A Displaced Person’s Guide to Scotland (work in progress)

Please note that we’re an unregistered grassroots volunteer organisation. We are not a source of official information or legal advice.

❗If you have any comments or additions to the content of this site, please email helpukrainescotland@gmail.com

‼️Dear displaced persons, please be aware that any phone calls to official institutions in the UK (local authorities, the NHS, the Scottish government, registered charities, etc) can and do have waiting times. It is normal to wait for up to half an hour for someone to pick up a call, and in busier institutions up to an hour. This is of course not something we’re happy with, but it is useful to keep in mind when you’re trying to reach any phone numbers listed in this guide and other informational resources aimed at Ukrainians in the UK.

Important information

  • https://edinburgh.mfa.gov.ua/ - Consulate of Ukraine in Edinburgh, (+44)7909056906, can be contacted for help in general.
  • The official guide for Ukrainians from the British government: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1TXLvvZZoKsA4MsV6DsTHl0i9oVFnt9Wt/view?usp=sharing (Ukrainian)
  • The phone number for ambulance, police and firefighters is 999 or 112.
  • Police non-emergency number - 101.
  • NHS (healthcare) telephone for non-emergency care - 111. You do NOT need to be registered with a GP to get help from them. This is also the phone number you should call if you’re in need of emergency dentistry. They have Ukrainian and Russian interpreters if necessary.
  • Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (aka the Ukrainian Club) - 14 Royal Terrace, Edinburgh, open Tuesday and every second Thursday from 10am until approximately 1pm. Contact via Facebook and email (edinburgh@augb.co.uk). Also exists in Glasgow (the contact email is glasgow@augb.co.uk). AUGB Edinburgh Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AUGBEdinburgh AUGB Glasgow Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GlasgowUkrainians/ AUGB offers humanitarian aid as well as advice and community links.

Language support

  • Some Scottish services do not yet have Ukrainian or Russian translators. You can submit a request to Respond: Crisis in Translation https://respondcrisistranslation.org/uk/need-support (in Ukrainian). Respond offer phone interpretation as well as certified document translation.
  • We recommend an app called SayHi for automated voice translation. You can speak in your own language through it and it will automatically translate your words into English: https://www.sayhi.com/en/translate/
  • You can automatically translate any webpage into Ukrainian or Russian by going to the Google Translate page, pressing the Websites button, choosing the original and the target language, and then pasting the url of the website you need to translate into the field. You will then be able to use the website in your desired language.
  • FOR DOCUMENT TRANSLATION, if you’re not using Respond, you can translate most documents yourself. Unless otherwise specified, Scottish institutions typically do not require a translation signed by a notary and will accept any translation you provide as long as it is formatted correctly.

You should typically include a translation certificate in your translated document. This should contain the following text:

Date I, [Your Name], am competent to translate documents from Ukrainian to English, and certify that I have translated the preceding documents faithfully and accurately to the best of my ability.

[SIGNATURE] [Your Name] [Address] [Phone]

Here’s a bank of translation templates specifically for Ukrainian documents:

Charity Translators (at the bottom of the page)

What to do upon arrival

  1. Apply for benefits. We recommend this step to everyone even if you do not intend to remain on benefits for a long amount of time. It helps the government process you through the system and offer you direct assistance. You can still apply if you don’t have a bank account yet. See details here.
  2. Create a bank account (details here).
  3. During the first 6 months, apply for the Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) if you haven’t submitted your biometrics beforehand using the ID Check app or by visiting a visa application centre (VAC). See paragraph 1.2 of the official guide. If you have used ID Check or submitted biometrics at a visa application centre, collect your BRP from the post office you indicated in your application (or redirect it to a different one; see details here).
  4. Apply for a NINO (National Insurance Number). You will need this to work in the UK. If you have applied for Universal Credit, you will be sent a link to a NINO application you should complete within the timeframe indicated (typically 48 hours). You should not, in this case, apply for NINO separately from Universal Credit.
  5. Register with a doctor (GP = General Phyisician, i.e. family physician). Details here.

What happens on arrival?

1. Points of arrival: Edinburgh

1.1. Edinburgh Waverley.

  • Edinburgh Waverley now has a manned volunteer desk. You can approach it and request assistance.
  • If there are no volunteers, you should phone the city council using this number: +44 131 200 2306. If you’re unable to call UK phone numbers or speak English, you may show the council number to a station worker. The council may ask for your name and date of birth. If you’re asking another person to call for you, we advise that you write this information down and give it to them.
  • After you have arrived and informed the council, they will call you a free taxi that will deliver you either to the hotel or to the welcome hub. Normally, if you arrive before 5pm on a weekday or before 4pm on a weekend, you will be taken to the welcome hub at the Vega Building, Clocktower Estate, Flassches Yard, South Gyle Crescent, EH12 9LB. Out of hours you will be taken to one of the hotels in Edinburgh. It is difficult to predict which as they fill up rapidly and the council has to take people to different hotels at different times.
  • There is no other way of contacting the council to request being allocated to a hotel. Waiting on the line for a long time is unfortunately normal and there’s nothing that can be done to remedy that. The council will answer eventually. If you find it preferable, you may wish to make your own way to the welcome hub during its working hours.

1.2. Edinburgh Airport.

  • There’s a welcome desk. It is normally manned every day by volunteers from Volunteer Edinburgh. You do not need to call ahead to let them know that you’re arriving. The welcome desk is located in the arrivals area (International Arrivals 2) and you can simply approach it and request assistance.
  • After you have arrived, volunteers from Volunteer Edinburgh will help you get either to the hotel or to the welcome hub.
  • Volunteers may also give you a free British SIM from Vodafone if they have these at the time of your arrival. If you have not received yours, you can then get one in any Three shop in the UK. THREE sim cards are free for a month. Vodafone ones are free for 6 months. If you wish to get a Vodafone one, you may want to contact one of the charities on this list: https://www.vodafone.co.uk/mobile/everyone-connected/charities-connected
  • If there are no volunteers at the welcome desk, you should follow the guidance above relating to Edinburgh Waverley and call +44 131 200 2306. Border force officers may also be able to help you.

