Travel Advisories

Travel Advisories

Travel Advisories

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Ukraine Travel Advisory

Exercise increased caution in Ukraine due to crime and civil unrest. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Do not travel to Crimea due to:

-foreign occupation and abuses by occupation authorities

-the eastern parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, especially the non-government controlled areas, due to armed conflict.

Crime targeting foreigners and property is common. Demonstrations, which have turned violent at times, regularly occur throughout Ukraine, including in Kyiv. Politically targeted assassinations and bombings have also occurred.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prohibits U.S. civil aviation from flying in the Ukrainian Simferopol (UKFV) and Dnipropetrovsk (UKDV) Flight Information Regions. For more information U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Ukraine:

  • Avoid demonstrations and crowds.
  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans based on new information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for Ukraine.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

There is extensive Russian Federation military presence in Crimea as part of Russia’s occupation and attempted annexation of this part of Ukraine, which the international community, including the United States and Ukraine, does not recognize. There are continuing abuses against and arbitrary imprisonment of foreigners and the local population by the occupation authorities in Crimea, particularly abuses against individuals who are seen as challenging Russian authority on the peninsula.

The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens traveling in Crimea as U.S. government employees are prohibited from traveling to Crimea.

Donetsk and Luhansk

Russia-led forces continue to control areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, where the ongoing armed conflict has resulted in over 10,000 deaths. Individuals, including U.S. citizens, have been threatened, detained, or kidnapped for hours or days after being stopped at checkpoints controlled by Russia-led forces.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens traveling in Donetsk or Luhansk since U.S. government employees are restricted from traveling to the eastern parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and to adjacent regions.

Must be valid at time of entry

One page required for entry stamp

Not required for stays less than 90 days within a 180-day period

Anything over €10,000 or foreign currency equivalent must be declared in writing

Same as restrictions for entry

U.S. Embassy Kyiv

4 A.I. Sikorsky St. (formerly Tankova)

04112 Kyiv, Ukraine

Telephone: +38 (044) 521-5566

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +38 (044) 521-5000

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Ukraine for information on U.S. — Ukraine relations.

  • You do not need a visa to enter Ukraine for visits of up to 90 days in any 180 day period, but must be able to provide proof of valid health insurance and sufficient funds for the duration of your stay.
  • No vaccinations are required for entry, but you must be up-to-date on all recommended vaccinations.
  • A visa and residency permit is required for stays over 90 days. You must receive the visa in advance at a Ukrainian embassy or consulate. You cannot get a Ukrainian visa at the airport or at the border. For information regarding visa requirements and to find the nearest Ukrainian embassy or consulate, visit the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Embassy of Ukraine in the U.S.
  • You must apply with the State Migration Service of Ukraine (SMS) for a residency permit within 45 days from your entry date. Once you have a residency permit you can reside in Ukraine for as long as it remains valid. More information is available at the SMS website (Ukrainian language only).

Crimea: The Crimean Peninsula remains part of Ukraine despite Russia’s purported annexation and occupation. Follow the guidance in our Travel Warning for Ukraine and defer all travel to Crimea. If you choose to travel to Crimea, you should be aware:

  • The U.S. Embassy has severely restricted the travel of U.S. government personnel to Crimea.
  • The U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide consular services, including responding to emergencies to U.S. citizens, is extremely limited.
  • Time spent in Crimea counts against the 90 days allowed in Ukraine without a visa.
  • You may only enter Crimea from mainland Ukraine.
  • Entrance into Crimea by air or sea is illegal and you will be denied entry into mainland Ukraine and banned from Ukraine for five years.

Eastern Ukraine — nongovernment-controlled territory: Russian-backed separatists continue to control areas in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts — areas known as the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) zone in Ukraine — where violent clashes have occurred. Follow the guidance in our Travel Warning for Ukraine and defer all travel to these regions. If you choose to travel to these areas, know:

  • The U.S. Embassy restricts the travel of U.S. government personnel in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and prohibits any travel into ATO territory.
  • The U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide consular services, including responding to emergencies to U.S. citizens, is extremely limited.
  • U.S. citizens who enter Ukraine through ATO territory along the Russian border will not be allowed to pass through government checkpoints to government of Ukraine-controlled territory.
  • Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) procedures at entry/exit points requires that permit applications be submitted and approved electronically prior to travel in the ATO zone. For a comprehensive list of the requirements for a permit to enter the ATO zone, please visit the official SBU website.

