Proof of address

Proof of address is a very commonly used kind of identity document in the UK. For example, you will likely need it for opening a bank account, applying for benefits, documents, jobs, and so on.

Essentially, proof of address is a UK alternative for the Ukrainian system of residence registration (propiska). However, instead of notifying authorities about changing of your place of residence you just need to prove where you live once asked.

Normally those documents count as proof of address:

  • tenancy agreement from local council or housing association
  • bank statement
  • UK driving licence, full or provisional
  • letter from Department for Work and Pensions with your National Insurance number
  • tax documents
  • utility bills

Some organizations may not accept some of documents listed above, some may accept documents that are not listed. Driving licences and bank statements are most likely to be accepted.

Note that some proofs of address may have expiration date, that depends on requirements of a certain organization / government body.

Opening a bank account in the UK 

To open a bank account in the UK, you usually need proof of permanent address. NatWest and RBS are now advising that for guests from Ukraine, this requirement for proof of permanent address may not be necessary – especially where a visa can be presented instead. Other banks are advising that they have colleagues ready to help new arrivals (such as HSBC and Santander). There is no expectation of guests to have set up a UK bank account prior to their arrival in the UK, but it would be a good idea to set up a bank account as soon as you can after arrival, once you are settled in.

Online banks such as Revolut and Monzo offer to set up accounts without a visit, and require a phone number, a physical address and a Ukrainian passport or identity card. They verify your address simply by sending you a physical card; once you activate it, your address is proven. While Monzo does not open an account until the card activation, Revolut works with some limitations even without activating a physical card. Accounts normally can be opened free of charge, however the bank might charge you for card issuance and delivery.

It is highly recommended to open an account in any bank after your arrival as soon as possible. After opening your first bank account, it will become much easier to open the next.

£200 payment per guest

Each guest will be given £200 from the Government. This is intended to help with initial costs such as buying food and other essentials. As soon as the guests have arrived at the host’s house, the host should notify Cambridge City Council of the arrival. They will ask you to provide guests’ bank details. They will then make the £200 payment per guest. Where appropriate, they will make all payments for one family into one bank account.

If they cannot open a bank account, they can tell Cambridge City Council this when completing the form after their arrival. Council will be able to provide them with a pre-paid card to use in shops or online. For urgent questions about this payment, please contact ukrainepayments@scambs.gov.uk 

Free travel to your host’s house

Your host may be able to help you travel to their home. If not, guests are eligible for one free journey using trains, buses or coaches to travel to your host’s home. You will only need to show your Ukrainian passport and boarding pass, or ticket showing arrival into the country within the last 48 hours. For more information see the Ukrainian Displaced Persons Travel Scheme.


Guests will be able to access Benefits on a similar basis as other UK residents. You can find out more about Universal Credit on the Government’s website. Universal Credit is a monthly payment to help with living costs, which you may be eligible for if you are on a low income, out of work, or cannot work. Guests will also be eligible for benefits such as Carer’s Allowance, Child Benefit, Disability Benefits and Pension Credit. 

Guests are entitled to claim Child Benefit immediately (rather than having to wait for the usual 3-month qualifying period). People who wish to claim should complete a CH2 Child Benefit claim form and submit this by post to the Child Benefit office. The address is included on the form. They will need to provide an original birth certificate and the passport or travel document used to enter the UK. Where this documentation is not immediately available, people are advised to include a note in their claim and someone from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will be in touch to discuss further. Anyone wanting more information on Child Benefit can visit GOV.UK or call 0300 200 3100 (from inside the UK).


Map of local food banks and food hubs 

The hosts may wish to support refugees with food and other essentials, but they are not required to do so. If refugee do not have food or other essentials provided and do not have access to money to buy what you need, they can visit local Foodbank and Food Hubs webpages. This shows a map of different types of foodbanks or food hubs in the area. Foodbanks and Food Hubs exist across the country, and many offer other essentials as well as food. Some Foodbanks will require a voucher – if they need a voucher to visit the local Foodbank, please email duty.communities@scambs.gov.uk and they can provide you with a voucher.  

Cambridgeshire Local Assistance Scheme

The Cambridgeshire Local Assistance Scheme (Cambridgeshire County Council) could support refugees with access to low cost reused and refurbished household items, clothing and food vouchers. Please contact clas@cambridgecab.org.uk for further information.

Charity shops

In charity shops you can buy very cheap clothes, children’s toys, plates, mugs etc.

There are many of them in Burleigh Street off Grafton Centre, including British Heart Foundation, RSPCA, Cancer Research, Oxfam, British Red Cross, Scope and Mind.

