February 11, 2004
Ukraine is a young nation undergoing profound political and economic
change as it moves from its Soviet past towards a market economy and integrates
into Western institutions. In recent years, the availability of goods and
services has increased along with increased rates of growth in Ukraine’s economy,
and facilities for travelers have improved somewhat. Nonetheless, the availability
of travel and tourist services remains uneven throughout the country, and
Ukraine still lacks the abundance of many of the goods and services taken
for granted in other countries. Travel will not normally be as comfortable
as in more highly developed countries such as those in Western Europe. Travel
within Ukraine is unrestricted.
A passport valid for six months beyond the planned date of travel is required.
In addition, all travelers to Ukraine must have a valid single- or multiple-entry
visa before arriving in the country. A
visa may be obtained from the Consular Office of the Embassy of Ukraine in
Washington, D.C. or from Ukrainian Consulates General in New York and Chicago,
depending on the state of residence of the traveler. Please consult http://www.ukremb.com/consular/consular.html
to determine which office serves your area of residence.
No invitation letter is
necessary for EU, Canadian and U.S. citizens for business, official, cultural,
sporting, and private visas. However, to receive a tourist visa, you have
to submit one of the following: a letter of invitation from a Ukrainian or
American tourist agency; confirmation from a hotel; itinerary; or copies of
tickets with valid dates. Single- and multiple-entry visas are available for
time periods up to five years. Please contact the Embassy or the Consulate
General serving your area of residence for further information on the visa
3350 “M” Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
Tel.: (202) 333-0606
Fax: (202) 333-0817
web site: http://www.ukremb.com
General of Ukraine
240 East 49th Street
New York, NY 10017
web site: http://www.brama.com/ua-consulate
General of Ukraine
10 East Huron St.
Chicago, Il 60611
web site: http://www.ukrchicago.com
U.S. citizens who stay
in Ukraine for less than six months on a private, tourist, or business visa,
do not need to register with local authorities. Once in Ukraine, it is possible
to get an extension of stay, over and beyond the validity of the visa, for
up to six months, from the Ministry of Interior’s Office of Visas and Registration
(OVIR). However, the extension is only valid for continued presence in the
country. It is not possible to depart Ukraine and return on the extension.
The Government of Ukraine
does not issue visas at the point of entry into Ukraine. All visitors without
a valid entry visa will be turned back to the United States or will have to
travel to another European country to obtain a visa. Please check your visa
carefully upon receipt. Each traveler is responsible for understanding the
type of visa issued and the provisions of the visa. Not infrequently, American
citizens are refused entry to Ukraine because they thought they possessed
a multiple entry visa when actually their visa was valid for only a single
entry. Or, Americans try to reenter Ukraine after using their single entry
visa thinking they had unlimited travel for 6 months. In some cases, Americans
attempt to enter Ukraine before their visa becomes valid. This is due to the
fact that in Ukraine the date is written day-month-year, not month-day-year.
Thus, a visa issued on 05/01/03 is valid from January 5, 2003, and not from
May 1, 2003. These travelers are turned away as well. The U.S. Embassy in
Kiev is unable to assist travelers in these situations.
Travelers who intend to
visit Russia from Ukraine must also have a Russian visa. The Russian Embassy
in Ukraine is located at Prospekt Kutuzova 8, tel. (380-44) 294-7797 or 294-6816.
In an effort to prevent
international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures
at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of
a child’s relationship to accompanying travelers and permission for the child’s
travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation
on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.
Ukraine does not recognize dual nationality. American citizens entering Ukraine
with a Ukrainian passport will be treated as Ukrainian citizens by the local
authorities. This may include being required to perform mandatory military
service. Also, Ukrainians who have immigrated to the U.S. without obtaining
the proper exit visa from Ukrainian authorities may be subject to civil or
criminal penalties and will be required to obtain an exit visa before returning
to the U.S. For additional information, please see the Consular Affairs home
page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov or the
Embassy’s Dual Nationality flyer at http://usembassy.kiev.ua/amcit_misc_dualnat_eng.html.
SAFETY AND SECURITY:
There have been no incidents of terrorism directed toward American
interests in Ukraine. However, all individuals should remain alert and incorporate
sound personal security practices into their day-to-day routine.
