Archive for April 20th, 2010

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All Ukrainian Airports Working Normally Again

April 20, 2010

Well dear readers, as of Monday 19th April…….volcanic ash or not……all airports in Ukraine are again working normally.

http://www.interfax.com.ua/eng/main/36800/

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Border Hopping – The Expat Passtime

April 20, 2010

Well dear readers, here in Ukraine there is only a few ways to stay here more than 90 days in a 180 day period.

Many people coming here with a 5 year Visa think they can stay for 5 years……..which is completely wrong!

The fact a Visa is valid for 5 years does not mean you can stay here for 5 years.  You are stil subject to the 90 days from 180 days time in country rule.

Apart from Student Visas (valid for the academic year), IM-1 Visas and Permanent residency then there is no lawful way to remain in Ukraine for longer than 90 days in a 180 day period.

Your business visa for example, just states your purpose for being here.  If it is valid for 5 years, all this Visa means is for 5 years you can carry out business activities in Ukraine…….but it does not exempt you from the 90 day in 180 day rule for time in country.

There are ways to extend your time in country with the Interior Ministry via an organ known as the OVIR who can extend 90 days by another 90 days in certain cases.  These relate normally to the Student Visa, IM-1 Visa and being married to, parent or legal guardian of a Ukrainian citizen.  There are other exceptions such as diplomatic visas……as it doesn’t pay to through out an Ambassador every 90 days for a period of 90 days when he can return…….but most expats don’t have such a Visa.

Those with Visa’s are currently making the most of extremely slack interpretation of the rules by Ukraine though.  Basically, on 90 days, those with long term Visa’s will cross an international border to Poland or Moldova and return the next day.  Despite the fact they should not be allowed to return for 90 days, because they have a valid Visa, Ukrainian Border Guards let them back in immediately……which is very handy for the Expats involved.

Yesterday, however, I witnessed something strange and for those in Odessa with a Visa and border hopping to Moldova, here is a cautionary tale.

At the OVIR in Odessa an American chap was deported when trying to make a 3 month registration.

This American chap was married to a Ukrainian lady.

The circumstances are that he had a P1 Private Visa valid for 3 years made one year ago.  During that time and this he made the usual border run to Moldova (or so he thought) every 90 days.  

Now he is married and being married was getting registered with the OVIR for the first time today having gone through the usual Zhek shenanigans last week.

He now has a deportation stamp in his passport for 1 year and is on his way out of the country, taxi to the airport courtesy of Ukrainian Immigration car and staff.

How has this come about?

His border hop did not get as far as Moldova but the stamps are from the border guards of the quasi-official region called Transnistra which Ukraine does not officially recognise…..ergo, he did not enter Moldova as far as Ukraine is concerned……so never entered another country after 90 days as he should have done……therefore he never left Ukraine as far as the OVIR in Odessa is concerned.

Subsequently he has the 1 year “banned from Ukraine” stamp in his passport despite having a valid Visa and being married to a Ukrainian citizen for offences committed prior to marriage relating to Ukraine and time in country.

This is prima facie reporting as I was there for other reasons and this happened in front of me and heard every word said.

The moral of the story is if you are going to border hop to Moldova from Odessa bending the immigration rules with the assistance of Ukraine every 90 days, make sure you actually enter Moldova far enough to recieve Moldovan stamps in your passport not just those of Transistra……or enter Moldova without going through Transnistra at all.

Good job the planes are flying normally now.  I can’t imagine sitting in a deportation centre in Ukraine would have been much fun for this chap.

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