receive Universal Credit or other benefits yourself, you need to open a bank account. To open a bank account, you need to go to a bank and show documents that prove:
  • Identity
  • Immigration status
  • Address
If you do not have a bank account, you can get your first payment as a voucher. This is called ‘government payment exemption service’. You will need to tell the Job Centre why you have not been able to open a bank account. This can take a long time, so it is better to try and open a bank account first.
Where can i get other financial support?2023-05-14T22:15:50+01:00
Charities in the UK might be able to help by providing you with basic essential items or food if there are delays with accessing financial support. You can search for your local foodbank via this https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-help/find-a-foodbank/. You can search for other charities offering financial support via this https://www.turn2us.org.uk/ and also search online for Ukrainian charities in the UK such as the Association of Ukrainians of Great Britain https://www.augb.co.uk/.
How can i get help with housing?2023-05-14T22:15:50+01:00
You may need to ask the government for help with housing. To ask for help with housing for you and your family you need to go to the Local Authority (also called your local council) for help if you are homeless or threatened with homelessness within the next 56 days. You can find which is your Local Council by entering your postcode on this website https://www.gov.uk/findlocal-council You can request help from your Local Authority if your accommodation is overcrowded, in a poor state of repair or you are at risk of violence. The Local Authority should carry out a ‘homelessness assessment’ to establish what kind of support you need and what they can offer. The Local Authority will ask for evidence to assess your needs such as:
  • Evidence you have Leave to Remain in the UK
  • Evidence of ‘priority need’
  • Evidence that you are not homeless through any fault of your own
  • Evidence of a ‘local connection’

Priority need

To assess who is most in need of help the Local Authority will want to know; If anyone in your family is a child under 18 years old; If anyone in your family is pregnant If anyone is ‘vulnerable’ (this may be because of disability, serious health condition or because they are at risk of domestic violence).

local connection

Most Local Authorities apply a residency test, or wider local connection test, as part of their qualification criteria to go on the waiting list. A ‘local connection’ may usually be established through living or working in an area, or through have close family living in an area.

Once you have somewhere to live, you will need to sign a ‘tenancy agreement’. This is a legal contract between you (the tenant) and the landlord who owns the housing (this might be the local authority, a housing association, or a private individual). Your tenancy agreement sets out the rights and responsibilities of the tenant and the landlord. It will also state the date you can move in, how long the contract is for, how much the rent is and when you must pay it.
What type of accomodation will i be offered?2023-05-14T22:15:50+01:00
The housing you are offered may not be in the place you want and the quality of this housing may not be what you expect. Housing is usually outside of the city centre and can be in tall buildings with many floors and many flats in the same building. Many Local councils face a shortage of housing and often need to look for accommodation far away from where you currently live. This may be in another city. If you have a large family, please be aware that there are limits on the amount of housing benefit you can claim. This varies depending on the size of your house and where you live. If you are renting a house that is too expensive you will need to ensure you top up your rent from any other income you have (work, welfare support) to avoid rent arrears. You may be able to ask the Local Authority for financial help (a Discretionary Housing Payment) if you need temporary support while you look for cheaper accommodation or are waiting on money to be paid to you. Not every local authority will be able to provide financial help and it depends on your family’s individual circumstances. You may need to move to a cheaper part of the country to afford accommodation.
What if i dont want the accomodation i am offered?2023-05-14T22:15:49+01:00
If you receive accommodation support from your Local Authority, you will have limited choice about the housing you are offered. It is important not to refuse an offer of accommodation from the Local Authority; otherwise the Local Authority can find that you have chosen to be homeless which the legislation calls being ‘intentionally homeless’ and they may refuse to help further. You may be able to ask them to reconsider their decision but it is advisable to first accept accommodation offered to ensure you have a place to stay then take legal advice on your housing options. Money for your housing is included in your application for Universal Credit. If you move address, you will need to tell the Job Centre.
Can i rent private housing?2023-05-14T22:15:49+01:00

Private housing can be found through local lettings agents and on property listings websites such as Right Move and Zoopla. The types of privately rented housing available will differ across the country. When you have found a house or flat you will probably need to put down a deposit, before signing a ‘tenancy agreement’.

