Initial Stages to Guest Arrival
When you are sure that you wish to offer your room and can commit immediately, look on the Government site FAQs to see what constitutes suitable accommodation (you will not be able to have a family of six on your lounge floor).
(It is possible at this stage to work to find your own guest. That’s great – but please stay in touch)
If you have a suitable space, fill out our form. Please consider whether you would be willing to change the furniture in the room – we can store double beds and it is usually easy to source single beds at no cost to you. This would allow you to take 2 people rather than only one.
If you are ‘possibly interested’, please just look at the posts and respond. As a rule of thumb, most people will have accepted accommodation within 48 hours, so please respond quickly.
If you have filled out the form, we will add it to our map. This will help us match groups of people. Please be sure that you are ready to commit before entering your details. If you are on the map and we offer a group that matches your indicated choices but you decide that you are no longer interested, this does waste a significant amount of time. If you will listen to someone else’s opinion (eg a family member) then you should ask these people before signing up.
Also, please let our administrator know when you have a visitor/visitors who have accepted your offer.
Our group finds families to host through our relationship with Sunflower Sisters and through people known to guests already in the Godalming area (sometimes supporting neighbouring groups).
We initially contact suitable people who have filled out the form. If this does not produce a suitable match, we post the potential guests on our Facebook group.
Once we ask you to match with a guest, the next step will be a video call with the guest. This is an opportunity to find out about them and understand whether you feel that you could share your home with them. This is the best chance that you will have to talk about anything that would worry you (maybe smoking or drinking, any allergies you have and steps that the guests must take etc). Please ask on the Facebook group or e-mail if you need an interpreter.
There is no need to send the guest money at any point. Please highlight to admin if you are asked.
The visa form for Homes for Ukraine (for people who are not related to their guests)
There are guides on how to fill this out.
Please note that if the form doesn’t like you or your family being ‘British Citizens’ then try ‘United Kingdom’
There is a list of all the questions translated into Ukrainian. Note that Q17 asks for Country (England), not county (that threw us a bit).
There is a translation aid for Birth Certificates.
At the end of the process when the screen asks you to load the guest’s passport, this is the place where you need to add all the passports of the adults in the Sponsor’s home. Each upload has a tag to say what it is.
Possibly spent rearranging your house. Talk to us if you need help with storage.
Visas are taking between a few days and several weeks. There is no way to speed this up or to predict a visa that is almost ready.
This is the expected outcome. If this fails we need to either appeal or start again.
Once a Visa is approved, your guest has 90 days to make use of it or they will need to reapply (United Kingdom Visa & Immigration department (UKVI) at the Home Office (HO) have confirmed that the time limit on the Permission to Travel Letters to enter the UK is 90 days for both the Homes for Ukraine and Ukraine Family Schemes).
Trains across Europe are free to Ukrainian migrants so it is possible for them to arrive by train if that is their choice
Please let admin know if your guests want to fly – the King’s church is offering to reimburse up to £100 per person towards:
- Flights for guests coming to Godalming or the surrounding villages to stay with hosts connected to Godalming for Ukraine.
- One-way flight with 1 item of checked luggage per person (around 20kg depending on carrier).
- Direct unless the detour is to reduce cost or to avoid unreasonable delay.
- A cost below £100 per person (your guests can top this up). Foreign currency costs will be refunded at the rate on Google convert when the payment is processed.
- No excess baggage charges are covered.
It is important to reserve funds by emailing admin prior to promising the refund to your guests.
Although most of our guests are arriving by other means, a few have made the journey across Europe by car. The Calais to Folkestone Eurotunnel route is the fastest.
Guests should arrive in Calais early to give plenty of time to book tickets as pre-booked tickets will expire if guests are delayed arriving. Only foot passengers get free transport so your guests will have to pay. There are charities supporting this – please provide a link if you find one.
Refugees are currently being offered free Airbnb accommodation within the EU (Book Online – please e-mail if you find how to do this) and this will help on their journey across Europe and also on arrival in Calais.
Recommend that guests fill their tank a few miles before reaching Calais to avoid the inevitable price close to Calais and the higher UK costs.
