- What is the Ukraine Extension Scheme?
- Eligibility Requirements for the Ukraine Extension Scheme
- Ukraine Extension Scheme Applications
- Extension Scheme After Entering the UK Via the Common Travel Area
- Extension Scheme Application Refusals
- Travelling with Pets Under the Ukraine Extension Scheme
- How Can Manchester Immigration Lawyers Help?
What is the Ukraine Extension Scheme?
Since the war began in Ukraine, the UK government has been inviting Ukrainian nationals to come to the UK to live safely in the UK. This began with the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme, whereby Ukrainians could connect with people in the UK who agreed to host them and sponsor their visa.
Meanwhile, the Ukraine Family Scheme was created to help Ukrainians who already had family members in the UK to come to the country. This included family members who are British citizens, have indefinite leave to remain, or have refugee status in the UK.
In March 2022, the UK government brought in the Ukraine Extension Scheme visa. This third edition to the portfolio of visas for the Ukraine scheme was designed to help Ukrainians who were in the UK with permission to enter by 18 March 2022 or which had expired after 1 January 2022. The visa has now been extended to include those with immigration permission to come to the UK by 16 November 2023.
If you fit this requirement, you can stay in the UK for a maximum of three years. While in the UK, you can live, work, study, and claim benefits if needed. Read this article to discover further information about the Ukraine extension scheme, including application processes, eligibility, fees, and more.
To be eligible for this visa, you will need to make sure that you fit the following requirements:
- Be a Ukrainian national.
- Be in the UK.
- Fit the requirement dates for when your permission expired or began.
These requirements mean that you don’t need to have arrived in the UK on Homes for Ukraine or any other Ukraine scheme visa. All you need is to be in the UK legally. For example, if you are a Ukrainian who has come to the UK temporarily on a Seasonal Worker visa, you may use the Ukraine extension scheme to give you the right to be in the UK for a further three years.
Documentation to Prove Eligibility
To show that you fit these requirements, you will need to submit a few pieces of documentation, which includes the following:
- A completed application form, submitted online.
- Evidence of your identity and nationality, such as a passport or your visa.
If you are a non-Ukrainian national family member of the Ukrainian applying for an extension, you will need to submit documentation that will prove your relationship to them. This can include the following:
- A marriage or civil partnership certificate.
- If unmarried, you need evidence that you have been living together for two years or more.
- If the family member is a child or parent, you will need to provide a birth certificate.
On top of this documentation, you may also be asked to provide biometric information at a UKVCAS service point, such as your fingerprint and a facial image. If this is required, you will be contacted and informed of a location that you will need to attend. Note that applicants under five are never required to have fingerprints taken, and while some UKVCAS services require payment, they are free for usage in Ukraine scheme applications.
Applications will be completed online via the UK government’s website. Even if you are applying with multiple family members, you will each require an individual application to be completed.
When you select “Apply” on the website, you will be taken through a range of questions to confirm which visa you are applying for, asked to create an account, and then asked to submit your personal information and your documents. Note that completing the application may take a while, but you are able to save your application and come back to it as many times as needed.
After creating your application, you will usually need to book an appointment with UKVCAS for biometric information gathering. This is because a successful application will grant you a biometric residence permit (BRP), which will confirm your right to be in the UK.
There is currently no guidance on how long applications under the Ukraine extension scheme are expected to take, with the government simply saying that they “aim to make a decision as quickly as possible.” Therefore, the length taken for your application to be processed will depend greatly on the state of the Home Office’s backlog when you apply and the quality of your application.
If you get stuck with your application, you are free to contact UKVI by telephone for free. Their lines are open Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 5:30 pm.
Providing Evidence of Permission to Be in the UK
As part of your application for an extension, you will often need to give evidence that you have or have previously had permission to come to the UK, even if the permission has expired. This can take a range of forms, including the following examples:
- Entrance clearance from when you came to the UK.
- Evidence of your permission outside of the Immigration Rules.
- A biometric resident permit.
- A visa vignette.
- A Border for entry stamp.
In some cases, you will still be able to successfully apply for this scheme if you can’t display evidence of previous permission. Your caseworker may be able to find out about this previous permission on their system. However, if this evidence cannot be located, your case might be considered for refusal or elevated to a more senior caseworker.
Extension Scheme After Entering the UK Via the Common Travel Area
As of 25 February 2022, Ireland has lifted their visa requirement for Ukrainians. Because of the soft border between the UK and Ireland as part of the Common Travel Area, some Ukrainians have been able to enter the UK via Ireland without being part of one of the Ukraine schemes. Those who entered the UK in this way are eligible for six months’ permission outside of the Immigration Rules.