What if i find myself homeless?2023-05-14T22:15:49+01:00


Further advice on immediate housing needs https://www.shelter.org.uk 0800 800 4444.

Alternatively, you can ask on our private facebook group to see if there is a host near you with available space on a temporary basis until you can resolve the situation
How do i register with a doctor?2023-05-14T22:15:48+01:00
In the UK, family doctors are called General Practitioners “GPs”. A GP is the first doctor you will see when accessing healthcare. To receive medical treatment, you and your children must register with a GP as soon as possible, even if you are not ill. You need to find GPs that are near where you are living and can use this website to find one: You will be asked to fill out a registration form and bring identification and proof of your address if you can. Please note ID (Identity Document) and proof of address is not necessary for registering with a GP. You should not be asked about your immigration status
How do i register with a dentist?2023-05-14T22:15:48+01:00

Some dentists offer NHS treatment and private treatment. You should register with a dentist as an NHS patient and let them know if you are receiving benefits, in which case your check-ups and necessary treatment will be free. Note that getting dental treatment before receiving Universal Credit can result in charges.

Can i get extra financial support with a health condition?2023-05-14T22:15:48+01:00

You might get additional money from Universal Credit if you have a health condition that means you are unable to work or prepare for work. If you are on a low income you may be eligible to apply to the NHS low-income scheme for help with health costs such as prescriptions, dental care, and eyesight tests. You can ask your GP practice about this or apply online


I only have one spare room so i cannot host2023-05-14T22:15:47+01:00

Yes, you can! There are many Ukrainians traveling alone who need a place. If your is a bigger room you could host a couple or a parent with a younger child. Almost everyone who has an unused bedroom can help.

Will i have to financially support the person i sponsor?2023-05-14T22:15:47+01:00

You are under no obligation to provide anything other than the room/accommodation. Anyone arriving will be able to work or to claim benefits the same as any other UK resident…we have touched on this in earlier posts and I’m sure will again in later ones!

I am worried the sponsorship may go on forever?2023-05-14T22:15:46+01:00

The details of the scheme ask you to commit to only 6 months. In practice, we hope you may decide to carry on for longer if you are all getting on well….if things do not work, however, the council has a duty to avoid residents becoming homeless and to assist in finding other accommodation. In some cases, they may provide emergency accommodation, notably where children or a pregnant woman are involved.

Will i lose my council tax reduction, benefits or pension?2023-05-14T22:15:46+01:00

It has been agreed that any benefits, pension, or tax reductions in place will be unaffected by sponsoring a Ukrainian family. You will also get a payment each month (for up to 12 months) from the government and this does not affect any claims either.

Can i no longer sponsor in Scotland or Wales?2023-05-14T22:15:45+01:00

Although the government super sponsor schemes are currently paused you can still sponsor in these areas as an individual…in fact even if you have signed up to the government scheme you can still choose to get to know and rehome a specific individual under the same route as used in England and Northern Ireland.

What do i need to do to be able to travel to the UK?2023-06-11T09:00:55+01:00

The first thing you need to do is understand which type of visa you will be applying for in order to come to the UK.  There are currently 3 types of visa:

If you have family in the UK

The Ukraine Family Scheme enables you to come to the UK or to stay longer if you’re a family member of:

It is free to apply.

You’ll be able to live, work, study, and claim benefits in the UK.

Read more information about the Ukraine Family Scheme.

If you do not have family in the UK

You can apply to come to the UK if you have a named sponsor or on any other existing visa you’re eligible to apply for.

Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme (Homes for Ukraine)

If you do not have family in the UK, you can apply for the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme.

The scheme enables people and organisations in the UK (sponsors) to bring Ukrainians and their family members to the UK under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.

If you have a sponsor you can:

  • come to the UK for up to 3 years
  • work in the UK
  • access public services and claim benefits

Join our private Facebook group to see if we can match you with a sponsor?

Other visas you can apply for

You can make an application to visit, work, study, or join family in the UK.  Check which visas are available.

You’ll need to complete your online application form. You’ll get a GWF reference number. You can use this to book an appointment at a visa application centre to have your fingerprints and photograph taken.