1.3. Other arrival points in Edinburgh.

  • If you arrive elsewhere, there will not be a welcome desk. You can still follow the guidance above for Edinburgh Waverley and contact the council in the same manner in order to be given instructions and assistance with getting to the hotel or to the welcome hub. If you arrive using your own car, they will give you the address you need to drive to.


1.4. Glasgow Airport.

  • Glasgow Airport has a welcome desk manned by volunteers on a daily basis. In the absence of volunteers at the welcome desk, you should phone +44 141 222 7352 (9am to 5pm) or +44 300 343 1505 (out of hours). If you’re unable to call UK phone numbers or speak English, you may show the council number to an airport worker. The council may ask for your name and date of birth. If you’re asking another person to call for you, we advise that you write this information down and give it to them.
  • After you have arrived and informed the council, they will direct you either to the welcome hub (the closest hub to the airport is at the Holiday Inn, Paisley PA3 2TE - map location) or to a hotel. They will NOT normally help you with transport.
  • There is no other way of contacting the council to request being allocated to a hotel. Waiting on the line for a long time is unfortunately normal and there’s nothing that can be done to remedy that. The council will answer eventually. If you find it preferable, you may wish to make your own way to the welcome hub during its working hours.

1.5. Other arrival points in Glasgow.

  • There are no other welcome desks in Glasgow. You can follow the above guidance regarding calling Glasgow City Council to notify them of your arrival and request assistance.
  • The Glasgow Welcome Hub that processes new arrivals in the city centre is located at the Best Western Argyle Hotel (27 Washington St, Glasgow G3 8AZ, map location). You may make your way there if you find that preferable to trying to reach the council by phone.


1.6. Aberdeen Airport.

The Aberdeen Airport does not currently have a manned welcome desk. On arrival, you should phone +44 800 0304 713 (either yourself or by asking an airport employee to assist you; note that this line is free to call via Skype). You should choose option 1 when calling this number. After this the council will provide you with free transport to the hotel.

Upon arrival you will ordinarily be directed to the Aberdeen Airport Dyce Hotel (Farburn Terrace, Dyce, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, AB21 7DW, Scotland). This is the Aberdeen City Council’s Ukrainian welcome hub and it will have volunteers who’ll assist you (although they may not be there 24/7).

If for any reason the city council line is inaccessible, you may also contact the Aberdeen City homelessness emergency line +44 800 917 6379 (this line is also free to call via Skype).

1.7. Other arrival points in Aberdeen.

The same general principle applies, but be aware that you may not be able to find someone to help you with contacting the city council, so unless you’re able to do this yourself, you should plan ahead. You may request our assistance via @hushelp_bot on Telegram.


1.8. Cairnryan Ferry Port.

There’s an unmanned welcome desk at the port. On arrival you should phone +44 3033 333 001 (during the day) or +44 1387 273 660 (during the evening, night or early morning). The welcome hub associated with Cairnryan is located at the Municipal Chambers, Buccleuch St, Dumfries DG1 2AD (map location).

Elsewhere in Scotland

❗ We’re aware of the Stirling Council being open to direct arrivals. You should contact them at resettlement@stirling.gov.uk if you’re interested in settling there.

At the moment you should generally avoid arriving in Scotland outside of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Cairnryan, and Aberdeen, as other local authorities are not currently equipped to process Ukrainian arrivals. However, if it so happens that you have no choice, do not worry. You need to contact the council of the region you’re arriving in to request assistance, either yourself or via an interpreter.

If you have not received a response from the local council and the issue is becoming urgent, you may wish to turn to the council’s homelessness department as your next port of call in order to try and secure emergency housing.

2. The Edinburgh Welcome Hub.

  • The welcome hub is located at the Clocktower Estate in the Vega Building (Vega Building, Clocktower Estate, Flassches Yard, South Gyle Crescent, EH12 9LB). It’s open 9-17 during weekdays and 9-16 during weekends.
  • There’s transport available from the Hampton by Hilton Hotel (at the airport) to the welcome hub. Inquire at the hotel reception. If you’re not at this hotel, you can get free transport from the council by contacting them on +44 131 200 2306.
  • It has interpreters if you do not speak English.
  • If you arrive out of hours and cannot access the welcome hub on the day of your arrival, you can request help with getting there the next working day.

3. The Glasgow Information Hub.

NB! There’s been controversy around the fact that the volunteers running the Glasgow Information Hub at Edward House have been involved in Russian anti-draft activism. Here’s a statement by AUGB Glasgow.

  • The volunteer-manned information hub is located at Ground floor, 249 West George Street, G2 4QE. It’s open Monday to Friday from 10:00 until 14:00. This hub provides social and informational support as well as assistance with filling in Universal Credit forms, BRP applications, etc.

4. If Your Sponsor is the Scottish Government.

❗ Please note you’re not guaranteed access to social housing (i.e. a separate flat of your own provided by the local authorities). You should not refuse to be placed with a sponsor because you wish to secure social housing. Ukrainians have the same right to social accommodation as Scottish people, and many Scottish people who are poor, disabled, or otherwise in need wait a long time for their turn to get this kind of accommodation. The Scottish government has asked for our cooperation in making the Ukrainian displaced population aware of the scarcity of social housing and in asking displaced persons not to rely on it as an option.

  • The Scottish government will house you in a hotel or a hostel when you arrive. People are no longer being placed on the cruise ships docked in Edinburgh and Glasgow (MS Victoria and MS Ambition).
  • If you have a pet, you will be placed in a pet-friendly hotel.
  • There is no guarantee of being placed in a specific region of Scotland. You may express a preference, but this is dependent on whether there’s room available in your chosen region. You will most likely not be housed in Edinburgh or Glasgow as they are full.
  • You will not be removed from this temporary accommodation as long as you’re in genuine need and cannot secure housing of your own. We have been advised by the Scottish government that there’s no set period for which Ukrainians may be housed in government-sponsored accommodation. However, you should be considerate of other Ukrainians who are yet to arrive in the country and who will also need a place to stay when they come. If you’re able to find private accommodation, you should do so as soon as reasonably possible. We have some guidance and advice on how to do this here. You should be proactive about this and in any case at least attempt to find your own housing. The Scottish housing system is under strain and the government is doing everything it can to ensure no one is without shelter, but they need your cooperation for this.
  • If you have to leave the country and return later, you will still be housed upon return if you’re in genuine need (i.e. cannot secure your own accommodation). This is not dependent on the duration of your absence. You’re not guaranteed a place in the same hotel/region where you used to live before you left Scotland.
  • In general, the Scottish housing system for Ukrainians operates under the principle of good faith. As long as you need it, you will be cared after, but you are asked to use this option only as long as you need it and no further.
  • You will sometimes be offered a private sponsor to live with. This is also not a guarantee, as currently there are not that many private sponsors available in Scotland. However, if you are offered such sponsored housing, we generally do not recommend that you refuse it without a good reason (such as if the potential sponsor is bigoted towards you, strikes you as unsafe to live with). If you do fall out with your sponsor and have to leave, the local authorities will not leave you without shelter.

