If you are going to make a short-term visit to Ukraine (up to 90 days) and the purpose of your journey is to see your friends or relatives, you definitely need a private visa to Ukraine.
One of the most important advantages of the private matters visa to Ukraine is that in contrast to tourist visa it may be a multi-entry one, i.e., it will be possible to enter and leave Ukraine several times while your visa is valid. The maximum duration of such visa may be 90 days.
Getting a private matters visa on arrival is not possible as such visas are issued by the Ukrainian embassies or consulates only.
Thus, once you understood that you want to visit your friends or relatives in Ukraine you should do the following:
Step 1 – Determine whether you need a visa.
Nationals of some countries may visit Ukraine for private purposes without a visa. Check visa policy of Ukraine for more information.
Step 2 – Locating the embassy/consulate.
Firstly, you should find out the location of the nearest Ukrainian consular institution. Make sure that the consular boundaries of such consulate cover your country, and remember, that if there is no consulate or embassy in your country, your documents can be accepted by one of the neighboring embassies (remember to check the consular boundaries!).
Step 3 – Scheduling visa interview.
Once you have found the embassy/consulate, use its website to schedule an interview. It is also possible to call the embassy/consulate and ask for a visa interview by phone, or arrive personally. Do not forget to mention your citizenship to double-check the consular district of your boundaries. For example, Ukrainian Embassy in Kenya will accept visa applications from the citizens of Tanzania but will reject applications of the Namibian citizens, who should apply to the Embassy of Ukraine in South Africa.
Step 4 – Preparing the private visa documents.
Once the interview is scheduled, it is now the right time to start preparing the documents. Though we have done our best to make this list as comprehensive as possible, nevertheless, we highly recommend you to visit the embassy website and check updates. Some embassies of Ukraine may have particular requirements, which should be taken into account.
Documents, indicating the purpose of a journey (“private invitation”)
These documents are also known as “private invitation,” should be provided to you by a person, whom you are going to visit in Ukraine. Such persons may be the citizens of Ukraine or foreigners who have a permanent or a temporary residence permit in Ukraine.
We have described the private invitation documents package in this article.
Documents indicating that you possess sufficient means of subsistence both for the duration of the intended stay and for the return to your country of origin or residence
The purpose of these documents is to show that you have enough money to support your stay in Ukraine. The law of Ukraine uses USD 100 per day as criteria in this regard. For calculating the amount, which is sufficient for staying in Ukraine, the following formula is applied:
(USD 100 or equivalent in EURO x the number of days in Ukraine) + USD 500 for emergencies
Thus, if your intended stay in Ukraine is 8 days, you should have (USD 100×8) + USD 500 = USD 1300
The following proofs may be used for confirming that you are in possession of enough funds for visiting Ukraine:
- Cash in Ukrainian hryvnia or other freely convertible currency. We recommend taking USD or EUR;
- A valid document from the bank, confirming that you have an account with this bank and a statement of personal account balance with the required amount of funds. Such a statement should be in English or translated into Ukrainian;
- International pay system cards (VISA/MasterCard/American Express/Maestro) along with a statement of personal account balance confirming the funds (in English or translated into Ukrainian).
You should remember that not only such information is submitted to the embassy/consulate, but also the border officers may ask you to present such information when at the Ukraine entry check-point. Do not forget making a copy of all documents (in English or translated into Ukraine).
Information which enables to assess your intention to leave Ukraine before the expiry of the visa
Because the number of illegal immigrants in Ukraine is rising every year, all Ukrainian embassies and border officers are legally required to assess whether each entrant is going to leave Ukraine when his/her visa expires. Proving that you will return upon expiration of your visa, two critical issues should be taken into consideration.
Firstly, you should be in possession of a return ticket. The date of such ticket should not be later than the expiry date of your visa. The embassy/consulate always checks your return ticket, and sometimes it may be checked by the border guards. Make sure that you always have a printed return ticket with you.
Secondly, although the embassy/consulate staff often say that the interview is of secondary importance, in fact, the way you answer their questions may be crucial. During the interview, the embassy staff should be 100% sure that you will return to your country.
They will be specifically interested in:
- Your family status (do not forget taking marriage certificates and birth certificates of your kids with you);
- Your employment status. For this purpose we recommend taking a certificate, issued by your employer, confirming that you have a contract. If you are a business owner, taking the certificate of incorporation of your company will be useful. For students, a student ID and a letter of confirmation (saying that you are indeed studying in a university) will be very helpful.
- Do not underestimate the importance of this step. Even though you may have much money, Ukrainian embassy/consulate and the border guards should be presented with unquestionable proofs of your intention to return to your home country.
A valid travel document and its photocopy, which is issued within previous 10 years, contains at least two blank pages for visas and is valid at least 3 months after the expiration date of the visa
While in some countries a special passport (known as “foreign passport,” “foreign travel document” or “international travel passport” – there are many denominations) is required for leaving the country, in the others national passport is used for that purpose. In any case, your travel document should correspond to the requirements stated above.
