UK Visa Application Process for Ukrainian Refugees

We describe the current visa schemes (Homes for Ukraine and Extension visa schemes) available to those fleeing the war in Ukraine on this webpage: Ukrainian Refugee UK Visa Types. We advise reading this first to understand which visa type is the most suitable for your circumstances.

For Homes for Ukraine, we also describe some options for finding a host or sponsor, or a Ukrainian to sponsor, on this webpage: Finding a UK Sponsor.

Here, we describe some key points about the actual visa application and decision process.

Based on our experience (and that of 1000s of other successful applications), you can complete the visa application yourself; it takes about 2 hours to do. You do not need to pay anyone to do this on your behalf. There are groups that will help you if you are stuck, for free.

Having an idea about the documents required during the process will ensure you can prepare copies in advance and can complete the visa application smoothly.

New visa application process (from 7th December 2023)

From 7th December 2023, the UK Government has made significant and important changes to the visa application process. No reasons have been given why, but it is no longer possible to use the ID check app, nor to give biometric data after arriving in the UK.

At a high level, the steps involved in the new process are now:

  • Starting your visa application online
  • Selecting a Visa Application Centre (VAC) to give biometric information*
  • Uploading any documentary evidence asked for with the application
  • Providing your biometric information at your selected VAC*
  • Collecting your visa from your selected VAC*

*Note: You are able to give biometric data at the VAC in Kyiv, but you must collect your visa from the VAC in Warsaw.

If you are already in the UK, you can still apply for a Ukraine Extension visa.

Always read carefully any instructions and communciations you receive, to see what to do next for your particular circumstance.

What to do if you applied for a visa before 7th December 2023

If you applied for, but have not received a visa as yet, we believe you will be required to resubmit your visa application and follow the new process.

If you have received a visa already, then refer to our previous page for information, as you may still need to apply for a biometric residence permit on arrival in the UK.

Filling in the online visa application form

Carefully read through all the information on the relevant Government visa application page before starting.

Preparing information

For the online visa application process, expect to have the following details to hand about the applicant: name, address, contact email or mobile number, date of birth, and passport number. You are also likely to need the following information about the applicant:

  • Their profession
  • Any previous names
  • Any criminal convictions (these are now likely to result in a visa rejection as the rules have been tightened since 19th February 2024)
  • Any previous deportations or visa refusals (these are now likely to result in a visa rejection also from 19th February 2024)

You should also prepare pictures or scans of documents that you may be asked to upload as evidence, such as:

  • Applicant passport
  • Proof of a Ukrainian address dated before 1 January 2022 for the applicant, such as a bank statement
  • Birth certificate and father’s passport if applying for a child
  • For an Extension visa application, documents that prove your existing or previous permission to enter the UK – such as a BRP, visa, vignette, or other Home Office document.

For a Homes for Ukraine application, the following information will be needed:

  • host identity documents – such as passport, or driving licence if passport not available or expired. If the host is not British and has a UKVI Immigration Account, they can use this to prove their identity, or they can use their BRP. We recommend the host not passing their passport details to the applicant if they are not sure about who they are.
  • host address details, including their local authority / council, and how long they have lived at the address

Postcodes for Ukraine can be found here: Postal codes of Ukraine (

Selecting a visa application centre (VAC) for giving biometrics

The first step in the application process is to select the country where you would like to give biometrics. Usually, this would be the country you are in already. This is also the location where you will collect your visa once it’s approved.

Note that if you select ‘Ukraine’, you can give your biometrics at the VAC in Kyiv, but must collect your visa once approved from Warsaw.

When booking your biometric appointment, make sure you select the option for a FREE appointment, not a paid one.

Answering questions and uploading evidence

Continue the rest of the application.

Be careful to put in the information from the passport exactly as it is defined on the passport itself, for example the ‘Place of Issue’ or ‘Issuing Authority’ might be a code on the passport rather than an actual place.

When submitting the application, in the Declaration section, you can declare that you are submitting the application on behalf of the applicant and indicate in the ‘Other’ section that you are the sponsor.

Keep the application submission reference number that you receive somewhere safe.

In order to upload supporting documents, the ‘Evidence’ section is completed after the application itself is submitted. You will need clear pictures of any identity documents required to be uploaded at the end of the application process. You may also need to provide a proof of address in Ukraine.

Where to collect your BRP

You will be asked to select a UK Post Office to have your BRP sent to.

Look for a Post Office conveniently located to you (near where you will be staying in the UK) which offers ‘BRP Card Collection Service’ under ‘Home Office Services’ on this link:

Applying as a group

If you are part of a family group applying to live with the same sponsor, then each person must apply separately for their visa.

You will be asked if anyone else is applying at the same time, and to supply their passport number. By supplying everyone’s passport numbers, we assume the different applications can be linked by the Home Office.

For a child application, even if the father is not applying at the same time, later in the application you will be asked to provide details of the father’s passport (assuming the mother is accompanying the child). You will also be asked to upload a copy of the child’s birth certificate.

Applying as an unaccompanied minor (child under 18)

If the visa application is on behalf of a child that will be travelling to live with a sponsor without their parent or legal guardian, then the process is different, as more checks will need to be done.

Guidance for this situation is given here: (if you are the parent or legal guardian) and here: (if you are the sponsor).

