Temporary residency in Ukraine
The legislation on obtaining a temporary residence permit and what you should know about that.
Usually, foreigners from the EU, USA, UK, Canada, South Korea, Turkey and some other countries have the right to stay legally in Ukraine without any visa (90 calendar days during 180 day-term). To find out more about visa-free countries please follow this link. Citizens of other countries who intend to stay temporarily in Ukraine need a visa. The list of countries, whose citizens need to obtain a visa to enter Ukraine, please see here.
The procedure of calculating the 90-day visa-free stay in Ukraine follows the relevant rules. You can get more information about it here.
So, how to extend your stay in Ukraine for more than 90 days?
The answer is simple – to obtain a temporary residence permit in Ukraine.
The temporary residence permit is an official document that gives the right to stay in Ukraine legally, as well as to leave the territory of Ukraine and return to Ukraine for an unlimited number of times during its validity, with the right to extend it. The validity of a temporary residence permit varies – from several months to several years. For example, 3-year valid permits are issued in case of work or a long-lasting international project, etc.
Current Ukrainian legislation provides the following list of reasons for a temporary residence permit:
♦ official employment;
♦ participation in international technical support projects (such projects must be registered);
♦ religious activity based on the invitation from a religious organization (officially registered, with а permission to involve foreigners);
♦ participation in activities of representative offices and other structural units of foreign non-governmental organizations;
♦ work in representative offices of foreign business entities or representative offices / branches of foreign banks;
♦ international cultural, educational or scientific activities under international contracts of Ukraine or specific programs, participation in international or regional volunteer programs, as well as participation in work of Ukrainian volunteer organizations (a special list of such organizations is approved by the government);
♦ study in Ukraine (not intended but already arranged);
♦ work as a correspondent or a representative of foreign media;
♦ investing at least 100 thousand euros in business in Ukraine;
♦ marriage with a citizen of Ukraine;
♦ family reunification with citizens of Ukraine or persons legally residing on the territory of Ukraine (holders of a temporary or permanent residence permit).
Before applying for a temporary residence permit, the applicant (if not a citizen of a visa-free country) will have to get a D-type visa (read more about visas to Ukraine).
A Temporary Residence Permit Due to Employment in Ukraine
The most common and transparent way is official employment in Ukraine. Any foreigner has a right to be employed in Ukraine if they obtain a work permit in accordance with the legislation of Ukraine. After receiving a work permit, a foreign citizen is eligible to apply for a temporary residence permit in Ukraine. The permit is issued for a term of validity of the work permit of a foreigner (and it can be up to three years).
Being an Employee versus Registering One’s Own Business
Using employment at a company as a means of legalizing the stay in Ukraine does have certain risks. The foreigner is dependent on the employer and can lose the residency right in case of dismissal from the position. The employment as the ground to legalize the stay in Ukraine is much easier and safer for those foreigners, who register their own business in Ukraine and hold a position of the director or a deputy director of their own company. By using this method, potential investors and foreigners who intend to run a business in Ukraine (no matter how big or small) won’t have any problems maintaining a temporary residence in Ukraine for as long as they need.
Family Reunification and Marriage
Family reunification is another reason for a temporary residence permit. This can include reunification with parents, a spouse who is Ukrainian and those persons who have already obtained permission to stay legally in Ukraine. For instance, if a foreigner has started a business in Ukraine, received a work permit and a temporary residence permit, then his/her family may join him and acquire legal status in Ukraine without a need to obtain a work permit or some other legal grounds for staying in Ukraine.
For residence permits based on family reunification, applicants need to apply for a D-type visa and afterward – for a temporary residency. That is how family reunification works. It is much easier to obtain residency if you have some family ties in Ukraine, for example, marriage to a Ukrainian, having a child who is a citizen of Ukraine or having relatives who are (were) Ukrainians or were born on the territory of Ukraine. The existence of family connections must be verified (through marriage certificate, birth certificate, etc.). If such documents are obtained abroad, please pay attention to the rules of legalization and apostillation of the documents issued in a foreign country for their further legal use in Ukraine. A temporary residence permit for family reunification is issued for a period of 1 year with the right to extend it.
