Guide for parents and legal guardians about applications to Homes for Ukraine for children who are not travelling with or joining their parent or legal guardian.
Overview and purpose
This guide is for parents or legal guardians of children under the age of 18 who have already applied or would like to make a new application to the Homes for Ukraine Scheme and who are not travelling with or joining a parent or legal guardian in the UK.
From 15 July 2022, the Homes for Ukraine Scheme was expanded to eligible children who had already applied for visas through the scheme.
The process for new applications is different and requires the planned sponsor to first undergo safeguarding checks before an child can begin their visa application. On 28 July 2022 a new online application form for planned sponsors to complete was launched. This enables planned sponsors to start their application process and begin safeguarding checks. Following this the visa application process for new applications from eligible children will open on 10 August 2022. The safeguarding checks on a sponsor must be completed before a new visa application for a child can be started.
Information about the application and approval process for those who applied before 15 July 2022 and those planning to make new applications can be found in the ‘step-by-step application and approval process’ section of this guidance.
New applications cannot be made to the super sponsor schemes in Scotland and Wales because these schemes do not meet the eligibility criteria (applications received before
15th July will be considered on a case-by-case basis). Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will each publish their own guides.
Definitions of important words and phrases used in this guide can be found in the ‘Definitions’ section at the end of this document.
Please check this website regularly for the latest advice and support.
The UK government takes its responsibility to promote the wellbeing and safeguarding of children very seriously. We recognise that children who are separated from their parents or legal guardians are vulnerable. You need to think carefully about the possible safety risks of sending your child to the UK without you.
The eligibility criteria for children who are not travelling with or joining a parent or legal guardian and have already applied to or are applying to the Homes for Ukraine Scheme is set out below:
- The children:
- Must have an immediate family member who is Ukrainian.
- Must have been residents in Ukraine before 1 January 2022 or have been born after that date.
- Can apply from Ukraine or from any other country except the UK.
- Eligible children may include those who:
- Intend to be sponsored and hosted by an adult relative other than a parent or legal guardian, who may or may not also travel with them.
- Are accompanied by an adult relative and will both be living with a sponsor or in self-contained accommodation provided by a sponsor who is not related to them. The adult relative may or may not also travel with the child.
- Will not be accompanied by an adult relative and intend to be sponsored and hosted by a sponsor who is not related to them.
Parental or legal guardian consent
- The children must have the required parental or legal guardian consent documents (these are explained in the ‘Parental or legal guardian consent’ section).
- The children must have an approved sponsor who has met the eligibility requirements and passed the necessary safeguarding checks (these are explained in the ‘Sponsor application and approval process’ section).
Your child’s visa application can only be approved after the required checks have been carried out and the sponsor has been approved.
Parental or legal guardian consent
All children applying to the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, who are not travelling with or joining a parent or legal guardian, must provide two different forms of parental or legal guardian consent:
1. Proof of parental or legal guardian consent for the child to leave Ukraine notarised by an authority approved by the Ukrainian Government:
- If in Ukraine, then this must be certified by either the notary authorities or the Guardianship Service of the city or regional council in Ukraine.
- If in another country, then this must be certified by the notary authorities in that country or by the Ukrainian Embassy or Consulate.
2. A completed and signed UK sponsorship arrangement consent form for the council (or Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland) where your child will be living. You must provide the following information:
- Confirmation that you believe it is in your child’s best interests to come to the UK and stay with a known sponsor.
- Whether it is the sponsor or any accompanying adult relative who will have day-to-day responsibility for the care of your child (for example to take everyday decisions including ones about education and medical treatment).
- Confirmation that you have discussed with the sponsor and any accompanying adult relative the specific needs of your child (including any medical, developmental and special adjustment needs), and that the sponsor and/or any accompanying adult relative is able to meet these needs.
- Your contact details so the council can check you agree to the sponsorship arrangements and that you can be contacted if there are any changes in your child’s circumstances.
- Confirmation if an adult relative will also be staying with your child and the sponsor.
- The sponsor’s contact details.
- Your child’s next of kin’s contact details (who will be contacted in emergencies if you cannot be reached).
- Your child’s details.
- Information on how you know the sponsor.
- Confirmation that you and the sponsor and/or any accompanying adult relative have discussed financial responsibility for your child for the duration of their stay in the UK.