It is not possible to meet your guest upon arrival in Folkestone so ensure that they have good instructions and a postcode to reach you.
Foreign registered vehicles need to be re-registered in the UK within six months. As a first step Customs need to be contacted because both vat and car tax may need to be paid. This could be quite a hefty bill depending on make, model, age and country of origin.
Guest Arrival and Settling
These are a mandatory part of the process.
They seek to ensure that your home is safe for the group that you have – note that if the children are younger than you have been used to they may have different needs. The FAQ covered in step 1 will help understand what will be looked for. Waverley’s approach is very light touch and based on checking that the guests are safe to the level that they would be in a normal home.
You can book your home check once the arrival date is known. Send an E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do not send follow up emails – they will deal with your mail as soon as they can.
A new Enhanced DBS will be required for any adult in a house with a guest who is under 18 or classed as vulnerable, otherwise, a standard DBS is required. These checks may happen at any time between visa application and several weeks after your guest arrives. They do not slow down the visa process.
The Home Check is the point at which Waverley normally issues the £200 pre-loaded cards to guests. Some guests report that these take a few days to activate. The Pin is on the plastic strip that you remove. Place this on white paper to read. It is difficult to read.
It is helpful if you meet them at their point of entry to the UK. If not, ask on the Facebook group to see if another member could meet your guest.
Please let us know about your guests by filling out this simple form. We use this data for allocating Vodafone SIM cards. If you are interested in getting a free Vodafone SIM for your guest, please ensure that we have a way of contacting you.
Once you have your guests, your DBS and your home check complete, you can sign up for your £350 per month “thank you” payment on this page. The link to claim the money is towards the bottom of the page (the link you fill out is not on the Waverley page).
Guests without Ukrainian Passport
If your guest did not hold a Ukrainian Passport (and therefore had to go to a Visa Centre), they will need to collect their Biometric Resident’s Permit within 10 days of arriving in the UK. This involves a visit to Guildford post office. If the guest is a child, the process as documented is very complex:
They need a suitable adult to go with them. A suitable adult is a parent who is also claiming a resident’s permit (but not a parent who already has a Ukrainian passport) or someone with a British Passport who has been approved by the Home Office. This approval could take a week.
In practice, the permit has been given outside these rules but we advise that plenty of time is allowed in case the rules do need following.
Guests with Ukrainian Passport
If your guest already has a Ukrainian passport then they have 6 months in which to apply for a Biometric Resident’s Permit that will:
- Extend their visa from 6 months to 3 years
- Allow them easier re-entry to the UK if they should travel outside the country
You apply for an appointment by following this link.
Use the Government website (It is possible to get this at the same time as Biometric Resident’s Permit but we recommend applying separately. It is quick and easy and some other steps rely on it)
Positive experiences have been reported from Monzo, HSBC, Virgin, Santander, NatWest. Recent experiences in person at Lloyds have been positive
Negative experiences at Barclays (they are working on it…)
Universal Credit can be applied for using this link. This should be started as soon as possible as it is difficult to backdate the claim. The local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) will support us should we run into issues (drop-in available 10-2 Mon-Fri in Godalming). Note that the first application will only be short as the identity documents that will be used need manual verification at the Job Centre in Guildford.
There is a need to separately claim child benefit. This involves printing and posting a form. The form states that an original passport is required. This is not required for Ukrainians and a photocopy will suffice (payments received using photocopy only).
School places are applied through this link.
These applications count as an in-year admission. Schools may only take new students if they have a space and no waiting list. They are not allowed to prioritise Ukrainian students over British students.
We recommend supporting the application above with a call to your local school. Many have been excellent in finding ways to accommodate guests.
There are lots of jobs locally. The Godalming community board is a good place for low skilled jobs. For professionals, it may be worth asking the Facebook group how to find vacancies for these roles.
Many roles that our guests would like to do require a DBS check. Here is some advice from the voluntary sector on the process that is likely to be followed. Allow plenty of time.
We’ll have people around to:
Offer trauma counselling
Aid mediation, should there be issues between hosts and guests
Assist in translation
Offer English lessons and help in understanding English culture
Offer days out
Provide group meals
Remember, most of our guests will not have cars and will benefit from support for almost all transport needs.