When the marriage with a citizen of Ukraine lasts for more than 2 years, a foreigner has the right to obtain a permanent residence permit in Ukraine.
Education in Ukraine – an Opportunity for Getting a Temporary Residence Permit
A temporary residence permit can be issued to foreigners, who come to Ukraine for study at Ukrainian universities and colleges. The list of accredited Ukrainian universities and colleges is available on the website of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine.
A foreigner, who intends to study in Ukraine and get a temporary residence permit based on studying, has to receive an invitation from the Ukrainian university registered with the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine.
It is also important to check whether all the documents for studying comply with the rules of legalization and the apostilling for their future use in Ukraine.
Based on the invitation for studying in Ukraine, a foreigner gets a D-type visa at the Consulate of Ukraine located abroad. Afterward, all the necessary documents must be filed with the State Migration Service of Ukraine for temporary residence permit issuing.
Submitted documents shall confirm the fact of studying in Ukraine (duly certified copies of the university admission order with studying term details of such foreign student) and the university’s obligement to inform the State Migration Service of Ukraine in the event of student’s expulsion.
Temporary residence permit validity depends on the study term of such foreign student in Ukraine. Usually, this kind of a temporary residence permit is valid for up to 1 year, and after the expiration date, it can be prolonged (or exchanged) based on a new document confirming the fact of studying in Ukraine. There is no need to get a new D-type visa if the legal deadline for prolongation (or exchanging) of the temporary residence permit is met.
Documents for temporary residence permit exchange have to be filed at the latest 15 working days before the end of the studying term, specified in the university’s admission order of the foreign student.
Temporary Residence Permit for Overseas Journalists
Foreigners, working as journalists at the foreign mass media outlets can obtain a temporary residence permit, if they arrive in Ukraine for work, and have the letter from their employer – foreign mass media outlets.
The procedure of the issue of the temporary residence permit for the overseas journalist includes the following steps:
1. Obtaining a D-type visa based on the letter from the foreign mass media.
2. Filing a request to the Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine with letter from the foreign mass media regarding the application to the State Migration Service of Ukraine for a temporary residence permit.
Please note the specific requirements for the foreign mass media request filed to the Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine for receiving the application to the State Migration Service of Ukraine.
3. Submitting the documents to the State Migration Service of Ukraine, including the foreign mass media request on the issue of the temporary residence permit.
Usually, a temporary residence permit for the overseas journalist is valid for up to 1 year with the right to prolong it.
Temporary Residence Permit for Overseas Sportsmen and Cultural Workers
Ukrainian legislation also allows foreigners to get a temporary residence permit due to cultural, scientific, and educational activities. When foreigners arrive in Ukraine, they need to obtain the petition (application) from the corresponding state authority. Such activity (cultural, scientific, educational, etc.) has to be specified in international treaties between the Government of Ukraine and the government of such foreign country of citizenship or has to be foreseen at the specific state programs.
As an example, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports can invite a foreigner for professional sports activities in Ukraine, or a foreign cultural worker can arrive in Ukraine upon the invitation of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine and then obtain a temporary residence permit on this ground.
Moreover, foreign volunteers have the possibility of getting a temporary residence permit in Ukraine for volunteer programs, but only if they have the corresponding invitation from a volunteer organization, registered by the Ministry of Social Politics of Ukraine. Temporary residence permit issued for overseas volunteers, sportsmen, scientific and cultural workers is valid for up to 1 year.
To sum up, obtaining a temporary residence permit in Ukraine grants foreigners rights to stay within the territory of Ukraine, leave and enter the country whenever needed, work, study, and receive state services within the validity term of their temporary residence permit. However, foreign citizens, willing to get legal status in Ukraine, need to remember that any breach of Ukrainian laws related to the foreigner’s legal status (including overstaying in the country, providing the forged documents, or false information) may result in forced expulsion from Ukraine and a ban on re-entering.
Read about legalization of foreign volunteers in Ukraine.