Immigration

The immigration process at Kiev’s Borispol Airport is now relatively fast and efficient. The slow queues and awkward questions of the past are no longer par for the course. Most officials speak a little English.

Travellers may be asked to prove they have health insurance and if not, will have to purchase a cheap Ukrainian policy. Citizens of the UK, and other countries with reciprocal health agreements with the Ukraine, should not be asked.

Visas for Ukraine

Legislation passed after the Orange Revolution opened up Ukraine to citizens of many developed countries. Citizens of European Union countries, America, and many other developed countries were no longer required to obtain visas to visit Ukraine, provided the duration of stay was less than 90 days. To stay longer, these travellers merely had to exit Ukraine at a border and re-enter.

The pro-Western government of the time hoped that these relaxed immigration requirements would lead to similar regulations for Ukrainian visitors to the EU, US, and elsewhere.

European and other governments never reciprocated and Ukrainians wishing to travel to almost any Western country still have to go through arduous procedures to obtain visas.

Ukraine subsequently reacted to the lack of response from the West and tightened up its visa regulations.

Ukrainian immigration law now states that citizens of the US, EU countries (Germany, France, UK, Italy, Spain, Poland, Netherlands, Portugal, Greece, Belgium etc.), most CIS states, Georgia, Andorra, the Vatican, Iceland, Canada, Korea, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, San Marino, Monaco, Norway, Paraguay, and Japan do not need visas but can only stay for 90 days in a 180 day period (counted from the date of first entry into Ukraine).

Everybody else (including citizens of Australia and Turkey) needs a visa to enter the Ukraine. This must be obtained before travelling from a Ukrainian embassy or consulate abroad.

Passengers queuing at Borispol Airport in Kiev, Ukraine

Comments and Additional Information

  1. Lost Canadian says

    I have had numerous extended trips to Ukraine. I find it more civilized than North America where I was born and raised. I am currently working on moving and remaining there. Why? Proper health care, great society, everyone makes you feel at home, it is a comfortable society. The people have to work hard to survive but they enjoy their time off more and enjoy life more than over here.
    Never had any trouble entering and only 1 time leaving did they want to check my bags. They were very open honest and even apologetic about having to do so.

  2. K.B. says

    I’ve been told by grandparents that somewhere down in my heritage I have mostly Hungarian and Ukrainian heritage. Man do I want to visit there and see the places and people. I’ve just started to re-learn the language and hope one day to be able to move there, but I couldn’t move there for work so maybe move to the edge of the Ukraine so I could work in neighbouring area?

  3. R Evans says

    I visited the Ukraine for the first time and I felt at home. The people were so friendly and a pleasure to be around. I made many friends. This is one country I would love to live in.

  4. Trav says

    @Brian I agree with you, Brian. I loved it there. If I made the same money there that I did here, we could both live like kings. It amazed me how affordable everything is. (except housing). 39¢ for the local brand of ketchup, compared to $6 for the w

  5. Brian says

    I visited Ukraine 3 times in 2010 and stayed 2 or 3 weeks each trip. Bought insurance each time and was never asked to show it. Never had a problem at customs each way at all. I love it there, summer or winter. The people are from another place and time. They have a certain quality we have forgotten here in the West. Wish I could live there and make the same money!

  6. Trav says

    I had more trouble leaving the country than I did entering. When I landed in Kiev, there was a desk where the checked your passport, and then there was a hallway with a white line, that basically said "these items are forbidden, if you bring them into the country, you’re in trouble". Nobody searched my bags and nobody even looked at me. I think there were maybe 3 customs officials standing watching people walk by and they never stopped anyone from my entire flight, and it was a fully loaded 767.
    Upon leaving, they x-rayed all my bags, but even still, it was nothing compared to entering the US. When I went through US customs, they opened my bags, and swabbed for drugs and explosives.

  7. David Mann says

    Nov 2009 – This does indeed seem to be the present situation. I even went to my local OVIR office and they said that they couldn’t care less how long EU nationals stay provided they obey the law and don’t work.

  8. M. Beddie says

    I have been to Ukraine 3 times in the last 7 months and found no problems with immigration or customs. Same when leaving.

  9. B Jones says

    As a regular traveller to the Ukraine I have had no problems at all. It is a lot less officious than the UK.

  10. Editor says

    In 2007 the government restricted non-visa stays for residents of the European Union etc. to 90 days within a 180 day period. However the Kyiv Post reported on 13/3/08 that this rule is not being enforced and foreign ‘residents’ of Kiev nearing the 90-day limit are leaving Ukraine for a few hours and re-entering with no problems (aka border runs).

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