- Confirmation that if you want to end the sponsorship arrangement early, you will tell the sponsor, who will then notify the council.
- Confirmation that you understand the council may need to take responsibility for making arrangements for your child’s care for safeguarding purposes if the sponsorship arrangement ends before your child turns 18 (this is explained in the ‘Ending of sponsorship arrangement’ section).
- Confirmation that you understand the UK government will make every effort to facilitate the return of your child to Ukraine once martial law ends there, in accordance with your wishes and the best interests of your child.
- Confirmation of whether your child will be travelling to the UK with an adult relative or alone.
Both forms of consent must be completed and signed by at least one parent or legal guardian. If possible both documents should be translated into English as well. You must download the form to complete it. You must complete it truthfully and in as much detail as possible. This information will help the council to decide if the planned sponsorship arrangements are safe and right for your child.
For information about where to send the parental consent documents once they are completed please see the ‘Step-by-step application and approval process’ section of the guidance below. The information in these documents will be used by council, who will use this information to carry out their safeguarding checks on the sponsor. We recommend that you keep digital copies of these documents for your own records.
If you are applying to the scheme for more than one child, then you must provide new documents for each child. You cannot use the same documents for more than one child.
Sending your child to another country to keep them safe from the conflict is a difficult decision. It is important that the sponsor in the UK is someone you trust to look after your child and keep them safe.
- Should be someone you know personally (unless there are exceptional circumstances), and you should have known them before the conflict started on 24 February 2022. The council should look for evidence that there is a suitable, pre-existing relationship between you and the sponsor. This evidence could be in the form of letters or emails, photos, or social media activity from before the start of the conflict on 24 February 2022. In exceptional circumstances, the council may determine that the sponsor does not need to be personally known to you, for example, where the council judge that a child will be cared for appropriately by an adult relative who you have asked to take on the day-to-day caring responsibility for your child and who will live with your child in the UK.
- Must agree to host your child for the whole 3 years of their permission to stay in the UK, or until they turn 18 and have been hosted for at least 6 months, whichever is soonest. If your child will turn 18 during their 3-year stay in the UK, you should discuss this with their planned sponsor to find out if they will be able to continue hosting your child after they turn 18. The sponsor can continue to host them, but if they cannot, you should find out how the sponsor may be able to support your child as they move into other accommodation.
- Must commit to continue living in the UK for the duration of the sponsorship agreement.
- Must receive from you the two different forms of parental or legal guardian consent.
- Must pass the required safeguarding checks before your child’s visa application can be approved. This is explained in the ‘Sponsor approval process’ section below.
Sponsor approval process
You must be content with your choice of sponsor and they must pass a number of checks, before they can be approved under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. This is to ensure they are suitable and have adequate accommodation for your child and any accompanying adult relative.
Your child will be given a visa only when all the checks below have been completed and passed and the sponsorship arrangement is confirmed as suitable. While strong safeguarding checks will be made on planned sponsors, you should be aware that it is never possible to eliminate all risks.
Security and criminal record checks
The Home Office will make security and criminal record checks on the planned sponsor and all adults aged 18 and over who will be living in the same household as your child. These checks will be made on government databases and those of other organisations like the Police National Computer (PNC).
The visa application may be refused if the sponsor or any of the other adults who have been checked do not meet the requirements for approval as a sponsor.
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks
DBS checks identify if a person has convictions or cautions that relate to children or are not allowed to work with children. The council will make:
- An enhanced DBS check (including a check of the children’s barred list) for all people aged 16 or over living in the sponsor’s house, who are not related to your child.
- A basic DBS check if the sponsor is related to your child, or where your child (and any accompanying adult relative) is staying in separate, self-contained accommodation.
The council will also complete some checks before a sponsor can be approved, including:
- An accommodation check to ensure the sponsor’s home is suitable for your child’s needs (more information is provided in the ‘Accommodation’ section)
- A sponsor suitability assessment to ensure the:
- Sponsorship arrangement is in the best interest of your child.
- Sponsor can meet your child’s needs.
- Sponsor understands their role and what is expected of them.
The sponsor suitability assessment will involve the council visiting the sponsor and their household to check that the arrangement is suitable and safe for your child. They should discuss with them their role, relationship with you and your family, and how they can support your child and any accompanying relatives.
