Bringing Relatives To The UK

There are various ways to bring family members over to the UK if you are in the UK yourself.

  • If you are living with sponsors yourself, you could ask your sponsor to make an application for your family members under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, provided they have space and are willing
  • You can look for a new sponsor for them if your sponsor cannot host them

Additionally, before 19th February, 2024, these were also options available to you:

  • If you had Settled Status or Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, you could bring your family members over under the Ukraine Family visa scheme
  • If you yourself arrived under one of the three Ukraine visa schemes (Family, Homes for Ukraine or Extension visa), you could act as a sponsor for your relatives, as well as friends.

However, things have changed since 19th February and on this page, we provide further details on your options now.

Can I bring my relatives under the Family visa scheme?

This scheme is now CLOSED to any new applications.

In any case, if your own visa is Homes for Ukraine, Family or Extension, you only have 3 years leave to remain in the UK. (Note also that you are NOT officially a refugee or under humanitarian protection.) This means you would not have met the criteria required to use the Family visa route, and your relatives’ visa application would 100% be rejected.

If you were a Ukraine scheme visa holder, and applied to be their sponsor before 19th February, 2024, then it’s possible you will still be able to complete the application successfully, as you would have had the minimum of 6 months leave to remain in order to be approved as a sponsor for a Ukrainian.

You would also have to be able to provide suitable accommodation for your relatives to live, and to pass the DBS background check. Both of these checks would be conducted by your local council in due course.

However, since 19th February, 2024, a Ukraine visa holder will no longer meet the criteria to be a sponsor. Only those who have British or Irish nationality, or ‘settled status’, can be sponsors.

Thus, if previously you would have been eligible to bring over your relatives on the Ukraine Family visa scheme, which is now closed, you are likely to now be eligible to bring them over under Homes for Ukraine instead (as you have the new required permanent residence status). There is a difference, however – in order to claim a ‘thank you’ payment from the local council, you will need to pass the background checks and accommodation checks.

Do I need to register anywhere to be a sponsor?

No, absolutely not. You know who you want to sponsor, so just go ahead and make the visa application.

You do not need to ask or inform the local council; they will receive details of your application from the Home Office, and will contact you in due course to conduct their checks.

How do I apply for their visa?

See our guide to the visa application process here: Applying For A Visa. Each person must make their own application.

If you get stuck, you can contact one of the organisations mentioned here for help.

Will I receive any financial support?

If you have passed the criteria to be a sponsor, then:

  • Each of your guests is entitled to an initial £200 ‘welcome’ payment from the local council
  • You are entitled to £350 a month ‘thank you’ payment, but you need to tell the council you want to claim this, as it’s optional. The ‘thank you’ payment goes up to £500 for the second and third years of sponsorship.

You cannot charge your guests rent if you want to claim the ‘thank you’ payment, therefore, you cannot put them on your tenancy agreement to begin with, only ideally after 6 months. They are allowed to contribute towards your bills.

If you are a Homes for Ukraine visa holder, then you are entitled to a 50% discount on your council tax bill in England, which is not affected by your guests. Your benefits are also not affected by receiving the ‘thank you’ payment. However, you should update DWP in case there is an impact on the benefits you receive (some situations depend on whether or not people are related). You can check by using a benefits calculator.

My council refused the ‘thank you’ and ‘welcome’ payments as my guests were related

In this case, if you passed the criteria to be a sponsor, the council would be incorrect to refuse you the host ‘thank you’ payments, or the guest ‘welcome’ payments as Homes for Ukraine visa holders.

Our contact at DLUHC (the Government department which is responsible for the Homes for Ukraine guidance) says: “If a sponsor meets the sponsor criteria set out in the guidance then they are entitled to the thank you payment. Please see the guidance here: Eligibility, safeguarding, DBS and accommodation checks: Homes for Ukraine – GOV.UK ( The council will need to verify their position against this guidance.”

Councils must follow the guidance as per your guest’s official visa status, not their relationship to you. Being related is not mentioned anywhere as valid grounds for rejection of you as a sponsor.

Contact us or your MP if you experience problems with this.

Can I be the ‘second sponsor’ for my relatives already in the UK?

In this scenario, your family member has already received a Homes for Ukraine visa through another sponsor, and may already been in the UK.

Normally, a Homes for Ukraine visa holder can change sponsors at any time during their 3 years stay in the UK, but it seems that in this case, it may not possible for them to be ‘rematched’ to you.

What should my guests do on arrival?

A good place to start is our Priority Tasks On Arrival. You can also look at our Top Tips for Ukrainian Refugees.

What happens if my guests go back to Ukraine?

If your guests go back for more than 28 days, there are implications in two key areas:

  • Their benefits claims
  • Your ‘thank you’ payments

See our web page Going Back to Ukraine for more information. In particular, we do not recommend travelling back without first receiving the BRP.