Help Ukraine Scotland is first and foremost a local Scottish grassroots volunteer organisation. We’re not qualified to provide legal support.
For more extensive support with general UK queries, please turn to Opora. Note that the general process of applying for a visa is the same for England as it is for Scotland; you therefore do not need Scotland-specific advice for most of the visa application.
For legal support with visa queries, please contact Just Right Scotland: email@example.com (if you wish to speak to them and need an interpreter, send them an email indicating this)
1. General Visa Information.
- The Scottish Supersponsor Scheme is now officially closed for an indefinite period of time. The government has advised it does not expect to re-open it in the near future. Therefore the only routes available are via private sponsorship (wherein you must find yourself a sponsor who will house you before applying for a visa) or via the Ukraine Family Scheme (wherein you must have a UK-based relative who has permanent leave to remain).
- The official UK individual sponsor matching scheme is Reset: https://www.homesforukraine.org.uk/uk/ (in Ukrainian)
- Sunflower Sisters on FB are a group offering support and help with finding female sponsors for displaced Ukrainian women: https://www.facebook.com/groups/655548835724227/
2. Applying For a Visa.
- You need to apply here - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-visa-under-the-ukraine-sponsorship-scheme.uk#section-10
- Each displaced person needs their own visa application. This includes minor children and newborns. If you have a family of three, you will have three visa applications.
- If a child travels with their parents, the child having a dedicated page in their parents’ passport(s) does NOT count as the child having their own international passport. The child will still need to give biometrics.
- When prompted to give a postcode for BRP collection in the course of your application, you should input more or less any postcode of a Post Office anywhere in Scotland. You can then change the collection location for free once you arrive in the country (see the main guide for instructions). Some postcodes may not work (i.e. produce an error message) - this is a known issue. You should then try other possible postcodes until you find one that works.
- We do NOT recommend using an automatic translator (e.g. Google Translate) while filling in a visa application. This is because the translator interacts poorly with the gov.uk interface and breaks various buttons and other functions essential to the successful submission of the application. If you’re using an automatic translator and are experiencing issues, our first advice is to turn the translation off.
- Here’s an instruction on how to answer the initial questions (before the beginning of the application itself) -
Fairly self-explanatory. Choose the country where you intend to stay in the UK (i.e. where your sponsor intends to house you).
This is a very important step. If you a) do not have a current biometric Ukrainian international passport (this must not have an extension stamp), b) do not have a device capable of supporting the ID Check app, or c) wish to try applying without using ID Check because you had technical issues with the app -
you MUST choose “I cannot use the app” below the green button in the screenshot. You should NOT press the green “Continue” button. If you fail to answer this question correctly, subsequent questions will not let you fill in your application.
If you CAN use the ID Check app, an instruction on how to do this can be found here - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/using-the-uk-immigration-id-check-app-for-ukraine-nationals.uk (in Ukrainian)
If you have chosen “I cannot use the app”, you must choose “Yes” here and press “Continue”.
If you have either a valid international Ukrainian passport without a stamp or a passport that’s expired and been extended using a stamp, you can choose “yes” here. Otherwise you must choose “no”.
If you do not have a valid international Ukrainian passport (either with an extension stamp or without), you will have to give your biometrics (fingerprints and a photo) OUTSIDE the UK. You must do this as a part of the visa application process. You will not be given a permission to travel until you have given your biometrics. This is impossible to do within Ukraine; you must choose a different country you can go to to visit a visa application centre (VAC).
3. If Your Visa Takes a Long Time to be Issued.
- The process of obtaining a visa CANNOT be tracked. This cannot be done through paid services. There is no mechanism that would allow you to formally inquire about the status of your visa.
- If a long time has passed since you have applied for a visa (this can take a month and more), you may want to call UKVI (UK visas and immigration service) and/or turn to a local member of parliament (MP) for assistance. You can find an MP here: Find your MP - MPs and Lords - UK Parliament
If you have a private sponsor, the MP you’re turning to should be the MP for their region - use their postcode to find out who this is. Please make sure to give specifics to the MP, i.e. your application GWF or ref number, the date when you applied, your full name and passport number, who else applied with you, etc.
- UKVI helpline:
Telephone: +44 808 164 8810
You may have to pay – check with your phone provider if you’re not sure. Note that calls from Skype to this number are free. Option 1 is for Family Scheme, option 2 is for Homes for Ukraine. You may ask for an interpreter.
If you cannot contact UK 0808 numbers, you can use another number instead: +44 175 390 7510
- In particular, the UKVI can escalate your case to the Home Office if:
- You’re entering Scotland as a part of a linked group (e.g. a family), AND
- Some members of your group have received their visas, AND
- One or more members of your group have not received their visa(s), AND
- Seven or more days have passed since the last visa was issued to a member of your group.
- If your case answers this so-called seven days rule, you will need to phone UKVI using the numbers above and give them the following information:
Main applicant GWF Email Family members’ names and GWFs Chosen VAC location (visa application centre - if giving biometrics) New location if the applicant has moved and needs an alternative VAC Have the biometrics been given? (If required) Do the applicants have valid international passports? What is the reason for escalating? (if you have any urgent circumstances, such as currently being in a warzone, disabled persons, minor children, etc., do indicate them here)
4. The Warm Scottish Welcome Letters.
- If you have received a Warm Scottish Welcome email or text (with the NHS logo, your UKRC number, and these phone numbers: +380 0800 504 582 / +44 808 175 7230) but not your visa, that is NORMAL and in itself is not a cause for concern. Your visa should normally follow soon.
The Warm Scottish Welcome service is there for you to report the date, time, and location of your arrival once you know them. You are NOT obliged to do so. We recommend doing it if possible to assist the Scottish authorities but it is not mandatory.
There are Ukrainian- and Russian-language options available once you call them. You do not need to speak English. You will need your UKRC number to contact them.
The Warm Scottish Welcome service IS useful if you have any special needs or requests, such as (but not limited to):
- Disabilities that require equipment, treatment, or medications
- Travel with pets
- Travel with babies
5. Entering the UK.
- If you received a visa after submitting your biometrics at the Visa Application Center, you will have 90 days after that to arrive in the UK. If you have received a visa on an international passport, it should not technically have an expiration date, but we recommend entering the UK within 180 days.
- All COVID-related restrictions on entering the UK have now been waived.