Councils should also, wherever possible, discuss the sponsorship arrangements with you directly. This should include discussing your child’s views, wishes, and feelings about the sponsorship arrangement.
Your child’s visa application can only be approved after all these checks have been made and approved.
Step-by-step application and approval process
Step-by-step application and approval process for applicants who applied before 15 July 2022:
1. Applicants (or the sponsor if those were the contact details provided in the original application) will be contacted by the Home Office to check that both you and the sponsor still want to continue.
For those applications that are continuing, the Home Office will request that you prepare two different forms of parental or legal guardian consent (see the ‘Parental or legal guardian consent’ section for more details). You will then need to share copies of these with the sponsor.
2. The applicant or planned sponsor should send these documents to the Home Office, who will check the documents and contact the applicant or planned sponsor if there are any queries.
3. The relevant council will receive your application from the Home Office and will be able to access all the information provided.
4. The council will start their checks as set out in the ‘Sponsor approval process’ section above.
5. When the council has completed these checks and confirmed the sponsor’s suitability, the Home Office will complete the necessary security checks.
6. When all of the checks have been completed, you will be notified of the outcome with advice on next steps.
If all the checks have been passed, the Home Office will issue your child and any accompanying adults with a permit to travel.
7. You should then contact the sponsor to ensure that safe arrangements have been made for your child’s travel, as part of the travel arrangements process (more information provided in the ‘Travel arrangements’ section). Your sponsor will need to share this travel information with the relevant council.
8. Within 24 hours of your child’s arrival in the UK, they should be visited by an officer of the local council to confirm the suitability of the placement and confirm any immediate welfare needs. The council should give your child information on how to raise any concerns about their placement, and they have a duty to help them if they believe they are at risk.
Step-by-step application and approval process for new applicants:
1. The sponsor should start the process by completing the online application form. As part of this application, the sponsor will need to upload two different forms of parental or legal guardian consent:
a. Proof of parental or legal guardian consent for the child to leave Ukraine notarised by an authority approved by the Ukrainian Government:
i. If in Ukraine, then this must be certified by either the notary authorities or the Guardianship Service of the city or regional council in Ukraine.
ii. If in another country, then this must be certified by the notary authorities in that country or by the Ukrainian Embassy or Consulate.
b. A completed and signed UK Sponsorship Arrangement Consent Form. The sponsor should not apply without both parental consent forms.
2. When the sponsor has completed their application the council will be able to access all of the information provided.
3. The council will start their checks (as set out in the Sponsors Approval Process section above). At the same time the Home Office will complete their security checks.
4. If any checks or the sponsorship suitability assessment are not passed, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) will contact the sponsor directly to inform them that they do not meet the suitability requirements of the scheme and that applications linked to them cannot progress.
5. The Home Office will complete the necessary visa application checks. If the visa is unsuccessful, the Home Office will notify the applicant and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) will contact the sponsor directly to inform them that the visa application has been unsuccessful. Where the visa application is successful, the Home Office will issue the child and any accompanying adults with a permit to travel.
6. You must then contact the sponsor to ensure that safe arrangements have been made for your child’s travel, as part of the travel arrangements process (more information provided in the ‘Travel arrangements’ section). Your sponsor will need to complete a pre-departure plan and share this with the relevant council.
7. Within 24 hours of your child’s arrival in the UK, they should be visited by an officer of the local council to confirm the suitability of the placement and confirm any immediate welfare needs. The council should give your child information on how to raise any concerns about their placement, and they have a duty to help them if they believe they are at risk.
Role of the sponsor
You will retain parental responsibility during the sponsorship period , but you will need to confirm in the UK sponsorship arrangement consent form who is responsible for your child’s day-to day-care, the sponsor or any accompanying adult relative.
If you confirm it is the sponsor, they will be responsible for caring for your child in a way that keeps them safe and ensures their wellbeing in these areas:
- In the UK, children aged 5 to 16 must be in full-time education. The council will help with applications for a school place and get access to English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes. All young people in England are required to continue in education or training until their 16th birthday, and most of them continue until the end of the academic year in which they turn 16.
- The sponsor will need to register your child with a local General Practitioner (GP) and National Health Service (NHS) dentist, and to refer them to mental health services or specialist services if needed. Please note that you will need to give the sponsor or any accompanying adult relative consent to make basic medical decisions for your child in the UK sponsorship arrangement consent form.
