The Ukraine Extension Scheme visa route opened on 3 May 2022. It enables eligible Ukrainians and their family members who have already been granted a UK visa, to extend their time in the UK to live, work and / or study.

This route may be helpful for employers with eligible Ukrainian staff whose visas are shortly due to expire, as it means they may be able to retain key workers for a longer period, rather than having to recruit and train new staff.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible, the individual must:

  • be a Ukrainian national or an immediate family member of a Ukrainian national who is applying to the scheme, which would include spouses or civil partners, unmarried partners (if they have been living together in a relationship for a least 2 years), children aged under 18, or parents of those under 18.
  • have had immigration permission to be in the UK on 18 March 2022 or have previously had permission to be in the UK which expired on or after 1 January 2022.

Individuals will also be subject to security checks.

The route will allow those who aren't usually able to switch visa routes in order to extend their time in the UK to do so - for example, eligible individuals on a Seasonal Worker or Visitor visa.

How long does the visa last?

Individuals will be able to stay in the UK for up to 3 years on this visa route, but it doesn’t currently lead to settlement. Therefore, time spent on this route may not count as part of an application for indefinite leave to remain.

As a result, some individuals, such as those with a Skilled Worker visa, may prefer to stay on their current visa route, rather than switching. For this reason, individuals should take their own immigration advice before deciding to switch in to this new route.

How much does it cost?

It's free to apply and individuals won't need to pay the immigration health surcharge or biometric enrolment fee.

How do individuals apply?

Applications must be made online and individuals will then need to book and attend an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point. See the UK Government guidance for more information on applications.

Further information 

On 6 May 2022, the UK government published new guidance for businesses in England, Scotland and Wales who are considering making offers of employment to people coming to the UK from Ukraine. You can access this here

If you would like to discuss this new visa route further, or have any other immigration law queries, please get in touch with Elaine McIlroy or Erin McLafferty in Brodies Employment and Immigration team.