Homes for Ukraine

Visa extension announcement: Ukraine Permission Extension scheme

All Ukrainians who have come to the UK after the invasion can apply for a visa extension. They will be able to apply for an 18-month extension. This means that those on the earliest visas can stay until at least September 2026.

The extension will apply to all three visa schemes. These schemes were set up after the invasion:

  • Homes for Ukraine scheme
  • Ukraine Family Scheme
  • Ukraine Extension Scheme.

Under this extension, those on the schemes will continue to have the same rights as their current visa to:

  • access work
  • benefits
  • healthcare
  • education

Applications for the extensions will be open in early 2025. People will be able to apply once they are in the last three months of an existing visa.

Many hosts and guests have had questions about visas. We hope that this announcement provides some reassurance. The London Borough of Harrow is in regular communication with the Government. We will provide you with more information when we have it.

For more details see Government extends stay for Ukrainians in the UK.

Changes to Homes for Ukraine (HFU) scheme

The HFU scheme allows Ukrainians and their close family to come to the UK. They can come if a UK household sponsors them.

The period of permission granted to new HFU applicants (including minors) is changing. It is changing from 36 to 18 months.

Eligibility criteria for sponsors is changing. All new sponsors need to be a UK or Irish citizen, or have settled status in the UK.

These changes apply to all new applications made after 19th February 2024.

Closure of the Ukraine Family (UFS) scheme

The UFS is now closed to new applications. It closed at 3pm on 19th February 2024.

This scheme allowed Ukrainians to join their family in the UK. The government decided to end this scheme. They believe that it is no longer sustainable. People with existing UFS permission will keep it.

Changes to the Ukraine Extension (UES) scheme

The UES is open to some Ukrainians and their family. These are those who have, or had, permission to be in the UK. The UES will close to new applications for permission to stay on 16th May 2024. It will stay open for children who are born in the UK.

What is the HFU scheme?

The HFU scheme was launched in March 2022. The scheme offers a way for Ukrainian refugees to find sponsors in the UK.

Sponsors register their interest for the scheme on GOV.UK. It is up to the sponsor to find a Ukrainian family or individual hoping to resettle in this country.

We are responsible for running checks on sponsors and the accommodation. This is to ensure they offer placements that are safe and suitable. Sponsors also have a responsibility to help the citizens adapt to life in their new home. We are working with local agencies to make sure sponsors and citizens are well supported.

Make a donation

The government has issued General advice on donations to the people of Ukraine. The best way to help is with a gift of cash. A cash donation can help to buy goods needed in response to the ever changing situation. For further information visit Ukraine: what you can do to help.

Become a HFU sponsor

If you’re thinking about becoming a sponsor you can apply on GOV.UK. You can also find a list of common questions about sponsorship on GOV.UK.

We’re also looking for local sponsors to support Ukrainians already in Harrow. If you are interested, contact our Homes for Ukraine team at

What checks should I expect before I can become a sponsor and host?

We need to make sure that the accommodation you’re offering is suitable and safe. We also need to confirm that everyone in your household is happy to be involved in the programme.

We are required to conduct a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check on everyone in your household aged 16 and above.

We need enhanced DBS checks. They confirm any police cautions and warnings. This is if there are children or vulnerable adults in the family you’re due to host.

How will the checks be carried out?

Checks on your home are carried out by LiveTwogether. They support home sharing initiatives. They are experienced at conducting accommodation checks.

This work is done via video call where possible. In some cases an in-person visit is necessary.

Voluntary Action Harrow (VAH) processes the DBS checks for us. They do this under a licence agreement with CareCheck. We cover the fees.

Once you’ve applied to become a sponsor, we will ask you to contact VAH to start this process. They will confirm whether you need the basic or enhanced DBS check.

You can contact VAH during office hours if you have any questions by:

DBS checks are made at the same time as the checks on your accommodation.

I’ve already had a DBS check – do I need another one?

All adults in your household will need an up-to-date DBS assessment before you’re able to host. An update to a previous DBS check can be obtained with a subscription to the DBS update service.

Without this, a new assessment will have to be made.

How long will the checks take?

You can expect an appointment within 48 hours of receiving confirmation of a match. Two Generations try to set up their assessment meeting with you the following week.

They will reach their decision on the suitability of your property the week after that. 

DBS checks run at the same time as the assessment of your accommodation, but can take longer. These checks do not hold up the processing of your guests’ visas.

How will I find out the outcome?