5. If You Have an Individual Sponsor.

  • You’re guaranteed free accommodation for 6 months. The sponsor cannot legally charge you rent within this timeframe.
  • There are currently no special provisions in place for what will happen after these 6 months are over. We recommend being proactive about finding your own accommodation. If you have failed to find your own accommodation, however, or if you know you’re unable to (such as because of a disability or due to childcare responsibilities), you will need to turn either to one of the welcome hubs or to your local council’s emergency homelessness team once your sponsorship period is over. They will support you with housing.
  • The sponsor is not obliged to provide you food or any other items. They may choose to do so if they wish, however.
  • If you’re matched to a separate accommodation (such as a flat or a house your host does not live in) provided by a private individual, you are typically liable for the utility bills. It is your responsibility to ensure they’re paid. On the other hand, if you share a flat or a house with your host, they are the ones who are responsible for covering the costs of utilities. They may ask you to contribute, but they cannot force you to do so. (https://www.gov.scot/publications/ukraine-super-sponsor-scheme-guidance-for-hosts/pages/host-role/) If you feel you’re being asked to pay an unreasonable amount or if you cannot afford utility bills, you should contact your local authorities for help.
  • If an irreconcilable issue arises between you and the sponsor, the council may re-match you to a different sponsor or provide you with alternative housing. You need to contact them (directly or through an interpreter) and inform them of the situation as soon as possible.

The council will sometimes attempt to mediate the conflict in the first place (i.e. attempt to get you to reconcile with your sponsor). If you feel that this is a viable option, you may also wish to use the free National Family Mediation service for Ukrainian hosts and guests - Homes for Ukraine Mediation - National Family Mediation (nfm.org.uk)

6. Applying for Financial Support.

  • This is the first thing we recommend doing in the UK, even if you do not intend to remain on benefits for a long time. This helps the local council integrate you in the system and ensure that you get all the support available to you.

Here’s a handy benefit calculator that will assist you with understanding what payments you’re entitled to and how much you can get: Turn2Us Benefits Calculator (in English)

6.1. Applying for Universal Credit.

! Universal Credit is for people over the age of 16 and under the age of 66. If you’re single and over the age of 66 OR if you’re a couple where BOTH partners are over the age of 66, you need to apply for Pension Credit instead.

This is a source of financial support available to all displaced Ukrainians under both visa schemes. You can still get it even if you have a job. Over a certain salary threshold (ca. 900 GBP/month), your UC payments are reduced to zero and the support stops.

Here’s a video on how to apply for Universal Credit - https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2L4a6rAkmwI (Ukrainian)

Some important facts:

  • Despite the name, Universal Credit does not need to be repaid. It is not actually a “credit” or a loan.
  • If you’re a couple living together, you MUST apply for Universal Credit jointly. You cannot apply for it individually. You and your partner are considered a single financial unit for Universal Credit purposes.
  • When you reach the point in the application where it asks you to confirm your identity using one of the documents listed, as a Ukrainian displaced person, you will normally have none of these documents. That is normal. You must choose the option that says “I don’t have any of these documents”. The Universal Credit team will then give you a call in the next few days in order to invite you to verify your identity in person.

We recommend you apply for UC as soon as possible after arrival. This is because UC is not backdated (i.e. the time period it is awarded for begins once you submit the application). Therefore waiting to apply for UC may result in you losing some of the money you could’ve otherwise received. You can still apply for UC if you’re not in permanent accommodation (i.e. if you’ve been placed in a hotel or a hostel).

If you do not currently have a bank account, you can still apply for Universal Credit. In the “name of the bank” field, you need to put either “not applicable” or the name of the bank you’re intending to get an account with. In the “sort code” field, you need to put 6 zeroes. In the “account number” field, you need to put 8 zeroes.

The system will reject this input twice. Keep resubmitting. On the third time the system should accept this input.

Once you get your bank account, you will be able to change this input to your actual sort code and account number using your online Universal Credit account.

You can apply for Universal Credit here.

Childcare Benefit (a source of financial support for parents and guardians who need to pay for childcare such as kindergartens and childminders) is included in the application for Universal Credit. You cannot claim this if you have no expenses related to childminding.

6.2. Child Benefit

This is a source of financial support for parents and guardians of children under 16 (or children under 20 in certain kinds of education or training) and is not included in Universal Credit. It is given out to everyone who has children answering the criteria, and is not means-tested. You can apply for it here: https://www.gov.uk/child-benefit/how-to-claim

6.3. Applying for Crisis Grants.

Due to logistic and bureaucratic issues with the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, depending on your local council, you will NOT necessarily be given immediate financial assistance on arrival. If you find yourself struggling financially, we highly recommend applying for a so-called crisis grant from the Scottish Welfare Fund. Find out how to apply in your region here: Crisis Grant - how to apply - mygov.scot (English)

Most Crisis Grant application forms will ask you for your NIN. If you do not have that, YOU CAN STILL APPLY. You need to do this by phone or using a printed form filled in by hand.

Crisis Grants are normally given only for food and/or utility payments. You may be refused if you ask for a Crisis Grant for anything else. You must normally not have any money or have very little money to be able to use a Crisis Grant. This includes access to a Universal Credit advance payment (i.e. if you’ve applied for Universal Credit and haven’t received it yet but are eligible to apply for an urgent advance payment, you may be refused a Crisis Grant).

