Offering to let someone from Ukraine stay with you
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 £350 each month while you host someone.
The government haven’t released all of the details about how the scheme will work yet. We’ll update our advice when we have more information.
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 £350 from the government if you do host them.
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.
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.
Check if hosting will affect your finances
You can’t charge your guests rent. The government will give you £350 each month for up to 12 months - it doesn’t matter how many people you’re hosting. If you host people in different properties, you’ll get £350 a month for each property.
The government say you will not have to pay tax on the £350 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 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.
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.
Check what will happen if you need to stop hosting your guests
You can decide at any time that you can’t keep hosting your guests. You’ll need to tell your local council when they leave so the council don’t keep paying you the £350.
If your guests have enough money, they might be able to afford to move into rented housing after living with you. It’s not clear yet if the government will make it easier for them to get council housing.
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.
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.
If the people you want to host have Ukrainian passports with them
They should scan or take a photo of their passport and upload it when they apply.
They will get a confirmation email when they apply - this will let them travel to the UK and stay for up to 6 months.
When they arrive, they'll need to book an appointment to have their photograph and fingerprints taken to complete their application. When they complete their application, they’ll get permission to stay in the UK for 3 years starting from the day they arrived.
If the people you want to host don’t have Ukrainian passports with them
They will need to go to a visa application centre before they travel. They can book an appointment when they apply. You can find their nearest visa application centre on GOV.UK.
The visa application centre will ask them for proof of their identity - for example an identity card or non-Ukrainian passport.
If possible, they should scan or take photos of their documents and upload them on the visa application centre’s website before their appointment.
If the documents are in Ukrainian, it’s worth them translating the documents into English - or asking someone else to translate them. They can get templates to help translate documents on the Charity Translators website. They should apply as soon as possible even if they don’t have translated documents - they can upload them later.
If they don’t have any evidence, they should explain why. The visa application centre should accept their application if there’s a good reason they can’t get any evidence.
The visa application centre should take their photo and fingerprints. They will usually have to come back later to pick up a visa - this will let them enter the UK.
They will get permission to stay in the UK for 3 years.
Check what will happen when your guests arrive in the UK
Someone from the government should meet your guests when they arrive in the country 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.