HIV/AIDS Restrictions: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Ukraine. However, anyone with tuberculosis cannot get permanent residency in Ukraine. There are no waivers or exceptions to this rule.

Information about customs rules can be found on the Ukrainian State Customs Service website and on our Customs Information page.

Terrorism Activity: Credible information indicates that terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Europe. European governments are taking action to guard against terrorist attacks, however, all European countries remain potentially vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations.

Small-scale bombings continue to occur throughout Ukraine. While most attacks are at night and appear intended to cause property damage and incite fear, some attacks were fatal, targeting populated areas during daylight hours

  • You should carry travel documents with you at all times.
  • You leave behind U.S. support systems, emergency service capabilities, and medical facilities when abroad.
  • We will do what we can to help US citizens overseas, but there are legal and practical limitations. See our general travel tips.
  • Enroll in STEP to receive safety and security announcements while you are abroad.

Potential for civil disturbances: Large-scale protests have occurred from time to time in cities throughout Ukraine.

  • You should avoid large gatherings or protests and adjacent areas.
  • In the past, some protests have turned violent and resulted in deaths and injuries.
  • Be alert and aware of your surroundings and pay attention to local news media.
  • The Embassy will post information about sizeable planned protests on the Embassy website.

Crimea: The Russian Federation is likely to take further actions in Crimea as part of its illegal occupation of this part of Ukraine. The international community, including the United States and Ukraine, does not recognize this purported annexation.

  • Extensive Russian Federation military presence is prevalent in Crimea.
  • There are continuing abuses against the local population by the de facto authorities in Crimea, particularly against those who are seen as challenging their authority on the peninsula.
  • You should be aware the U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide consular services is extremely limited to U.S. citizens who enter or reside on the Crimean peninsula.

Eastern Ukraine: The Department of State also warns U.S. citizens to defer all travel to Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts where Russian-backed separatists continue to control some areas.

  • U.S. citizens have been specifically targeted by gunmen representing the self-proclaimed authorities and threatened, detained, or kidnapped for hours or days.
  • The Government of Ukraine has been unable to provide some government services in many parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.
  • Shortages of water, power, medicine, and food supplies have also been reported in separatist-controlled territory, and widespread disorder and looting has been confirmed in these areas. You should be aware the U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide consular services to U.S. citizens is extremely limited in these regions.

Crime: Tourists may be targeted due to perceived wealth. The police are poorly paid and historically known for corruption and soliciting bribes. The situation has vastly improved after the implementation of a new professional and well-trained police force (Patrol Police), but corruption remains an issue.

  • Criminal activity, including burglaries, robberies, and street crimes, including muggings and pickpocketing, is increasingly a problem in Ukraine.
  • Law enforcement and emergency officials rarely speak English, and interpreters are not readily available.
  • Muggings, attacks, armed robberies, harassment, or the drugging of unsuspecting victims at nightspots (who are then robbed and/or assaulted) have been reported.
  • Cases of assaults in apartment building corridors, elevators, and stairwells, as well as armed break-ins and crimes involving firearms, have also been reported.
  • Many incidents of criminal activity occur on the public transport system, including the metro. When riding on public transportation or moving in crowded areas, keep your purse, bag, or backpack tightly under your arm and/or in front of your body.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victim of sexual assault should first contact the U.S. Embassy. Report crimes to the local police at 102 and contact the U.S. Embassy at +38 (044) 521-5566 during business hours, or +38 (044) 521-5000 after hours.

Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes.

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find temporary accommodation and arrange flights home in cases of destitution
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Call us in Washington at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • See the State Department’s travel website for Worldwide Caution, Travel Advisories.
  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
  • See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.

  • If you are arrested, you can face extended periods, even years, in pre-trial detention.
  • Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking illegal drugs are severe, and if convicted you can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.