- It is expected that the sponsor will take on financial responsibility for the care and maintenance of your child for the duration of their stay in the UK. You should discuss this arrangement with them, including whether you can provide any financial contribution towards your child’s care.
Links with Ukraine
- The sponsor will be expected to help your child to stay in touch with you and maintain their cultural and language links to Ukraine. They are also encouraged to send information to you about your child’s time in the UK, such as updates on educational or social activities, photographs and medical results. Finally, they should support your child and any accompanying relative to register with the Embassy of Ukraine.
If you decide that you want an accompanying adult relative to be responsible for the day-to-day care of their child, the sponsor will still be expected to help your child to:
- Access education, health, and other public services.
- Adapt to life in the UK.
- Integrate into the local community.
These expectations also apply if the sponsor is providing self-contained accommodation for your child and any accompanying adult relative but is not living with them. The sponsor should agree with any accompanying adult relative arrangements for them to visit the adult relative and your child in their self-contained accommodation to check on their wellbeing.
Any accompanying adult relative must remain living with your child for the duration of their stay in the UK or until they turn 18 when you give them responsibility for the day-to-day care of your child. The sponsor should notify you and the council as soon as possible if this changes.
You are strongly encouraged to discuss with the sponsor, as soon as possible:
- The care arrangements for your child and any accompanying adult relative.
- Any future plans you may have to visit your child in the UK (more information provided in the ‘Visiting your child’ section).
- Any future plans you may have to send your child’s siblings to the UK. We would normally expect siblings to have the same sponsor unless there are good reasons for them to stay separately. It is important you discuss and agree any plans to send your child’s siblings to the UK at a later time upfront with the sponsor. You may wish to consider another sponsor if they would not be able to accommodate the siblings as well.
The council will check the sponsor’s accommodation to ensure it is suitable for your child’s and any accompanying adult relative’s needs. Their check will be mainly focused on your child’s safety and wellbeing. They will check it is a suitable size to accommodate the number of people that will be living in it, has adequate facilities and there are no health and safety risks.
This means the accommodation should:
- Be kept clean and in an acceptable state.
- Have enough kitchen and bathroom space (which your child and any accompanying adult relative will have access to).
- Have access to drinking water.
- Have a working smoke detector on each floor of the property and other fire safety precautions suitable for the building.
- Have a working carbon monoxide detector in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (like a coal fire or wood burning stove).
- Have sufficient heating to keep the property at a comfortable temperature.
- Have safe gas and electric appliances.
- Be reasonably free from damp or mould.
- Have doors and windows at entry level that lock securely.
- Be easy and safe to move around in, without very steep staircases that may cause harm.
- Have safety features that are appropriate for the age of any children who will stay there.
Your child should be given their own bedroom unless they are sharing with their sibling. If one child is aged over 10, then any sibling they share with should be of the same gender. In exceptional cases where children do not know each other before moving in, they should not share a bedroom.
Safeguarding and welfare
The sponsor will play an important role in supporting the welfare of your child. The council also has a legal duty to protect your child in certain circumstances (such as if they believe your child is at risk).
An officer of the local council should visit your child within 24 hours of them arriving to stay with their sponsor in England. The officer should give your child information about how to report to them any problems they may have with their stay in the UK during the visit. The council has a duty to help your child if they believe they are at risk. They should speak to your child individually, as well as together with the sponsor and any accompanying adult relatives. This gives your child the opportunity to tell the council any problems they may have and how they are feeling.
Your child can also discuss any problems with:
A. Professional people they come into contact with, like their teachers or health workers. All these professionals have a duty to help.
B. A telephone helpline run by the children’s charity Barnardo’s, which has a free number to call: 0800 148 8586. The helpline offers a confidential service and has Ukrainian and Russian speakers. Visit Barnardo’s website.
C. A telephone helpline run by the children’s charity Childline, which has trained counsellors to support anyone who is 18 or under living in the UK. Childline is free, confidential and available any time, day or night. Children can talk to them by calling 0800 1111 or through a 1-2-1 counsellor chat online.
Your child (until they turn 18) will be visited at regular intervals by an officer of the local council after their initial visit, to ensure your child’s ongoing needs are being met and to check that the sponsorship is still working well.
Regular visits by the council should also take place if an accompanying adult relative with day-to-day caring responsibility is living with your child in self-contained accommodation, separate to the sponsor.
