Practical Legal Information
Argentina: IAFL Fellow, Fabiana Marcela Quaini from Argentina is assisting Ukrainian refugees with the paperwork for Argentina.
EU: Since 2017 Ukrainians do not need a visa for visits under 90 days to Schengen Area countries. Under the EU Temporary Protective Directive Ukrainian nationals do not have to apply for visa for stays in the EU beyond 90 days, but can remain for one year, which may be extended, without having to apply for asylum. Children enrolled in the education system and people with health conditions may be allowed to stay after temporary protection expires https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_22_1469
France: A fact sheet providing the current visa requirements and guidance for France can be downloaded here.
The Netherlands: If you are coming from Ukraine, you are not required to immediately apply for asylum. You can stay in the Netherlands without a visa for up to 90 days, called the 'free term'. Moreover, the Dutch government announced that Ukrainians should not worry about the expiration of these 90 days. You don't have to request an extension if your 'free term' or visa is expired.
Registration (Ukrainians with biometric passport or ID)
Ukrainian refugees must register at the municipality they are (temporarily) staying in. This also applies when you are not staying in an official reception center (e.g., if you are staying at a host family). You have to register in the Basisregistratie Personen (BRP) at the municipality. To be registered, you should provide proof of identification, like a Ukrainian identification card.
- Register without proof of identification
As of now, adults without proof of identification cannot register at the municipality. However, you should report this to your municipality.
Ukrainian children without proof of identification can be registered at the municipality together with their parents. In the absence of identification documents, the parents can declare the identity of the child under oath. The child will then be registered at the municipality.
Refugees from Ukraine with a different nationality
There is currently no special arrangement for Ukrainian refugees with other nationalities (for example, persons who have a study visa for Ukraine or are married to a Ukrainian). Some people with a different nationality who have a residence permit in Ukraine may be granted the same permit and rights as Ukrainian refugees with Ukrainian nationality. They will be able to register with the municipality if they have identification documents and can prove they had legal residence in Ukraine. Others may have to go through a verification process where it will be examined whether they should return to their country of origin or should be granted protection in the Netherlands.
The special residence status of Ukrainian refugees with a different nationality can change in the near future. Please keep a close eye on the website of the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND): https://ind.nl/en/Pages/default.aspx
Portugal: IAFL Fellow, Nuno Cardoso-Ribeiro is Chair of the AAFC, Family and Children's Lawyers Association. A group of Portuguese family lawyers act pro bono in judicial and administrative purposes involving unaccompanied Ukrainian refugees arriving in Portugal. Information on this initiative can be found https://www.publico.pt/2022/03/12/impar/opiniao/orfaos-guerra-portugal-papel-advogados-familia-1998533
United Kingdom: Ukrainians do need visa to travel to the UK, but the requirements are relaxed. Free immigration advice for people leaving Ukraine can be found https://advice-ukraine.co.uk/ and HERE.
Three additional routes have been set up to assist Ukrainians willing to come to or remain in the UK:
Ukraine Family Scheme – open to relatives of British citizens or those on a settled status. This scheme was also extended to allow Ukrainian surrogate mothers (see below), where the child is not yet born, are able to enter the UK for a period of up to 36 months and will have access to public funds and employment.
Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme - the scheme will allow sponsors, such as communities, private sponsors or local authorities, to bring those forced to flee Ukraine to the UK. From 15 March, applicants can obtain a visa online and do their fingerprints at the UK border crossing. This will allow those application centres to focus on those Ukrainians who have crossed the border without an international passport (currently the centres that accept and deal with Ukrainian applications are in Poland, Hungary, Romania, Moldova and France. Those who have visitor visas can come to the UK and switch to a different category from within the UK.
Surrogates - The UK is being accommodating towards UK couples who have gone to Ukraine for surrogacy. They are asking intended parents to get in touch with the FCDO at the earliest opportunity so they know who is going to be impacted and be ready to assist. The UK is being flexible on documentary requirements to issue emergency travel documents (for example, they are accepting hospital certificates in place of birth certificates) and they are offering surrogate mothers and their families (both pregnant and where they’ve recently given birth) the opportunity to apply for visas for the UK for three years in line with the Ukraine Family Scheme as naturally, the easiest solution is for those children to be born in the UK.
Kinglsey Napley held a successful Ukrainian fundraising event on 19 May with a bake sale and Ukrainian dishes served for lunch. KN choir also performed and more than £800 were raised for British Homes and Schools for Ukrainians – a non-profit organisation that is aiming to place Ukrainians within the UK families where there are English teachers so that Ukrainians can integrate into the UK society more quickly. In addition, BSHU are employing Ukrainian young men who are still in Ukraine and also Ukrainian mothers who fled Ukraine and are often working part-time to support their families financially. If you would like to support BSHU or would like some Ukrainian recipe ideas, please contact Yuliya Osudina: YOsudina@kingsleynapley.co.uk.
The Ukraine Advice Project UK matches those seeking advice with advisers who have volunteered to assist. Over 450 immigration lawyers are registered as volunteers and they have advised on almost 700 requests for advice from people affected by the war in Ukraine.
Immigration is reviewed and updated daily here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/support-for-family-members-of-british-nationals-in-ukraine-and-ukrainian-nationals-in-ukraine-and-the-uk or www.freemovement.org.uk.
If someone needs free UK immigration advice, they should email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Or alternatively, the Immigration Advice Service, a team of immigration lawyers based in the UK has set up an advice page here:
Need practical help once you are in the UK? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
USA: Ukrainian nationals who have continuously resided in the US since 1 March 2022 are eligible for temporary protected status for 18 months. https://www.dhs.gov/news/2022/03/03/secretary-mayorkas-designates-ukraine-temporary-protected-status-18-months
Ukrainians should not contact U.S. authorities to apply for visas to travel to the United States as refugees. Refugees located in Poland should contact the government of Poland first.
U.S. Embassy in Poland: https://pl.usembassy.gov/visas/humanitarian-assistance-and-visa-information-for-ukrainians/
If you are Ukrainian traveling with a relative who is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident:
- the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt, Germany will help process U.S. citizen’s requests to bring their family members into the United States
If you are Ukrainian and wish to enter the US A on a non-immigrant visa, there are complex rules for how to qualify. You will need an appointment, scheduled in advance at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw or U.S. Consulate in Krakow.
The U.S. government has just established (April 21, 2022) a new immigration program called "Uniting for Ukraine." People who are fleeing Ukraine because of war can find more information on this website: Uniting for Ukraine | Homeland Security (dhs.gov)
The Ukrainian seeking status in the United States needs a supporter in the U.S. who must start the process by completing an application found on the website. To be eligible, the Ukrainian must have been displaced because of the war (they were living in Ukraine right before the war), be a Ukrainian citizen with a valid Ukrainian passport, have a supporter in the U.S. who starts the process for them, complete vaccinations and other health requirements, and clear security checks. If admitted, they can remain in the United States for up to 2 years.
eyeWitness to Atrocities: is a charity based in London and formed in 2013 by the International Bar Association. Click on the links below to read an open letter that explains who they are and their objectives in Ukraine.
Click to read the letter in English and in Ukrainian.
Eyewitness resource hub can be found here: https://www.eyewitness.global/Ukraine-resources-hub and the app can be downloaded here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?
CCBE: Ukraine - CCBE is dedicated to information on CCBE and its Member Bars and Law Societies initiatives in reaction to the situation in Ukraine. The CCBE has created a list of contact points for people in need of legal assistance.
European e-Justice Portal: Information on Children from Ukraine - civil judicial cooperation European e-Justice Portal - Children from Ukraine – civil judicial cooperation (europa.eu)