Scotland for Ukrainians: a guide for displaced people

This guide includes information on visas, travel, accommodation and life in Scotland.

Settling in to life in Scotland

We want you to feel safe and supported while you live in Scotland.

The Welcome Pack for New Scots provides information about accessing benefits, language support, healthcare, working and education, and about life in Scotland.

Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)


If you have been granted a visa, you will need a BRP. This includes children who have arrived in the UK with their parents, and children born in the UK after the arrival of their parents.   

 The BRP is a document which proves:

  • Your identity   
  • Your type of visa and period of leave to remain in the UK 
  • Your visa conditions and rights in the UK, including your right to work and public funds 

You can use it to prove your right to work, study and claim any benefits you are eligible for. Your BRP states your right to work. If you want to prove your right to work to your employer, you can do so online.   

You need to get a BRP in order to stay in the UK for the duration of your visa (usually up to three years). For more information please see the UK Government guidance.

Your BRP will hold your biometrics (fingerprints and facial photograph). 

You can go online for more information on BRPs, and to find a link to the online form to start the process of providing your biometric information.

Getting your BRP if you applied from outside the UK

If you applied for your immigration status (for example, your visa) from outside the UK you will usually have provided your biometric information before travelling and you’ll need to collect your BRP once you are in the UK.

You must usually do this before the vignette sticker in your travel document expires or within 10 days of arriving in the UK, whichever is later.

Check your decision letter. It will tell you to collect your BRP from either:

You must be over 18 to collect a BRP. Bring your passport or travel document with your vignette sticker in when you collect your BRP. You must be nominated to collect a child’s BRP, even if you are the child’s parent.

For more information please see the UK Government guidance 

If you are having problems with collecting your BRP

If you are having problems getting to your nearest post office to collect your BRP, or if the post office the BRP is being delivered to is incorrect, you can use the reporting tool. Please choose the option: ‘I don’t know which post office I need to collect my BRP from’ and tell the Home Office your location and the problems you are having.  You do not need to include passport information. Alternatively, you can email

If your BRP has been returned from post offices back to the Home Office, please email with your information and a request to receive the BRP.

For more information please see the UK Government BRP guidance 

If you did not provide your biometric information before arriving in the UK please see the below section in this document called ‘If you need to provide your biometric information’.

Getting your BRP if you applied from inside the UK

If you made your visa or immigration application from inside the UK, your biometric residence permit (BRP) will be sent to the address you gave in your application. You do not need to collect it.

Your BRP will usually arrive within 10 working days of getting your decision letter from the Home Office saying that you can remain in the UK.

It may take longer if your BRP is being delivered to the Scottish Highlands or Islands. You will get an email or text from the delivery company TNT telling you when your BRP will arrive. It will also tell you how to change the delivery time and date.

Someone aged 18 or over must be at the delivery address to receive your BRP. They will need proof of their identity - for example, a driving licence, passport or national identity card.

For more information please see the UK Government BRP guidance 

If you need to provide your biometric information

Your permission letter will say if you need to provide your biometric information once you are in the UK.

If you do need to provide your biometric information once you are in the UK, you must do this within six months of arriving in the UK to get your BRP. This will allow you to stay for up to three years. 

You will usually go to one of the following:

If you are outside the UK, you will be asked to go to a visa application centre.

Most overseas UK visa application centres are open, but some are closed until further notice because of coronavirus (COVID-19). Check with your local visa application centre for the latest information on the services they are offering.

If you are applying to extend your stay or switch to a different visa, you must be in the UK to provide your biometric information.

For more information please see the UK Government guidance 

If you have problems with your BRP, the Scottish Refugee Council can provide support.

Bank accounts, money and benefits


If you have come to Scotland through the Scottish Super Sponsor Scheme, Ukraine Family Scheme, Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme (Homes for Ukraine) or Ukraine Extension Scheme you will have visa or immigration documents that allow you to claim benefits. You will be told about these benefits when you arrive. 

We encourage you to open a bank account as soon as is reasonably practicable. Scottish Refugee Council and Citizens Advice Scotland can help you do this. Please avoid allowing anyone other than the official agencies to assist you in setting up a bank account or claiming benefits. Never give anyone else access to your bank account.

If you need to claim benefits, you should do this as soon as possible. You can apply for benefits before your bank account is open but many require you to have a bank account to receive the first payment.

Banks that do not require proof of address. 

Other banks that require fixed proof of address 

Barclays:  Personal banking | Barclays

Santander: Everyday current account | No fee account | Santander UK 

Social security

You may be entitled to apply for financial support for you and your family while you live in Scotland, and you can do this through the Social Security system.