6.4. Red Cross payments.

Red Cross offer 50 GBP per person to Ukrainian displaced persons, as well as free Vodafone SIM cards. They can be contacted using this phone number - +44 8081963651 (option 1 and then option 1 again). This can be claimed for up to 6 people in a family. This HAS to be claimed within 14 days of arrival.

In the past we’ve had issues reaching Red Cross by phone but they seem to have expedited the process and now it is easier to talk to them.

Red Cross do offer interpreters but the waiting time for them can be unreasonable. If you need someone to call Red Cross for you, you should ask an English-speaking individual. You can ask us for support in calling Red Cross through our Telegram channel (/hushelp).

6.5. The 200 pounds support payment.

All Scottish councils are offering a 200 GBP initial support payment to newly arrived Ukrainians. However, different councils have different policies about WHEN they’ll give this payment out. Some local authorities, notably the Glasgow City Council and South Lanarkshire Council, will not give you this money until they have placed you in more permanent housing (i.e. with a private sponsor, in social housing, or if you’ve found a private property to rent).

  • If you’re housed in Edinburgh, you will normally be given 50-60 pounds upfront. You can then receive the rest of the sum later once you’re contacted by the council. To speed this process up, you can write to this email - edinburghvulnerable@edinburgh.gov.uk. Include your name, date of birth, location, and contact number.
  • The email to contact for West Lothian (including Livingston) support payments is ukrainiansupportpayments@westlothian.gov.uk.

6.6. Applying for ADP (disability benefits).

Scotland has recently replaced PIP (personal independence payment, a general UK disability benefit) with a region-specific alternative, ADP (adult disability payment). The amount of money you’ll get remains the same. If you already get PIP, you do not need to do anything to change it to ADP.

! ADP is for people over the age of 16 and under the age of 66. If you’re over the age of 66, you need to apply for Attendance Allowance instead.

Apply for ADP here: Adult Disability Payment - mygov.scot

In Scotland, disability is not a single legal category, but different categories that exist for different purposes. When you apply for disability payments (ADP, adult disability payment - this is not means-tested and is independent of your income), you need to fill out a questionnaire and undergo an interview. Translated Ukrainian documents may help to prove your disability, but they’re NOT mandatory. This is not about specific documents, but about the fact that you can pass their interview and convince them that you are really disabled.

It is generally useful to have spoken to a British GP or other medical specialist about your condition before applying for ADP, as Social Security Scotland may want to talk to your doctor to confirm the details you’ve provided in your claim.

The ADP allowance can serve as legal proof of disability for things like bus tickets, etc.

BUT the category of disability in, say, the workplace does NOT require this benefit. You will need to talk to the employer directly and they generally just want to hear about your needs, they don't typically ask for strict formal proof. They are required by law to provide accommodations if you need something for health reasons.

6.7. Pension Credit.

Apply for Pension Credit using this paper-based form: Pension Credit claim form - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) Do not forget to append a copy of your passport when sending the form to the Pension Service. You must also apply for a National Insurance Number if applying for Pension Credit as you will need this to receive your first payment. You can apply for a NIN here: Apply for a National Insurance number: Who can apply for a National Insurance number - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) You can also apply by phone (Pension Credit: How to claim - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)). Our experience with phone applications is variable. We’ve had cases where people struggled to have their application accepted over the phone. In general, our suggestion is to start with a paper-based application but then to phone the Pension Credit line if the paper application is not processed on time. Please note that as a Ukrainian displaced person you will NOT be eligible to make an application for Pension Credit online.

7. Getting a bank account.

There are a few banks that provide services adapted to the circumstances of Ukrainian displaced persons.

  • The Credit Thing. This is Monobank’s project in the UK. It gives you a credit limit of 100-400 GBP and thus allows you to start your credit history in the UK. They allow you to open an account quickly and also give you 10 GBP as a bonus for opening an account. They also provide a physical bank card (for a 5 pound fee).
  • Royal Bank of Scotland. Page on accounts for Ukrainian displaced persons: https://www.rbs.co.uk/ukraine-refugees2.html (in Ukrainian). This is a traditional Scottish bank. Pros: RBS has many physical branches you can visit if you feel more comfortable with traditional banking services; RBS does not require proof of address or BRP; there’s now an option to register for a bank account online, the process of obtaining it has been expedited (the expected wait time is 3-5 days), and there’s also a Ukrainian-language interface available. The same is true for NatWest, RBS’ sister bank.
  • Monzo. This is an online bank you can use via the Monzo app. They do also provide a physical bank card as well as a UK bank account number and sort code. Pros: getting an account is quick and easy; Monzo does not require proof of address; Monzo does not require you to have a BRP. Cons: the app is not available in either Ukrainian or Russian; Monzo does NOT currently accept hotel/hostel addresses for their banking services (this includes cruise ship addresses).
  • Revolut (instructions for opening an account, in English and Ukrainian: https://www.revolut.com/help/more/support-for-ukrainian-refugees/how-can-i-open-an-account-as-a-ukrainian-refugee).This is an online bank similar to Monzo, with a few distinctions. Like Monzo, they do provide a physical bank card (you may need to pay a small sum to get it) as well as a virtual one. They do provide a UK bank account number and sort code. Pros: getting an account is quick and easy; Revolut does not require proof of address; Revolut does not require you to have a BRP; Revolut has a Russian-language version; Revolut accepts hotel/hostel addresses. Cons: one of the co-founders of Revolut is Russian; he did eventually condemn the invasion and commit to upholding sanctions against Russia, but it did take him some time. ! Note that Revolut frequently doesn’t immediately accept the documents Ukrainians have as proof of identity. You need to contact their technical support team to resolve this. You may have to wait a few hours for them to respond.
  • Bank of Scotland. This is a traditional Scottish bank. Pros: BoS has many physical branches you can visit if you feel more comfortable with traditional banking services; BoS sometimes has a shorter waiting time than RBS; BoS does not require proof of address. Cons: BoS does not have a Ukrainain or Russian language interface (although you can use automatic translation); you may have to wait longer to receive an account than you would with Monzo or Revolut; BoS may require you to provide your BRP.

