Archive for April 26th, 2010


A Bridge to Nowhere……Not quite, Crimea actually.

April 26, 2010

Well dear readers, the bridge over the Kerch Strait first proposed in 1943, then thought about again in 1994…….seems likely to be built by 2014 between Crimea and Russia from what I hear today.


More Visa questions about Ukraine and the 90/180 days rule… some answers

April 26, 2010

Well dear readers, I get many messages about Visas and Ukraine and really, sometimes it seems everyone tries to make it harder than it is.

There seems to be an incredible amount of confussion over Visa duration and time allowed in country when they have absolutely nothing to do with each other at all.

All Visa holders and tourists are subject to the 90/180 day rule.  That is the starting point.

Some visas, such as the IM1 Visa holder, because it relates to work which a Ukrainian citizen allegedly cannot do, can have time in country extended by the OVIR every 90 days to allow uninterupted work in Ukraine which benefits the employer (and therefore Ukraine) for the period of the Visa being valid.

Diplomatic Visas holders can also have time in country extended by the OVIR, as like I say, throwing a foreign diplomat out of the country or forcing them to leave every 90 days……well, it does not make for good diplomatic relations between Ukraine and another nation.

Student Visas holders can also obviously have time in country extended by the OVIR or there would be no point in foreign students studying here to be thrown out mid-course.

An EU, US (or any other nation not requiring a Tourist Visa) citizen married to, parent of, or guardian of a Ukrainian citizen do not need a Visa of any sort to get time in country extensions from the OVIR, as to throw them out every 90 days goes against the Family Code of Ukraine (forced seperation of the family unit by the State or some such interpretation) and various international agreements Ukraine is signed up too and has ratified regarding family rights.  

Continued 3 monthly registrations end of course when Permanent Residency is applied for and granted.  The OVIR time in country extension does not mean, whilst waiting for their PR Status, they are exempt from having a Business Visa if the will carry out business on the territory of Ukraine whilst awaiting residency though.  The same applies with work and Work Permits should they work here whilst awaiting such status…..all such documentary troubles disappear when it is granted of course.  (This is a technicality which I have never known be checked…..but one day it may be.)

Science Visas, God Squad Visas, Sports Visas, are, I am informed, granted over differing periods of time and with differing caveats on issue, so some maybe used to quantify extended time in country whilst others may not.  As these are normally by invitation of Ukraine, the Church, Dynamo Kyiv or Shakhtar Donetsk  (whichever one), then of course there is someone with influence looking after the back of the Visa holder anyway.  

Visas such as Business Visas, Private Visas, Tourist Visas (for those it applies to, like Ozzies, Kiwis, Iranians, Turks etc etc) cannot officially be exempt from the 90/180 rules and have time in country extended by the OVIR anymore.

As an example, a Business Visa means you can carry out business activity on the territory of Ukraine for 90 days out of 180.  If you plan on doing business for longer than this (or when added together 180/360 over the period of a year) here, then you should apply for the IM Visa which you may or may not get (although technically, if you open a Ukrainian LLC company, you can sponsor yourself).  

It is quite obvious that a Ukrainian citizen cannot do your job if you are the owner of the company even if they are capable of running it, they are not capable of owning it and therefore directing it unless you were to give POA or sell it to them.

A Private Visa is for visiting a Ukrainian.  Who visits and stays with friends more than a solid 90 day period in 180 days regularly?

How many tourists have more than 90 consecutive days off work to bimble aimlessly around Ukraine?

Common sense dictates that not many people stay with friends for 3 solid months or bimble around Ukraine with 3 month holidays in one go and therefore this is why the 90/180 day rule applies to such Visas.  The same can be said of the Business Visa, as there are not many business transactions which take 90 solid days in country to complete.

A Business Visa is not a poor mans IM Visa or there would be no need for one or the other of them if they granted the same thing.