The Visa Application Centre (VAC) in Kyiv, Ukraine is now open for biometric enrolments and document scanning for UK visa applications. Biometric enrolment appointments will be limited.

If your visa application is successful you will need to travel to the VAC in Warsaw with a valid international passport to collect your visa vignette.

For more information including opening hours and appointment booking , please visit the TLS website.

When can i expect my BRP card to arrive?2023-05-15T20:40:16+01:00

Time seems to vary from one area to another, anything between 3 to 6 months, if you feel you should have heard something you can email


You can copy and paste the following, including your own info in between the [xxx]

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am trying to locate my BRP and was hoping you will be able to help by locating it for me?

  • My Visa Reference Number is: [GWFXXX or 3434…]
  • My Full Name: [Add your Name]
  • My Date of Birth: [dd/mm/yyyy]
  • Current Postal Address: [enter address]

Thank you in advance for your help

Kind Regards

[Your Name]

Where do i find the official government H4U application form?2023-06-11T09:00:53+01:00

There are many agencies now that try and charge for completing the application on your behalf.  You do not need to use any of these, scroll to the bottom of this page and click the green ‘Apply Now’ button to find the official UK government application form.

You should also watch this short video before your apply

Easyjet are asking for a Visa but we only have a permission to travel letter?2023-06-11T09:00:50+01:00

The permission to travel letter is in place of a visa as we don’t have an Embassy in Ukraine right now. Please make sure your guests arrive to the airport early. Airports in Poland are more familiar with the UK HFU scheme than other places.

Answer supplied by our Facebook private group Group Expert

My Sponsor has asked me to leave, what can i do?2023-06-04T20:34:40+01:00

Local Council

You may need to ask the government for help with housing. To ask for help with housing for you and your family you need to go to the Local Authority (also called your local council) for help if you are homeless or threatened with homelessness within the next 56 days. You can find which is your Local Council by entering your postcode on this website https://www.gov.uk/findlocal-council You can request help from your Local Authority if your accommodation is overcrowded, in a poor state of repair or you are at risk of violence. The Local Authority should carry out a ‘homelessness assessment’ to establish what kind of support you need and what they can offer. The Local Authority will ask for evidence to assess your needs such as:

  • Evidence you have Leave to Remain in the UK
  • Evidence of ‘priority need’
  • Evidence that you are not homeless through any fault of your own
  • Evidence of a ‘local connection’
Can i sponsor a Ukrainian who is already in the UK?2023-06-11T21:29:48+01:00

Your council might ask you to house a guest or group of guests that have left their first host, either because their previous host was no longer able to support them, or the initial sponsorship period has come to an end. If your guest is in their first 12 months in the UK, you will be eligible for a thank-you payment of £350 per month from the government.

Once a guest has been in the UK for 12 months, this will increase to £500 per month – even if you have not hosted before.

You should think about what you need to know before you take in a guest.

Guests already living in the UK and wanting to ‘rematch’ usually need less support than someone just arriving in the country. Many guests have already found work and are settling into the area, making them more self-sufficient.

If you are asked through social media or a community group to host a guest or family who is already in the UK, you need to contact your local council to make sure that they can make the necessary checks. You can search for your local council.

If you don’t do this, the rematch won’t be recognised as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme, and you won’t be eligible for the ‘thank you’ payment until the checks have been completed. Make sure you think about the potential risks if you host a guest without any checks.

As a sponsor, what do i need to think about?2023-06-15T14:08:53+01:00


  • Have you checked with your Landlord or Mortgage Provider to ensure you can offer a space?
  • Have you checked with your Home Insurance Provider?
  • Have you got a spare bedroom that is private to allow people space to grieve and recover? A sofa bed in a living room is not ideal for a person recovering from trauma.
  • Are you happy to give a copy of your house key to your guest?
  • Will you be comfortable allowing people access to your home if you go on holiday?

The minimum commitment is 6 months, but if the person hasn’t found anywhere else to go in that time, would you be able to let them stay? Will you feel comfortable asking your guest to leave? N.B. If the hosting relationship breaks down, your guest will be able to apply for homelessness assistance and social housing, however depending on where you are living the availability of temporary accommodation may be limited, and it could take even longer to find permanent housing.