Having entered the UK in this way, Ukrainians are eligible to apply for the extension scheme to allow for 36 months of permission to remain. However, this measure is conditioned upon one of the following requirements:
- Your passport contains an endorsement explaining the way that you entered the UK outside of the Immigration Rules.
- You have a letter from the Home Office, which originally granted you six months of permission to remain.
If you don’t have one of these two pieces of documentation, you will find it very hard to successfully get on the extension scheme.
Extension Scheme Application Refusals
In some cases, an extension scheme application will be refused, and you will not be able to remain in the UK. The most common reasons are listed below:
- You have been issued a deportation order.
- You have an exclusion from asylum or humanitarian protection.
- You have been involved in criminal behaviour while in the UK.
- You have involvement in a sham marriage or civil partnership.
- Your application includes false representation or attempts to deceive the home office.
There are also a range of alternative grounds for refusal which are not specific to the Ukraine extension scheme. This includes the following:
- You have previously broken immigration laws.
- You haven’t provided essential information in your application.
- You are in debt to the NHS.
- You have unpaid litigation costs.
- The government has discovered you have been rough sleeping.
- You used false documentation in your application.
If your application is refused, you must find another way to remain in the UK or move to a different country. Remaining in the UK without a visa will put you at risk of deportation and detainment.
Travelling with Pets Under the Ukraine Extension Scheme
In most cases, when you bring an animal into the UK permanently, it will have to be registered, licensed, microchipped, and vaccinated. Furthermore, pets with no rabies vaccination often have to be quarantined, which can last up to four months. It is expected that the person coming to the UK will have completed all of these steps before they come to the UK.
However, the government recognises that many people coming from Ukraine will not have the time to complete these steps. Therefore, the government has introduced a range of measures to help people coming to the UK under any of the Ukraine schemes to bring their pets with them, including the following:
- Introduction of a new rabies blood test to test for vaccination if paperwork has been lost in transit.
- Covering costs of vaccination, microchipping, and quarantine.
- Increase of licensing speed by the Animal and Plant Health Agency.
- Prioritising pets from Ukraine in government-funded quarantine shelters.
These steps make it much easier for Ukrainians to bring their pets into the UK. However, it will still help if you can use the online application service to gain approval to bring your pet to the UK before you enter the country.
With the war in Ukraine ongoing, most people who came to the UK on a Ukraine scheme will feel unsafe returning home. However, there is no automatic right to remain after your original Ukraine scheme visa expires. Instead, you will need to successfully apply for an extension.
Manchester Immigration Lawyers has helped scores of Ukrainians with their visa applications to come to and remain in the UK. We can help you to compile your applications and write detailed explanations for why certain documentation may be missing. Once your application has been submitted, we can liaise with the Home Office to keep track of your application so you are never left in the dark.
If you decide you want assistance with your application, please contact us at 0161 826 9783 or visit us online to find out more about the services we offer.
Last modified on November 9th, 2023 at 10:55 am
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The Ukraine Scheme visas are free, unlike most visas to come to the UK, so you will not need to worry about arranging payment of an application fee.
Furthermore, most immigrants in the UK have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). However, Ukrainian nationals on the Ukraine Scheme are exempt from this payment, so you can access full National Health Service coverage for free.
Ukrainians arriving in the UK without being part of one of the Ukraine schemes are now able to remain in the UK for up to six months according to UK Visas and Immigration’s ability to grant “leave outside the immigration rules.” Therefore, being part of the Ukraine scheme is no longer required to come to the UK, but it can certainly help.
After the six months have expired, you will no longer be able to remain in the country unless you can apply for a visa, including under the Ukraine extension scheme.
Due to the speed at which they have had to flee the country, some Ukrainians will not have documentation to prove their identity, such as a passport.
It is still possible to come to the UK on the extension scheme if you do not have the right documentation, but you will need to provide evidence and an explanation for why you don’t have the right documents. The onus is on you to create an explanation that justifies letting you into the UK despite not having the right documents.
There is not currently a right to appeal under the Ukraine extension scheme. However, note that as applying is free, you are able to apply as many times as you want, and it will only cost you your time. Each new application will be considered fresh, and any errors with your previous application will not be brought into consideration.
Remember that all applications will be thoroughly assessed, and therefore, simply submitting the same application again will have no chance of success. You will need to thoroughly reflect on the reasons that your original application was denied and attempt