The council will do everything they can to contact you if any decisions need to be made about your child caused by any change in circumstances or concerns the council may have.
Where you have given the sponsor responsibility for the day-to-day care of your child, they will also be expected to take on financial responsibility for that care while your child is in the UK, or until they turn 18.
Where you have given an accompanying adult relative responsibility for the day-to-day care of your child, then they are expected to take on financial responsibility for that care.
You must discuss and agree this with the sponsor and any accompanying adult relative (where applicable). You should also discuss whether you can pay any money towards your child’s care.
£350 thank you payment
As a way of thanking your child’s sponsor for their generosity and to help them with any extra costs, they can choose to receive a monthly thank you payment of £350 for while the child stays with you for up to 3 years. This will be paid to the sponsor by the local council and is limited to one payment per residential address.
This payment is subject to change if your child turns 18 during this period and is therefore no longer considered a child. Where your child turns 18 but has not been in the country for 12 months, the sponsor will be eligible for the payment for up to 12 months (this is in line with the wider Homes for Ukraine Scheme). Where your child turns 18 but has already been in the country for more than 12 months, thank you payments to the sponsor will stop.
£200 once-off payment
All Homes for Ukraine guests can receive a once-off payment of £200 each.
This payment will be given to the sponsor on behalf of the child where you have given them responsibility for the day-to-day care of your child.
This payment will be given to the accompanying adult relative (either if they are living with the sponsor or are in self-contained accommodation) on behalf of the child where you have given them responsibility for the day-to-day care of your child. The adult relative will also receive their own £200 once-off payment.
The £200 payment will be managed by the local council and does not need to be repaid. The council may also decide to support guests with other payments.
The sponsor or adult relative may also be eligible for Child Benefit, which can usually be claimed by those responsible for bringing up a child who is:
- Under 16.
- Under 20 if they stay in approved education or training.
Only one person can get Child Benefit for a child. It’s paid every 4 weeks and there’s no limit to how many children can be claimed for. It issues 4- weekly payments equating to £21.80 per week for the eldest child and £14.45 per week for each additional child. Where an adult relative is accompanying the child and has been given day-to-day caring responsibility for the child (including financial responsibility), it may be more appropriate for them to make the claim for Child Benefit. The sponsor and adult relative will need to agree this.
A person can apply for Child Benefit by completing a Child Benefit claim form. You can read more information about claiming Child Benefit, including the evidence that a person will need to provide with their claim.
Other UK government schemes
Sponsors responsible for a guest child will also be able to apply to government schemes that support working parents. That could include:
- Tax-Free Childcare.
- 15 hours per week of free early education over no fewer than 38 weeks of the year for disadvantaged two-year-olds – eligibility criteria apply.
- 15 hours per week of free early education over no fewer than 38 weeks of the year for all three- and four-year-olds.
- An additional 15 hours per week over no fewer than 38 weeks of the year (also known as ‘30 hours free childcare’) for three- and four-year-olds from working families – eligibility criteria apply.
The sponsor may also receive additional benefit support to help with looking after your child where you have given them financial responsibility for your child, and they are already eligible for Universal Credit, Tax Credits, Housing Benefit or Pension Credit.
The accompanying adult relative may receive this additional benefit support instead of the sponsor, where you have given the adult relative financial responsibility for your child.
Your child may also be eligible for Universal Credit in their own right under certain conditions if they are 16 or 17-years-old and not in education.
Children who are travelling alone are vulnerable to some risks and need to be supported during their entire journey. The below sets out what is required for children travelling to the UK under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.
To keep your child as safe as possible, we strongly advise that:
- You agree a travel plan with your sponsor after a travel visa has been issued (more details on what this travel plan should involve is set out below under ‘Pre-departure planning’ ).
- Your child travels to the UK with an adult relative or their sponsor. If this is not possible then their sponsor will need to arrange to meet them when they arrive in the UK at the airport and show a relevant form of photographic ID (passport or driving licence) to demonstrate they are the designated sponsor.
- You arrange travel by air rather than another kind of transport – try to book flights to the main UK airports that are set up to receive Ukrainian arrivals (these can be found under ‘Section 1 – Arriving in the UK’ in the Welcome Guide for Ukrainians arriving in the UK ) and where possible within busier hours from 08:00 – 20:00. Travel through Calais, Coquelles or Dunkerque should be avoided unless accompanied by an adult relative or sponsor.