Furthermore, some violations of laws in Ukraine are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrests: When in a foreign country, you are subject to all that country’s laws, even if they seem harsh by U.S. standards. If you violate local laws, the U.S. government cannot get you out of jail, and your U.S. passport will not protect you. .

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

  • Ukrainian law permits police to stop you for any reason and check your identification documents.
  • You are required to carry your passport at all times, police may check to verify your legal presence in Ukraine.
  • Police are permitted to detain you for up to 72 hours without formal charges.
  • You should have the numbers for the U.S. Embassy handy. If stopped by the police for an unclear reason, call the U.S. Embassy at +38 (044) 521 5566 within working hours or +38 (044) 521 5000 after hours.

LGBTI Travelers: Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is a problem in Ukraine, as LGBT individuals have been the target of harassment, threats, and acts of violence. For more detailed information about LGBT rights in Ukraine, you may review the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Right Practices for 2016. For further information on LGBT travel, please read our Information for LGBT Travelers page.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section six of our Human Rights Report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance. Accessibility is an issue in Ukraine. Public transport systems are not fully accessible to individuals with disabilities. Some newer buildings feature ramps and elevators, but older buildings do not. You should check ahead with your hotel/destination to learn more about options to accommodate disabled traveler needs before visiting Ukraine. See our Traveling with Disabilities page.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for women travelers.

The general quality of healthcare in Ukraine does not meet American standards, and, as a result, many applied therapies are ineffective.

  • Fees at government clinics and hospitals are lower than those at private clinics, but due to low wages many doctors request bribes or additional payments before treating patients.
  • Private physicians and private hospitals charge fees for services, and some do not accept local health insurance.
  • Public facilities only accept cash payments, while most private clinics accept credit cards.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Medication: If traveling with prescription medication, check with the State Register of Medicines (Ukrainian language only) to ensure the medication is legal to bring into the country, as many medications that are legal in the United States are prohibited in Ukraine. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.

The following diseases are prevalent in Ukraine:

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

Road Conditions and Safety:

  • Generally, roads outside major urban areas are in poor condition and poorly lit.
  • U.S. drivers licenses are not valid in Ukraine as their vehicle categories do not meet the standards enumerated in the 1968 Convention on Road Traffic (as amended in 2011). Travelers who do not have a foreign drivers license that meets these requirements must obtain either a Ukrainian driver’s license or an International Driving Permit.

In case of accidents:

  • Emergency number: Dial 102. Ambulance crews do not respond quickly and do not often include trained paramedics.
  • Notify the police immediately. By law, police must be notified in the event of an accident. Remain at the scene until the police arrive to conduct an investigation.
  • It is a criminal offense to move the vehicle from the site of the accident unless it presents a clear safety concern (causing a traffic jam is not considered a safety concern). In practice, this even includes moving a vehicle to the side of the road.
  • You must wait until the police arrive and complete their report, often this can take several hours.
  • The police will decide responsibility, take the drivers’ personal information, and file an accident report. In the vast majority of cases, the police will not speak English.
  • Ukraine has a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Violations may result in fines, imprisonment, and/or deportation.
  • Non-payment of traffic or parking fines may result in travel bans, which means you cannot leave the country until the fines (plus penalties) are paid.
  • Using a cell telephone or texting while driving is illegal.
  • Do not turn right on a red light, unless there is a special green arrow sign attached to the stoplight.
  • Front seat belts are mandatory.
  • Only use marked taxis. Fares are given in advance when you order a taxi by phone, but prices are typically negotiated with the driver in advance if hailing a cab in the street.
  • Do not sit in the front seat of the taxi, enter a taxi with unknown passengers, or travel to unfamiliar areas.
  • Buses and trams are widely used.

See our Road Safety page for more information.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Ukraine’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Ukraine’s air carrier operations. You can find further information on the FAA website at the FAA safety assessment page.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Ukraine should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at www.marad.dot.gov/msci. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website (https:homeport.uscg.mil), and the NGA broadcast warnings website http://msi.nga.mil/NGAPortal/MSI.portal select “broadcast warnings”.