Housing costs 

If refugee family can’t afford to pay rent (although please note host accommodation providers via the Homes for Ukraine scheme should not be charging any rent), they can apply for assistance with housing costs via Universal Credit. This can take up to six weeks to come through and might not cover all of the rent. Local council Housing Advice team can work with refugees to support them to remain with family or to secure alternative accommodation. If help is needed to pay a rent deposit, or rent in advance, contact Housing Advice team. 

Help if refugee is at risk of homelessness 

If a guest from Ukraine has arrived in the UK, but now is at risk of becoming homeless – for instance if the relationship between a guest and the host has broken down – it is important to act as soon as possible. They can contact local Council team


Children of families who come to the UK under the Government schemes are entitled to a school place. In England you are required to ensure that any of your children aged 5 to 16 receive a full-time education. Children will normally begin to attend school, full-time, in the September after their fourth birthday but you have the option of taking up a place part-time until the start of the term immediately after the child turns 5.

Alternatively, they can keep your child at home or in nursery while they are 4 and apply for their child to start school from the start of the term following their fifth birthday – although their choice of school may be more limited. It is likely, at least in the first year, that they will need to apply for ‘in-year’ admissions.

Cambridgeshire County Council is responsible for education in Cambridgeshire. Please visit the Cambridgeshire County Council website  and especially this page  for information on how to apply for a school place for your child


Mental health hotline: Dial 111 option 2

Barnardo’s has set up a Ukrainian Support Helpline to provide a holistic support service to anyone fleeing the conflict in Ukraine. Barnardo’s free helpline (0800 148 8586) is staffed by English, Ukrainian and Russian speakers, to offer support to children and families arriving in the UK from Ukraine. The helpline is open Monday to Friday (10am to 8pm) and Saturday (10am to 3pm). Callers will be able to get help and advice on a range of issues. You can also email the team or find out more on the Barnardo’s website.

Emotional Support: It is common to feel a lot of different emotions after leaving your homeland. The British Red Cross can support you, with help in more than 200 languages. It helps people who are lonely, worried and finding it hard to get the help they need in the UK. 

Call them on 0808 196 3651 (open daily 10am – 6pm) and you can ask for an interpreter if you need one. If you are feeling very distressed, call The Samaritans on 116 123 or email: jo@samaritans.org

Physical health: free access to NHS healthcare

NHS healthcare: Ukrainian refugees will be guaranteed free access to NHS healthcare on a similar basis as other UK residents – including, for instance, the offer of COVID-19 vaccines and medical screenings. This covers any NHS treatment that started on or after 24 February (the date the full-scale Russian invasion began). This includes NHS dentistry. New arrivals should register in the same way as resident citizens. For more detail, please visit the NHS website

TODO: how to register with a GP surgery

Coronavirus vaccination:

There is a walk-in vaccination site at Grafton Centre. 

Coronavirus testing:

The UK Health Security Agency has added Ukrainian translations to the guidance on COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test kit instructions. Links to the Ukrainian translations have also been added to the guidance page on how to do a coronavirus (COVID-19) rapid lateral flow test. 


Share Code: Share Codes are from the government and prove your rights e.g. right to work. To get a share code online apply on https://www.gov.uk/view-prove-immigration-status 

Volunteering: Ukrainian refugees are allowed to volunteer without it impacting their benefits

National Insurance Number: If you do not have a National Insurance number, you can find information on how to get one at: https://www.gov.uk/apply-national-insurance-number 

When you make an application, you will need to give a copy of your passport and proof that you have the right to work.


Visa Progress

Currently you are unable to check visa progress online. You can call the free 24/7 helpline on +44 808 164 8810 (0808 164 8810 from within the UK) for help with any questions about the scheme.

If you cannot contact UK 0808 numbers, please use +44 (0)175 390 7510

3-year Visas

To extend your stay for up to the three years allowed under this scheme, you will need to apply for a Biometric Residence Permit. You will not need to provide this immediately, but you must have completed your application and provided the biometric information required within your first six months. Information can be provided using the UK Immigration: ID Check app or at one of our applications centres in the UK.

Travel reimbursement on arrival

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 and 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

Driving Licence

You must have both a full driving licence and in date motor insurance to drive a vehicle on UK roads.
If you have a full driving licence issued in Ukraine, you may use this licence to drive small vehicles (such as motorcycles, cars, and vehicles up to 3500kgs or with up to eight passenger seats) for up to a year in the UK. The licence must cover the vehicle being driven and must still be valid.
To continue to drive after this, you must obtain a provisional driving licence and pass a UK driving test before the 12 months ends.

Guest arrival and house check

Shortly after arrival at sponsors home a representative from the local council will visit, please also email to the local Council to let them know when the guests arrive and how many also.

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