There are different types of assistance you can apply for depending on your circumstances (e.g. if you are looking for employment; if you have children; if you or your child or children have a disability). Depending on which type of assistance you need, you need to apply to:

  • the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
  • His Majesty’s Revenue and Customers (HMRC)
  • Social Security Scotland

Benefits controlled by the UK Government (DWP/HMRC)

The UK Government’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has made it easier for you to access the benefits system immediately upon arrival in the UK. The UK Government can provide some benefits, including:

  • Universal Creditthis is paid once or twice a month, usually into your bank, building society or credit union account. Your payment can include an amount for housing. If you are paying for housing yourself, your payment can include an amount for housing which you will usually need to pay to your landlord
  • State Pension Credit - Pension Credit gives you extra money to help with your living costs if you are over State Pension age (66 for men and women) and on a low income. Pension Credit can also help with housing costs such as ground rent or service charges
  • Claim Child Benefit - you can get Child Benefit if you are responsible for bringing up a child who is under 16, or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training. Only one person can get Child Benefit for a child. It is paid every four weeks and there is no limit to how many children you can claim for
  • Warm Home Discount Scheme - you could get £150 off your electricity bill for winter 2022 to 2023 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme.
  • Carer's Allowance - you could get £69.70 a week if you care for someone at least 35 hours a week and they get certain benefits
  • Attendance Allowance helps with extra costs if you have a disability severe enough that you need someone to help look after you, and you are over the State Pension age
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit - you might get Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit if you became ill or are disabled because of an accident or disease either at work or on an approved employment training scheme or course

To find out more, visit the Department for Work and Pensions website at: Benefits – 

Benefits controlled by the Scottish Government (Social Security Scotland)

The Scottish Government controls other benefits and also made changes to make it easier for you to access financial support immediately upon arrival in Scotland. If you need to apply for these benefits you should do so as soon as you arrive. Some of the support available includes:

Social Security Independent Advocacy Service – VoiceAbility

If you are disabled you can get free and independent support from an advocate to apply for benefits administered by Social Security Scotland.

An advocate will help you to understand information about your rights, help you ask questions and make sure your views are listened to. They will NOT offer advice or make decisions on your behalf.

The service is delivered by VoiceAbility, who can provide translation and interpretation support if required. They can be contacted via:

You can also ask the Scottish Refugee Council about a referral to VoiceAbility. 

For more information on the financial support you can apply for in Scotland, visit Social Security Scotland for a list of these benefits and how to apply, either online, by paper application or phone 0800 182 2222. 

Local council schemes

Local councils also provide financial support. To check for details on eligibility and how to apply, Visit your local council website for further information. An income limit may apply for some schemes so it is advisable to check the qualifying criteria. 

Scottish Welfare Fund

The Scottish Welfare Fund gives money to people in crisis and people who need help to live by themselves. The money does not have to be paid back. 

Help during the cost of living crisis

If you need urgent help with money, food or fuel, the cost of living website contains information on the wide range of support available.

Language support


Accessing public services

Public services in Scotland – including healthcare, benefits, schools, councils and housing services – must provide you with an interpreter if you need one when you are accessing their services. The interpreter may be online or by telephone rather than in person.

When booking an appointment, you should:

  • ask for an interpreter
  • specify which language you need
  • say if you prefer a man or a woman (for medical appointments)

If you are told that you should bring a friend or relative to interpret for you, you have the right to refuse to do so and to ask for a qualified interpreter to be provided. You will not have to pay for this. 

The Scottish Refugee Council has published guidance, which includes access to interpreters.

For translation and interpretation support, you can also contact Respond: Crisis in Translation.

Online translators

Free online translators can be helpful when you need a quick translation to another language. Remember that while the translated text is often accurate, sentences and meanings might not always be quite right. These do not replace professional translators or interpreters.

Some online translators include:

  • Google Translate - one of the most popular online translation services, especially for lengthy text to translate
  • Bing Translator – allows you to speak the text to be translated and gives you options to hear the translation aloud
  • Translatedict - easy to use and allows you to see the written translation, or click the sound button to hear it out loud

Mobile apps are also available, including SayHi.

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

Learning English will help you adapt to life in Scotland and will help you to understand information about housing, healthcare and other services. You can get help to learn English.

ESOL courses are delivered through colleges, charities, community organisations and in some instances councils. The Scottish Refugee Council website also has information on ESOL courses available across Scotland.

English as an Additional Language for school aged children is available through Education Scotland’s Parentzone.

e-Sgoil Beginner’s English course

e-Sgoil is a nationwide community for online teaching and learning. They have launched a Beginner’s English course for Ukrainian Families. These are online weekly learning sessions and you can find out more at English for Ukraine Families or by emailing

Legal services


Scottish Refugee Council provides free, confidential legal advice and information to people seeking protection including Ukrainians and their families on legal routes for seeking safety in Scotland.

Advice services operate in English, but can provide legal advice in other languages, including Ukrainian and Russian.

