Offering to let someone from Ukraine stay with you

This advice applies to Scotland. See advice for See advice for England, See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Wales

You can volunteer for someone from Ukraine to come to the UK and live with you. This is called the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme.

If you know who you want to host, they can apply to come to the UK. If you don’t know who you want to host, you can sign up to be matched with one or more people.

Your local council will give you a £350 'thank you payment' each month while you host someone. This will go up to £500 each month after a year, until the end of the second year.

If you want to bring your family members to the UK

Your family members might be able to apply for a Ukraine family visa instead. You will not have to host them - you will not get the thank you payment from the government if you do host them.

Check if you can bring your family members to the UK.

Check if you can apply to the scheme

You must have space for someone to live with you. It can be a spare room or an empty property.

The space you’re offering must be safe, suitable and large enough for the number of people you want to live there. It must have smoke alarms and it must have had a gas safety check in the last year. If you’re not sure if the space is big enough, check your local council’s rules about overcrowding.

You can find your local council on mygov.scot.

If you’re in the UK on a visa, you must have the right to live in the UK for at least another 6 months.

Safety checks will be carried out on you, your guests and other adults in your home, including:

  • police and criminal record checks

  • disclosure checks

The council will also visit you before your guest arrives to check the space you’re offering is suitable.

Check if you’re allowed to have someone stay with you

Before you apply to the scheme, get permission from your landlord or mortgage provider, if you have one.

If they’re happy for you to apply to the scheme, ask them to confirm this in writing. This means you can prove it later if you have to.

Check who you can apply to host

If you know who you want to host, you’ll need to check you’re allowed to host them. You can only host them if they’re one of the following:

  • a Ukrainian citizen

  • the partner of a Ukrainian citizen - this means their husband, wife, fiancé(e), civil partner, proposed civil partner, or a partner they’ve lived with for at least 2 years

  • the child aged under 18 of a Ukrainian citizen

  • the parent of a Ukrainian citizen who you’re also planning to host

You can sponsor them if they were living in Ukraine by 31 December 2021 - or they’re a child born after 31 December 2021.

It’s worth them applying even if they weren’t living in Ukraine by 31 December 2021 - the Home Office will consider their application.

Hosting a child without their parent or guardian

There are extra rules if you want to host a child aged under 18 who isn’t with their parent or guardian. You must:

  • be able to show you knew the child’s parent or guardian before 24 February 2022

  • agree to look after them for 3 years or until they reach 18 years old

  • pass safeguarding checks

Check the full rules about hosting a child without their parent or guardian on GOV.UK.

Check if hosting will affect your finances

You must be willing to let someone live with you for at least 6 months - the longer the better.

You can’t charge your guests rent. The government will give you a single thank you payment each month - it doesn’t matter how many people you’re hosting. If you host people in different properties, you’ll get a thank you payment for each property.

The government say you will not have to pay tax on the thank you payment and it will not count as income when calculating your benefits.

The government has said hosting people will not affect your benefits. For example, this means it will not stop you being affected by the ‘bedroom tax’.

Hosting people also will not affect any council tax discounts you get - for example a single person discount.

If you host people in a separate property which has an empty homes premium, you won’t have to pay the premium while they’re there and the council tax should be reduced.

Hosting people in your home will not affect your home insurance for the first 12 months. You should check with your insurance provider if:

  • you want your guest to stay in a separate property like a second home

  • you want to know if the insurance will cover your guests’ possessions

Check what hosting involves

You must be willing to let someone live with you for at least 6 months - the longer the better.

It’s worth knowing that your guests might:

  • not speak English fluently or at all

  • have been separated from their family members

  • have trauma because of what’s happening in their country

Your guests might also be disabled or have extra needs. You should be told about any extra needs before you commit to hosting them.

Check what you can do for your guests

The government say you should do the following for your guests:

  • give them somewhere to stay

  • meet them when they arrive in the UK - you’ll need to contact them to arrange this before they travel

  • help them sign up to local services like a GP and dentist

You might also want to do other things like make them meals, in particular when they first arrive.

Your guests will probably want access to the internet. This will let them check the news, contact their friends and family and meet other people from Ukraine in your local area.

Check what support your guests can get

Your guests will have the right to:

  • work or study

  • claim benefits

  • use the NHS

  • go to school

  • rent or buy somewhere to live

  • go to free English language classes

It might take some time for your guests to start getting benefits and for GPs to agree to register them.

You can find more information about what your guests can do in the UK on GOV.UK.

It’s worth checking what support there is in your local area, for example:

  • Ukrainian community groups

  • interpreter services

  • mental health and trauma support groups

  • support from your local council

Your local council should check on your guests after they arrive and help them get the support they need.

Your guests will also be able to contact the Ukraine Support Helpline, which is run by Barnardo’s. They can give advice and support and help your guests access therapy services.

Ukraine Support Helpline

Phone: 0800 148 8586

Monday to Friday, 10am to 8pm

Saturday, 10am to 3pm

Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.

Email: ukrainiansupport@barnardos.org.uk

Contact form: https://www.barnardos.org.uk/what-we-do/helping-families/ukrainian-helpline

If you need to stop hosting your guests

You can decide at any time that you can’t keep hosting your guests under the Homes for Ukraine scheme. You’ll need to tell your local council so the council don’t keep paying you the thank you payment.

If your guests have enough money, they might be able to afford to move into rented housing after living with you.

If you and your guests agree, they can start renting a room or rooms from you. The government’s ‘Rent a Room scheme’ means you can get up to £7,500 in rent each year without having to pay tax on it. Check how the Rent a Room scheme works on GOV.UK.

If you can’t keep hosting your guests and they can’t find anywhere else to live, they can apply for help as homeless. They will have the same right to apply as British citizens. 

Find out what someone can do if they’re homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Check how to apply

If you don’t already know who you want to host, you can sign up to be matched with someone on GOV.UK.

If you know who you want to host, they should apply online to come to the UK on GOV.UK. You’ll need to give them details like your name, address and passport number.

You can also apply for them - you’ll need to get their permission. Try to be in contact with them while you apply so you can get all the details you need.

What they need to do depends on whether they have a Ukrainian international passport with them. It doesn’t matter if their passport has expired as long as it has an extension stamp.

If there are children who have been added to a parent’s passport, the children will need to follow the rules for people without a passport.

Check what will happen when your guests arrive in the UK

If possible, your guests should arrive in the UK at a ‘welcome point’. Most of the UK’s major ports and airports are welcome points. You can find the list of welcome points on GOV.UK.

Someone from the government should meet your guests when they arrive at a welcome point and show them where to wait until you arrive. They will give your guests £200 each to help pay for things at first.

You’ll need to help your guests get from where they arrive in the UK to where they’re going to stay.

If your guests have Ukrainian international passports, they’ll be allowed to travel for free on buses and trains for 48 hours after they arrive in the UK. Find out more about free travel for Ukrainian citizens on the National Rail website.

Page last reviewed on 23 March 2022