For the latest security information Americans traveling abroad should regularly
monitor the Department’s Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where
the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement,
Travel Warnings and Public Announcements
can be found.
The Overseas Citizens
Services call center at 1-888-407-4747 can answer general inquiries on safety
and security overseas. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers
who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas,
may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-317-472-2328.5.
travelers do not encounter problems with crime while in Ukraine. Nonetheless,
the country is undergoing a significant economic, political and social transformation,
and income disparities have grown sharply. As a result, visitors perceived
to be wealthier are targets for criminals. Americans often stand out in Ukraine,
and are therefore more likely to be targeted than in Western European countries
where incomes are higher and Americans may blend in better. Most street crime
is relatively low level, but crimes involving small caliber firearms have
been reported. Street crime ranges from wallet scams, simple pick pocketing
and purse snatching, to muggings, armed robbery, or drugging unsuspecting
victims at nightspots and bars (where they are then robbed). Cases of assaults
in apartment building corridors and stairwells, and armed break-ins have also
been reported. Travelers should be prepared to show their documents to police
Credit card and ATM fraud
is widespread. Ukraine operates as a cash economy, and money scams are widespread.
Although credit card and ATM use among Ukrainians is becoming more common,
we nevertheless strongly recommend that visitors and permanent residents of
Ukraine refrain from using credit cards or ATM cards.
Burglaries of apartments
and vehicles represent the most significant threat to long-term residents.
Although few cars are actually stolen, primarily because of increased use
of alarm systems and security wheel locks, vehicular break-ins and vehicular
vandalism are becoming more common.
Reports of racially motivated
incidents against non-Caucasian foreigners, including American citizens of
African and Asian descent, have been registered at our Embassy. In addition
to incidents of assault, persons of African or Asian heritage may be subject
to various types of harassment, such as being stopped on the street by both
civilians and law enforcement officials.
Over the past several
years, the Embassy has received a number of reports of harassment and intimidation
directed against foreign businesspersons and interests. While these reports
have become considerably less frequent in recent years, they have not ended
entirely. Reported incidents range from physical threats (possibly motivated
by rival commercial interests tied to organized crime) to local government
entities engaging in such practices as arbitrary termination or amendment
of business licenses, dilution of corporate stock to diminish U.S. investor
interest, delays of payment or delivery of goods, and arbitrary “inspections”
by tax, safety or other officials that appear designed to harm the business
rather than a genuine attempt at good governance.
Computer fraud is also
becoming more common in Ukraine. Internet scams appear to be on the increase.
We suggest refraining from wiring money unless the recipient is well known
and the purpose of business is clear. American citizens have reported transferring
money to Ukraine to pay for goods purchased from residents of Ukraine via
on-line auction sites, but never receiving the goods in return.
The Embassy regularly receives complaints from American citizens regarding
financial scams involving marriage and dating services. Numerous Americans
have lost money to agencies that have falsely claimed they are able to facilitate
visa issuances to unmarried Ukrainians by sponsoring them for student or fiancée
information is available on the Embassy’s web site in a document titled Marriage
Brokers at http://kiev.usembassy.gov/amcit_marriage_brokers_eng.html.
The loss or theft abroad
of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and
the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while
overseas, report the incident to the local police. In addition to reporting
to the local police, please also contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate
for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to
find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends, and explain
how funds can be transferred from the U.S. Although the investigation and
prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities,
consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process
and to find an attorney if needed.
U.S. citizens may refer
to the Department of State’s pamphlet, A
Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The
pamphlet is available by mail from the
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington,
D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov, or via the Bureau
of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
and recommendations on how to avoid becoming a victim of criminal activity
are available on the Embassy’s web site in a separate document entitled, Security
Information for Ukraine at http://kiev.usembassy.gov/amcit_security_eng.html.
Medical care in Ukraine is limited. The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of hospitals
and clinics with some English-speaking staff. Many facilities have only limited
English speakers. Ukrainian standards do not meet American and Western-European
professional standards of care. Some facilities are adequate for basic services.
