Support and guidance
- Welcome to Surrey
- Help and advice phone number for non-British nationals
- Who to call in an emergency
- Your health and welfare
- Getting your child into school for education
- Family support and childcare
- Learning to speak English
- How to get work
- Financial and cost of living support (including food banks)
Welcome to Surrey
This guide for Afghan citizens living in Surrey includes how to access essential public services and healthcare, plus how to find work, get access to childcare and education services.
Surrey is made up of 11 districts and boroughs, some services that you will need can be provided by these district and borough councils, others are provided by us, Surrey County Council.
To find out which district or borough you are in, open the link and type the town or village where you are living into this map Surrey interactive map (arcgis.com)
You can also find out more about council and health services in the area where you are living and a wider range of services on Connect to Support Surrey.
Help and advice phone number for non-British nationals
If you are a non-British national in Afghanistan, or are the family member of a non-British national in Afghanistan, and you are in need of assistance, call +44 300 790 6268 (or 0300 790 6268 in the UK). This helpline is dedicated to providing support for the UK's evacuation efforts.
Please note, the helpline does not offer advice on eligibility or registration processes for the Afghan Citizens' Resettlement Scheme.
Please continue checking back on the Afghan Citizens' Resettlement Scheme (GOV.UK) page for updated details of the scheme.
Who to call in an emergency
In an emergency, call 999 and ask for one of these four services:
- police – if a life is at risk or in serious danger, or to report serious offences
- ambulance - for medical emergencies (NHS)
- fire – for fire, flooding emergency or serious road accident
To contact police in a situation that isn't an emergency, you can submit a crime report online via the Surrey Police website, or you can click on the live chat button in the bottom right of the Surrey Police website. You can also call on 101.
Health and welfare support
Health and wellbeing information in other languages
For health and wellbeing information in Dari Pashto, Farsi, and Urdu languages, visit our health and wellbeing resource centre.
Registering with a doctor (GP) to get healthcare
A General Practitioner, commonly known as a GP, is the first doctor you will usually visit for routine health problems in the UK. A GP can offer medical advice, provide a diagnosis, and prescribe medicines. They might be your first point of contact for many physical and mental health concerns. The GP practice or doctors' surgery is also responsible for coordinating and managing your long-term healthcare and they can refer you if you need more specialised hospital services.
Everyone has a right to register with a GP and you do not need proof of address, immigration status, ID or an NHS number (you may be asked to provide ID but it is not a requirement). We strongly recommend that you register with a GP as soon as possible after you arrive. You can also register temporarily if you expect to be in an area for more than 24 hours but less than 3 months. If you have ID this can help make sure your name is spelled correctly in your NHS records.
Adult social care - getting support for a vulnerable adult
Adult social care helps people who are frail, have disabilities or mental health issues and the people who care for them.
Find out about our adult social care services in Surrey and who can access them via our adult social care and support web pages.
If you need further information or advice, you can call 0300 200 1005, email email@example.com or use SMS (for the deaf or hard of hearing) on 07527 182 861.
Reporting concerns for an adult
If you are concerned that an adult may be at risk of harm, abuse or neglect, please report it.
- Call 0300 470 9100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org (available 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday)
- During evenings, weekends and bank holidays, the Emergency Duty Team is available.
- Call 01483 517898 or email: email@example.com
More information about health and welfare in Surrey.
Borough and district council's offer housing, so you would need to contact them directly. Please see their webpages about housing and homelessness in the list below:
- Elmbridge Borough Council
- Epsom and Ewell Borough Council – Housing needs register and Homeless or at risk of homelessness
- Guildford Borough Council
- Mole Valley District Council
- Reigate and Banstead Borough Council
- Runnymede Borough Council
- Spelthorne Borough Council
- Surrey Heath Borough Council
- Tandridge District Council
- Waverley Borough Council
- Woking Borough Council
Getting children into a school for education
If you are a parent or carer who would like to apply for a school place for your child, you can do this by visiting Apply for an in-year school place.
Free home to school travel
Some children are eligible for home to school travel assistance. For criteria and how to apply please see apply for under-16 travel assistance to school.
Free school meals
Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 automatically get free school meals. Children in Year 3 or above may be eligible for free school meals. This includes if their parent is receiving Universal Credit. For more information and to apply for free school meals, you should contact your child's school.
Family support and childcare
Our Family Information Service website includes the following information to support families and much more:
- Childcare and early education
- Information and eligibility criteria for funded early education and childcare for children aged 2 to 4 years.
- Information on Tax Free Childcare for working parents of children aged up to 12 years.
- A childcare finder where families can enter their post code to search for local childcare provision.
- Information about Family Centres who may be able to signpost families to local childcare provision and advise on how to make an application for funded early education.
- Family finance
- Support and advice for families
Learning to speak English
Our Surrey Adult Learning courses
English language courses in Surrey (not run by us)
The organisations listed below also offer English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and conversational English classes:
Further Education Colleges
- East Surrey College – in Redhill
- Brooklands College - in Weybridge and Ashford
- NESCOT College - in Ewell
- Guildford College (Activate Learning)
Other course providers
How to get work
Financial and cost of living support
Visit our Financial support pages to find out if you are eligible for any of the different types of financial support available and to also find advice on coping with the cost of living challenges.
