Because of the recent events in Ukraine the Home Office has created a special visa scheme called the “Ukraine Family Scheme”, which provides certain extra rights and privileges to Ukrainian citizens and immediate family members (of whatever nationality) in certain circumstances. This new scheme is operating alongside the standard family visa rules.
An “immediate” family member in this context is:
- A spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner
- A child under the age of 18
- A fiancé(e)/proposed civil partner
- A parent, if you are aged under 18
Ukrainian citizens and immediate family members who were living in Ukraine for any period before 1 January 2022 (wherever they may be now) and who have settled family members in the UK may be able to benefit. The categories of people living in the UK who are deemed to be “settled” are:
- A British citizen
- A person who holds settlement or Settled Status
- A person who holds Pre-Settled Status
- A person who holds either Refugee status or Humanitarian Protection status
So a Ukrainian citizen or immediate family member may be able to make an application on the basis of a family relationship with any of the above categories of settled person.
And any of the following types of family relationship will qualify:
An immediate family member relationship (as defined above)
An extended family member relationship (which is broader)
An immediate family member of an extended family member relationship (which is broader still)
The list in its totality is quite large and complex, but there is one important qualification to bear in mind: where the relationship with the settled person is a partner relationship, that relationship must have begun before 1 January 2022.
If the visa application is successful the visa will be granted for three years, and there will be the right to work or study and the right to claim welfare benefits for which the applicant qualifies. There is no application fee, either visa application fee or IHS health surcharge.
Applications are open already, and applicants can apply from any country, not just Ukraine.
This is a fairly basic overview; there are a few complexities within the rules. If you are affected and you want further help and advice about this we will be able to assist you.
OISC Level 3 Immigration Adviser