Week one guidance for Ukrainians arriving in the UK

Week one guidance for Ukrainians arriving in the UK

This is a quick guide to services you may need in your first week in the UK. Fuller information can be found in the welcome guide. There is a separate welcome guide for children who are not travelling with or to join a parent or legal guardian.

There is a separate welcome guide for children who are not travelling with or to join a parent or legal guardian. Further guidance for their parents and legal guardians is also available on GOV.UK.

Before you arrive

We recommend that you let your sponsor know when and where you will be arriving, so they can support you to make arrangements for your journey to your accommodation, and they may be able to meet you on arrival.

If you have chosen the Scottish Government to sponsor your application, you will receive an email or text message (SMS) confirming you have a valid visa. This welcome message will also include a phone number you can call for support with your travel and arrival arrangements.

If travelling to Wales, please see the sponsor guide for more information before you arrive:

If travelling to Northern Ireland, please see this page for more information before you arrive.

It is recommended that you deposit your hryvnia cash into your bank accounts in Ukraine rather than taking cash out of the country as you leave.

This can be done:

  • at a bank branch by presenting a passport;
  • through self-service payment devices and ATMs that accept cash.
  • When in the UK, you will be able to make cashless payments, or withdraw cash in GBP, using payment cards issued by Ukrainian banks. For further information, please see guidance from the Ukraine central bank.

Welcome points

There are a number of major entry ports to the UK, including airports, where there will be welcome points for you to meet your sponsor and where you can seek support, including to arrange your onward travel. If you are unsure of the location of the welcome point please speak to Border Force or a member of staff at your port of arrival. You can find the full list of welcome points here under ‘Where are welcome points?’.

Welcome points can provide the following:

  • a welcome point, with: toilets, telephone, telephone charging facilities and translation capability
  • provision of any necessary immediate humanitarian assistance
  • link with local travel operators for advice about travel
  • triage point if matching arrangements fall down
  • provision of basic ‘welcome pack’

In Scotland and Wales those arriving under the Devolved Government Sponsorship route will be given temporary accommodation and help with being matched into safe, longer-term accommodation. They will also give you food, clothing, medical attention, and emotional support if needed.

However, both the Scottish Government and Welsh Government have temporarily paused applications to their schemes. This is to ensure support and sanctuary can be provided to those displaced people who are in Scotland and Wales already or will shortly be arriving, and that focus can be given to embedding the arrangements for next stage accommodation alongside continued delivery of wider wraparound services.

All existing applications will continue to be processed and existing visa holders can travel to Scotland and Wales and will supported as planned.

Further details can be found on the Scottish Government website and the Welsh Government website.

If arriving from Northern Ireland, please see further information

How to apply for a biometric residence permit (BRP)

A biometric residence permit (BRP) can be used to confirm your:

  • identity
  • right to study
  • right to any public services or benefits you’re entitled to

You can apply for a BRP once arrived in the UK.

How to claim your interim payment

We know that you’re likely to need cash when you arrive to buy food and essentials. If you have arrived through the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, your local council will provide you with £200 per guest, which you do not need to pay back.

You need to contact your local council to claim this payment. If you are unsure who your local council is, you can search for it using find your local council.

How to set up a bank account

To open a bank or building society account, you’ll probably need to:

  • make sure you have an email address set up in your name and a valid phone number, to help the bank or building society communicate with you
  • collect all your identification and visa documents

You can apply for an account either in person at a bank or building society branch (you may need to make an appointment), over the phone, online or via a bank’s mobile app. If going into a branch, you should take all relevant identification documents with you.

If you don’t have all the identification documents, take all the information you have with you to the bank or building society. Banks and building societies are encouraged to consider alternative ways to identify and verify their customers, and the government has been working closely with the sector to support access for incoming Ukrainian nationals who may not have standard documentation for identity verification.

There are a range of providers, and you can choose one that suits you best. More information, including a list of some providers and their websites can be found at Section 2.1 of the welcome pack.

You can find a dedicated website for arrivals setting up new bank accounts

How to claim Universal Credit

The UK has a welfare system which is designed to help those who face financial hardship, or who have specific needs. Your local Jobcentre Plus will be able to help you find out which benefits you may be able to access, or check online.

You can find your nearest Jobcentre here.

You can apply for Universal Credit online, which is a payment for those of working age (18 and over), to help with your living costs if you’re on a low income. To apply online you’ll need:

  • your bank, building society or credit union account details
  • an email address
  • access to a phone

You’ll also have to prove your identity. You’ll need some identity documents for this, for example your:

  • passport
  • debit or credit card

Apply for Universal Credit.

