Free UK immigration advice for people fleeing Ukraine

Читайте українською | Читайте на русском | Polski

We are a group of volunteer legal professionals with immigration and asylum expertise. We are providing a free service to connect Ukrainian citizens (and others fleeing Ukraine) with free legal advice on UK immigration, visas and asylum from qualified and regulated lawyers.

Get immigration advice

To request advice, please contact projectu@dlapiper.com with some details of your circumstances and what advice you need. (This email address recently changed because we now have help from DLA Piper, a major law firm: if you have already emailed us for advice at the old address, you do not need to contact us again.)

We will do our best to connect you to a lawyer as soon as we can. Please be patient as we have already received a very large number of requests. If you have emailed in and haven’t had a reply, check your spam / junk folder.

Advice is only available in English. If you do not speak English, you will need to ask a friend or family member to translate for you.

The lawyers who have volunteered to give advice are experts in UK visas and refugee rules but not how to travel out of Ukraine or around Europe. There is some information about travel on the Work Rights Centre website.

How to come to or stay in the UK

Coming to the UK

You need a visa

If you have a Ukrainian passport, you need a visa to travel to the UK. You are almost certain to be refused entry without one. 

There is a UK government immigration helpline for Ukrainians who want to ask about visas: call +44 808 164 8810 or +44 175 390 7510 (0808 164 8810 if you’re in the UK).

If you have family in the UK

There are special visa arrangements in place allowing any British person or immigrant who is settled in the UK to sponsor Ukrainian family members to come to the UK, including parents, siblings, adult children, in-laws and cousins. This “Ukraine Family Scheme” opened for online applications on 4 March 2022.

Unfortunately, Ukrainian citizens with only temporary permission to live in the UK, such as a Skilled Worker or Student visa, cannot sponsor relatives under the Ukraine Family Scheme.

If someone else will let you live with them

Ukrainian citizens can still come to the UK even if they don’t qualify for the Family Scheme, so long as they can find someone who will agree to let them stay for at least six months. This “Homes for Ukraine” scheme opened on 18 March 2022.

If you already know someone willing to sponsor you, either you or the sponsor can apply online for a Homes for Ukraine visa. The sponsor can be British or an immigrant, so long as they have immigration permission to be in the UK that lasts at least six months.

We can’t help you find a sponsor if you don’t already know someone, but some people in the UK are willing to sponsor strangers. You might be able to find a sponsor by giving your details to a charity like Rooms for Refugees or Reset Communities and Refugees which are running “matching” services.

Work or study visas

If you don’t have a British sponsor but might qualify for a normal UK work or study visa, these can also be granted without providing the usual documents.

Visitor visas

You can apply for a visa to enter the UK as a visitor and include “clear compelling or compassionate reasons for your visit”. You must intend to leave the UK at the end of the visit – a maximum of six months.

Claiming asylum

You cannot apply for asylum from outside the UK. 

Already in the UK

Ukraine Extension Scheme

There are special arrangements for Ukrainian citizens who were already in the UK before 18 March 2022. People who were in the UK legally on that date, or whose permission to be in the UK expired recently, can apply for this “Ukraine Extension Scheme”. This scheme opened on 3 May 2022. It includes people in the UK on a visitor visa or Seasonal Worker visa.

Switching onto the Ukraine Extension Scheme allows the person to stay in the UK for 36 months with the right to work for any employer, and claim benefits if they need to.

You can also apply for the Ukraine Family Scheme from inside the UK.

Work or study visas

The UK government has made it easier for Ukrainian citizens already in the UK to stay on within the mainstream immigration system, including by applying to switch from a visitor visa to a normal work or study visa.

Claiming asylum

If you do not already have indefinite leave to remain in the UK you may wish to apply for asylum but should speak to a lawyer first.

Ukrainian citizens in the UK may be entitled to refugee status and / or humanitarian protection. This may also apply to stateless people normally resident in Ukraine.

There is more information about the asylum process in the UK on the Right to Remain website and the Free Movement website.

To volunteer to give pro bono legal advice, please contact projectu@dlapiper.com with the email subject line “volunteer”. 

We have drafted a factsheet to help. You must be qualified to provide immigration advice in the UK.

We are receiving a lot of kind offers of help that are not to do with legal advice on immigration and visas. Please do not be offended if we do not respond, as we are already very busy trying to arrange immigration consultations.

About us

This website was set up on 28 February 2022 by qualified UK immigration lawyers trying to help people fleeing Ukraine get basic legal advice in the immediate aftermath of the invasion. The original project team was Jennifer Blair, Miranda Butler, Simon Cox, Alex Piletska and John Vassiliou, supported by CJ McKinney.

The project is now coordinated day-to-day by DLA Piper, to whom we are incredibly grateful. No information or personal data shared as part of the project will be shared or made available to anyone in or associated with the DLA Piper office in Moscow.