You should work with your sponsor to agree on a travel plan after a travel visa has been issued. You should do this for your child before they travel to the UK, both where they are travelling with any accompanying adult relative or their sponsor and where they are travelling alone.
Your sponsor will work with you to complete the required template for this plan, which should include:
- Name, contact details and proof of ID (passport or driving license) of either the sponsor collecting the child or the adult relative they are travelling with.
- All flight details including:
- Departure date and time.
- Flight number.
- Departure and arrival airports.
- Expected arrival date and time.
- Arrival terminal (if possible).
- The sponsor should contact the airline before departure to ensure your child is recorded under a passenger assistance scheme if your child is aged 13 or under and is travelling alone. This will guarantee that the airline provides help and assistance throughout the journey and ensures ground staff are available on arrival to escort your child to the border and agreed handover point.
- An emergency backup contact for the sponsor, who the council can contact if they cannot make contact with the sponsor.
- An agreed meeting area for handover of your child at the airport. This should be at the relevant Ukrainian arrivals Welcome Point (more information provided under ‘Section 1 – Arriving in the UK’ in the Welcome Guide for Ukrainians arriving in the UK ).
- When everyone has agreed to the plan, the sponsor should send it to their local council.
- The sponsor should contact the council if there are any changes to the travel plan.
Children may be vulnerable to many risks during their journey. To reduce these risks, we recommend that:
- The sponsor knows and follows the travel plan and arrives at the airport well ahead of your child’s arrival flight. The sponsor should also be aware of processing times at ports in busy periods for things such as border and immigration control and luggage collection.
- You check if the airline carrier has the ability to escort your child from the aircraft and through the border if your child is travelling alone.
- Your child is only handed over to the sponsor after your child has crossed the border and passed through customs.
- The sponsor provides proof of ID (passport or driving license) to Border Force or airline staff before the handover of your child. If the sponsor cannot provide this proof, then staff will not allow your child to travel onwards.
- The sponsor should promptly alert their council contact that they have collected your child, who is now in their care, as part of the handover process. The council should arrange a visit to the sponsor’s accommodation within 24 hours of your child’s arrival.
- Either the sponsor or any accompanying adult relative should escort your child through the border. If your child is travelling with any other adult, Border Force will assess their suitability to accompany your child and may require the sponsor to attend the port to collect your child, which may cause significant delays to your child’s travel.
- If your child is planning to travel with an adult relative from the airport to the sponsor’s accommodation, then after they have crossed the border, the adult relative should inform the sponsor they are both in the country. The sponsor should then promptly notify their council contact.
- Your child, sponsor and any accompanying adult relative can use the Ukrainian Welcome Point helpdesks that are in operation at most major ports (more information provided under ‘Section 1 – Arriving in the UK’ in the Welcome Guide for Ukrainians arriving in the UK ) for any other queries or requests for assistance upon your child’s arrival in the country. These Welcome Points include information about what support is available to your child, including onward travel advice. They also provide access to basic supplies (including food and water, toiletries and UK sim cards) before they leave the airport.
Travel plans can go wrong and may need to be changed at short notice. To ensure your child stays safe when this happens, we suggest:
- The sponsor provides an emergency backup contact in their pre-departure plan for the council to contact if the sponsor cannot be contacted.
- The sponsor urgently tells the council and airline if the adult relative planned to travel with your child cannot travel at short notice and your child has to travel alone, so the relevant agencies can prepare for your child’s arrival.
- Border Force contact the airport’s local council if your child is not collected within 2 hours of crossing the border. The airport’s local council will arrange for your child to go into emergency fostering accommodation in that area if the sponsor cannot be contacted. The council where your child will be hosted by the sponsor must then make new plans to bring your child to the sponsor’s accommodation.
- Your child is aware of the travel plan and knows who they are travelling with and where they are meeting people. Depending on their age, you should try to ensure they have contact numbers for their sponsor and local council.
Visiting your child
You must apply for a visa if you want to come to the UK to visit your child.
You may be able to apply under the Ukraine Family Scheme if you are a relative of a UK-based sponsor who is a:
- British citizen.
- Person settled in the UK.
- Person in the UK with limited permission as a refugee.
- Person with humanitarian protection.