DISCLAIMER

DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION IS PROVIDED FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY AND MAY NOT BE TOTALLY ACCURATE IN A SPECIFIC CASE. QUESTIONS INVOLVING INTERPRETATION OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN LAWS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO THE APPROPRIATE FOREIGN AUTHORITIES OR FOREIGN COUNSEL.

U.S. Embassy Kyiv

4 A.I. Sikorsky St. (formerly Tankova)

04112 Kyiv, Ukraine

Telephone: +38 (044) 521-5566

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +38 (044) 521-5000

Ukraine is a party to the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra Judicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters. Complete information on the operation of the Convention, including an interactive online request form are available on the Hague Conference website. Requests should be completed in duplicate and submitted with two sets of the documents to be served, and translations, directly to Ukraine’s Central Authority for the Hague Service Convention. The person in the United States executing the request form should be either an attorney or clerk of court. The applicant should include the titles attorney at law or clerk of court on the identity and address of applicant and signature/stamp fields. Ukraine formally objected to service under Article 10, and does not permit service via postal channels.. For additional information see the Hague Conference Service Convention web page and the Hague Conference Practical Handbook on the Operation of the Hague Service Convention. See also Ukraine’s response to the 2008 Hague Conference questionnaire on the practical operation of the Hague Service Convention.

Service on a Foreign State: See also our Service Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) feature and FSIA Checklist for questions about service on a foreign state, agency or instrumentality.

Service of Documents from Ukraine in the United States: See information about service in the United States on the U.S. Central Authority for the Service Convention page of the Hague Conference on Private International Law Service Convention site.

Defense Requests in Criminal Matters: Criminal defendants or their defense counsel seeking judicial assistance in obtaining evidence or in effecting service of documents abroad in connection with criminal matters may do so via the letters rogatory process.

Ukraine is a party to the Hague Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil and Commercial Matters. The Central Authority for Ukraine for the Hague Evidence Conventiondesignated to receive letters of request for the taking of evidence is the Ministry of Justice. See the Hague Evidence Convention Model Letters of Request for guidance on how to prepare a letter of request. Requests for compulsion of evidence under the Hague Evidence Convention are transmitted directly from the requesting court or person in the United States to the Ukraine Central Authority and do not require transmittal via diplomatic channels. Requests should be submitted in duplicate with Ukrainian translations. For more information see the Ukraine Declarations and Reservations regarding the Hague Evidence Convention and Ukraine’s response to the 2008 Hague Conference questionnaire on the practical operation of the Hague Evidence Convention.

Requests from Ukraine to Obtain Evidence in the United States: The U.S. Central Authority for the Hague Evidence Convention is the Office of International Judicial Assistance, Civil Division, Department of Justice, 1100 L Street N.W., Room 8102, Washington, D.C. 20530.

Ukrainian authorities have informed the U.S. Embassy that depositions of U.S. citizen willing witnesses are allowed without obtaining the permission of Ukrainian authorities. Permission from the Ukraine Central Authority for the Hague Evidence Convention is required to take voluntary depositions of willing witnesses who are Ukrainian nationals or third country nationals. Telephone and video teleconference depositions from the United States of witnesses in Ukraine are also permitted with the same conditions. The deposition of a witness without interposition of Ukrainian authorities is not prohibited unless it abridges the rights or interests of Ukrainian citizens. If Ukrainian authorities become aware that the rights or interests of a Ukrainian citizen were violated, the person who was taking the deposition will not be allowed to enter Ukraine in the future. Depositions can take place at any location, including a hotel, office or the U.S. Embassy. Oral depositions or depositions on written questions may be taken by U.S. consular officers or by private attorneys at the U.S. Embassy or at another location such as a hotel or office, either on notice or pursuant to a commission. If the services of a U.S. consular officer are required to administer an oath to the witness, interpreter and stenographer, such arrangements must be made in advance with the U.S. embassy directly.

Ukraine is a party to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalization of Foreign Public Documents. Ukraine’s competent authority for the Hague Apostille Convention will authenticate Ukrainian public documents with Apostilles. For information about authenticating U.S. public documents for use in Ukraine, see the list of U.S. Competent Authorities. To obtain an Apostille for a U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America, contact the U.S. Department of State, Passport Services, Vital Records Office.