8. Learning English Language.

+44 800 085 7672, esol@ea.edin.sch.uk

Edinburgh College also offers English language courses: https://www.edinburghcollege.ac.uk/international/courses-for-international-students/english-language-courses

  • Register for the Glasgow City ESOL courses here: https://www.learnesolglasgow.com/glasgow-esol-register.html, as well as learn about other English courses in Glasgow here: https://www.learnesolglasgow.com/ (you can choose your language for these websites using the Google Translate menu at the top)
  • If you’ve applied for Universal Credit or another benefit, the JobCentre staff will be well placed to recommend local English courses that will be suitable for you.
  • We also recommend turning to local Facebook groups and asking if anyone would like to help a Ukrainian displaced person practice their English. Scottish people are often happy to assist with this.

9. Public Transport.

There isn’t currently a program of free public transport specifically for Ukrainians in Scotland (for general guidance on free transport for Scottish residents see below). The Council in Edinburgh currently gives out transport passes for 20 rides for free (on the condition that you have not yet received your first Universal Credit payment), at Customer Hub in City Chambers, 249 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1YJ.

The cheapest mode of travel between cities is by bus (e.g. megabus.co.uk)

Children under 5 travel on buses for free. If you are aged 5 to 22, over 60, or have a disability, you can get a bus pass for free travel - apply in person at one of your local libraries (https://www.mygov.scot/public-libraries) or online (getyournec.scot). To apply at the library you need to make an appointment (for Edinburgh, use this link - https://selfservice-edinburgh.servicebuilder.co.uk/renderform.aspx?t=6&k=9207978C602E9BBDFC97DCCC43A1920836C03279)

To apply for a pass, the following is required:

  1. Identity document - birth certificate, passport or identity card of a displaced person (or the person who receives a pass on their behalf).
  2. Address confirmation - bank statement, utilities / gas or electricity bill or letter from the sponsor confirming your place of residence.
  3. Confirmation of eligibility. If you are over 60 or under 22, this will be confirmed by one of the documents in paragraph 1; if the applicant receives disability benefits, this can be confirmed by a letter from DWP / PIP.
  4. Parental consent is required for persons under 16 years of age. This can be done by personally signing an application or submitting an online birth certificate.
  5. You must also add 4 x 5 photos to the application. These photos can be taken in photo booths in large supermarkets or shopping malls. Photographs are not required for children under 12 years of age.

10. Applying for a BRP.

10.1. How to get your BRP.

  • If you submitted your biometrics abroad (such as through a visa application centre or by using the ID Check app), you will receive your BRP at the post office you’ve indicated in your application. If you don’t remember which post office this was, please fill out this form - https://www.biometric-residence-permit.service.gov.uk/collection/where?hof-cookie-check
  • If you didn’t submit your biometrics abroad, you have to apply for a BRP (biometric resident permit) within 6 months of arriving in Scotland in order to extend your stay to the full 3 years. Apply here.

Here’s a video on how to apply for a BRP - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EFGH31-DAM&ab_channel=OlhaZiniuk (Ukrainian)

  • Note that when you receive your BRP, its expiration date will be in 2024 and therefore seem to indicate that you have less than three years’ leave to remain. In actual fact this is the date when the UK government intends to make all BRPs digital. You will still be able to stay in the UK for the full three years, you will simply have a digital BRP after the plastic BRP’s expiration date.

10.2. Leaving the UK without your BRP.

❗ Please note that the government does not recommend leaving the UK without your BRP. This may result in you incurring a fee of 154 GBP per person in exchange for a so-called replacement BRP visa (https://www.gov.uk/biometric-residence-permits/prove-your-status-without-a-brp). So far our experience with people exiting the country without BRPs is positive (i.e. several people have been let back in without issue using only their Ukrainian passport, without having to apply for a replacement BRP visa), but this can never be guaranteed.

10.3. If your BRP has been delayed/has been sent back to the Home Office.

❗There is no way to track your BRP application.

  • If your BRP was supposed to be at a post office but has been sent back to the Home Office due to you not collecting it in time, please write to BRPCollection@homeoffice.gov.uk. Please indicate the following information -
  1. Your visa GWF or ref number.
  2. Your name, date of birth, and passport number.
  3. When you received your visa.
  4. The address of the post office the BRP was originally sent to.
  5. Your current address you want the Home Office to re-send your BRP to.

10.4. Redirecting your BRP to a different post office/different address.

  • If you are having problems getting to your nearest post office, or if the post office the Permit is being delivered to is incorrect, you can write to POUKR@homeoffice.gov.uk with a request to redirect the BRP to a different post office or a residential address. Please be aware that the official timeframe for redirection is from 10 to 60 days.

Please indicate the following information -

  1. Your visa GWF or ref number.
  2. Your name, date of birth, and passport number.
  3. When you received your visa.
  4. The address of the post office the BRP was originally sent to.
  5. The address you want Royal Mail to re-send your BRP to.

“You’ll need to update your address if you want your BRP to be sent to a different address than the one you gave in your application.

If you do not have your decision letter yet, tell the Home Office your address has changed.

If your decision letter has arrived, you’ll need to:

Your BRP may take longer to arrive if your address has changed. Tell the Home Office and TNT as soon as it changes.

If your BRP is delivered to the wrong address because you did not update it, you’ll need to report a problem with your BRP.”

10.5. What to do if your BRP is lost/stolen.

If your BRP is lost or stolen, you will need to report this to the police. You will then need to fill in this form to report the loss of your BRP: Where are you now? – GOV.UK (biometric-residence-permit.service.gov.uk)

After this, fill in this form to apply for a replacement: Biometric Residence Permit Replacement Service (visas-immigration.service.gov.uk)

In the replacement application form, you MUST indicate that you are not a refugee. Ukrainians in the UK do not legally have a refugee status.

If you fail to indicate that you’re not a refugee, you will not be charged the 75.20 fee for BRP replacement services, in which case, after submitting the biometrics, when the Home Office processes your application, it will be rejected because you did not pay the fee.

After filling out the questionnaire, sign up to give biometrics. You can usually find free slots for this if you don’t mind waiting and if you choose the self-service option when searching for slots.

