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    U.S. Department of State
    Bureau of Consular Affairs
    Washington, DC 20520

    Consular Information Sheet


    February 11, 2004

    COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: 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.

    ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: 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 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 application process.

    Embassy of Ukraine
    3350 “M” Street, NW
    Washington, D.C. 20007
    Tel.: (202) 333-0606
    Fax: (202) 333-0817
    web site:

    Consulate General of Ukraine
    240 East 49th Street
    New York, NY 10017
    tel: 212-371-5690
    fax: 212-371-5547
    web site:

    Consulate General of Ukraine
    10 East Huron St.
    Chicago, Il 60611
    tel: 312-642-4388
    fax: 312-642-4385
    web site:

    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.

    DUAL NATIONALITY: 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 or the Embassy’s Dual Nationality flyer at

    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 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.

    CRIME: Most 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 upon demand.

    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 visas. Additional information is available on the Embassy’s web site in a document titled Marriage Brokers at

    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, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at

    Additional information 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

    MEDICAL FACILITIES: 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. More information can be found on the Embassy’s web site at in a document on Medical Services in Kiev at

    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.

    MEDICAL INSURANCE: 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 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 For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization’s website at Further health information for travelers is available at

    TRAFFIC SAFETY 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: Fair
    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.

    For additional general information about road safety, see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at:

    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 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.

    CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: 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 Ukrainian Customs Procedures for Transporting Currencies, Monetary Instruments, or Precious Metals at

    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.

    CRIMINAL PENALTIES: 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.

    CONSULAR ACCESS: 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 law firms.

    SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES/BANKING: 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.

    CHILDREN’S ISSUES: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at's_issues.html, the Embassy’s Internet site at, 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

    REGISTRATION AND 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:

    • help you more quickly if your passport is lost;
    • contact you in case of an emergency;
    • provide information on your whereabouts to family and friends (you must sign a Privacy Act Waiver - which is included in the registration form - in order for us to provide this service); and
    • inform you, via the email-based warden system, of changes in the assessed security situation in Ukraine or elsewhere, and keep you informed about issues of interest to Americans present in Ukraine.

    To register, you simply need to present your U.S. passport at the Consular Section during American Citizen Services’ public hours and complete a simple form. There is no charge for this service. The form may also be downloaded at and mailed or faxed, along with a copy of the citizen’s passport to the Consular Section.

    The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy is located at 6, Pymonenka St. 01901 Kiev, Ukraine; Telephone: (38-044) 490-4422, fax 236-4892. The Chancery is located at vul. Yuria Kotsubinskoho 10, 01901 Kiev, Ukraine. Tel.: (38-044) 490-4000. Please visit the U.S. Embassy Kiev’s Internet home page at

    * * *

    This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated September 26, 2002, to update the Country Description and information on Security and Safety, Medical Insurance, Medical Facilities, Other Health Information, Banking Services, Traffic Safety and Road Conditions, Customs Regulations, and Children’s Issues.


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