Universal Credit eligibility criteria.

If you are in education, you should check the guidance about claiming Universal Credit as a student here: Universal Credit and students – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

There are two ways to get help with your Universal Credit claim. You can either call the Universal Credit helpline or use the Help to Claim service.

Calls to the Universal Credit helpline are free – Telephone: 0800 328 5644 13. You can get free support from trained advisers to make a Universal Credit claim.

The Help to Claim service is provided by Citizens Advice and is confidential. They will not share your personal information unless you agree.

When making a Universal Credit claim you will need to enter your bank account details. You should use your own bank account details and ensure that you are the only person with access to your account.

See more information on benefits in Northern Ireland.

Get an advance on your first payment

If you need help to pay your bills or cover other costs while you wait for your first Universal Credit payment, you can apply to get an advance. The most you can get as an advance is the amount of your first estimated payment.

You can apply for an advance payment in your online account or through your Jobcentre Plus work coach.

You’ll need to:

  • explain why you need an advance
  • verify your identity (you’ll do this when you apply online or on the phone with a work coach)
  • provide bank account details for the advance (talk to your work coach if you cannot open an account)

You’ll usually find out the same day if you can get an advance.

This advance must be paid back and you will start paying it back out of your first payment. You can choose how many months you pay the advance back over, within the time limit. You do not pay interest on it – the total amount you pay back is the same.

How to claim Child Benefit

Child Benefit is a universal benefit for parents or guardians that issues monthly payments equating to £21.80 per week for the eldest child and £14.45 per week for each additional child.

You can usually claim Child Benefit if you are the parent or guardian of a child or children under the age of 16 (or under the age of 20 if they stay in approved education or training). You need to apply for Child Benefit by filling in a Child Benefit claim form and sending it to the Child Benefit Office. The address is on the form. Find more information on claiming Child Benefit, including the evidence that you will need to provide with your claim.

How to seek healthcare support

To find and register with your nearest local doctor (GP) service and for more information please see how to register with a GP surgery. The GMS1 form needs to be completed to register with a GP.

You can find out how to register with a GP surgery in Scotland on the NHS inform website

Information on healthcare in Northern Ireland can be found on NI direct

How to access health care services (NHS) urgently

If you or a family member has a serious accident or a sudden serious illness, including a mental health crisis, you should go to your nearest hospital with an Accident and Emergency department. Emergency treatment at Accident and Emergency services at NHS hospitals is free for everyone.

If it is an extreme emergency, call 999 or 112 and ask for an ambulance to transport you to a hospital. This service is free of charge but should only be used in an emergency. If you are able to do so, you may also make your own way to the Accident and Emergency department.

If you need treatment or advice that is not an emergency, but cannot wait until you next see your GP, you can obtain advice by calling 111.

You can find out more information on when to call 999.

Minor injuries: The NHS also provides Walk-In or Urgent Treatment Centres where you can receive treatment for minor injuries such as cuts, sprains and small fractures, or receive urgent medical advice, without having made an appointment. You can find your nearest Urgent Treatment Centre

For information in In Northern Ireland please see: GP out of hours service

Mental Health: If you would like to seek support for your mental health but do not want to talk to a GP, there are a wide-range of support organisations that offer helplines where you can talk in confidence to a trained advisor. These include:

Accessing education

All children and young people arriving under the Ukraine Family Scheme and Homes for Ukraine have the right to access state education whilst in the UK. Attending school is vital in helping children integrate into the communities in which they are living.

In the UK, children aged 5 to 16 are required to be in full-time education. Parents and carers should contact the local council for guidance on applying for a school.

The local council supporting you and your family will assist you with accessing this. This can either be:

  • within a free state-funded school
  • within an independent school (otherwise known as a private school or public school), which will normally charge fees for your child’s education; or
  • you can choose to home-educate your child


Contact your local council to find:

  • state-funded schools in your area
  • admissions criteria – criteria for the schools you are interested in


Northern Ireland

You can find full information on applying for all school places and placing requests.

To identify local schools, a search engine is available at: search schools


You can find full information on applying for all school places and placing requests.

Emergency housing

If for any reason you are unable to stay with your sponsors immediately after arrival, your local council can provide emergency accommodation. The welcome point at your entry location will be able to advise you how to make contact, or you can find your local council.