The Home Office has put in place immigration concessions and visa schemes in response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Concession for applicants outside the UK
The Home Office concession applies to applicants of any nationality who usually live in Ukraine and who are the family member of one of the following categories of British nationals:
- Spouse or civil partner
- Unmarried partner (i.e. cohabited in a relationship for two years, not necessarily immediately prior to the application)
- Parent, if the applicant is under 18
- Child under 18
- Adult dependent relatives
Although it does not say so in the concession itself, the Home Secretary has said that applicants who have the required family relationship to settled migrants and British citizens in the UK (i.e. not just British citizens in Ukraine) also qualify for the concession.
Where the concession applies, the applicant should contact the Home Office before making the application on the following contact details:
Telephone: +44 808 164 8810 – select option 1 (0808 164 8810 if you’re in the UK – select option 1)
Lines are open 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
This is a free phone number.
If the Home Office determines that the applicant is eligible for the concession, they will advise them how to lodge the application free of charge. The application should be processed within 24 hours of the biometrics appointment.
The Visa Application Centre in Kyiv is currently closed. A temporary VAC has been set up at the Lemberg Business Centre in Lviv, Ukraine. Alternatively, the application can be made from another country, including:
- Poland, including a new pop-up VAC in Rzesezow
If the applicant is able to show that the usual requirements of Appendix FM are met, subject to the documentary flexibility concession (please see below), they will be granted the appropriate visa (e.g. spouse visa in the five year route).
Where the applicant is unable to meet some of the requirements, such as the English language or minimum income requirement, these are likely to be waived. Applicants who cannot meet one or more of the requirements should explain why in the application. In these cases, the applicant is likely to be granted 12 months of leave outside the Rules (LOTR).
Concession for applicants in the UK
Ukrainian nationals who are in the UK on a visit visa can exceptionally apply to switch into family routes as follows:
- Partner route under Appendix FM, as if the switching restrictions did not apply
- Parent route under Appendix FM, as if the switching restrictions did not apply
- Adult Dependent Relative route under Appendix FM, as if the requirement to make the application from outside the UK did not apply
There is no concession for applicants applying to switch from a visit visa into the child route under Appendix FM because the route already permits this. The concession does not permit applicants to switch to fiancée or proposed civil partner leave.
Where the usual requirements of the route are met, aside from those waived by the switching concession, leave will be granted in the five year route to settlement.
Where the applicant is not able to meet one or more of the substantive requirements of the five year route, they can instead apply in the 10 year route to settlement, relying on obstacles to the family living together abroad or it being unreasonable to expect a relevant child to leave the UK, as well as general Article 8 grounds.
The document flexibility concession applies to applications made in the UK and outside the if they meet the following criteria:
- If they are in the UK, they have limited leave or they are an overstayer to whom paragraph 39E of the Rules applies
- The application made is valid
- They meet the requirements of the Rules, as modified by these concessions
- They provide evidence that the relationship requirement is met (e.g. valid marriage and a genuine and subsisting relationship)
If an applicant meets the above criteria, the Home Office will apply evidentiary flexibility to the documents required under Appendix FM and Appendix FM-SE, such as evidence of finances or English language, provided a reasonable written explanation is given for why the applicant is unable to provide a specified document.
The requirement to provide a TB test is waived as the test facilities in Ukraine are closed. It is not clear whether this applies to applications made from countries other than Ukraine, where a TB test may be undertaken at a designated clinic. In those cases, it is worth obtaining a TB test where possible.
Additional concessions – open from 4 March 2022
On 1 March 2022 the Home Secretary announced to Parliament the establishment of a scheme to allow UK citizens and ILR holders to bring extended family members to the UK. That will include:
- Adult children
- Their immediate family members
Anyone who thinks they may be eligible for this concession to call the Home Office on 0300 3032785.
If you would like advice on any of the above routes or help making an application, contact our friendly immigration team today.