Basic medical supplies are available; however, travelers requiring prescription
medicine should bring their own. Elderly travelers and those with existing
health problems may be at risk due to inadequate medical facilities. When
hospitalized, patients or their relatives or acquaintances are often expected
to supply medication, bandages, etc, themselves.
The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy has information on various air ambulance
companies that perform medical evacuations to Europe or the U.S. Serious medical
problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to Europe can
cost from $25,000 to $50,000, and to the U.S. as much as $70,000 or more.
can be found on the Embassy’s web site at in a document on Medical Services
in Kiev at http://kiev.usembassy.gov/amcit_medical_serv_eng.html.
Please note that while the Embassy can help you or your family establish contact
with a medevac service, the U.S. Government cannot pay for your medical evacuation.
Travelers should, therefore, make sure they have medical evacuation insurance,
which is available from many private companies, before the need arises.
The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical
insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy
applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical
evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred
outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further,
U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services
outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies
offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas
including emergency services such as medical evacuations.
When making a decision
regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors
and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that
a medical evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured
travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties.
When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, ascertain whether payment
will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or whether you will be reimbursed
later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage
for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
Useful information on
medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided
in the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau
of Consular Affairs home page.
Ukraine requires all visitors
to obtain mandatory health insurance from the state joint-stock insurance
company, Ukrinmedstrakh. According to information from the Ukrainian authorities
the cost of this medical insurance depends on the anticipated length of a
foreigner’s stay in Ukraine. The cost for the insurance is approximately 25
cents per day (more for short stays). More information on this can be found
on the Embassy’s web site in a document entitled, Medical
Insurance in Ukraine for Emergency Care at http://usembassy.kiev.ua/amcit_medical_ins_eng.html.
This required insurance covers only the costs of basic medical care inside
Ukraine, and does not cover medical evacuation.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION:
Information on vaccinations and other
health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite
protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s
hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax
1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC’s Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel.
For information about outbreaks of infectious
diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization’s website at http://www.who.int/en.
Further health information for travelers
is available at http://www.who.int/ith.
AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may
encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the U.S.
The information below concerning Ukraine is provided for general reference
only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation:
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Generally, roads in Ukraine
outside major urban areas are in poor condition and poorly lit. Defensive
driving is a must, since drivers often disregard traffic rules. Drivers are
often poorly trained or drive without a valid driver’s license. Drivers can
also be very aggressive, and they normally do not respect the rights of pedestrians,
even at clearly marked pedestrian crossings. Pedestrians should also be aware
of cars driving or attempting to park on sidewalks. Many cars do not meet
the safety standards common in America.
Overland travel at night
and in winter can be particularly dangerous. We strongly recommend that visitors
and permanent residents of Ukraine refrain from driving their private vehicles
after dark outside of Kiev. However, major roads are drivable during daylight
hours. Roadside services such as gas stations and repair facilities are becoming
more common, particularly on the main national and regional overland highways
and in large and mid-size cities. Nonetheless, such services are far from
American standards, and travelers should plan accordingly. There have been
isolated reports of carjackings of western-made or foreign-registered cars.
There has been an increase in the number of documented reports of criminal
acts occurring on trains.
general information about road safety, see the Department of State, Bureau
of Consular Affairs home page at: http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) has assessed the Government Ukraine’s civil aviation authority as Category
1 - in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight
of Ukrainian air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may
contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at tel. 1-800-322-7873,
or visit the FAA web site
at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD)
separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official
providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific
carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at tel. (618) 256-4801.
Ukrainian law requires that travelers declare all cash and jewelry, regardless
of value, upon entering Ukraine. Travelers should fill out a customs declaration
and ask customs officials to stamp it. According to Ukrainian law, foreign
citizens may bring up to $10,000 in cash or up to $50,000 in travelers’ checks
into Ukraine without a special license. A traveler must declare the cash or
checks. If customs officials determine that a traveler entering or exiting
the country has undeclared cash on him or her, they can and often do confiscate
the undeclared funds. When leaving the country, travelers are only allowed
to take out a maximum of $1,000 in cash or as much cash as they declared upon
their entry into Ukraine. If a traveler wants to take out more than $1,000
in cash, the traveler must have a customs declaration proving that he or she
in fact brought the corresponding sum of money into the country.