- EEA or Swiss citizen with pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
If you are not eligible under the Ukraine Family Scheme, you should apply for a Standard Visitor visa. This visa usually only allows you to stay in the UK for up to 6 months. If you want to stay in the UK on a more long-term basis, the Standard Visitor visa is not appropriate. Information on how to reunite with your child in the UK is explained in the ‘Reuniting with your child’ section below.
Reuniting with your child
If you decide to come and live in the UK with your child, you must apply for a visa to join them. You can apply via any of the existing visa schemes where eligible.
You will need to have the same sponsor as your child if you apply under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. You will need to apply with a new sponsor for you and your child if you cannot live with your child in their current sponsor’s accommodation. The sponsor must inform their local council if this happens. You and your child will then be able to live together with your new, approved sponsor when you arrive in the UK.
If you want your child to be returned to live you with you, an adult relative or other trusted person back in Ukraine or another country, before the end of your child’s 3 years of permission to stay in the UK has passed, you must tell the sponsor. The sponsor must tell their council about your decision. The council should ask you for written consent of this decision to remove your child from the UK and should ask you for information about how your child will travel and what reception arrangements will be in place when they arrive to ensure your child is kept safe. You will also need to speak to the sponsor to agree how they will help your child travel safely.
Change of circumstances
In the UK sponsorship arrangement consent form, you will need to confirm whether the sponsor or any accompanying adult relative has permission to make day-to-day decisions about your child.
These day-to-day decisions could be about where to live with your child in the UK, if for example the sponsor moves into new accommodation. The sponsor should make every effort to notify you of changes like this, but they would not need to get your explicit consent. They must however inform the council of the new address of your child within the UK.
You should be aware that in the event that you, the child’s parent or legal guardian, dies while your child is living in the UK, the council will alert the Embassy of Ukraine and contact your child’s next of kin (you provided these details upfront on the UK Sponsorship Arrangement Consent Form) to agree future arrangements for your child. Your child will also receive appropriate bereavement support.
Ending of sponsorship arrangements
The sponsorship arrangement for your child can be ended before the full 3 years have passed by:
- Your child.
- The sponsor.
- Any accompanying adult relative.
- The local council (if they have concerns for the safety of your child).
You must tell the sponsor if you want to end your child’s sponsorship arrangement early (before the full 3 years has passed) for any reason. The sponsor will then inform the council.
If your child wants to end their sponsorship arrangement before they turn 18, your child or the sponsor needs to tell the local council. The council will try to find a way to continue the sponsorship arrangement. The council will contact you to see if any other plans can be made for your child if it does not succeed. The council may need to find accommodation for your child or take them into care if you cannot be contacted or cannot suggest any other plans. The council would discuss this with the Ukrainian authorities.
If your child turns 18 and decides to end the sponsorship arrangement and live on their own somewhere else in the UK (or travel to another country), you will not be asked to give your consent. This is because they will now be seen as an adult under UK law and can make their own decisions without needing consent from a parent or legal guardian. The sponsor and the council are encouraged to inform you that the sponsorship arrangement has ended.
If the sponsor cannot continue to look after your child in the UK for any reason, the council will contact you to find out what you want to do.
Any accompanying adult relative
Any accompanying adult relative that is living with your child in the sponsor’s accommodation, that you have given responsibility for the day-to-day care of your child, should remain living with your child for the duration of your child’s stay in the UK. If the adult relative wants to end the sponsorship arrangement and move into independent accommodation with your child, the sponsor will notify the council. Your consent would not be needed as the adult relative has permission to make day-to-day decisions about your child. However, the sponsor and local council would be expected to notify you of the ending of the sponsorship arrangement, where possible.
The council may need to take your child into its care in certain situations. The council will do its best to contact you to understand how you want your child to be cared for if this happens. The council will contact your child’s next of kin (you provided these details upfront on the UK Sponsorship Arrangement Consent Form) if you cannot be contacted. The council will also work with Ukrainian authorities who can suggest other arrangements for your child if you cannot be contacted, which includes finding any other family members who can care for your child.
The council will take your child into its care and provide new accommodation itself if the council decides your child must be protected immediately. The type of accommodation it chooses will depend on your child’s age and any other needs they have. Your child may be placed with a registered foster carer, but they may also be placed in a registered children’s home where your child will live with other children. Your child may be placed in accommodation where they can be supported to live with more independence, if they are aged 16 or over, if everyone agrees that this is a safe choice for them.
