You will have witnessed the devastating impact of the ongoing war in Ukraine and the unfolding humanitarian crisis as more and more people are forced to flee their homes. Find out how you can help those in need.
Welcoming refugees to Northern Ireland
Work is being done to welcome refugees from Ukraine to Northern Ireland under the schemes run by the UK Home Office and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
You must not travel to the UK before you have a visa or a letter from the Home Office giving you permission to enter.
The UK has put three different Ukraine Schemes in place to support those who wish to either come to or stay in the UK:
- Ukraine Family Scheme
- Homes for Ukraine Scheme
- Ukraine Extension Scheme
Ukraine Family Scheme
If you have family who are settled in the UK, you may be able to apply to the Ukraine Family Scheme.
Homes for Ukraine
If you want to be sponsored by a UK household for six months, (or up to three years for an eligible unaccompanied minor), you may be able to apply to the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.
Ukraine Extension Scheme
You can apply for the Ukraine Extension Scheme if you held permission to be in the UK on or between 18 March 2022 and 16 November 2023.
The permission does not need to cover the whole period you previously held permission to be in the UK and that permission expired on or after 1 January 2022.
All applications to the Ukraine Extension Scheme are to be made before 16 May 2024.
You should consider which scheme you apply to before making an application.
Once you have made an application you should avoid applying to another scheme as this may delay the decision.
The Ukraine Extension Scheme does not need a UK-based sponsor.
Work under way to support new arrivals
Government departments, councils and the voluntary and community sector are working in partnership to make sure the necessary preparations are in place so that they stand ready to give sanctuary to Ukrainian refugees.
This will include ensuring safeguarding arrangements and necessary support to both those arriving and sponsors.
Housing or sponsoring a refugee
You can record your interest at:
Further information for those who have offered to be a sponsor under the Homes for Ukraine scheme is available at:
Children travelling without their parent or legal guardian
The Homes For Ukraine scheme is also open to children under 18 who are not travelling with or joining their parent or legal guardian, known as ‘eligible children’ (where sponsor eligibility and parental or legal guardian consent needs are met).
Safeguarding checks on sponsors must be finished before new visa applications can be made by or on behalf of eligible children.
On 28 July 2022, an online application form for planned sponsors to complete was launched. This allows planned sponsors to start their application process and begin safeguarding checks.
The visa application process for new applications from eligible children opened on 10 August 2022.
More guidance is available on GOV.UK via the following links:
Applicants can apply from Ukraine or from any other third country.
To support Ukrainian citizens fleeing the conflict in Ukraine, the Department of Finance will be processing information about individuals and organisations who have offered support for those arriving, including accommodation.
Information will also be processed about Ukrainian citizens who have travelled to Northern Ireland. The data will be collected from multiple sources, including directly from individuals and organisations.
Further information is available at:
Making a cash donation
Many international organisations and charities are working in the UK, across Europe and in Ukraine to provide aid and help. By making a cash donation, your money can help to get food, water, clothing, medical supplies and other essentials to those most in need.
Donations can be made through the Disasters Emergency Committee’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.
There are other local charities you may want to support.
Donating food, clothes and other essentials
Charities are identifying specific support needed for Ukraine and advice on humanitarian aid is that local groups are best raising money for the recognised appeals, rather than attempting to send goods.
Donations can be made to Disasters Emergency Committee’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.
Or, you may wish to contact charities or local community organisations to identify any specific support needed by refugees who have already arrived here.
You can also donate items to charity shops and some faith-based groups. The items you donate may not go directly to refugees but the money raised helps charities to support them.
You can also donate food to your local food bank. Further information is available at:
Local refugee and other charity or support organisations may have volunteering opportunities available.