Volunteer movement in Ukraine: foreign citizens` participation


Foreign citizens have always actively helped Ukraine in various spheres and were widely involved in the Ukrainian volunteer movement, which has now become especially important due to the full-scale armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine. That is why it is important to consider the issue of organization of the activities of foreign volunteers in Ukraine and their legal integration into the Ukrainian volunteer movement.

Foreigners citizens can volunteer through non-profit organizations registered as legal entities  in Ukraine and included to the list on the website of National social service of Ukraine.

Therefore, the organization must meet the following criteria:

– Registered as a legal entity in Ukraine;

– Listed in the register of non-profit organizations;

– Included in the list of the National social service of Ukraine (here – NSSU).

Registration of a public formation in the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, Individual Entrepreneurs and Public Formations

The most common types of public formations that can be used for volunteering are non-governmental and charitable organizations. An NGO may act in the form of an organization or a union.

The formation of an NGO is carried out at the constituent meeting of its founders and is documented with the minutes of association. Within 60 days from the date of the meeting, the NGO must be registered according to the respective law. The minutes of association and charter do not require notarization.

For registration, you need to submit to the state registrar at the location of the public formation:

– Application;

– Minutes of association;

– Charter.

After the state registration of a legal entity, the registration application and copies of the constituent documents, certified by the signature of the head or representative of such organization, must be submitted to the State Tax Service for assignment of the non-profit status.

The application for registration of a legal entity as a non-profit may be submitted simultaneously to the state registrar as an annex to the application for state registration of the establishment of a legal entity.

The non-profit status

To define organization as non-profit, certain criteria must be met, namely:

  • the constituent documents of such an organization must contain a prohibition on the distribution of income (profits) or part thereof among the founders (participants), members of such an organization, employees (except for remuneration of their labor, accrual of a single social contribution), members of governing bodies and other related persons;
  • the constituent documents of the organization provide for the transfer of assets to one or more non-profit organizations of the corresponding type or inclusion in the budget revenue in case of termination of such a legal entity (as a result of its liquidation, merger, division, accession or transformation).


Adding into the list of the NSSU

Foreigners can carry out volunteer activities through those organizations and institutions that involve volunteers in their activities, information about which is available on the official website of the central executive body that implements the state policy in the field of volunteering. Such body in Ukraine is the NSSU.

Organizations that have the right to involve volunteers in their activities and information about which is published on the official website of the NSSU, have the right to invite foreigners and stateless persons to carry out volunteer activities in Ukraine. Such an invitation is necessary for a foreign citizen to obtain a long-term visa type D and consequently obtain a temporary residence permit.

Organizations and institutions that involve foreigners and stateless persons in volunteer activities have special responsibilities in the field of migration, namely:

  • within 5 business days from the start of the volunteering activities of the specific foreigner, inform the NSSU in writing.
  • within 5 business days from the date of the termination of such activities, inform the State Migration Service of Ukraine.


Activities of branches/representative offices of foreign non-governmental organizations

Volunteer activities can also be carried out through the branches, departments, representative offices and other structural units of foreign non-governmental organizations. State registration in Ukraine of a separate subdivision of a foreign non-governmental organization, representative office, branches of a foreign charitable organization is carried out through its accreditation without acquiring the status of a legal entity.

The documents specified by law are submitted for registration to the Ministry of justice of Ukraine. Documents issued by the foreign state must be legalized (consular legalization or apostille) and translated into Ukrainian with notarization.


Legalization of foreign citizens – volunteers in Ukraine

Foreigners and stateless persons who are legally residing in Ukraine and have legal capacity are allowed to become volunteers.

The law provides for the right of volunteers to proper conditions for volunteering, provision of special protective equipment, reimbursement of expenses related the implementation of volunteer activities, including the costs of obtaining a visa, travel, postal and telephone services, medical examination, vaccination and other medical and preventive measures directly related to the provision of volunteer assistance.

Foreign citizens who carry out volunteer activities can stay in Ukraine legally within the established terms of stay for states with visa-free entry regime/within the period specified by visa for states with visa entry, and under a temporary residence permit.

In order to obtain a temporary residence permit, a foreigner must obtain a long-term visa type D (D-10), which indicates the grounds for future stay – volunteering in Ukraine.

N.B. There is only a limited list of countries whose citizens do not need a D-visa to obtain the temporary residence permit in Ukraine.

The purpose of stay in Ukraine for the visa D-10 obtaining is:

  • participation in international and regional volunteer programs or
  • participation in the activities of volunteer organizations.

The participation of a volunteer organization in the process of legalization of a foreigner on the territory of Ukraine is required both at the stage of forming a package of documents for the visa obtaining, and at the stage of submitting documents for obtaining a temporary residence permit.

A temporary residence permit is issued for one year and could be extended if there are grounds for that.

Among the necessary documents for obtaining a temporary residence permit are the following standard documents:

  • passport document with the visa type D-10;
  • translation of the passport document, certified by a notary;
  • health insurance policy for the entire period of stay in Ukraine;
  • receipt of payment of the administrative fee;


  • statement of the state body responsible for the implementation of the volunteer program or statement of the organization or institution that involves volunteers in its activities;
  • original of the Extract from the Register of Legal Entities, Individual Entrepreneurs and Public Organizations

In case a volunteer carries out his/her activities in Ukraine by participating in the activities of branches, departments, representative offices or other structural units of foreign non-governmental organizations he must obtain a visa type D-07, and for the temporary residence permit application he must bring a set of standard documents, as well as a statement of the relevant structural unit of the foreign organization and a document on the registration of such a unit, for example, a certificate or extract from the State Register of Legal Entities, Individual Entrepreneurs and Public Organizations.

According to the law, entry to Ukraine, stay in Ukraine and transit through the territory of Ukraine of foreigners and stateless persons is subject to sufficient financial security. Therefore, in the application, the host party (an organization that involves volunteers in its activities, a structural unit of a foreign non-governmental organization) indicates its obligation to cover all expenses of the foreigner on the territory of Ukraine and provide financial support to the foreigner for his all the period of his stay in Ukraine.

Therefore, in order to carry out volunteer activities as a foreigner on the territory of Ukraine, it is necessary to find or register a volunteer public formation.

If you need to find or register a volunteer organization, contact us!

Kateryna Zatulko,
senior lawyer, attorney

Anna Bohdanets, lawyer