Out with the old and in wih the new – Ukrainian Visa system changes today

September 10, 2011

Out with the old and in with the new. Well yes and no, depending upon what you read and who you pay attention to.

To cut a long story short 16 Ukrainian Visa types are no longer issued with effect from today and are replaced by only 3, Transit, Short Term and Long Term. Not news to you dear readers as I did tell you months ago this was going to happen and when.

Well, today is that “when” in question.

I also promised to try to keep you up to date about the intricacies where ever possible.

So, click here for the Ukrainian Embassy to the UK announcement and click here for the US Embassy Kyiv announcement.

If you are incredibly brave click on both as there are some inconsistencies and people who are subject to Visas do tend to get quite emotional and frustrated when they are being told different things.

An example being, for those still holding valid visas for Ukraine, the US Embassy states, “If you have a valid visa and OVIR registration but not a residency permit you can stay in Ukraine as long as your current registration is valid. Once you leave the country, however, you will need to obtain a new visa abroad to qualify for legal residency under the new system. Regardless of the expiration date, “old” pre-September 10 visas will no longer be valid for entry into Ukraine after September 10.”

That is not mentioned by the Ukrainian Embassy to the UK and therefore infers that existing Visas will be allowed to run their course until expiry date under the old rules.

That was in fact confirmed by Mr. Andriy Olefirov, Director-General for Consular Service, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ukraine at an open meeting only a few days ago duly attended by many foreigners currently holding Visas under the old scheme. They do not need to get a new Visa until the old Visa expires.

The US Embassy is therefore apparently misinformed if you work on the premise that the Ukrainian Embassy issuing Visas for applicants from England and Wales and Mr Olefirov of the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine know more about issuing Ukrainian Visas than the US Embassy in Kyiv that doesn’t issue Ukrainian Visas.

I told you some months ago this would not be a seamless process and it would seem an absolute nonsense to make visa holders of the old system, some with considerable time still to run before expiry (indeed some only issued last week), have to buy new visas should they have occasion to leave Ukraine before the expiry dates of the old system visa.

The problems will concentrate themselves in familiar places. The OVIR offices and which Visas, if any, of the old system they will continue to extend (or not) and the height of the qualification bar for the new Long Term Visa as intgerpreted at the issuing Ukrainian embassies and consuls around the planet.

One has to suspect the US and Ukrainian embassies will end up being right half the time, depending on individual OVIR decisions throughout the regions. T’was ever the case the regional interpretation was the only one you were concerned about under the old system anyway.

Nobody has said, as yet, how high the bar for the new Long Term Visa is set. As it replaces most of the 16 Visas that existed before, all of which had different criteria to reach to be granted. Is the bar for the Long Term Visa set at the height of the old IM-1 which required a veritable tome of paperwork from applicant and employer, is it based on an official invitation as per the old Student Visa or God Squad Visa from a recognised national institution, or is it as low as the Private Visa and Business Visa used to be, requiring nothing more than an invitation from a Ukrainian citizen or entity.

The Private Visa was after all requested by many an OVIR prior to registration passed 90 days for those married to Ukrainians who were under the 2 years of marriage point where upon reaching said 2 years, can apply for Permanent Residency.

It is as yet, unclear whether there is a set height for the Long Term Visa or whether, depending upon your reason for applying for it, the numerous different heights still apply.

Feel free to write up your experiences in the comments section for the other readers or simply let me know so I can pass on your experiences of joy or woe.

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