A short guide to the most basic and important questions on arrival in the UK.

This is a combination of information from official resources, the experience of OPORA team members living in the UK and information from various services and charities.


    Most importantly - keep in mind the safety information and stay careful!
    If you have concerns upon arrival about your sponsor or about something else around you and your family, do not be silent! Here are some resources to help. This list will be updated.
    Police - 999 - emergency numberPolice - 101 - non-urgent number0808 2000 247 - National Domestic Abuse Helpline
    LIVING WITHOUT ABUSE - - сайт с site with several advocacy organizationsWOMENS AID (help for women and children)

    How to contact the local council - if upon arrival it turned out that everything did not work out with the sponsor, or if you need help with public services and general information - enter the mail the code of the place of residence, and when you go to the site of the local council - search immediately for the word Ukraine to find the pages you need


    The most important thing is to take your BRP and apply for National Insurance Number
    📌 BRPThe main document that you need to receive after arrival is BRP (Biometric Residence Permit - resident card), this will be your ID for identification in all instances, as well as for crossing the border for 3 years.
    Where to get BRP?
    If you applied through the visa application center and the biometrics were taken before arrival, then the BRP will come by mail or notification to pick up at the post office (pick up in person with a passport, including the presence of children if they also receive a document at the post office).
    If you applied for a visa in electronic variant, then after arrival you will take biometrics and receive a BRP.
    Fill out the form on this link and choose a free time to sign up for the delivery of biometric data:
    Three important points:- Get your BRP for free!!!(the amount you see at the very beginning of the form will then change to 0)- The form is filled out for each family member (applicant) separately, the time for delivery is booked separately. - If you do not find convenient (nearest) dates for taking biometric data at the chosen place of submission, check the availability of time in other places. 
    What it is? National identification number. 
    For what? Identification of you as a taxpayer is necessary for the calculation of taxes when you work, the administration of social payments and services.
    Where to get? a) Fill out an online application on the official website or b) get it during the application process for Universal Credit. 
    !!! English only, assistant/translator may be required
    If you have a job and do not plan to apply for Universal Credit, use option a)
    Important - the right to get a job does not depend on the presence of a National Insurance Number. Those, waiting for it to be received and then looking for a job is not worth it. If you start working before receiving NINO, then payroll taxes will be withdrawn to the maximum and then recalculated.
    As soon as you have BRP in your hands, you can use the electronic method to prove the right to work:

    📌 International passportIf you arrived in the UK with an expired (or soon to expire) passport of a citizen of Ukraine to travel abroad, as well as in the absence of a passport of a child under the age of 16:
    - You can renew your passport
    - You can enter information about the child in the passport of the parents
    All the necessary information and registration on the electronic queue for consular services
    If you arrived in the UK without a Ukrainian passport to travel abroad, you can stay in the UK on the basis of an entry permit, and then on the basis of BRP. To travel to other countries, you will need a passport of a citizen of Ukraine to travel abroad. At the moment, there are restrictions on the delivery of passports related to the martial law in Ukraine. All necessary information and registration for registration of a passport
    When you register for an electronic queue for receiving consular services, please note that there are practically no free dates at the Embassy of Ukraine, and much more at the Consulate of Ukraine in Edinburgh. At the same time, at the time of publication of the guide (04/30/2022), it is possible to submit documents for a foreign passport, but due to restrictions in diplomatic mail, documents will not be taken into work.


    Most importantly, open 1 bank account as soon as possible so that its absence does not delay other processes.
    Having a bank account and a debit card is essential to organize life in the UK. To open a bank account, only personal identification is required (passport, BRP, etc.). Some large, traditional banks ask for proof of address. This is not required by law, but many banks still insist on it. Depending on the decision of the bank branch, where any correspondence from the Home Office will come to you at the sponsor's address may be suitable.
    � Online banks provide bank cards, account maintenance, all banking services electronically. These banks do not have branches and their own machines. Address confirmation is not required, the account is opened very quickly.Service through the application. Examples:
    Monzo - - - Starling Banking Services - Starling Bank
    📌Traditional banks:Halifax, Santander, Lloyds, Nationwide and others. Provide services to individuals in both branches and via the Internet. Opening an account in this category of banks is faster / easier at a bank branch, many will require proof of address. 
    Nat West has received numerous positive reviews as a bank where Ukrainians open an account without problems.