11. Universities.

11.1. Funding.

  • In Scotland, Bachelor’s degrees as well as HNCs and HNDs (college degrees) are now free for Ukrainians. TO GET YOUR DEGREE FOR FREE YOU MUST APPLY FOR FUNDING THROUGH SAAS (Students Awards Agency Scotland). The conditions are described here: https://www.saas.gov.uk/guides/support-for-ukrainian-students
  • SAAS pays for your tuition fees - this is not a loan. It does not need to be returned.
  • SAAS can give you a bursary/maintenance grant to cover your living costs if you’re on low income - this is not a loan and does not need to be returned.
  • They can also assist with applying for a loan to cover some of the tuition fees for Master’s degrees, as well as with applying for a loan to cover living costs. This DOES need to be repaid. It is repaid only after you’ve found a job upon graduating from university/college.
  • SAAS funding is applied for after your application to university/college. However, you do NOT need to wait for the university to accept your application in order to apply for SAAS funding; in fact, the recommendation is that you submit your SAAS application as soon as possible after applying for university. You can change the course information later if you end up being accepted for a different degree than the one you’ve requested funding for.

11.2. Admission and conditions of entry.

  • Individual universities have their own support programs (for example, Edinburgh University). Our general recommendation is to apply to universities through UCAS (https://www.ucas.com/, preferably several at once) and then contact them separately and find out about support programs for Ukrainians for specific degrees (different departments of each university give different types of scholarships). An application to UCAS costs 20-26 pounds.
  • The normal UCAS application cycle for this year is now OVER. Some courses may be accepting late applicants and some may not. Courses that are closed for applications will typically not permit you to apply through UCAS, which is how you’ll know they’re closed for this academic year.
  • Some universities do permit direct applications (i.e. not via UCAS; one example is the University of Dundee).
  • It is desirable to apply to universities as soon as possible if intending to study in the 2023/24 academic year.
  • Please note that some universities have demanded to see the applicants’ Ukrainian high school certificates. This may be inaccessible to some Ukrainians if they’ve gone to a Ukrainian university and had their high school certificate taken away. Keep this in mind when inquiring about the universities’ requirements.
  • The standard requirements for admission to Scottish universities for Ukrainians are a full high school education plus one full year of university. A full high school education alone is typically not enough (but do contact individual universities to inquire about this if in doubt). If the first year in Ukraine has not been completed, you can enroll in a Foundation Year at a Scottish university (note that this is not free and cannot always be funded using SAAS) or finish your studies at a Scottish school to the level of Scottish Highers. You can also enroll in a Scottish college to get an HNC/HND (HNC is equivalent to 1 year of university and HND to 2; they may allow you to skip the first year or two years of a bachelor’s degree when entering a university afterwards). For instance, here’s information from Edinburgh College about acquiring HNCs and HNDs: https://www.edinburghcollege.ac.uk/international/courses-for-international-students/higher-education-courses

HNCs and HNDs can also be funded using SAAS.

  • Scottish universities also require proof of English language proficiency. Usually such proof is either evidence of having studied in English-language programs or IELTS (https://www.ielts.org/). IELTS costs about two hundred pounds. If financial assistance is needed, an IELTS grant can be obtained from the Ruth Hayman Trust (http://www.ruthhaymantrust.org.uk/) or from one of the other sources of education funding listed on their website (http://www.ruthhaymantrust.org.uk/make-an-application).
  • Some Scottish colleges (providers of HND/HNC degrees) are willing to accept people without an IELTS result.
  • Some universities may be willing to accept cheaper and more accessible English language tests. This is something you should discuss with individual universities.

11.3. Postgraduate degrees.

  • Master's degrees aren’t free (however, it is possible to apply through SAAS to obtain assistance with payment of approximately half the amount, plus living expenses). Some universities have scholarships specifically for Ukrainians that cover Master's studies (for example, Edinburgh University). Other non-Ukraine-specific scholarships can also be applied for (inquire with individual universities).
  • Doctoral degrees in Scotland typically have to be either paid for by the applicant or funded by the university/an outside organisation. For information specific to Ukrainian academics in the UK, see CARA’s website: https://www.cara.ngo/what-we-do/a-lifeline-to-academics-at-risk/ukraine-crisis/

11.4. Support for Ukrainians from specific universities.

12. Children and Schools.

It is the law in Scotland that all children have to be provided with school education up to the age of 18 if necessary. It is the local council’s responsibility to ensure this.

Schools are free.

  • Normally a child will attend the school belonging to their so-called catchment area. You do not choose your child’s school (although you can request a place in a different one; whether your request is granted depends on the availability of free places in that school). General information on how school education works in Scotland: https://www.mygov.scot/register-your-child-for-a-school
  • Here you can find your catchment area school in Edinburgh: https://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/catchmentmap
  • Our advice: write an e-mail or call the school directly. School contacts are easy to find on Google. Briefly describe the situation: “we moved from Ukraine under the ... visa scheme (specify the type of visa), now we live at ... The child is ... years old. What needs to be done, what documents do we need to provide so that the child can go to your school?” You will be given a detailed answer. Then you can act based on the information offered by the school.

Your child cannot miss school without a good reason. Missing school may lead to fines and scrutiny from social services.

Good reasons may be: the child is lethargic and has a high temperature, the child is in the hospital, visiting a doctor/dentist, etc. But, for example, family circumstances - e.g. the child goes somewhere on vacation with his parents - are not considered a respectable cause for absence and parents may receive a considerable fine.

  • In Scotland all people that are 18 and younger are considered children and therefore have the right to special protection from the government. This is called Scottish Guardianship scheme and is delivered by Aberlour (charity based in Glasgow). Information can be found here: https://www.scottishrefugeecouncil.org.uk/direct-support/children-and-young-people/ The scheme helps to safeguard vulnerable young people and help them access welfare. They help young people make informed decisions and provide emotional support plus any advocacy that might be required. Referrals for this service come from the council.

Social support and grants for children:

  • Best Start Grant consists of three possible payments (Pregnancy and Baby Payment, Early Learning Payment, School Age Payment). It provides financial support to parents or guardians who receive certain benefits or tax reductions during the key early years of a child's life.
  • Educational Maintenance Allowances (EMAs) provide financial support to people aged 16 to 19 who want to continue their studies.
  • Scottish Child Payment for low-income families with children under six.
  • Free school meals, milk and clothing grant (https://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/xfp/form/261) - The Scottish Government has been funding universal free school meals for all children since January 2022 (1-4 primary grades and 5 years of study). However, this does not automatically entitle you to holiday pay, free milk, clothing allowance or child benefit. You must also meet income-based eligibility criteria.

