Visas and Passports: Ukraine’s new rules

Once upon a time, traveling to Ukraine was a labyrinth of visas, required letters of invitation, and the prerequisite of mailing one’s passport to a Ukrainian embassy prior to travel. Since the country’s independence and the eventual election win of Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, however, traveling to Ukraine has never been smoother. Relaxation of Ukraine’s visa requirements is an indication of the country’s burgeoning self-confidence.

Under new terms signed into law in August 2005, citizens from the following countries do not require a visa to enter Ukraine if the period of their stay does not exceed 90 days:

  • United States of America
  • Japan
  • Canada
  • European Union member states
  • Switzerland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Andoora
  • The Holy See (State of the Vatican City)Iceland
  • Monaco
  • Norway
  • San Marino

Visas are still required for persons planning to stay past 90 days for purposes of employment, permanent residency, diplomatic mission, or study. Invitation letters are NOT required, however, for citizens of US, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, Slovak Republic, Turkey, and European Union countries when obtaining official, business, private, cultural/ sporting and scientific visas. Valid passports are required for all people traveling to Ukraine.

Persons of Ukrainian descent but citizens of a foreign country enjoy special status. Persons with the status of “a foreign Ukrainian” are entitled to being issued a visa to stay in Ukraine for up to three years. Stays may involve business or private matters, or for purposes of education in Ukraine. An identification of “a foreign Ukrainian” is issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, or by a Ukrainian consulate.

Fourteen years after Ukraine’s independence, this country’s doors have been cast open to the world. For more information about travel to Ukraine, check out our visa section under “Visas”