    The most important thing is to figure out whether in your case you need to apply for social benefits and which ones. Start the application process as soon as possible! 📌Universal Credit is a UK social benefit package. It combines and replaces six benefits for people of working age with low income: unemployment benefit for actively looking for a job, benefit for those who lost their main income due to health / disability, social benefits for children, housing allowance, etc. You can apply online form, the period of consideration and calculation of the first payments may take about 4-6 weeks. You must have a bank account in order to receive payments.
    The application process after the online application will include a visit to the Job Center, where at the first meeting your documents will be checked and where a Jobs Coach will be assigned to you. 
    During the submission process, it is possible to request an advance payment (because the receiving process may take several weeks).!!! English only, assistant/translator may be required
    Amount (per month) - £257 for youth under 25 years old, £324 from 25 years old, £404 - for a couple up to 25 years old, £510 - for a couple from 25 years old.
    On top of these accruals, there are additional ones, depending on the situation - child welfare payments (£ 230-280) and others for care, disability, etc.
    If you start working, some benefits are reduced according to income level. - is an excellent resource in English about all social benefits.
    There is also a separate Child Benefit (separate from Universal Credit) £57.8-£87.2 (depending on age and number of children in the family). This payment is separate, since it is also available for those who work, up to a certain (average) level of wages. You will need to fill out a form and send it with original passports and birth certificates of children by special mail (with a guarantee against loss). You can make copies of these documents and certify them at the Job Center in case you need them for submission to other institutions.


    The most important thing is to register with a general practitioner (GP) as soon as possible, especially in the presence of chronic diseases requiring treatment.
    Access to medicine is organized through the National Health Service (NHS). Access to medicine is free for everyone. Prescription drugs are free (but £9.35 is charged for each pharmacy prescription, some groups do not pay this )
    In a simplified form, access to medicine:
    If not urgent: the therapist with whom you are registered at the place of residence -most cases stop here, in more serious cases the therapist will refer you to a specialist and / or to the hospital for tests, pictures, etc. and if necessary - course of treatment, operations, etc

    If urgent:call 999 (ambulance)111 (telephone help for non-life-threatening cases), or go to Accidents & Emergencies (A&E). 
    The health care system is financed from taxes, but is available to all residents equally.. 
    The first steps:
    📌Register with a general practitioner (GP). Without this, access to more in-depth services is almost impossible. Try to hurry with this, especially if you have chronic diseases - access to specialists can take a long time.When you register, you will be assigned a National Health Service Number - NHS Number. Do not confuse with NINO - National Insurance Number.
    You can start with your sponsor's GP office if they recommend it. You can find the nearest ones using the NHS website and postal code: practices will enroll you in person, others will allow you to do so electronically. When registering, you are not required to provide identification or prove your immigration status. 
    You can find Ukrainian-speaking therapists, if you are in a big city - it's worth looking. 
    Special cases:    There is private medicine, most often the same specialists as in the NHS, but skip-the-line access - paid out of pocket or through additional insurance that many employers provide in high-paying industries.     Several types of specialists/medical services allow themselves to be referred - physiotherapy, maternity medicine process (you self-refer to the hospital of your choice).    Babylon BABYLON Gp at Hand - in London and Manchester a pilot program of video medicine, you are recorded in the same way as in a regular district practice, the first level of contact is always by video. We advise if English is at a high level, there are no complex chronic medical needs - as it is much faster to get to a therapist than in a standard case.


    The most important thing is to register with the dentist early. When needed, it will take a long time to search in some parts of the country.
    In the UK, the NHS subsidizes the cost of dental treatment and private dentists offer NHS treatment. The cost of treatment from the NHS-     - £24 (examination, diagnostics and consultation, X-ray, scaling, polishing).     - £65 (if fillings, root canals and extractions are required).    - £283 (crowns, dentures and bridges)
    Treatment from the NHS can be free under a list of conditions -
    Your dentist should clearly state which treatments can be provided under the NHS and which can only be provided privately, as well as the costs associated with each. You will be asked to sign the plan and you will be given a copy to keep.
    How to find a dentist
    Ask your sponsor if they recommend the dentist they use?
    Find a convenient dental clinic that offers NHS service (be sure to specify that you want NHS treatment, not a private one, which is more expensive) near your home or work, and call them to see if they have availability.
    You can find an NHS dentist near you on this website
    Dental offices are not always able to accept new NHS patients. You may need to join a waiting list, look for another dentist further away who is accepting new NHS patients, or apply privately.