13. Accessing Non-Emergency Medical Help.

  • In general, you have to be registered with a GP before you can make a medical appointment.
  • All Ukrainian refugees arriving in Scotland under the visa schemes are entitled to free use of the local health care system (except for some services, such as dental). Prescriptions in Scotland are free, and prescription drugs are also provided free of charge.
  • You do NOT need to register for this or obtain a medical insurance policy; you are automatically entitled to free medical care upon entry to the UK. HOWEVER
  • Before you make an appointment with a doctor, you must normally register at the local medical practice.

You can find your local GP on this site by entering your postcode: https://www.nhsinform.scot/scotlands-service-directory/gp-practices

Take care to phone the practice to inquire if it accepts new patients. If it does not, you may need to choose an alternative one nearby.

  • Once you have contacted the practice, you can drop by in person and obtain registration forms, as well as clarify what documents they would like to see to process your registration.
  • IF YOU LIVE IN A HOTEL OR A HOSTEL, you can still register with a GP if you require urgent assistance. This needs to be done using a temporary resident registration form. You can also request this at the practice you’re registering with.
  • IF YOU’RE NOT REGISTERED WITH A GP and require urgent assistance (that does not warrant calling an ambulance), you can still get medical attention. For this you need to either phone 111 or attend your local A&E in person (find your nearest one here: https://www.nhsinform.scot/scotlands-service-directory/aes-and-minor-injuries-units)

13.1 Vaccinations and Screenings for Ukrainians in the UK

ATTENTION: Important information for immigrants from Ukraine on access to vaccinations and screening in the UK

Public health services in Scotland guarantee immigrants from Ukraine the following:

  • Ensuring a full vaccination schedule in the UK (including from COVID-19);
  • Support and encouragement for Ukrainians to access the necessary vaccinations as soon as possible;
  • Providing access to a professional interpreter for affordable support and assistance in vaccination planning;

Due to the low rates of routine immunization in Ukraine, it is especially important to know the previous history of vaccinations and to offer vaccinations for such cases, if a person is not vaccinated against:

  • COVID-19 - find an outpatient clinic for all persons over 5 years of age or call 0800 030 8013 to make an appointment;
  • Polio;
  • Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR);
  • Pertussis (priority vaccinations for pregnant women);
  • Hepatitis B (pregnant women, family members and close contact with confirmed patients);
  • Diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTaP), influenza;

Other diseases that can be prevented by vaccination should also be considered:

  • Meningococcal disease, HPV (human papilloma virus);
  • Pneumococcal disease, shingles, tuberculosis;

The following conditions should be considered a priority for monitoring and supervision:

  • Measles, HIV;
  • Hepatitis A, B and C; typhoid fever;
  • Tuberculosis (TB) - People currently being treated for TB have the right to be urgently connected to local TB services to ensure prompt continuous treatment. Ukraine ranks 4th in the level of incidents in the European region of the World Health Organization;

What you can do -

  • Register with a general practitioner;
  • If you change your address, tell your GP;

For more information, visit the NHS Awareness website by clicking the inks below:

Please use the link below for guidance if there is any uncertainty about a person's vaccination status:

Screening (examination)

There are 6 national screening programs in Scotland. Screening programs are designed to detect early signs of disease or condition and provide referral and treatment if needed.

Click on the links below for more information from NHS Inform:

It is important for the pregnancy and newborn screening program:

  • To book maternity services for pregnant women to take advantage of the screening offer;
  • To offer blood stain screening for children under 1 year of age if they have not had it done.

For more information and support, visit the Scottish Public Health website:

What else you can do

  • Register with a general practitioner to access screening services and to update your practice regarding any changes to your address - General Hospital Registration;
  • Find out about the types of screening tests offered in Scotland and the conditions they’re designed to monitor by visiting NHS Inform - NHS Inform Screening Services.

14. Bringing Animals Into the UK (And Quarantine)

Official page about bringing animals over from Ukraine: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/bringing-your-pet-to-the-uk-from-ukraine Telegram group for Ukrainian pet import discussions: t.me/petsinuk

If you’re arriving from Ukraine with a pet and they need to be taken to quarantine, you may need to communicate with the APHA (Animal and Plant Agency) both to bring the animal into the UK and to track its status/get it released from quarantine once you’re in the country.

A couple of tips to consider when emailing the APHA:

  1. Quote any reference number you have been given, plus your full name and the name of your pets in the subject line. Mark it ‘urgent’ if it is.
  2. Copy (CC) the member of parliament for the address you will be living in the UK - their email addresses can be found using your postcode via this link https://members.parliament.uk/FindYourMP
  3. Give a timeline of events to date, also attach any relevant emails you have already sent to the APHA or that you have been sent by them.
  4. Be specific about what you are asking for and by when.
  5. Include all details of your pet(s) including name and microchip number. (Especially important if you are trying to get them released from quarantine. So the animal you are referring to can be identified)
  6. If you have a private sponsor, include their details, including their phone number. (Especially important in arranging home isolation so the vet can contact them)
  7. Explain any difficult situation you are in, for example travelling with young children/elderly infirm parents, that you have run out of money for accommodation or need to get to the UK quickly as you have nowhere to live etc.
  8. If you have a private sponsor, ask for their support; if they are happy to help, then try and work as a team, copy each other into emails.