You can contact Scottish Refugee Council by calling 0808 1967 274 on:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday between 09:00 and 17:00 (UK time)
  • Wednesday between 13:00 and 17:00 (UK time)

Alternatively, you can contact Scottish Refugee Council by emailing



Healthcare in Scotland is provided free of charge by Scotland’s national health service (NHS). Everyone who is a resident in Scotland is entitled to access health care. This includes displaced people from Ukraine, including when you are in temporary welcome accommodation.  

Translated guidance in Ukrainian or Russian helps explain which part of the NHS to use for different health concerns, and how to look after your health and the people you care for. This includes information on NHS Scotland, illnesses and conditions, and your health rights. 

You can find out more about healthcare in Scotland, including how to register with a GP or dentist, and access mental health support in the New Scots Welcome Pack.

NHS24 – urgent health advice can be accessed by dialling 111 when your GP or dental practice is closed and you cannot wait until they reopen.  Leaflets translated into Ukrainian and Russian explain what will happen when you phone 111.

Registering with the NHS

A healthcare leaflet – available in Ukrainian and Russianexplains how people access healthcare, including how to register with a doctor (known as a GP practice), dentist, optician and how to get your prescribed medication. 

Employment and training


You can work while you are living in Scotland. To find out more about finding a job in Scotland, including developing new skills, how to start your own business or get your qualifications recognised, read the New Scots Welcome Pack.   

If you find a job, you must be paid the correct rate of pay and more than the legal minimum. You should read the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage page for more information. If you are being paid less than the legal minimum rates of pay, this could be considered exploitation. 

If you have concerns about your pay or your employment rights, you should contact the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) for advice. 

You can also report underpayment of the National Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). If it is found that an employer has not paid the correct rate of pay, HMRC will send them a notice for the arrears plus a fine for not paying the minimum wage.


You can help out as a volunteer or support people in your community. Both can help provide a pathway into paid work. You can find out more about opportunities for volunteering from the Local Third Sector Interface in your area, or from the Volunteer Scotland website.

Volunteering should only be arranged via official organisations.

Seasonal workers

You can get advice about being a seasonal worker through the Worker Support Centre - JustRight Scotland.

Ukrainians on the Seasonal Workers route had visas automatically extended until December 2022. You can apply for a further extension of up to 36 months through the Ukraine Extension Scheme. However, you are unable to sponsor family members or switch to other visa routes.  You can contact JustRight Scotland or Citizens Advice for further information on extending your visa.

Farms and growers should not try to use the Ukraine Sponsorship schemes (either Scottish Super Sponsor or individual sponsorship) as alternatives to the Seasonal Worker Visa.

The Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RSABI) is a charity that supports people in Scottish agriculture. This includes farm workers and seasonal workers. If you are a seasonal worker and are having difficulties with work, accommodation, food, heating, clothing, money or mental health, you can call their free helpline on 0808 123 9000.



Nurseries and schools

All children are entitled to early learning and childcare (aged three to five) and primary and secondary school education up to the age of 18. The council will help you to arrange school education for your child. 

The New Scots Welcome Pack has more information on school education in Scotland, including how to apply for a school place, and what to do if your child needs extra support in school.

Further education

If you wish to start a further or higher education course at a college or university in Scotland from academic year 2023 to 2024, you will be eligible for tuition and living cost support, providing you have submitted an application to the Homes for Ukraine, Ukraine Family or the Ukraine Extension Scheme.

If you are already undertaking higher or further education courses and apply to the Ukraine Extension Scheme, you will be eligible for support via the International Students’ Emergency Fund, should you be facing financial hardship. To apply you should contact your institution for more information.

You are also able to access financial support through your college or university’s Discretionary Funds if you need it.

The Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) provides information on support and funding for college and university education. You can find information about support for Ukrainian students and support for disabled students on the SAAS website.

Student Information Scotland also provides information on further and higher education for Ukrainian students and students with additional support needs.

More information about further and higher education in Scotland is available in the New Scots Welcome Pack.

Vocational training

Skills Development Scotland offers career information and advice at Skills Development Scotland support or through their free helpline on 0800 917 8000.

Skills Development Scotland also provide Individual Training Accounts to help you develop the skills you need for work. You can apply for up to £200 towards a single training course or training episode per year. This money does not need to be paid back.

Online career information and advice, including links to information in Ukrainian and other languages, can be found at My World of Work.

Child protection


All forms of physical punishment of children are against the law in Scotland. Children have the same legal protection from assault as adults. If a parent or carer uses physical punishment or physical discipline on their child, they can be charged with assault.

If you believe a child or young person is at risk call Police Scotland on 101. If you think they may be in immediate danger 999 and speak to the police immediately. Officers from Police Scotland will contact you to find out what has happened and will work with you to ensure the child is safe. Specialist Child Protection officers that work jointly with Child Protection Social Work will listen and speak to your child to find out what has happened to them.

