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Tourist Visa’s Again A Possibilty – Ukraine

March 30, 2009

Well, it was bound to happen eventually.  After several years of Visa free tourist travel into Ukraine ………Ukraine is considering their reintroduction.

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It is not that Ukraine has been over run by foreigners stealing jobs or buying up the best assets……far from it, to do business here, it is done their way or not at all……and it always involves a Ukrainian.  Add on to this the language difficulties, and Cyrillic alphabet and Ukraine and Russia is a place for the determined only when it comes to work or business!

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So why is it then? 

The EU promised Ukraine easier travel for it’s citizens……albeit still via a Visa system, throughout the EU and put a ceiling price on the Visa’s at Euro 35.

And?

Well, to be honest, it is impossible to get a Visa if you are Ukrainian for Euro 35.  All EU countries make it as hard as possible for a Ukrainian to get the Visa.  One in four Ukrainians get refused a Visa…….for no reason at all…….and of those that do get them, only one in four gets a Visa which is valid for more than 6 months.

This obviously leads to 2 problems for the Ukrainian government who have allowed free entry for EU citizens for over 2 years.

Firstly, the treatment of their own citizens by the EU has caused and is causing some unhappiness amongst the population………with an election coming up in under 12 months.

Secondly, political egg is over political face here because of the EU saying one thing and openly doing another.

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Now there will be some “westerners” reading this thinking…….well they will cut themselves off from western investment, technology and business models……it’s stupid, they need us!!  This is indeed a comment which has been aired by some I know…..although they have been mostly American…..and therefore have little comprehension of Ukrainian mentality…..or anyone elses for the most part. 

Before you think I am America bashing……one of my best friends here is an American and he states that the problem with Americans is that many do not have a passport or have indeed even left the State the were born in…..why would they ever need to leave the US when it is so big and has everything anyone could possibly want?  Here he has a good and valid point…..unless you are indeed an American basher, in which case you would consider everything US is shit….which I don’t.  What he goes on to say, is that with a people so insular…….many never leaving the US in their lives…..it is hardly surprising they don’t understand Ukraine…..or many other countries.  I have no choice but to agree with him…….as I am not an American….and he is, so therefore would know more than me!

Anyway, going back to the “western” thought that reintroduce Visa’s for EU citizens would “cut off one’s nose to spite one’s face”……..we should consider that the Ukrainian parliament does not consider the 50 million or so Euros spent in Ukraine by visitors, in the grand scheme of things, really sufficient to warrant the political heat……..particularly with the election in 2010 closing in.

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We can also look at it as a bluff……..to get the EU to honour it’s promises.  Then again, those who know Brussels will know there is more chance of falling into a bucket of tits……..and coming out sucking your thumb!

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So, what are the chances of you good readers once again needing a Visa to visit Ukraine?……..Well, how long can, what is in effect, a “one-way street”, remain in place with an election coming?

What?……..No, no, no….it won’t effect inwards investment or EU citizens working here as they need Visa’s and Work Permits now anyway……..it will only effect tourists………and those who live here but don’t work too I suppose.

Me?……..No. I’m alright……but thanks for asking…..remember I am married to a Ukrainian!!!!!

Anyway, I will keep you “up to speed” as to any changes which occur……if they indeed do change…..considering this has to get through the Ukrainian parliament……which is not renowned for it’s speed…….or ability!

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