U.S. Embassy Kyiv

4 A.I. Sikorsky St. (formerly Tankova)

04112 Kyiv, Ukraine

Telephone: +38 (044) 521-5566

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +38 (044) 521-5000

Ukraine and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since September 1, 2007.

For information concerning travel to Ukraine, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Ukraine.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA). The report is located here.

The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention. In this capacity, the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including Ukraine. Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.

United States Department of State

Bureau of Consular Affairs

Office of Children’s

Washington, DC 20522-1709

Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444

The Ukrainian Central Authority for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine. The Ministry of Justice takes measures to locate the child and taking parent, approaches local authorities to arrange a meeting to attempt a voluntary return of the child, if appropriate, and makes arrangements with the local children’s welfare office (Custody and Care Office) to check the child’s living conditions. The Ukrainian Central Authority can be reached at:

The Ukrainian Central Authority can be reached at:

Ministry of Justice of Ukraine

13, Horodetskogo Street

Tel.: +38 044 279 5674

Fax: +38 044 279 5674

To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Ukraine, the left-behind parent must submit a Hague application to the Ukrainian Central Authority. It is extremely important that each document written in English be translated into Ukrainian. Please note, however, that certified translations are not necessary. The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes.

There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or Ukrainian central authorities. The Ukrainian Central Authority provides legal representation at no cost to left-behind parents, however, the parent or legal guardian who has submitted the application may hire a private attorney in Ukraine. A privately hired attorney should contact the Ukrainian Central Authority as soon as possible after the Hague Abduction Convention application has been filed with the Ukrainian Central Authority.

Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.

A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in, Ukraine. The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in Ukraine. The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country. The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

In a Hague Abduction Convention case, it is not mandatory for a petitioner to retain a private attorney because the Ukrainian Central Authority provides legal representation at no cost to left-behind parents. However, the parent or legal guardian who has submitted the Hague application may hire a private attorney in Ukraine to follow up on the case and to provide information directly to the court. A privately hired attorney should contact the Ukrainian Central Authority as soon as possible after the Hague Abduction Convention application has been filed with the Ukrainian Central Authority.

Ukraine offers legal assistance to Ukrainian citizens who qualify.

The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine posts a list of attorneys including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney.The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

The Ukrainian Central Authority states that there are no governmental or non-governmental organizations that offer family mediation services in child custody disputes in Ukraine. Parties who wish to pursue mediation as an alternative to formal court proceedings will have to seek private resources.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located. For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent. Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others,
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts, and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney.

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction.

Ukraine is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore, when the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for the United States on April 1, 2008, intercountry adoption processing for Ukraine did not change.

To bring an adopted child to the United States from Ukraine, you must be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. government. The U.S. government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn more.

In addition to these U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, Ukraine also has the following requirements for adoptive parents:

  • Residency Requirements: There are no residency requirements for intercountry adoption from Ukraine.
  • Age Requirements: Under a Ukrainian law which came into effect on October 4, 2011 prospective adoptive parents must be at least 21 years old, and at least 15 years older than the adopted child (the 45-year maximum age difference requirement has been eliminated). In case of adoption of an 18-year old child, the minimum age difference between the adopted child and the adopting parent must be at least 18 years. If only one of the adoptive parents complies with these age requirements, the adoption can be completed in the eligible parent’s name only (classified as IR4 visa type). If the child is being adopted by a relative, the age difference is not considered.
  • Marriage Requirements: Foreign citizens must be married in order to be eligible to adopt from Ukraine.
  • Income Requirements: While there are no specified income requirements, prospective adoptive parents are required to submit documentation identifying their income/financial standing.
  • Other Requirements: Please also see the section listing the documents required for an adoption from Ukraine. Note also the new homestudy requirements as of December 1, 2008, listed in that section.

Ukraine has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption. You cannot adopt a child in Ukraine unless he or she meets these requirements, and is listed on the database of adoptable children available for intercountry adoptions maintained by the central adoption authority in Ukraine, the SDAPRC,

In addition to these requirements, a child must meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law for you to bring him or her home back to the United States. Learn more about these U.S. requirements.