    This section will be expanded to include information about activities for children outside of school weeks.
    Most importantly, if your child is of school age, first ask the sponsor about the schools in the area where you will be living, and also ask the sponsor to contact the school or the Family Services - Local Council to notify you of your arrival.
    After arrival in the UK, you must apply to the Local Council for a place at a school, and you will be provided with information support in choosing a school, availability and assistance in completing the application. 
    In British education, there are three options: public - at school or at home (free) and private (paid). According to the law, all British citizens aged 5 to 18 years old, as well as foreigners whose parents have the right to reside in the country, can study for free. Detailed information about the conditions for registering children in educational institutions, age categories, and much more on this. (there should be a link but there isn’t in the original doc)
    The education system in the UK is a combination of several levels: preschool (up to 5 years), primary (5–13 years), secondary (13–16 / 18 years old), post-secondary or vocational (from 16 years old) and higher education (from 18 years old).

    Is there a correspondence between the stages of the British and Ukrainian educational systems? This question cannot be answered unambiguously. Formally, the GCSE certificate (at age 16) in the UK corresponds to Ukrainian incomplete secondary education (and this is nine classes of high school). The certificate of secondary education (eleven classes), in turn, corresponds to the A-level certificate (after leaving school at the age of 18). In reality, when foreign children are admitted to English schools, their age, academic performance and level of English proficiency are taken into account first of all.
    Processes on how to apply to enroll a child in a school may differ between districts.
    Option 1 - ask the sponsor about the process in their area or about the names of the schools and call-write-go to the schoolsOption 2 (not mutually exclusive first) - official way - -in English, there are links to the process in each district (enter the postal code where you live and the site takes you to the page with the necessary information in the district council)


    Preschool children go to nursery/kindergarten (as one of the more commonly used options) from 6 weeks to 5 years. Children start school between 4 and 5 years old.
    Kindergartens are mostly private small businesses. The cost of kindergarten (for 5 days a week) is an average of £1.100 in the UK, £1.300 in London and the surrounding area per month.  
    As an alternative to kindergartens, there is "Nanny at home" (Childminder), one nanny looks after 2-4 children (depending on age) at home. Home nanny usually costs less than daycare, averaging between £900 in the UK, £1300 in London (50 hours per week) per month. Finding a registered babysitter:
    You may be able to get childcare assistance (e.g. free daycare hours, tax reduction) depending on your circumstances, whether you or your partner work, how many hours you work per week, what your personal/joint income is.
    You may be able to get childcare assistance (e.g. free daycare hours, tax reduction) depending on your circumstances, whether you or your partner work, how many hours you work per week, what your personal/joint income is. 

    Based on this, you can get help such as:• Free children's places for children 3 and 4 years old.• Additional free child care if you work and your child is 3 and 4 years old.• Free child care if your child is 2 years old and has a very low income.· You can also get money to pay your childcare bills if you work or are on Universal Credit• For more information contact your local authorities or visit the website:
     !!! English only, assistant/translator may be required
    The most commonly used element of the child care package is "free hours", children aged 3-4 are entitled in most cases to ~22 hours per week for free (the name "Free 30 hours" is based on 38 school weeks). Scotland subsidizes even more hours per week, from 30 hours. process is explained here. To get started, you need a National Insurance Number (NIN), one of the reasons why it's important to get one as soon as possible. 
    On this site you can get a calculation of the assistance due to you according to your situation:
    !!! English only, assistant/translator may be required • Here you can find out the approximate cost of "kindergarten" in excess of your free hours (the cost varies depending on the place of residence, the status of the educational institution public / private / nanny):
    !!! English only, assistant/translator may be required
    Resource about the system in Ukrainian. The system of nurseries and kindergartens is easily explained:
    Also, all the necessary information for families from Ukraine who arrived in the UK with children (about childcare facilities, the mechanism for registering children in the education system, assistance in paying for childcare services, categories and benefits) at the link


