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16 Sep. 2022


Great Britain: rules of entry and residence. What does a Ukrainian need to know?

For refugees
United Kingdom

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Great Britain: rules of entry and residence. What does a Ukrainian need to know?

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Great Britain is one of the key countries supporting Ukrainian refugees. With the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the leadership of Britain significantly simplified the procedure for obtaining a visa and approved a number of assistance programs. We have collected basic information about the rules of entry and residence in Great Britain in this article.

How to get a work visa in the UK: types of permits and basic requirements.

Rules of entry

Before starting a trip to Great Britain, a Ukrainian must obtain an entry permit. The country has introduced special conditions for simplified visa issuance for temporarily displaced citizens of Ukraine - these are two programs according to which visas are issued in the following directions:

Ukraine family scheme – right of entry for Ukrainians whose relatives are:

    • citizens of Great Britain;

    • citizens of Ukraine who have a permanent residence permit in Great Britain.

A visa issued under this program gives the right to work and study in Britain. Ukrainians will also have access to social support - financial assistance, medical care, etc. Issued for up to 3 years.

Ukraine sponsorship scheme (Homes for Ukraine) – sponsorship visa. All Ukrainians can apply for it. The main thing is to find a sponsor who will provide you with free housing and guarantee support during the move.

The sponsor can be both a private person and an organization, or even a region. You can look for a sponsor yourself or contact relevant organizations, such as Reset Communities and Refugees or volunteers on Facebook.

The term of the visa is from 6 months to 3 years, gives permission to study and work in Britain, opens access to state support programs.

We talked about the Homes for Ukraine program in more detail earlier in the article linked. It is also worth noting that at the beginning of the program, the Governments of Scotland and Wales acted as sponsors, but due to the large number of applications, they temporarily stopped accepting refugees from Ukraine.

In total, as of September 13, 2022, Great Britain received 215,200 applications for entry from Ukrainians, visas were opened to 185,100 Ukrainians, of which 51,500 were under the family program and 133,600 were under the sponsorship system.

Visa extension programs have been developed for Ukrainians who already lived in Britain before the start of the war. You can read them in detail on the Government's website.

The British Government has also relaxed the conditions of entry for minor refugees from Ukraine. From now on, children have the right to enter the country unaccompanied by parents or guardians.

Support was recently introduced for people fleeing Ukraine with their pets. Ukrainians can bring their pets to Great Britain and not be afraid of expenses for quarantine measures, because the Government of the country will compensate them.

If you need to get to Britain under general conditions, you can apply and get a visa according to the usual procedure.

British visa centers operate in Poland, Hungary, Moldova, Romania and France.

When applying for a visa, it is necessary to have a foreign passport, if it is missing, the application can also be submitted, but the reason for the lack of the document must be explained in writing.

Quarantine restrictions related to the epidemic of COVID-19 in Great Britain will be lifted from March 18, 2022, that is, no certificate, no tests, no self-isolation are required.

Free transportation

The right to free travel in Great Britain is valid for 48 hours after crossing the border. You can get from a major international airport or port to your destination by train, city/intercity bus or tram, or metro.

How to apply for financial assistance?

Ukrainians who have arrived in Great Britain have the right to financial support.

For those arriving under the Homes for Ukraine program, a one-time payment of £200 per person is provided immediately upon arrival. The money will be provided by the municipal council of the region in which you will live.

The country also provides several types of assistance for people who have financial difficulties or specific needs:

    • universal credit;

    • pension credit;

    • disability assistance;

    • assistance for care;

    • child benefit.

More detailed information about each type of support is available on the official website of the Government of Great Britain.

To apply for assistance, you need to contact the nearest employment center. Please note that the money will be deposited into a bank account, so we advise you to open it in advance. Read about how to do this in our article at the link.

Where to look for work?

Ukrainians arriving in Great Britain under refugee support programs have the same rights to work as other residents of the country. You can get a full-time job, or look for a part-time or hourly job.

We recommend starting your job search on the official website of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Diia.Business also compiled a list of sites and resources for finding a job in Great Britain. If you cannot find a job on your own, you can contact agencies that help you find a job in the country.

With official employment, the money will be deposited into your bank account, taxes must be paid by the employer.

Education in Great Britain

Children and young people who come to Britain on programs designed for Ukrainians have the right to study in the country's public schools. Attending school is vitally important for children's adaptation in a new place.

Parents or guardians should contact their local council for instructions on how to apply to a school. A local council that supports you and your family will help you access education.

Children can learn:

• in a public school;

• at an independent school (also called private or public schools) that usually charges a fee for your child's education;

• home study.

Medical services

Everyone who lives in Britain has the right to register with a general practitioner. Registration is free and does not require proof of address or immigration status. This specialist is the first person you should contact if you or your children are ill. A general practitioner can treat many diseases independently or refer you to narrower specialists.

Detailed information about the medical system of Great Britain is available at the link.

We also remind you, that an insurance policy is a guarantee of your safety and peaceful stay outside of Ukraine. To protect yourself from troubles abroad and to be calm for yourself and your loved ones, Visit Ukraine recommends taking out medical insurance in advance.

For drivers

If you import your own car into Great Britain, you need to go through the customs clearance procedure. Regarding the right to drive - during the first 12 months after arrival, you can use your Ukrainian driver's license. It must then be replaced with a British certificate.

Great Britain actively supports refugees from Ukraine and adopts new laws to create more comfortable living conditions. Therefore, such a country, which at first glance is far from us, can become a good refuge for Ukrainians. It is interesting that in Great Britain you can already find places with Ukrainian history.