Visa Requirements – Ukraine

April 3, 2009

Before I even start this blog in any detail I have to make a disclaimer.  Visa rules and regulations together with the interpretation and enforcement of those rules and regulations can change without warning, an interpretation can vary from enforcement officer to enforcement officer, region to region or a national interpretation can change overnight in Ukraine!!!


The first thing to remember is that you cannot apply for or get any Visa from within Ukraine.  Therefore, if you have been in the country for, let’s say 88 days of the 90 days you are entitled to stay without registration or Visa you have several choices open to you.

You can go to the OVIR, there is one in every major town and city and apply to extend your stay for an extra 90 days……thus allowing you 180 days in Ukraine.  To do this you must be registered at an address in Ukraine……although it does not have to be an address you are living at, or indeed in the city you are living in.


I know, I know……that’s stupid…..but it is the law!

To register at an address, you require to complete in either Ukrainian or Russian a form held at the OVIR.  These forms are only available in Ukrainian and therefore it is very unlikely that you will be able to complete them yourself.

What?………No – the OVIR will not complete them for you.  Take them away and find or pay someone who will…..like me or my wife, a solicitor, translator or someone you know.

The person at who’s address you will be registered must also go to the OVIR with you and prove ownership of the address you wish to register at and agree to your registration there.  You will pay a small fee at the OVIR and a stamp is placed in your passport extending your legal stay in Ukraine for another 90 days.

If you are renting an apartment here…….it is very unlikely the landlord will want to register you at their address.  This is not because he or she is being a complete and utter twat……although it might be part of the reason……but that there is a 90% chance they are not declaring any tax from the rental of the apartment and therefore do not want to draw the attention of the authorities to themselves.


If you are in Ukraine for any period without a Visa, you are not entitled to do any work paid or otherwise officially……..but as you are aware from diligently reading all my other posts……at least 50% of the national economy is “black”.

Ok, there are numerous types of Visa, all of which are fairly self-explanatory.  The most commonly used by the expat community are Business Visas, either single or multiple entry, and are valid for periods of 1, 2 or 5 years or Private Entrepreneur Visas.  These do not mean you can stay in Ukraine for that period without leaving unless they are supported by a Work Permit. 

These Visa’s by themselves, are to be honest, useless!!

What?…..Why?……Well under the current official interpretation of the laws, even with, for example, a 2 year multi-entry Business Visa, you are still only entitled to spend 180 days per year in Ukraine…….unless it is supported by a Work Permit, which therefore means you can stay in Ukraine, without leaving for the duration of the Visa…….as long as the Work Permit is also valid.

A Work Permit can only be granted once inside Ukraine and are not available from Embassy’s or Consuls of Ukraine in foreign countries.


Clear as mud? – Ok – Apply for your Business Visa from the Ukrainian Consul in your home nation.  Come to Ukraine and get your Work Permit….which will run close to the dates of your Visa.  If you do not get a Work Permit when you get here, then you may as well have come without a Visa for 90 days…..registered at an address for another 90 days because at the end of the 180 days you will have to leave Ukraine which ever route you took!!

Of course, getting a Work Permit is not that easy…….well it wouldn’t be would it.  To make your Business Visa or Private Entrepreneur Visa worth the space in your passport it takes up, you need a Work Permit.  These can only be obtained by producing a letter from your employer stating you are essential to their operations in Ukraine.  The law here states that if a Ukrainian can do your job, then there is no reason for you to work here.

Your company must therefore justify your existence via your experience, language ability (ie speaking their language) or the fact that you are indeed one of the very few, not only world renowned, but qualified “Flux Capacitor Micro-Engineers with experience on Photon Torpedo’s as used in Star Trek Series 4″……..and therefore nobody from Ukraine can say they can do this, which is why you must be here to do it!!


Actually it is not that bad, but accordingly to the law, that is how it should be.  In reality, a company sends a letter saying they need you here and normally you will get the Work Permit.

Eh?……..Oh no,  you understand correctly……with a Business Visa, you can do business……but without the Work Permit, you cannot work.

When your visa is about to expire, you must leave Ukraine…….Poland is a popular choice…….and get a new visa to return.  Obviously your Work Permit is still in force…..as it was granted after your Visa…..because you couldn’t get it until you got to Ukraine……so the Border Guard will let you back into Ukraine, even though you have been here for more than 180 days, because you have a valid Visa and Work Permit.  Once back into Ukraine, you will have to get another Work Permit……as it will expire very soon…..to match your new Visa expiry date.

Ok – got that? – Jolly good.

What? – Oh, Ok……..The countries which do not require Tourist Visa’s…..meaning you can come and stay in Ukraine for 90 days without doing anything with the official bodies are:

USA, Canada, Japan, all EU countries, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco, Vatican, Iceland, Norway, and San Moreno……and all members of the Confederation of Independent States……that’s Russia, Belarus and Moldova dumb-a*se!!!!


If you are not from these countries, you will need a Tourist Visa.

I will remind you, dear reader, of the blog I wrote last week regarding the possible re-introduction of Tourist Visas for EU citizens.  As yet they have not been re-introduced……and possibly never will be BUT is it being discussed.  If things change I will let you know!!

There are other, less common Visa’s for scientific purposes, religious purposes etc. etc. but if you want to know anything about those specifically, leave me a comment and I will let you know the “score” with them.

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