Food Banks offer emergency food supplies to people in crisis. To find out how to get help from a Food Bank and to find your nearest Food Bank, please see Find a food bank on Trussell Trust website
- How to donate cash or other items
- How to offer a property you own to house an Afghan family
- Fostering an Afghan child evacuee
- Where to volunteer to help
How to donate cash or other items to asylum seekers and refugees in the UK
Thank you for your kind interest in wanting to make a donation. We suggest you donate to the following organisations:
- United Nations Refugee Agency UK has advice on how to help refugees and asylum seekers in the UK.
- Community Foundation for Surrey offers funds to those in need in the county.
- Red Cross supports people in crisis.
- You can also donate to food banks and other charities, which you find by searching Connect to Support Surrey.
How to offer a property you own to house an Afghan family
If you wish to express an interest in making a property available at some point for an Afghan family, you should contact the housing service of your local borough or district councils. You will need to provide the following details:
- Address of the property being offered
- How many bedrooms it has
- When it might be available
- How long it might be available for
- What, if any, rent you are expecting to receive
- Your contact details.
Fostering an Afghan child evacuee
The Government's relocation programme for Afghan evacuees does not include unaccompanied children, instead they would arrive as part of a family group, so fostering is not required. However, we have an ongoing need for more foster carers across all groups of children who, for whatever reason, are unable to live with their parents or extended families. They include unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. Find out more about fostering in Surrey.
Where to volunteer to help
The Government have advised people who want to find out how to volunteer to help evacuees to contact one of the national charities and organisations working with evacuees and asylum seekers across the UK. More information on these organisations is available on the Government's webpage on volunteering to help Afghan evacuees (GOV.UK).
If you want to find out about local volunteering opportunities in Surrey, please contact one of the local volunteer centres in the county.
- Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP)
- Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) for Afghan Nationals
- Operation Warm Welcome
- Update on what has happened so far in Surrey
- Housing for Afghan citizens
- COVID safety measures
- Afghan culture and religious beliefs
Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP)
Surrey's borough, district and county councils are actively collaborating with health partners, voluntary and community groups, and the faith sector in response to the UK Government's ARAP. This policy supports Afghan citizens who have worked in significant roles with the UK Government in Afghanistan, including interpreters and other personnel.
The ARAP, that was effective from 1 April 2021, offers relocation to the UK for eligible Afghan citizens and their families, including partners, dependent children, and other family members. Applications can be made from any country and are processed by the Ministry of Defence and the Home Office.
This collaborative effort ensures comprehensive support across housing, health, social care, education, and community integration for Afghan arrivals.
For more information and how to apply, visit the ARAP page on the UK Government website.
Afghan Citizens' Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) for Afghan Nationals
The ACRS is a separate initiative from the ARAP. Its aim was to resettle over 5,000 Afghan nationals in the first year and up to 20,000 in the coming years.
The scheme prioritizes members of Afghan civil society, including women, girls, and at-risk minority groups, who supported the UK and international community's efforts in Afghanistan.
The ACRS is managed through a referral process without a direct application procedure.
For detailed information, refer to the ACRS guidance page on the UK Government website.
Operation Warm Welcome
'Operation Warm Welcome' is a comprehensive cross-government effort, collaborating with local authorities, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and the commercial sector to assist Afghans evacuated from Afghanistan in settling and integrating into UK communities.
More than 4,000 Afghans have been provided homes, with over 300 local authorities pledging to resettle families. The effort includes securing permanent homes and providing wraparound support.
As part of the support, Afghan arrivals receive assistance in registering with a GP, COVID-19 vaccinations, school enrolment for children, and access to relevant benefits.
For the latest updates and more details, visit the Operation Warm Welcome progress update (GOV.UK) page on the UK Government website.
Update on what has happened so far in Surrey
Many district and borough councils have already opened their doors and welcomed Afghan individuals and families into their communities. To find out what is being done in your area contact your borough or district council, their details can be found on our borough and district councils page.
Housing for Afghan citizens
The district and borough councils look at possible options to house Afghan citizens in their areas. For more details on the responsibilities of borough and district council, as opposed to our responsibilities as the county council, please see the individual borough and district websites information on responsibilities borough and district councils.
Funding for the resettlement of Afghan citizens
The Government has confirmed that, as well as the national government's grant funding (GOV.UK), there has been:
- £5 million funding for councils in England, Wales and Scotland to support Afghans coming to the UK via the ARAP scheme, and a top up to help meet the costs of renting properties.
- £3 million of additional NHS funding under the ARAP scheme for access to healthcare and GP registrations. All are being offered the COVID-19 vaccine.
- £12 million to prioritise additional school places, to provide school transport, specialist teachers and English language. Further funding for up to 300 undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships for Afghans at UK universities. Adults will also be able to access English language courses free of charge.
- £200 million for first year of the ACRS.
COVID safety measures
Afghan families will be coming to the UK from second or third route countries through the ARAP and ACRS scheme.
The Government will be providing additional healthcare provision in line with their individual needs, including COVID-19 vaccines and support for mental wellbeing.
Visit the national government page with further information on who will be arriving through the ARAP scheme.
Afghan culture and religious beliefs
Afghan people are mostly Sunni Muslim. Languages spoken are Pashto and Dari. Dari is the official name of the variety of Persian language spoken in Afghanistan. It is often referred to as the Afghan Persian, although still widely known as Farsi. Many of the evacuees in the ARAP scheme had been working as interpreters, so they will have good English language skills.
Ethnic Groups in Afghanistan
Afghanistan is a multi-ethnic society and so the population of the country consists of numerous ethnolinguistic groups. Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Aimaq, Turkmen , Baloch, Pashai, Nuristani, Gujjar, Arab, Brahui , Qizilbash, Pamiri, Kyrgyz, Sadat and others.