Ukraine’s Adoption Authority

State Department for Adoptions and Protection of Rights of the Child (SDAPRC)

The process for adopting a child from Ukraine generally includes the following steps:

  1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
  3. Be Matched with a Child
  4. Adopt the Child in COUNTRY
  5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
  6. Bringing Your Child Home

    Choose an Adoption Service Provider:

    To bring an adopted child from Ukraine to the United States, you must apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-600A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.

    Be Matched with a Child:

    As of December 1, 2008 the SDAPRC will allow only three appointments to each adoptive family to look at the children’s files. If you have not chosen a child after the third appointment, your adoption dossier will be returned to you immediately. You will need to submit a notarized statement to request a second/third appointment with your dossier to the SDAPRC and then they officially have ten business days to respond with the date of your second/third appointment. The SDAPRC also limits the number of adoption referrals issued to each family to two referrals.

    Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of a particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.

    The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Ukraine’s requirements, as described in the "Who" tab. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law.Learn More.

    NOTE: SDAPRC officials will not meet with prospective adoptive parents who arrive without an appointment or on a day other than when their appointment is scheduled. Ukrainian law does not allow adoption intermediaries. No private interpreters or facilitators are allowed to interpret during the meetings between the prospective adoptive parents and the SDAPRC. The private interpreters can be used at later stages of the adoption process.

    The judge’s decision is announced and issued the day of the hearing. However, it will not take effect for 10 days. During the 10 days the adoption can be appealed. If an appeal application is submitted, an additional 20-day period is granted for the appellant to file his/her complete appeal. This additional time can be shortened or waived if the court finds that delaying the final court decision would be contrary to the child’s best interests. Once the final decision takes effect, the adoptive parents have full parental rights and legal responsibility for the child.

    Home Study — Certificate of completed home study, issued by a competent authority in the prospective adoptive parents’ country. If completed by a non-governmental entity, a copy of the license authorizing this entity to conduct home studies must be included. As of December 1, 2008, the home study should include the following:*

  • to register the adopted child with the respective Consulate or Embassy of Ukraine (indicating the name and full address of the Consulate/Embassy),
  • to provide the adopted child with the opportunity to keep their Ukrainian citizenship until 18 years old,
  • to submit annual reports on the adopted child to the Consulate or Embassy of Ukraine at least once a year for the first three years after the adoption and once every three years afterwards, until the child’s 18th birthday,
  • to provide an opportunity to the representatives of the Consulate/Embassy of Ukraine to communicate with the adopted child,
  • to inform the Consulate/Embassy of Ukraine about any change of address of the adopted child.

The home study must also include the recommendations regarding the number, age and health condition of the children that can be adopted by the prospective adoptive parents. The conclusion should clearly state that it is the agency/social worker’s recommendation for this family to adopt this particular child or children, not just the family’s own preference.

Form I-171H, Notice of Approval of Advance Processing, entrance and permanent residence permit for the adopted child.

Proof of Income, including bank statements, W-2 forms for the most recent six months or tax returns for the last calendar year, certified by the issuing authority or notarized, * and a statement from the parents’ employers indicating salary.

Home ownership/Rental Documents — A notarized copy of the document confirming ownership or rental rights of the adoptive parents for their house or apartment, indicating total and living area as well as number of bedrooms . *

Medical Information — A specific medical form must be completed. Although the form instructs parents to visit eight separate specialists, the parents may simply visit their family doctor. The doctor must complete the form in its entirety. The doctor must also include an official and authenticated statement that the parents are not drug addicts, and that they do not have syphilis or HIV/AIDS.

Two notarized copies of marriage certificate.*

Copies of the passports or other identification papers of prospective adoptive parents. If one prospective adoptive parent is not an American citizen, a copy of the Permanent Resident Card must be included.

"No criminal record" statement from a competent authority, attesting to his/her/their having no criminal record at the State level.