15. Jobs and Working in Scotland

15.1. Right to Work.

  • Every Ukrainian displaced person has the right to work in Scotland from the moment they receive a stamp or a vignette in their passport. Normally a UK resident’s right to work is proven using an online share code, but until you get your BRP, you cannot access this. It is the government’s official recommendation that the 6 months stamps given by the border force are sufficient proof of your right to work: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/right-to-work-checks-employers-guide/ukrainian-nationals-and-right-to-work-checks-accessible-version
  • Once you’ve obtained your BRP, you can make use of the online system and prove your right to work by providing your employer with your individual share code: https://www.gov.uk/prove-right-to-work
  • Note - if you’ve used the ID Check application but have not yet received your BRP, you should check your View and Prove status using the link above to discover whether you’re currently able to acquire a share code. If you’re not, you may need to wait until you receive your BRP to start working.
  • You do not need to wait for your NINo in order to start working. You have a month from the day you begin working to obtain your NINo. However, note that working without a NINo may result in higher tax rates (Emergency Tax Explained | TaxRebates.co.uk). You can reclaim any tax you’ve overpaid at the end of the tax year, but it is advisable to wait until you acquire a NINo if possible.
  • If you’ve applied for Universal Credit, here’s information on what happens when you visit a JobCentre - Поиск работы и JobCentre | Opora UA

15.3. Searching for work.

Get job ready | StartScotland



We would advise anyone who is not sure where they will live to talk to two organisations - Shelter Scotland https://scotland.shelter.org.uk/about_us/contact_us And their local council’s homelessness prevention team -https://scotland.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/i_need_help_from_the_council

They specialize in helping people who find themselves in situations similar to that of Ukrainians - i.e. those who have neither a credit history nor a history of residence here.

The Homelessness Team does not only help those who are already homeless. They can also give advice on where and how to find an apartment or a room to live in.

Also, here’s a leaflet from the Scottish Government about the prices and the different potential funding sources.

!NB - if you’re homeless, you need to turn to your local council’s emergency homelessness service. You can find their contacts by using the search terms “emergency homelessness” + the name of your council (Find your local council - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) - find your council here).

You can also turn to Opora (help@opora.uk).


If you are planning to rent private accommodation, there are some rules you should follow. Before agreeing to anything or signing a contract, make sure the landlord is registered with the local authorities in the area where the rental property is located. You can check this on the Landlord register home - Scottish Landlord Register (landlordregistrationscotland.gov.uk) website. If your landlord is not registered, they cannot legally rent out the property. If you rent from an unregistered landlord, you are at risk and may not be protected by applicable laws.

More information can be found at https://www.mygov.scot/rent-private-landlord


The fastest way to find accommodation is online on rental property websites. You can find rental properties in the location you need and arrange to view it using the following websites:  https://www.citylets.co.uk/https://www.lettingweb.com/https://www.rightmove.co.uk/

Some properties may be advertised as Mid-Market Rent (MMR). These properties are rented to working people with low to moderate incomes. Mid-Market Rent is generally set at a lower rate than rent for private properties.

For more information about MMR, see: https://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/midmarketrent

But many Ukrainians currently have significant difficulties finding housing, and in this context we advise, first of all, to look for private landlords, as opposed to letting agencies. This is because agencies have much stricter requirements for tenants. The best places to find private landlords are websites such as Gumtree.com and OpenRent | Property To Rent From Private Landlords, or local Facebook groups.

Another useful website is spareroom.co.uk, which specializes in room lets.

In our experience, the set of documents for a private rental should ideally be as follows -

  1. Proof of permanent income (for example, salary statements for the last few months or an already concluded contract with a future employer)
  2. Photographic ID
  3. References from previous landlords or sponsors.

Here are some resources from Opora about renting private accommodation - t.me/opora_housing, Rent in the UK (opora.uk)


When you find private accommodation to rent, you will need to sign a tenancy agreement before you can move in. This document is usually called a “private residential tenancy agreement”. You should also be given a copy of this agreement for your records. You can find additional information about the private housing rental agreement on the page https://www.gov.scot/publications/private-residential-tenancies-tenants-guide/

It is important not to rent a property directly from an existing tenant. This is called "subletting". It is quite possible that the tenant may not have the landlord’s permission to sublet and thus is committing a crime. Renting a subletted property means that you will not be given the legal protection to which you are normally entitled.

You and your landlord can agree to sign a digital copy of the tenancy agreement and email it instead of printing and mailing the originals by regular mail. In most cases, you'll be able to do this by opening the document, putting your name where you need to sign it, and emailing it back to your landlord.

You should keep a record of the emails you send and receive from your landlord. This includes emails about your rental agreement.

PAYING THE DEPOSIT Most private landlords or letting agents require a provisional deposit before you move into the rented accommodation. This is a sum of money that protects the owner if:  you cause damage to the property;  they need to clean the property in case you leave it dirty;  you don’t pay your bills, such as electric or phone bills;  you don’t pay your rent on time.

If you are struggling to afford a deposit, you can apply online for Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) from the local authorities.

The deposit cannot be used to replace items that have been damaged or worn due to normal wear and tear, such as worn carpets and furniture. Your landlord has the right to charge you a deposit of up to two months' rent. For example, if your rent is £400 a month, the deposit cannot exceed £800.

Please note that landlords and letting agents cannot charge you for the following:  Creating or extending a tenancy agreement;  Administrative fees;  Credit history checks;  Reservations. These are the so-called "illegal fees". If you believe you have been charged an illegal fee, you can request its return. Your landlord or letting agent may have committed a criminal offence. If you believe you have been charged an illegal fee, you should contact a solicitor or Citizens Advice Scotland immediately. Additional information can be found at: Paying rent and deposit - mygov.scot

MOVING INTO YOUR NEW HOME Your tenancy agreement will clearly state the amount of rent and the dates you must pay it to the landlord on. You are responsible for paying the contractual rent for private rented accommodation on time and in full. Failure to do so puts you at risk of eviction. If you have difficulties paying rent, you can apply for financial support from Housing Benefit (element of Universal Credit) (Housing costs and Universal Credit: What you can get - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)). Depending on your income and personal circumstances, this benefit may cover all or part of the rent.

CANCELLING THE TENANCY AGREEMENT If you decide to end your lease, you have certain responsibilities to ensure that the process is completed properly. Namely:  Notify the landlord that you are leaving within the agreed timeframe (usually 28 days before you intend to leave).  Pay any unpaid bills  Your tenancy agreement may specify additional things you must do before leaving.

After the end of the lease term and your departure, the landlord is obligated to return the security deposit you paid at the start of the tenancy. This assumes that you have not caused any damage, paid your rent and all the bills, cleaned the property and not broken the terms of the tenancy agreement. Additional information about deposit refunds can be found here: https://www.mygov.scot/rent-private-landlord/ending-a-tenancy