Arrival & first steps
This section is to give you some idea about the first few weeks and months after you arrive.
Making contact with your sponsor
Before travelling to the UK, you should let your sponsor know when you will be arriving and then arrange where you will meet. You should discuss with them whether they will meet you at your arrival point or whether you should make your own way to their home. If they ask you to make your way to their home, they should explain to you the best way to travel there.
Security checks prior to your arrival
Security checks will be undertaken on your host and their family. These checks are a necessary step to ensure you and your sponsor are kept safe.
On arrival in the UK
There are 12 major entry points to the UK, including airports, where there will be designated areas (Welcome Points) for you to meet your sponsor and where you can seek support, including to arrange your onward travel. These are being established at the following locations:
* London Gatwick Airport is the closest to Tunbridge Wells.
Dover & Folkestone Port Authority
International rail terminal
London St. Pancras Station
Free travel to your host
If you have agreed with your sponsor that you will make your own way to their home, you will be eligible for a single onward journey via national rail, bus, light rail or coach, free of charge to your destination anywhere in England, Scotland and Wales. You only need to show your Ukrainian passport and your boarding pass or ticket showing arrival into the country within the last 48 hours.
For more information, see Ukrainian Displaced Persons Travel Scheme.
SIM cards for mobile
If you did not receive a SIM card on entry to the country, a number of mobile phone providers are offering free SIM cards
Vodafone are offering 6 months of connection. It requires an online application and may take up to three weeks to deliver, due to demand
Three are offering a 30 day SIM card which can be picked up from Three stores, including at Royal Victoria Place.
What should I expect in my first few days?
Your sponsor is not only providing you with a room or rooms in which to stay, but will also help you, as much as they can, in adjusting to life in the UK. The first thing they will do is try to make sure you are comfortable in your accommodation, and that you have access to necessities such as food, bedding and toiletries. They will also have a lot of knowledge they will be able to share with you about the area in which you are staying.
Shortly after you arrive at your sponsor’s home, you will be visited by a representative from the local council. This is nothing to worry about. The council will mainly be interested in checking that you have arrived safely and that the accommodation you are living in is suitable.
The UK government’s guide for Ukrainians coming to the UK provides further information about arriving and your first days in the country.
Opening a bank account
It is important to have a bank account as soon as possible as it is required in many areas of life in the UK.
For details on different bank accounts there is a useful guide on how to get started.
Some of the banks that are providing services for Ukrainian refugees are:
Our welcome pack (available in English or Ukrainian) brings together most of the information in this section of the website and can be downloaded for future reference.