Public Protection Guidance sets out the Scottish Government’s approach to protecting children who are travelling alone or with adults who are not their legal guardians. It also includes information about children placed in the care of others, or without an identified responsible adult.

Keeping safe


Staying safe in Scotland is important. Scotland welcomes you. But there may be people who try to exploit and take advantage of you. If you ever feel unsafe or in danger, call the police on 999. If you have suspicions that others may be in in a worrying circumstance, let someone know, be that the police, a local council representative, a charity worker, or accommodation employee.

If you need to contact emergency services anywhere in the UK, call one of these free phone numbers:

  • 999 and 112 - 999 is the main national emergency response service in the UK. In emergencies, call 999 for police, ambulance, fire brigade, coast guard or rescue, and Mountain Rescue. 112 is the European equivalent to 999 and can also be used in the UK
  • 101 – for non-emergencies, you can call 101 for the police
  • 111 – for non-emergency health issues, call 111 or visit NHS 24 online. The NHS is the UK’s national health service. NHS 24 provide telephone and online services for healthcare information and advice in Scotland.  NHS 24 uses the free and confidential interpretation service, Language Line, to support callers who do not, or prefer not to, speak English.

Human trafficking is a crime. In Scotland, victims and survivors of human trafficking have the right to protection and support in the law. There are several organisations which provide support:

Migrant Help supports victims of labour exploitation, criminal exploitation, domestic servitude, commercial sexual exploitation (men only), non-commercial sexual exploitation (men and women) and victims of organ harvesting when they enter the UK Government's national framework; the National Referral Mechanism (NRM).  Legal support is available to advise you about this process before entering.

Migrant Help can provide help with:

  • provision of temporary secure accommodation
  • linking to medical advice and treatment
  • linking to counselling and trauma support
  • linking to expert legal advice, including advice on immigration and compensation, and assistance with navigating criminal proceedings
  • day-to-day living assistance
  • financial support
  • interpreting and translation services
  • repatriation assistance if required
  • information and signposting to other relevant services

You can contact Migrant Help by emailing or by phoning 0141 884 7900. For emergencies and out-of-hours contact, phone 0141 212 8553.

TARA (Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance) is an organisation that support women who have been trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation. They provide information to help you identify if someone is trying to harm you and numbers to call for help and support. Information is available in Ukrainian and other languages.

For free and confidential advice or to report concerns about  human trafficking you can also call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700 (available 24 hours a day) or contact them on the Modern Slavery website

SOHTIS (Survivors of Human Trafficking in Scotland) is an organisation that provide information and workshops which can help you to avoid exploitation or being taken advantage of in Scotland. You can find information on their website in Ukrainian. They also can provide you with advocacy if you are concerned or unsure about exploitation, helping you to understand and access the help you are entitled to under the law. SOHTIS also provides support for survivors of exploitation. You can contact them for assistance from the SOHTIS website.

More information about community safety is available from the Scottish Government in Ukrainian, English and Russian.

To report concerns, seek advice or access support contact the organisations above or call the Modern Slavery Helpline at 08000 121 700.



Bus travel

If you are aged under 22, aged over 60 or have a disability, you can apply for free bus travel in Scotland.

Different councils in Scotland also offer free travel tickets for people arriving from Ukraine. You should visit your local council website for further information.

Ferry travel

If you live in the Western Isles, Orkney or Shetland and qualify for free bus travel under the concessionary travel scheme. You can also get two free return ferry journeys to the mainland each year.

Air travel

If you live in the Highlands and Islands region of Scotland you can receive 50% off air travel on certain routes.

Car or motorbike travel

You need to have a driving licence and make sure that your vehicle is registered, insured, taxed and has a valid MOT. Information on these can be found at

Legal obligations of drivers and riders.

You can check if your Ukrainian driving licence can be exchanged for a British licence at Exchange a foreign driving licence.

If your child is under 12 or 135 centimetres tall (whichever comes first), it is a legal requirement to use a child car seat in the UK. Please visit rules on child car seats for more information. 

Safety information

If you need to contact emergency services anywhere in the UK, call one of these free phone numbers

  • 999 and 112 - 999 is the main national emergency response service in the UK. In emergencies, call 999 for police, ambulance, fire brigade, coast guard or rescue, and Mountain Rescue. 112 is the European equivalent to 999 and can also be used in the UK
  • 101 – for non-emergencies, you can call 101 for the police
  • 111 – for non-emergency health issues, call 111 or visit NHS 24 online. The NHS is the UK’s national health service. NHS 24 provide telephone and online services for healthcare information and advice in Scotland.  NHS 24 uses the free and confidential interpretation service, Language Line, to support callers who do not, or prefer not to, speak English.




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