Registration Commitment — The prospective adoptive parents must commit, in writing, to register their child with the Ukrainian Embassy or Consulate in the United States within one month of the completion of the adoption. The parents also agree to complete the post-adoption progress reports. This document must be prepared in duplicate and should include the following commitments:

  • to register the adopted child with the respective Consulate or Embassy of Ukraine (indicating the name and full address of the Consulate/Embassy),
  • to provide the adopted child with the opportunity to keep their Ukrainian citizenship until 18 years old,
  • to submit annual reports on the adopted child to the Consulate or Embassy of Ukraine at least once a year for the first three years after the adoption and once every three years afterwards, until the child’s 18th birthday,
  • to provide an opportunity to the representatives of the Consulate/Embassy of Ukraine to communicate with the adopted child,
  • to inform the Consulate/Embassy of Ukraine about any change of address of the adopted child.

* Indicates new requirement as of December 1, 2008.

NOTE : The SDAPRC will not accept any notarized statements in place of W-2 forms or other proof of income, nor will they accept notarized statements or affidavits instead of the documents confirming property rights. On the date of submission of your documents to the SDAPRC, they should remain valid for at least six months. Documents are valid for 12 months from the date of issuance or notarization, except for the I-171H form, which is valid for 18 months. Additional documents may be requested. If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic, we can help. Learn how.

Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption:

Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for several documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:

Once the final decree has been issued, the local Vital Records Office (RAGS) issues the child a new birth certificate. In order to receive the revised birth certificate, parents must submit both the court decree and the child’s original Ukrainian birth certificate. Parents should make a copy of the pre-adoption birth certificate because it will not be returned.

Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Ukraine.

After receiving the post-adoption birth certificate, the parents may apply to the Office of Visas and Registration (VVIR) for a Ukrainian passport for their child. Parents must present a written and notarized request that the travel document be issued. Along with the request, parents should provide the post-adoption birth certificate, final court decree, and four passport photos of the child. Issuance of the passport takes at least 10 days following the application submission.

Because the child’s new name in the passport will be transliterated directly from Ukrainian into English, it may be spelled differently from how the parents would spell it in English. This difference should not cause concern as long as the child’s name in Ukrainian on the travel documents is the same as in the court decree.

At the time the passport is issued, a special, mandatory stamp is put in it showing the child is departing Ukraine for permanent residence abroad. The stamp is called a "PMZh-stamp" for the words "permanent residence" in Ukrainian.

U.S. Immigrant Visa

After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for a U.S. visa from the United States Embassy for your child. After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S Embassy for final review and approval of the child’s I-600 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the "Panel Physician’s" medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage. Learn more.

NOTE: In Ukraine, the 10-day waiting period for the passport issuance is in addition to the 10-day waiting period following the final court hearing.

APPLYING FOR YOUR U.S. PASSPORT

A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Ukraine. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify United States passports.

OBTAINING YOUR VISA

In addition to a U.S. Passport, you also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.

STAYING SAFE ON YOUR TRIP

Before you travel, it’s always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The State Department is a good place to start.

STAYING IN TOUCH ON YOUR TRIP

When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to register your trip with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there’s a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in-country, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents.

For adoptions finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when the court in the United States issues the final adoption decree.

*Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.Learn More about the Child Citizenship Act.

What does Ukraine require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?

Ukraine requires adoptive parents to supply information about the adopted child’s living conditions and educational progress to the Ukrainian consular office annually during the first three years following the adoption and once every three years thereafter, until the child’s 18 th birthday. Note: Under Ukrainian law, an adopted child remains a citizen until he/she turns 18 years old. At that time, he/she can decide whether or not to remain a Ukrainian citizen.

Here are some good places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

U.S. Embassy in Ukraine

4 Igor Sikorsky Street

Ministry for Social Policy of Ukraine

8/10 Esplanadna St.

Kyiv, Ukraine 01025

Tel/fax: +38(044) 289-5629

Embassy of Ukraine

Embassy of Ukraine

3350 M Street, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20007

Tel: 202 333 0606

Fax: 202 333 0817

U.S. Department of State

Washington, DC 20522-1709

For questions about immigration procedures, call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC)

1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.

Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.

The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS’s website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.

Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

Canadian Nationals

Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN’ or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien’s visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See ‘NOTE’ under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

Mexican Nationals

Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the ‘Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998’. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department’s authorization.