Two Generations and Voluntary Action Harrow will contact you after their checks.

Will I have an opportunity to improve my accommodation if it doesn't meet the standard?

Yes. We can help with minor costs, including the fitting of smoke or carbon monoxide detectors. We can also help carry out gas safety checks to make your accommodation safe.

If checks highlight that more work is needed, you can claim the expenses on the Homes for Ukraine form.

If you need more significant work, you will have to pay for this yourself. You will be unable to continue with your application until any recommended work is completed.

Why is the visa processing taking so long?

Visa processing for Ukrainian refugees is carried out by the Home Office. The checks happen at the same time as our checks of accommodation and host families.

We have no control over visa processing and cannot influence the time it takes.

What support is available to me?

Romanian and Eastern European Hub (Ro-EE Hub) provide translation services. Support is available to you and your guests.

Your guests will get help to settle into Harrow and access local services including:

  • Citizens Advice Harrow
  • Harrow Law Centre
  • school places
  • GP
  • benefits
  • social activities.

The Harrow Law Centre offers legal advice related to visas and immigration status.

The Ro-EE Hub will contact your guests after you have confirmed their arrival. The Ro-EE Hub will make an appointment to visit your guests in their accommodation.

Reset is the UK’s Community Sponsorship learning hub. You’ll find helpful resources on their site, including a Sponsor’s Toolkit.

Thrive LDN, works to improve the mental health and wellbeing of Londoners. They have developed resources for displaced Ukrainians.

London Plus supports charities and community groups in the capital. You can view a list of organisations offering support to those affected by the crisis.

When will I receive the sponsor's thank-you payment?

You will receive £350 a month during the first 12 months of your guests’ stay. This will increase to £500 once your guest has been in the UK for 12 months.

This payment is intended to help sponsors continue hosting for longer. The thank-you payment is available for up to three years after the guest arrives.

You will need to complete the Homes for Ukraine form within 24 hours of your guests’ arrival. Once received, we aim to process payment within 10 working days. 

Further payments are made at the end of each month and will take 3 to 5 days to reach your bank account.  All the host checks must have been completed before a payment will be made.

If there is a delay in processing your payment, it will be backdated to the date of the guest’s arrival at your property.

We will visit the sponsor/guest at the property after the first six months. Ro-EE Hub will be in touch with your guest to arrange this. We will send a reminder letter to you one month in advance of the visit.

How will the payment I receive affect my tax or entitlement to benefits?

The thank-you payment is tax free and will not affect your entitlement to benefits.

I am renting my property, can I still be a sponsor?

You must get your landlord’s permission before joining the scheme. Two Generations will ask to see this when completing their accommodation check.

Your tenancy agreement may include information about how long guests can stay.

I need help with furniture, what can I do?

We have a list of organisations who can provide affordable furniture for your new home.

You can also contact Ro-EE Hub if you need furniture for your new home and they may be able to assist you.

Transferring or ending a sponsorship: as a sponsor

If your guest moves out of your home for any reason you need to tell the London Borough of Harrow as soon as possible. This is because you may no longer be eligible for the monthly payments. If your guest(s) move out you will need to complete the end of arrangement form.

You will need to complete the form even if you have more than one guest and one has remained with you when the other left.

End a sponsorship arrangement

Transferring or ending a sponsorship: as a guest

If your Homes for Ukraine visa sponsorship is ending, email us if you need help finding a place to live. Email us on:

You will need to tell them when you are due to leave your sponsorship household. We will refer you to our Specialist Ukrainian Housing Preventions and Solutions Team.

If you feel you are at risk of becoming homeless you can complete our Homeless enquiry form. If you need help completing the form, please contact the Ro-EE Hub by:

- telephone on: 02038331190 or email at:

They will be able to help you with translating throughout the application process.

The Homeless Prevention and Solutions officer can help you with:

  • affordability calculations of any potential property
  • advice on how to get private rented accommodation
  • financial help with a month’s rent in advance and five weeks' deposit. This is dependent on household income
  • referrals to support partner organisations for translation. It can also help with employment, and help with other benefits.
  • negotiate with your sponsor for you to remain in your current accommodation. This is until you are able to find your own accommodation
  • place you into emergency accommodation if you are at risk of becoming homeless. Emergency accommodation is likely to be outside of London.

Emergency accommodation is available for households:

  • with dependent children under 18
  • classed as vulnerable.

Guests without kids or medical issues will not get access to emergency accommodation. In this instance guests will need to make their own arrangements.