Non-visa stay in Ukraine

Nowadays, Ukrainians enjoy a visa-free regime for traveling to the EU, which has become a prominent event for the Ukrainian society a while ago. From the other side, Ukraine grants a right to the nationals of the European Union member countries and many other countries for visa-free entry. Please check the list of visa-free states here.

At the same time, more and more often foreigners have problems while crossing the border due to ignorance and misinformation. Let us make a sense of it.

Ukrainian guests are getting concerned that they will be banned from entering Ukraine because of the so-called “overstay”. These difficulties are related to the requirements of the EU, the Security Service of Ukraine in order to guarantee that the foreigner stays in Ukraine legally and is not dangerous neither to Ukraine nor to its EU-partners. Therefore, more foreigners are being denied entry or even banned to enter Ukraine. The establishment of entry regulations for Russian nationals is a vivid example of the Ukrainian government seeking to tighten control over the Ukrainian border.

1. What is an overstay and how it occurs?


According to Ukrainian legislation, the citizens of many countries have a right to stay within the territory of Ukraine without obtaining a visa for 90 days within 180 days. How is it calculated? The officials take a specific date and count down 180 days back. After that, they check whether you have used 90 “visa-free” days within this term. If so and you are still in Ukraine it means you have violated the law and “overstayed”. You can see the instruction for calculating “number of days” here.

2. What happens if the foreigner has overstayed?


This information is easily checked at the border control. Please take note, nowadays the border control system allows combining information on foreigners using two passports of the same country and simple change of one passport to another will not help confuse border guards. According to article 203 of the Code of Administrative Offences of Ukraine, the foreigner will be fined 1700-5100 UAH for it. Moreover, a foreigner may also be banned from entering Ukraine.

The overstay is not covered by the fine, therefore, the foreigner will have to wait 90 days abroad before re-entering Ukraine.

3. How to stay in Ukraine for more than 90 days?


As per Ukrainian legislation, there are several ways to stay in Ukraine for more than 90 days for non-Ukrainian citizens:

1) get a temporary residency;
2) get a permanent residency;
3) extend a stay in Ukraine.

More about residency in Ukraine.

The foreigner having a permit may without any limitation enter and leave Ukraine on legal grounds (for a certain period or permanently). The third option does not provide such an opportunity, it is recommended to choose it for those who are at the stage of obtaining official documents for the issuance of permits (for example, work permits or marriage certificates, etc.).

4. What to expect in future?


The border crossing regime is not getting easier. We expect new rules to be introduced for Russian citizens visiting Ukraine. More foreigners are currently seeking legal status in Ukraine due to the political situation in the neighboring countries. The situation in the East of Ukraine though makes the issue more complicated as well as the requirement of EU policies that Ukraine has undertaken to perform.

Vasyl Cherednichenko