V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant’s twenty-first birthday.

Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

Original civil documents (called in general certificates of state registration of the acts of civil status) issued or re-issued on the territory of Ukraine are accepted regardless of the country (USSR, Poland, or Ukraine) or date of issuance.

Re-issuance of a certificate of state registration of the act of civil status is done on the basis of the records of civil status. Re-issuance applies to the cases when the original certificate was stolen, lost, damaged or destroyed or in case of changes to the record of civil status or its renewal. The application must be submitted by the person, for whom the record was made, or parents, adoptive parents, guardians, a representative of health, education or other child care facility where the child permanently resides, or a guardian authority. It is possible for a third party to request the re-issuance if that person has a proper power of attorney. Certificate of state registration of act of civil status is issued to representatives of the education or other child care facility where the child permanently resides, or a guardian authority upon presentation of a proxy issued by the institution and documents proving the person’s identity.

Persons 16 years of age may apply for the re-issuance of a certificate upon presentation of a passport (a passport document).

Persons who have applied to the Department of state registration of acts of civil status (at the location of the birth record) personally may receive the re-issued certificates of state registration of acts of civil status the same day upon presentation of their passport or a passport document. If the application for re-issuance of the certificate has been received by mail (by the department at the location of the birth record), the certificate is issued in 15-day period and sent to the department of state registration of acts of civil status at the place of residence of the applicant.

The documents intended for use abroad in all countries that are parties to the Hague Convention on the Abolition of Legalization of Documents need to be apostilled. Documents which have been certified by RAGS or a local notary office can be affixed with an apostille by the Ministry of Justice. Documents that bear an apostille need not be authenticated by an American consular officer for use in the United States. Documents issued in Ukraine are apostilled by the Ministry of Justice, located at: 73 Artema St. in Kyiv at these phone numbers: +38-044-486-4216 (civil registry documents, i.e., death, birth, marriage, divorce certificates, etc.) in Room 155, and +38-044-486-4988 (notarized documents) in Room 118. Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:00 am until 12:00 noon. A regular apostille takes one day. However, in certain cases the process may take up to 20 business days if the Ministry does not have a copy of the seal and/or signature on file.

An e-Register of Apostilles was introduced in Ukraine in October 2015. The e-Register of Apostilles is a single database of apostilles put on documents issued by judicial and court agencies, as well as documents executed by notaries of Ukraine and on all other kinds of documents. The e-Register of Apostilles can be accessed here.

Some civil records were destroyed during World War II. Local authorities generally will issue a certificate to that effect, the process may easily take several months. In other cases, records of persons in what used to be Ukraine were transferred to neighboring countries when borders shifted.

Marriages and divorces in occupied Crimea or in the non-government controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts (the “Donetsk People’s Republic” [DPR] and the “Luhansk People’s Republic” [LPR]) are not legally recognized in Ukraine and therefore do not establish a valid legal relationship for U.S. immigration purposes. Only marriages and divorces performed by Ukrainian authorities and evidenced by official documents issued by the Ukrainian authorities are valid.

Ukrainian authorities do not issue birth or death certificates based solely off certificates issued by Russian authorities in Crimea or by the so-called “DPR” and “LPR.” Individuals with birth or death certificates issued in these regions may seek a Ukrainian court decree ordering the issuance of a Ukrainian birth or death certificate.

As marriages and divorces performed in Crimea or in the non-government controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts are not legally recognized, individuals will need to legally marry outside Crimea or the non-government controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts to create a legal relationship.

Notarized/certified copies of civil documents are not accepted and therefore not created in Ukraine.

General Issuing Authority Information:

Civil documents are generally available in Ukraine through local or oblast (district or regional) departments of state registration of acts of civil status (DRATsS). Diplomatic missions and Consular sections of Ukraine abroad, and also the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine can also accept requests for civil documents.

*Предлагаемые к заключению договоры или финансовые инструменты являются высокорискованными и могут привести к потере внесенных денежных средств в полном объеме. До совершения сделок следует ознакомиться с рисками, с которыми они связаны.

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