Unless you hold a Visa which can have time in country extended by the OVIR that would avoid the need to leave Ukraine every 90 days (or have personal circumstances with a Ukrainian listed above) you will have no choice but to leave every 90 days on whatever Visa you hold and then take advantage of the loose interpretation of the regulations and return the same/following day, as long as the Visa remains valid of course.

The biggest Visa problem in Ukraine is brought about by foreigners getting the wrong Visa for their purpose here in the first place.  Just because you have a Visa valid for 5 years (or whatever) it does not mean the OVIR can neccessarily grant extended time in country.  A Visa and exemption from the 90/180 day rule are not the same thing at all.

If you have to be in Ukraine for more than 90/180 (or 180/360 over the year) then you must ask yourself why you must be.

If it is to work, then the correct Visa is the IM1 (with Work permit) which means you do not have to border hop.  I know this is easier said than done for some due to sh*tty employers or self employed status.  Like I have pointed out above though, you can set up your own Ukrainian LLC and sponsor yourself through the IM process (technically at least…..I have no idea if you would be successful).

At present a Business Visa/Private Visa/Tourist Visa (if apllicable) means you have to leave every 90 days and under the current interpretation, this really holds no problems for a foreigner either (I am thinking of self employed teachers here mostly of which there seems to be an endless stream) other than expense of border hopping and lost earnings through not being able to teach.  Problems will occur should they tighten up on the returning the same/next day and strictly inforce 90/180 for such Visa holders however.

If all Visas meant automatic time in country extension for the duration of the times granted on a Visa, then there would only be a need for 1 Visa for everybody and then specifications put on any accompanying Work Permit as to what work (or not) you can do here and for whom.

If we stick to the most commonly held Visas for people who visit Ukraine, then it is simple.

Business Visa means you can carry out business activities for a total of 90 days in the territory of Ukraine in a 180 day period.  That is all it means, no matter how long it is valid for.

Tourist Visa (if applicable) means you are here as a tourist for a total of 90 days out of 180 days and cannot work, do any form of business under the terms of that Visa.  All you can do is look at the sights during your stay.

Private Visa means that you are here on the invitation of a Ukrainian and can visit them for a total of 90 days out of 180.  You can also look at the sights.  You cannot do any work or business activity under the remit of this Visa.

The IM Visa means (when accompanied by the Work Permit) you can come and go as you please and work (for the sponsoring company) for the duration of the Visa.  You can also eat, drink and be merry, visit the sights and spend more than 90 days in the company of your favourite Ukrainian.  There is no necessity to ever leave Ukraine at all whilst this Visa is valid and the OVIR has registered you.

EU/US and others citizens that do not require a Tourist Visa to enter Ukraine, if married to, parent or guardian of a Ukrainian citizen, need no Visa at all to get OVIR extensions if they have an address to register at, pending timelines and granting of PR Status.  You can also see the sights, spend more than 90 days in the presence of your favourite Ukrainian, eat, drink and be merry and come and go from Ukraine as you please.  Technically though if you do any form or business or work during the time it takes to be granted PR status, then the appropriate Visa and/or Work Permit should exist relating to that activity.    

I don’t really see why it is so hard to grasp the basics of this.  

The bottom line is OVIR registrations depend upon the benefit to Ukraine or a Ukrainian.  If you work for a Ukrainian legally and above board, (IM) then registration is possible.  If you are a key family member of a formally recognised Ukrainian family unit, OVIR registration is possible.  If you are the foreign striker for Dynamo this season, registration is possible.  If you are a leading church member but not of Ukrainian nationality, then registration is possible.  If you are a key scientist working on a long Ukrainian project, registration is possible.  If you are a student in mid-academic year, registration is possible.  If you are a diplomat on a long term assignment, OVIR registraion is possible.

If you are none of these, do not expect to be able to register with the OVIR regardless of what Visa you have and how long it is valid for.

It all comes down to your “worth” to the Sovereign State of Ukraine on an “official basis” as to whether you are “officially” worth keeping here longer than 90 days and therefore worthy of the time and effort to register by the OVIR.

I hope that helps.

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