Do not forget making a photocopy of your passport and having it stamped and signed by the embassy official, or if this service is not available in the Ukrainian embassy/consulate of your country – by a public notary. Always keep such copy with you during your voyage to Ukraine – in the event your original passport is lost/stolen/destroyed, the copy will make the process of returning home much simpler.
A filled in and signed application form
You may download a visa application form on the website of a Ukrainian embassy/consulate. The form is to be completed in English. We recommend filling them in a Word processor and then to print it.
Make sure to have a blank copy of the application form with you to be able to complete it anew if the embassy/consulate finds any inaccuracies in it.
If your travel document covers your family members, an individual application form should be filled in for each family member. Application forms of the minors should be signed by the parents or the legal guardians.
Visa processing fee receipt
Ukrainian embassies/consulates levy a fee for processing your visa application, which vary from USD 30 to USD 130 (depending on your citizenship and the type of visa – multiple entry visas cost more). Banking details for making payment should be clarified in the embassy/consulate. Usually, it is possible to pay by cash there as well.
Please note that visa processing fee is non-refundable. It means that if your visa application is denied, no refund will be made.
Two colored passport-size photos
Together with other documents you should also provide two colored passport sized photos. Your face should be 80% of the photo, no smiling. Make sure to call or visit the embassy clarifying the photo requirements. The requirements are also sometimes published on the embassy website.
Insurance policy and its photocopy valid for the period of stay in Ukraine
Often the insurance is provided with the other “tourist invitation” documents by a tour operator in Ukraine, which is responsible for arranging your tour in Ukraine. However, if it is not provided, it is your responsibility to purchase such insurance. It is often possible to buy it straight in the embassy or somewhere nearby.
Step 5 – Interview in the embassy/consulate.
You should demonstrate a complete understanding of your motives to visit Ukraine during the interview in the embassy/consulate.
Because you are going to get a private visa you should be able to explain the following:
- Whom are you going to visit?
- What is your relation to the people, whom you are going to visit in Ukraine?
- Where did you meet the people, whom you are going to visit, for the first time?
- What will you be doing in Ukraine with your friends/relatives?
- What city are your friends/relatives live in?
- Where will you be living in Ukraine?
- In other words, it is essential demonstrating that the purpose of your visit is indeed a private one.
Remember, that if you are going to handle any business, employment or study-related matters, you should not talk about that in the embassy/consulate. Otherwise, the embassy/consular staff will decide that in fact, you need a tourist or a business visa, and your private visa application will be indeed rejected.
Application processing time
Typically, visa application processing time varies between 2 and 6 weeks. It depends on the embassy/consulate workload. However, there is a possibility of paying double visa processing fee to make the process faster.
Visa decision of the embassy/consulate
Once your visa application is processed, the embassy will make a decision, which may be:
- Visa application approval – in this case, a special visa sticker will be pasted into your travel document;
- Visa application rejection – in this case, the embassy will issue a written statement, explaining why your visa application has been rejected.
Step 6 – Crossing Ukrainian border.
Although a visa sticker is a proof that your private visit has been approved, the border guards of Ukraine are allowed to double-check your motives. They are permitted to deny entry to Ukraine if they have any suspicions that your real motives of visiting Ukraine include some activities besides spending time with relatives or friends.
Our practice shows that the border guards of Ukraine may ask you to demonstrate:
- Copy of your private matters invitation;
- Accommodation proofs or guarantee letter from your host, who should be a legal owner of some residential property in Ukraine;
- Proof that you have enough funds to stay in Ukraine;
- Return ticket.
In addition to that, the border guards may check whether your friends or relatives are waiting for you in the “arrivals” zone. It is our strong recommendation to make sure that a person, who signed your private matters invitation, meets you at the airport.
The border guards may also be interested in the following information, and you should be able to provide comprehensive answers in English to the questions relating to:
- The purpose of your visit to Ukraine (remember, that you are visiting Ukraine with private purposes only, you want to see your friends or relatives and spend time with them only);
- Who is your host in Ukraine and where will you be living;
- What kind of activities are you going to have in Ukraine;
- When you will leave the territory of Ukraine.
If some of the documents indicated above are missing at the moment of entering Ukraine, or you provided inconclusive answers to the questions of the Border Guard officers, the guards may deny entry to Ukraine, and you will have to leave Ukraine with the nearest plane (at your own cost). Your visa, however, will not be annulled.
Private matters visa summary
Overall, though much bureaucracy is involved, getting a private matters visa to Ukraine is not so difficult. Basically, to our best knowledge, there are no cases when the Border Guard denied entry or the embassy/consulate rejected a visa application without a valid reason. Just make sure to have the rights documents and do your best to answer the questions correctly.
Finally, always make sure that you are met by a person, who invited you to Ukraine, at the airport. It is still better to write an additional email than to be forcibly repatriated and have all your travel arrangements disrupted because of a small lapse.