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 have 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 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
However, if you yourself arrived under one of the three Ukraine visa schemes (Family, Homes for Ukraine or Extension visa), a useful option is to act as a sponsor for your relatives. We talk about this option on this page.
On this page
- Should I bring my relatives under the Family visa scheme?
- Can I be a sponsor for my relatives?
- Do I need to register anywhere to be a sponsor?
- How do I apply for their visa?
- Will I receive any financial support?
- My council refused the ‘thank you’ and ‘welcome’ payments as my guests were related
- Can I be the second sponsor for my relatives?
- What should my guests do on arrival?
- What happens if my guests go back to Ukraine?
Should I bring my relatives under the Family visa scheme?
Of course, this might seem logical, but if your own visa is Homes for Ukraine, Family or Extension, you only have 3 years leave to remain in the UK, and you do not have Settled Status or Indefinite Leave to Remain.
Note also that you are NOT officially a refugee or under humanitarian protection.
This means you will not meet the criteria required to use the Family visa route, and your relatives’ visa application will 100% be rejected if you try this.
These rules have been in place since day 1 and there are no ‘new rules’ that allow you to use this route.
Can I be a sponsor for my relatives?
Yes, you can, if you are a Ukraine scheme visa holder. As you will have 3 years leave to remain in the UK, this means you meet the criteria of having a minimum of 6 months leave to remain in order to be a sponsor for a Ukrainian.
You 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 will be conducted by your local council in due course.
See the criteria required to be a sponsor here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/eligibility-safeguarding-dbs-and-accommodation-checks-homes-for-ukraine.
In particular, see the statement here: “If you are a Ukraine scheme visa holder and want to sponsor a guest on the Homes for Ukraine scheme, there may be some delays to applications as further checks are undertaken.”
This clearly implies that this is perfectly valid, and councils are expected to allow this. As explained, you cannot use the Family visa route in any case.
If you are bringing over someone such as a partner who would normally be expected to share a room with you, we suggest you discuss this with your local council first. Many local councils are exercising common sense around the criteria for suitable accommodation.
These rules have been in place since day 1 also; they are not ‘new rules’.
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. We recommend getting your guests to use the ‘UK Immigration: ID check’ app during the application. 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 (www.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.
Can I be the second sponsor for my relatives?
In this case, your family member has already received a Homes for Ukraine visa through another sponsor.
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. We are seeking clarification on this point.
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.