Thursday, February 2, 2012

Visa Update. See: Ukraine, entry to.

In case there's anyone out there looking for: the latest news, a sense of security, 100% confirmed facts, reliable answers, guarantees.....

....they don't exist. It seems like laws are always in flux in Ukraine, and open to interpretation. One official might think one thing is A, another might think the same thing is Z. A rule might be passed one month and then reversed two months later. In theory it seems like Ukraine is trying to move forward and make improvements with these laws but in practice many laws and ideas seem arbitrarily enforced. Just part of the magic of Ukraine, I guess!

These are the scattered bits and pieces I've personally gathered over the past two months.

  • a friend (who had the pre-Sept-15th, 1-year biz visa but had overstayed the 90 days rule) flew out of Kiev with no problems, no fine.
  • a second friend attempted to fly from the US to Kiev on Continental airlines and was refused entry to the flight. Continental said that anyone coming to Ukraine on the tourist visa (aka, without a visa) must have a return ticket to prove they don't plan to overstay the 90 days. After buying a return ticket, this friend was able to fly to Ukraine later in the week.
  • meanwhile, another friend flew from the US to Ukraine on Condor airlines with no visa and no return ticket, no problems.
  • a friend got the (school-promoted) religious visa in Hungary with no trouble, handed her passport over to the government (to extend the visa from 90 days to one year), and has been without a passport for 3 months now. This was our employer's previous solution to the visa issue but it's left some people in an uncomfortable situation. Now the (promoted) solution is to just pay a fine when you leave Ukraine.
 All these words might mean nothing to you, or- if you want to come to Ukraine- they might just be another frustrating part of the puzzle, another person's stories you read on the internet. All I can say is that Ukraine is a pretty awesome place, and if you feel drawn to come here and experience things, I wish you luck!

January 2013 update: A friend's account of overstaying his 90 days- How to get Banned from a Country (an instruction manual) 


  1. Gosh! Find a lawyer with ties in government who knows who and how much to pay to solve the issue. This is the main goal of all these ukrainian pseudo-laws...
    Or encourage some of your students to sue government for inconsistent laws to waste time and munny.
    There're always at least two ways to result: the fastest one and the most proper one.

  2. I have been living in Ukraine for about three years, I work in a church. Last summer I got a new visa in the states for two years. When I went to register it in OVIR they said the visa types had changed and they could only give me registration for three months, then I would have to leave Ukraine to make a new visa. So I came to Krakow Poland to make a new visa. Now the consulate here says my document of invitation from the government in Ukraine is written wrong. The official in Ukraine who wrote the document says the consulate is wrong. So now I have to walk back to the consulate tomorrow, call the official in Ukraine on a mobile phone so she can have an arguement with the consular official. This should be interesting. Meanwhile my fiance, a Chinese student in Ukraine, sits at home crying cause she doesn't know if I'll be able to come back soon. Coming to Ukraine is the best thing I ever did, but I think by the time I leave for good I'll have gray hair from all the stress.

  3. Hi Anonymous, thanks for sharing your tale. It's always very interesting to hear how things are (or aren't) working out for others in Ukraine. I hope that the situation gets resolved by this phone call and that you are able to return soon! Good luck!

  4. I arrived in Odessa for my first time in Ukr. august 2013. I stayed 6 mths. with a couple out and in border runs to Maldova to renew my entrance stamp for another 90 days. But that proved to be worthless, because when I flew out of Kiev, Ukr. immigration said the stamps were not recognized and fined me $850 hivana, anyway.?! I went back 4 mths later from June until last Oct. I was there 4 mths and when I departed was fined again $850 hivana. I would like to reenter Ukr. this Jan 1st. in less than 90days of my departure. Has anyone had any experience with returning into Ukr. in less than 90 days from exiting??????

    1. Hi Anonymous! Try checking the forums at expatua ( usually a lot of good info to be found there.