The steps involved are given here: You will need to have completed the steps resulting in a ‘child sponsorship approval number’ before you can apply for the visa (using the ‘Start Now’ button on

Ukrainian document translation services

If it is necessary to translate any documents such as birth, marriage, divorce or death certificates, you can find FREE model document templates here: You do not need to get documents translated by a lawyer.

Getting help with the visa application

The UK Home Office has provided some helplines:

  • If you need any assistance, please call the free helpline: +44 808 164 8810 (0808 164 8810 if you’re in the UK). This is open Monday to Friday 9 am to 4.30 pm.
  • If you cannot contact UK 0808 numbers, please use +44 (0)175 390 7510.

If you are not confident enough to fill in the visa application form by yourself, you can try these resources for help:

  • You can contact volunteers on the following email for help with your visa application:
  • They can also help with filling out the visa application form. Email
  • You can email a representative of the charity Settled for help with the visa application:

Collecting your visa

Once you have submitted your visa application, and travelled to your selected VAC to give your biometrics, you should wait to hear whether or not your application has been approved. If it has, follow instructions given to collect your visa from the VAC where you gave your biometrics (or from the Warsaw VAC if you gave biometrics in Kyiv).

Your visa will be in the form of a ‘vignette’ which is attached to your passport.

On arrival in the UK

For Ukrainians arriving at an entry port in the UK, there should be a Ukraine Welcome point somewhere in the building, if you need assistance.

You are entitled to free travel within the first 48 hours of your arrival in the UK, for a single end to end journey to enable you to get to your initial destination (such as your sponsor’s or relative’s address) within the UK. You only need to show your Ukrainian passport and your boarding pass or ticket showing arrival into the country within the last 48 hours.

Once you have reached your destination and settled in, we suggest you start by referring to the priority tasks to do on arrival here: Priority Tasks On Arrival. You can also look at the Government Welcome Guides and other resources, which can be found here: Useful Resources.

How long do you have to travel to the UK?

[This question was confirmed with the UK Visa and Immigration Ukraine Helpline on 09/12/22.]

Any time limits depend on the method by which you applied (old processes before 7th December 2023, or new process after this date). Read any communication received from the UK Government Home Office department carefully to see what dates apply.

You don’t have a time limit to travel to the UK if you applied for a visa and received a Permission to Travel Letter. (Obviously, try to come as soon as possible – you don’t want to risk your sponsor’s circumstances changing if you leave it too long.) One thing to be aware of though, is that if you used the ‘UK Immigration: ID check’ app, and your BRP is waiting for you at a Post Office in the UK, it will only be held for 60 days before being sent back to the Home Office, but you can still travel. You will be advised on the steps to retrieve your BRP on arrival, if this is the case.

However, if you received a visa by visiting a Visa Application Centre abroad, then you have 90 days to travel to the UK.

What to do if your visa application is taking a long time

[This question was confirmed with the UK Visa and Immigration Ukraine Helpline on 09/12/22.]

Although the call agents cannot give you a status update on your visa, if its been more than 8 weeks since you applied, and your visa has not been approved yet, you can call them on the helpline numbers: +44 808 164 8810 (0808 164 8810 if you’re in the UK) and ask for them to escalate the issue. (If there are severe mitigating circumstances, then you can also call them earlier than 8 weeks and ask for an escalation.)

They do NOT advise submitting a new application as you will be at the back of the queue again.

Here are a couple of groups that can contact the Home Office on your behalf if your visa application seems to be taking a long time:

Some hosts report that asking their Member of Parliament for help in chasing the visa application seemed to result in a decision.

If you applied for a Homes for Ukraine visa, it is possible to check with the local council whether or not they have received confirmation of your visa application. See Useful Contacts for details of how to find the local council of your sponsor; we have given some emails there.

What happens if the sponsor changes their mind about hosting?

[The information below was confirmed with the Immigration Helpline on 21/02/22. We advise you to ring the helpline on 0808 164 8810 and to contact your local council to double check any information relating to your particular circumstances.]

During the visa application process, i.e. once the application has been submitted but before the visa has been granted, it is possible for the sponsor to decide they no longer want to host you and to inform the authorities. In this case, it appears that the process will be stopped and no visa will be granted / no Permission to Travel letter sent. You will have to find a new sponsor and start again.

Once your visa is granted and you have received your Permission to Travel letter, your host can decide that they no longer want to host you. This does not mean they personally have actually cancelled your visa or your Permission to Travel letter, but you no longer have a sponsor and somewhere to stay on arrival.

If they decide this before you have travelled to the UK, you are in a difficult position. You should contact the local council in this case to discuss the situation. See Useful Contacts for details of how to find your local council, by entering the postcode of your sponsor. You could travel anyway to the UK; Border Force may intercept you and liaise with the council so that they can help you (you would be classed as ‘homeless’). However, you may want to try and find a new sponsor yourself before you travel. In this case, we were told that you do not need to reapply for a visa; you can let the council know of the new host, and use your existing visa to travel. If you do apply for a new visa, the old one should just expire from the system.

Once you are in the UK and have already been staying with your sponsor, note that they do not have the ability to cancel your visa (if for example, they decide to stop hosting you, or you decide to move out of their accommodation, or you go back to Ukraine for a visit). Your visa entitles you to be in the UK. If they however decide to end the hosting arrangement before the minimum 6 months period has elapsed, contact your local council to see whether they can help you find a new host.

Refer to the official Government guidance here: Also refer to Housing Issues And Homelessness.