The UK government has introduced new temporary visa concessions for family members of British nationals living in Ukraine. Home Secretary Priti Patel announced that eligible individuals can make an application for a family migration visa, free of charge, to enter the UK. A total of 100,000 Ukrainian refugees will be able to seek sanctuary in the UK under relaxed immigration rules but she ruled out a visa waiver for all those fleeing the war citing security concerns.
The Home Secretary told MPs that Ukrainian refugees with family already in the UK would be able to stay for up to 12 months under the new regulations. Although the British Embassy in Kyiv is now closed and all consular services from Kyiv have been suspended, embassy staff are temporarily operating from Lviv, where consular services are currently limited. Please note that this is subject to further disruption or change as a result of Russian military action.
Up-to-date guidance in response to activity in the region and information on visa rules and the status of local Consular services, can be found on the Home Office website.
Family migration visa eligibility requirements
Individuals can apply to the Home Office for a family migration visa for free if they have a family member who is a British national and usually lives in Ukraine. The applicant’s British national family member must meet one of the following requirements:
- Be the applicant’s spouse or civil partner
- Be the applicant’s unmarried partner and have been living together in a relationship for at least two years
- Be the applicant’s parent, if the applicant is under the age of 18
- Be the applicant’s child, under the age of 18
- Be the applicant’s adult relative who they provide care for and who lives with them due to a medical condition
How to apply for a Family migration visa
The guidance states that applicants should first make contact with the Home Office department for visas and immigration, UKVI, prior to making their application. UKVI can be contacted between 8am and 8pm on weekdays and 9am to 5.30pm on weekends at this number:
from overseas: +44 300 3032785 – select option 1
from the UK : 0300 3032785 – select option 1
Applicants must provide contact details and information about themselves and their family member(s). After the UKVI completes the initial assessment and confirms eligibility, those who meet the criteria will be provided with the specific details of the application process.
Applicants will be required to provide contact details and information about themselves and their family member(s). After the UKVI makes the initial assessment and confirms eligibility, those who meet the criteria will be provided with the specific details of the application process.
Once the application has been submitted, applicants will need to submit their biometric information in person, either by attending the new temporary office in the Lemberg Business Centre in Lviv (walk-in appointments are available) or by applying through a VAC in a nearby country such as Poland, Romania, Hungary or Moldova.
The Home Office has confirmed that it is increasing capacity at VACs in cities within neighbouring countries to Ukraine, including Warsaw (Poland), Chisinau (Moldova), Bucharest (Romania), Budapest (Hungary), and a new pop-up VAC being set up in Rzeszow (Poland) for dependants of British nationals.
The Home Office has pledged to process these applications within 24 hours of the date when the applicant enrols their biometric information.