    Most importantly: Familiarize yourself with local modes of transport and ask your sponsor for recommendations on the most efficient and cheapest. If you are under 25 years old or over 60 - ask immediately for discounts or free travel.
    Citymapper app is a great resource for getting around cities. Automatically selects the language that you have selected in your smartphone.
    The transport system in the UK is fragmented, both local modes of transport and trains are operated by a large number of private companies. Depending on the sponsor's accommodation - there may be a combination of bus, train, subway. The cost of daily and leisure transport is unique to the combination of your place of residence and place of work.Read more - here 
    Trains - most routes have only one train company, check with your location. Ticket prices are different, but in general, compared to many European countries, the train as a type of regular transport is expensive. This is something to keep in mind when looking for a job and consider when considering salaries.
    In addition to travel cards, there are also various travel discount cards for different ages and needs.
    Ask the sponsor for recommendations on the best transportation and how to pay for it in their area.
    Transport in London: (at the bottom of the page, you can choose the auto-translator of the site into another language). All transport in London is easiest to pay with contactless payment by bank card.
    Useful article about London transport in the Ukrainian version of the BBC


    Most importantly: figure out what is required for your car to legally drive in the UK. If you are going to drive around London - think about paying fees in advance.
    Owing a car in the UK is relatively expensive. If you are planning to buy a car or import your own from Ukraine - calculate all the costs and difficulties and take into account the ratio with the expected income. For those living in big cities, cars are not always optimal.
    Ukrainian driving license is valid for 12 months after the start of residence. At the end of 12 months, they need to be changed to British. The process does not require passing exams. with-great-britain/ukraine
    Temporary import of a car
    You can drive your car with foreign plates in the UK without UK registration and taxation if you meet the following requirements:- you come and do not plan to stay here (do not receive resident status)- the car is registered and taxes paid in another country- you have been using this car in the UK for less than 6 months (or less than 6 months out of 12)
    Even in this case you will have to register the car if you plan to travel between the UK and Northern Ireland.
    Import carSubject to obtaining the status of a resident (having a job, a bank account, a BRP document makes you a resident), you will be required to complete certain steps to import a car - either use the services of an import company or go through the process yourself (within 14 days from the start of residence).
    You can be fined if the process with HMRC (Inland Revenue and Customs) is not started in a timely manner.
    Be sure to contact HMRC prior to arrival to confirm when you will be considered a resident and based on that from when you are required to import a vehicle.
    HMRC IN UK 0300 200 3300HMRC CALLING OUTSIDE UK: +44 135 535 9022
    In London
    We recommend that you do not come to London by car unless absolutely necessary. London has an excellent transport system, and driving in London is unpleasant (traffic jams) and very expensive.
    ● 2 Speed ​​limit 20 mph (32 km/h) citywide (will be 15 mph (24 km/h) in 2022).● To enter the center of London, you need to pay a Congestion Charge - £15 per day. ● In addition to this fee, check if your vehicle meets the ULEZ standards required to drive in London or if you need to pay a daily fee of £12.50.  ● Outside of central London there are 'Low Traffic Areas' (LTNs) where some streets are limited by barriers such as poles or flower pots. Residents can drive through, but if you don't live on that road, you'll get a ticket.● In and around central London, assume there is a charge for parking until you are proven otherwise. You should never park your car anywhere unless expressly allowed to do so, or if you have a permit or pay to park at a parking machine. Cars parked without permission are not only fined and blocked, but also taken away.


    If you need and have the opportunity to learn English, there are several paid and free resources available.
    Free resourcesWhen applying for a benefits package at the Employment Center (Employment Center), ask about free English language training for job seekers. These courses cover ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages ​​- English for Speakers of Other Languages) and cover colleges free of charge through the Spatial Job Center. For example, in London Seas:    - In Barnet    - In Lewisham    - In Lambeth    - In Southwark    - To Harringey    - At Walthamstow
    If you are unable to find a job because of your poor English, ask the Job Center to refer you to a free, specialized ESOL English course at a local college.
    Future Learn and other British Council initiatives offer free online English courses to help you find a job 
    Free online English courses for Ukrainian refugees


    Household items - numerous apps and sites where users offer free or very cheap household items, clothes, toys, books
    Charity Shops - charity shops - they sell everything from clothes to kitchen appliances, everything used, given to the store by previous owners for free. The sale price goes to the charity to which the store is linked.
    Food Bank -Food / Food Bank - charitable organizations that distribute food. Ask the sponsor what is available at the place of residence.
    Trussel Trust -
    The Red Cross - is currently issuing £50 vouchers for those arriving up to 14 days prior to entry. Call 08081963651