  • Will this impact your council tax, utility bills or rent? N.B. Some local authorities offer a ‘Sanctuary discount’ to ensure hosts do not lose their Single Person Council Tax discount (if they not please do contact us to see if we can advocate for this change)
  • Will you be able to provide food and other basics whilst arrivals wait for their benefits claim to be processed? N.B. Local authorities will be providing one-off payments to people on arrival but this might not be enough to cover all their immediate needs whilst they wait for benefits.


  • Do you already have links to your local Sunflower Sisters support group or other refugee supporting/advice organisations?
  • Do you have the time to support people to register with GPs, dentists, etc.?
  • You may host someone who cannot speak English. Can you help someone navigate a new place and new systems without interpretation or translation support?
  • Are you comfortable with Social Workers and people visiting your home to do checks?
  • Will you feel comfortable living with people who have very different parenting styles or cultures?
  • Are you happy living with someone who may not have had any covid vaccinations?
  • It may take time for the person to find employment or feel comfortable socialising, are you happy for someone to be in your space a lot?


  • Have you spoken to your family or children about how they feel about hosting a new person in your home?
  • Have you met or supported someone who has complex mental health problems, or PTSD for example? People suffering from trauma can be very depressed, hopeless, and angry. This situation can be difficult and the person may need specialized treatment or support. Sponsors will be provided with no medical history about a guest.
Can i drive in the UK using my Ukrainian license?2023-07-04T21:30:56+01:00

Yes, you can.  Legislation changed on 16th June 23 and becomes law on the 7th July 23 to state that any Ukrainian in the UK under the Ukraine scheme can use their original driving lecense.

Citation, commencement and extent

1.—(1) These Regulations may be cited as the Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) (Amendment) Regulations 2023.

(2) These Regulations come into force on 7th July 2023.

(3) These Regulations extend to England and Wales and Scotland.

Amendment to the Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations 1999

2.  The Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations 1999(2) are amended as follows.

3.  After regulation 80 (persons who become resident in Great Britain), insert—

Modification of regulation 80: Appendix Ukraine Scheme

80A.(1) This regulation applies in respect of a person who—

(a)has entry clearance or permission to stay under the Appendix Ukraine Scheme to the Immigration Rules(3), and

(b)is the holder of a relevant permit within the meaning given by regulation 80(6) which was issued under the law of Ukraine.

(2) Where this regulation applies, regulation 80(1) has effect as if the reference to the period of one year after a person becomes resident in Great Britain were to the period of three years after that person becomes resident..


What changed in the Ukrainian Visa scheme on 19th Feb 20242024-05-29T20:49:38+01:00

Summary of the changes to immigration rules for Ukrainian visa schemes announced on 19th February 2024.

1. The Ukraine Family Scheme (UFS) has closed. Applications submitted to the UFS before 1500 GMT on 19th February 2024 will be considered under the rules in force on 18th February 2024. If you were previously eligible to apply to come to the UK under the UFS, you remain eligible to apply to the Homes for Ukraine (HFU) sponsorship scheme.
2. The Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme (HFU) is now a single out of country route for all Ukrainians to apply. Visas will be issued for a period of 18 months. If you make an application, your sponsor must be a British or Irish citizen, or settled in the UK (which means they have the right to live permanently in the UK).
3. If you have been given permission to be in the UK under one of the Ukraine Schemes, you may be able to apply for permission to stay in the UK for a further 18 months under the NEW Ukraine Permission Extension Scheme.
This means that if you were granted a visa under one of the Ukraine schemes, you will be able to apply and may be granted permission to stay in the UK for an additional 18 months. You’ll be able to apply three months before your existing visa is due to expire.
4. The Ukrainian Extension Scheme rules are now amended to ensure the scheme remains open beyond the current closure date of 16th May 2024 to allow parents of UK born children to regularise the immigration status of their children.
More information on the updates to the scheme can be found here

Where can i get help with my CV and looking for a Job?2024-05-28T22:07:09+01:00

Blue Sky career aid will help you work through your CV, and will even run a mock interview to see how you do!