- Homes for Ukraine contains information about the scheme, including a set of Frequently Asked Questions.
- A guide for councils on how to support you, your child and their sponsor has been issued.
- The UK government has published a list of recognised providers – voluntary and community sector organisations running schemes which provide support for and help match people coming from Ukraine with sponsors in the UK. However, you should note that the matching service provided by these organisations are not relevant to this group of children given the requirement for sponsors to be personally known to the parent or legal guardian.
- The UK government will publish a welcome guide for children not travelling with or joining a parent or legal guardian in the UK in due course. It will provide useful information on the support available to them once in the UK.
- The Childcare Choices website also provides useful advice and information to help sponsors support their guests.
“Adult relative” refers to a person above 18 years of age, who is not the child’s parent or legal guardian, but is a grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, or aunt (whether of the full blood or half blood or by marriage or civil partnership).
“Border Force” is a law enforcement command within the Home Office. Border Force secures the UK border by carrying out immigration and customs controls for people and goods entering the UK.
“Child” or “children” refers to any individual who is under 18 who has already applied for the Homes for Ukraine Scheme who is not travelling with or joining a parent or legal guardian. This includes both children who will be accompanied by an adult relative and those who are intending to be hosted by an adult relative as well as those for whom where neither applies. Where relevant the guidance distinguishes between these groups.
“Child Benefit” refers to a payment made to anyone responsible for a child by the UK government every four weeks. A person is usually considered responsible for a child where the child is living with them or where they are paying towards looking after a child, for example buying food or clothes. To be eligible, the child they are responsible for must also be under the age of 16 or under the age of 20 if they stay in approved education or training.
“Council” or “local Council” refers to the local government authority in the area where the sponsor is living, whose duties include the welfare of children and who will have responsibility for overseeing sponsorship arrangements including pre- and post-arrival safeguarding checks. In Northern Ireland, child safeguarding is the responsibility of Health and Social Care Trusts. Any reference to a council in this context should be read as a reference to a Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland.
“DBS check” refers to a check on the criminal record of an individual by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS, the authority that is responsible for carrying out criminal record checks for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man). DBS also maintains the Adults’ and Children’s Barred Lists, and makes considered decisions as to whether an individual should be included on one or both of these lists and barred from engaging in regulated activity.
“English for Speakers of Other Languages Classes (ESOL)” refers to classes to help individuals learn or improve their knowledge of the English language.
“General Practitioner (GP)” refers to a medical doctor based in the local community that treats patients with minor or chronic illnesses and will refer patients with serious conditions to specialist consultants in a hospital.
“Guest” or “guests” refers to people who were residents in Ukraine before 1 January 2022, who have secured a visa under the “Homes for Ukraine” Scheme, which enables them to be housed by a sponsor.
The “Home Office” is a UK government department, responsible for immigration, security, and law and order.
An “immediate family member” could be any of a: - partner who is a Ukrainian national; or - parent who is a Ukrainian national or whose partner is a Ukrainian national; or - fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner who is a Ukrainian national
“Known sponsor” means that the sponsor should be personally known to you, and that your relationship with them should have started before the beginning of the conflict on 24 February 2022. In exceptional circumstances, the council may determine that the sponsor does not need to be personally known to you, for example, where the council judge that a child will be cared for appropriately by an adult relative who you have asked to take on the day-to-day caring responsibility for your child and who will live with your child in the UK.
“Legal guardian” refers to a guardian appointed by a court who has the same rights and responsibilities as parents in protecting the child’s assets and rights.
“National Health Service (NHS)” refers to a government funded national medical and health care service that everyone in the UK can use without being asked to pay the cost of the service. This is funded by the National Insurance contribution tax in the UK.
“Parental responsibility” in England refers to the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and their property. It also includes the rights, powers and duties which a legal guardian of the child’s estate would have in relation to the child and their property.
“Police National Computer” refers to a national database of information available to all police forces, law enforcement agencies and other specified bodies throughout UK.
“Sponsor” or “sponsors” refers to a person who has been approved to accommodate a person or group of people from Ukraine under the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) and the Home Office are data controllers for the Homes for Ukraine visa sponsorship scheme. Local councils will become independent data controllers once they receive the data.
Further information can be found in this privacy notice.