Finding a host
Before finding a host
Before finding a host, consider what kind of accommodation you need if someone in your family has an allergy, disability, children or is elderly. Would you and your family be content to share a spare bedroom in someone's home, or do you require self-contained housing, do you require a ground floor bedroom? If you're moving into a family home, you should be able to use common areas like the kitchen and bathroom.
You should consider how many bedrooms you need. Government has provided guidance on who can share a room and how many people can share a room. It states “The law states that two people should not be in one room unless they are: adult cohabiting partners; a parent and child; two siblings of the same gender if aged over 10; two siblings regardless of gender if aged under 10. Individuals who didn’t previously know each other should not be given the same room.”
If you have pets make sure you tell any potential hosts as they may not be allowed to have pets if they are in rented accommodation, they may have allergies, pets of their own or have young children. Most hosts are happy for you to bring your pets but you should make them aware and ask.
Finding a host
Phase one of the Homes for Ukraine scheme requires hosts and refugees to find each other on their own.
There are various ways of finding a hosts:
- Advertise or contact hosts on Facebook groups such as ‘Accommodation, Help & Shelter for Ukraine’, ‘Room for Ukrainians in the UK’, ‘UK Accommodation, Help & Sponsorship for Ukrainians’ and ‘UK accommodation for Ukrainian refugees’.
- Contacting organisations such as Goat Roadtrip, prykhystok, Refugees at Home, Room for Refugees, Shelter 4 Ukraine, Opera and Reset
Although the vast majority of potential hosts you speak with will be honest and trustworthy, you should exercise caution when selecting a host. Make sure you speak with the host on camera, have the host show you around their house and ensure you say hello to every member of the host household. Does what the host has offered on their advert match what you see on the camera? If not, find another host.
What to do once you find a host
Once you have found a host, ensure that both parties are happy with the accommodation offered and that it meets the standards set out by the government. The last thing you want to do is come to the UK and find yourself homeless.
Filling out the visa form
Once you have found a host you will need to start the visa application process. This is a time-consuming process that requires one application per person in the refugee family. If you are a family of four, the process will need to be repeated four times.
During this process, you or the host family will be required to disclose personal information such as passport information and birth certificates, amongst other things.
Because the visa application form is written in English, it’s usually easier for the host family to fill it out on the refugee family's behalf and this is perfectly okay to do so. While filling out the form and gathering information, the host family could screen share with the refugee family.
Before filling in the form take a look at this visual guide of the visa application so you know what to expect when filling in the form.
You will need scanned copies of passports and any other documentation you can provide for the visa application. If the scanned copies are not in the correct format you can use online converters to convert the file type for example by googling ‘jpg to pdf converter’ or using Adobe converter.
As of 8/4/2022 there is no clear information about what the you can provide for ‘Proof of residency on or before 1st January 2022’ but you could consider things like exit stamp on a passport, Covid vaccination certificate, a screenshot of a bank statement or a purchase that you requested to be delivered to your home (so the home address is visible on the invoice).
You will need to declare if any member of your family has ever been deported for any reason or worked for any government agency, such as the police or army, as well as the dates for both of these.
If you are travelling with a child and the other parent is unable to accompany you, you may be required to show proof that the other parent consents to their child leaving the country. This might include a letter containing the other adult's name, the child's name, both of their passport numbers, and written assurance that the other adult is happy with their child being taken to a safe country. If this is not possible, you may be allowed to add a comment on the application explaining why it is not possible, such as if the father has remained in Ukraine to fight in the war and cannot be reached.
Before beginning the visa application procedure, read through the official Government Visa Application Guidance (the guidance can be converted to Ukrainian and Russian and you will find a link to the visa application on the guidance).