If you wish to bring more
than $10,000, you must obtain a special license AFTER entering Ukraine. Details
for obtaining this license are available on the Embassy’s web site in a document
Customs Procedures for Transporting Currencies, Monetary Instruments, or Precious
Metals at http://kiev.usembassy.gov/amcit_travel_ukrcustoms_eng.html.
Ukraine has strict limitations
for the export of antiques and other goods and artifacts deemed to be of particularly
important historical or cultural value.
According to Ukrainian
customs laws, travelers are allowed to take up to 10,000 hryvnya out of Ukraine
as long as the entire amount is declared. Additionally, travelers are only
allowed to bring back the same amount of hryvnya as they originally took out
of Ukraine, as substantiated by their customs declaration.
It is advisable to contact
the Embassy of Ukraine in Washington or one of Ukraine’s consulates in the
United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.
While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country’s laws
and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United
States and may not afford the protection available to the individual under
U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the U.S.
for similar offenses. Persons violating Ukrainian laws, even unknowingly,
may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or
trafficking in illegal drugs in Ukraine are strict, and convicted offenders
can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports
with them at all times, so that, if questioned by local officials, proof of
identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available. If stopped or detained,
Americans should comply with instructions from law enforcement officers but
also make it known that they are American citizens.
In accordance with a bi-lateral
agreement between the USSR and the U.S. which remains in force for the successor
states of the Soviet Union, including Ukraine, U.S. Consular Officers are
to be notified of an arrest or detention of a U.S. citizen within one to three
days, and access to the arrestee/detainee is to be granted in two to four
days. If arrested, American Citizens should insist on calling a Consular Officer
at (044) 490-4422 or (044) 490-4000 after-hours. Please be advised that consular
access and assistance does not allow the Embassy to act as your legal counsel,
or otherwise intervene on your behalf if you are detained or arrested. Only
a lawyer can represent you. The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of lawyers and
Ukraine is a cash economy. Travelers’ checks and credit cards are gaining
wider acceptance in larger cities. Even in Kiev, however, acceptance of credit
cards is not nearly as widespread as in the United States or in Western European
countries. Expect credit card use to be limited to better hotels, upscale
restaurants, international airlines and the rapidly growing, but still select
number of up-market stores. Customs regulations prohibit sending cash, travelers’
checks, personal checks, credit cards, or passports through the international
mail system. Customs authorities regularly confiscate these items as contraband.
Exchanging U.S. dollars
into the national Ukrainian currency hryvnya is simple and unproblematic,
as licensed exchange booths are widespread, and exchange rates are normally
clearly advertised. Exchanging U.S. dollars into Ukrainian currency or other
currencies is legal only at banks, currency exchange desks at hotels, and
licensed exchange booths; anyone caught dealing on the black market can expect
to be detained by the local militia.
There are many banks and
licensed currency exchange booths located in major cities. ATMs (a.k.a. Bankomats)
are becoming available throughout Ukraine, particularly in Kiev and in other
larger cities. In smaller cities and towns ATMs are still virtually non-existent.
Most ATMs disperse cash only in the local currency hryvnya. The difficulties
of a currency shortage can be avoided by coming to Ukraine with a sufficient
supply of hard currency to cover necessary obligations during travel. Funds
may be transferred by wire; advances may be drawn on credit cards and travelers
checks may be cashed at many locations.
Again, we emphasize that
the incidence of credit card and ATM bankcard fraud is high and we strongly
recommend that visitors and permanent residents of Ukraine refrain from using
credit cards or ATM cards.
For information on international adoption
of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to
our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html, the Embassy’s
Internet site at http://kiev.usembassy.gov, or telephone the Overseas Citizens
Services call center at 1-888-407-4747. The OCS call center can answer general
inquiries regarding international adoptions and abductions and will forward
calls to the appropriate country officer in the Bureau of Consular Affairs.
This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday
through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use
toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information
and assistance during these hours by calling
EMBASSY LOCATION: All U.S. citizens residing in Ukraine for more
than a few days are encouraged to register at the consular section of the
U.S. Embassy and obtain updated information on travel and security within
Ukraine. The completely voluntary registration system allows the Embassy to: