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Summary

  • Exercise a high degree of caution in Ukraine due to the unpredictable security situation across the country. Tensions could escalate without warning. Exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, just as you would in Australia. Monitor the media and other sources for changes to local travelling conditions.
  • We advise against all travel to the eastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk, including to the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash site, due to ongoing conflict and the highly volatile security situation. There has been continuing fighting with loss of life in both Donetsk and Luhansk regions, including during periods of declared ceasefire.
  • Armed separatist groups control parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces. The separatists purport to represent regional governments which are not recognised by the Ukrainian government, nor by the international community, including Australia. These groups have threatened, detained – and on occasion kidnapped – foreign nationals.
  • We advise Australians not to travel to Crimea at this time.
  • If you are in Crimea or the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk, leave by commercial means if it is safe to do so. See Safety and Security.
  • The Australian Government's ability to provide consular assistance to Australians in Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk is extremely limited.
  • See Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.

Entry and exit

Australian passport holders require a visa to enter Ukraine. We recommend you obtain a short-term or other visa, prior to arrival, through the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Ukraine. This also applies to Australian passport holders considering entering Ukraine under visa-on-arrival procedures. A visa-on-arrival arrangement was introduced in 2016, and some tourists have reported significant delays and uncertainty on arrival while officials processed their visas. 

Ukrainian authorities have advised that from December 2016, Australian tourists may be able to obtain a visa on arrival in Ukraine at selected ports under the following conditions:

  • Strictly for tourist entry only.  Suitable evidence must be provided, including hotel bookings, tour packages, tourism vouchers, or contracts with a tour guide.  Carry printouts of these documents for use when entering the country.
  • Australians should pre-fill visa application form found at the website operated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Ukraine for accelerated processing.
  • Valid for up to a 15 day stay only.
  • Arrival at Boryspil International Airport (Kyiv), Zhuliany Airport (Kyiv), and Odesa International Airport. Consider any travel delays that may affect your entry time at the selected ports of entry.
  • A visa on arrival is not available at any time at other airports (including Lviv), seaports or land border checkpoints in Ukraine. A visa must be obtained prior to arrival at these entry points for all classes of visa, including for tourist entry.

The current price of a visa-on-arrival is 2,550 Ukrainian hryvnia (approximately $US95). This is subject to change without notice. Payment should be made in cash, in Hryvnia or a major international currency e.g. USD or EUR. EFTPOS facilities have been introduced at Boryspil Airport, but travellers should bring sufficient cash in case of machine malfunctions. Consider carrying more than one currency, as we have received anecdotal evidence of EUR or USD not being accepted at times.

The fee to obtain a visa through a Ukrainian Embassy or Consulate is currently $US65 and may take up to 10 working days to process.

For non-tourist visitors, including business travellers, an appropriate invitation should be provided by a Ukrainian company or individual. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Ukraine for details.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Ukraine for the most up-to-date information.

The Australian Embassy in Kyiv is not able to assist with visa applications for entry to Ukraine. If you need to extend your stay in Ukraine or wish to apply for temporary, long-term or permanent residence, refer to the territorial office of the State Migration Service of Ukraine at the location in which you reside.

Ukrainian customs regulations require you to declare cash and jewellery upon arrival in Ukraine. Undeclared items may be confiscated. Customs regulations also apply on the export of currency, antiques, art and items of historic significance. The nearest Embassy or Consulate of Ukraine can advise the amount of cash you can take into and out of the country. Excessive funds may be confiscated by customs officials and only returned following court proceedings.

Make sure your passport has at least six months validity from your planned date of return to Australia.

Transiting from Donetsk and Luhansk to other parts of Ukraine

The Government of Ukraine has stated that foreign nationals who attempt to enter Ukrainian-controlled territory through separatist-controlled checkpoints in Donetsk and Luhansk provinces will not be permitted to subsequently pass through government checkpoints.

We advise Australians not to travel to the eastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Transiting from Crimea to other parts of Ukraine

The Government of Ukraine will not permit foreign nationals to enter Ukrainian-controlled territory from Crimea if they have entered Crimea from any other country.

We advise Australians not to travel to Crimea at this time. If you choose to travel to Crimea from Ukrainian-controlled territory despite our advice, you must first obtain a special permit from the State Migration Service of Ukraine. The Ukrainian Government requires that this permit be presented, along with your passport, at designated checkpoints along the administrative boundary of the occupied Ukrainian territory.

Entry for dual nationals

Ukraine does not recognise dual nationality. This includes children born in Australia of a Ukrainian parent. Australian/Ukrainian dual nationals are strongly advised to confirm visa requirements, including exit requirements, with the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Ukraine before travelling to Ukraine. See Dual nationals.

Ukrainian citizens who have not reached the age of 16 need the consent of both parents to exit Ukraine unaccompanied. As above, this applies to dual nationals. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Ukraine for the most up to date information.

Safety and security

Civil unrest/political tension

While the situation in most cities is generally calm – excluding Donetsk and Luhansk – the security situation can deteriorate without warning. Avoid demonstrations, protests and large public gatherings because of their potential to turn violent. Periodic road closures and disruptions to local transport do occur. Monitor local media and follow the advice of local authorities.

Australians are advised that demonstrations are likely during anniversaries of major events, especially during November to March each year.

Donetsk and Luhansk: We advise against all travel to the eastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk due to ongoing conflict and the volatile security situation. Our ability to provide consular assistance in these regions is extremely limited.

Armed separatist groups control parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces. Fighting regularly occurs despite the signing of ceasefire agreements. These groups have threatened, detained – and on occasion kidnapped – foreigners for hours or days. The Government of Ukraine has stated that foreigners who attempt to enter Ukrainian-controlled territory through separatist-controlled checkpoints will not be subsequently permitted to pass through government checkpoints.

Conflict has also occurred in areas of Donetsk and Luhansk provinces that are under Government control, including in and around the cities of Slovyansk, Mariupol, Kramatorsk, and Svyatohirsk.

Australians in the Luhansk and Donetskprovinces should leave by commercial means if it is safe to do so. If you are unable to leave, limit your movements, avoid demonstrations and public gatherings, and be alert to risks to your safety and security.

Travellers should check with their airline for up to date information on flights to and from eastern Ukraine. Airports in the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk have been affected by the violence. The SS Prokofiev International Airport in Donetsk has been almost completely destroyed in the fighting and is no longer operational.

Crimea: We advise Australians not to travel to Crimea as it is not under Ukrainian Government control. Tensions remain high and the ability of the Australian government to provide consular assistance is extremely limited. The Government of Ukraine has advised that it will not permit foreign nationals to enter Ukrainian-controlled territory from Crimea, if they have entered Crimea through any other country. Australians in Crimea should leave by commercial means if it is safe to do so. If you are unable to leave, avoid demonstrations and large public gatherings.

Terrorism

There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. See our Terrorist Threat Worldwide bulletin.

Crime

Take extra care at night in Ukrainian cities, given the risk of street crime and muggings. Robbery, pickpocketing and bag snatching occur regularly particularly on public transport, at crowded markets, in popular tourist areas and in bars and nightclubs. Drink spiking, with the intention of robbing the victim once incapacitated, has been reported. Street scams are very common. Criminals are known to target foreigners.

Some Australians have been defrauded by bogus internet friendship, dating and marriage schemes in Ukraine. These scams typically result from connections made through internet dating schemes or chat rooms. Once a virtual friendship develops, the Australian may be asked by their new friend or prospective marriage partner to send money to enable travel to Australia or to pay rent. In some cases the relationship is terminated, with very little chance that any funds can be recovered. We are unable to offer advice on the legitimacy or otherwise of specific schemes.

Money and valuables

There have been reports of credit card scams, especially related to the use of ATMs. Be vigilant when using your credit card. Limit its use to reputable commercial establishments and ATMs in secure locations such as inside banks or reputable international hotels.

Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

Local travel

You are required to carry your passport at all times. Local police may stop foreigners and ask them to present passports and visas.

Foreign drivers must possess a valid international driver's licence. Drivers must be able to produce either an original ownership certificate or rental contract.

Driving in Ukraine can be hazardous. Roads outside major cities are of a low standard and poorly lit. Drivers can be aggressive, drive at excessive speeds, and ignore the road rules. Rural roads are often used by unsafe vehicles. Driving under the influence of alcohol is common despite the zero tolerance law. Pedestrians should take particular care as drivers may not stop at crossings and regularly park on footpaths. For further advice, see our road travel page.

MH17 crash site: On 17 July 2014 Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was downed near Grabovo in  Donetsk province. We continue to advise against all travel to this area due to the ongoing conflict. Any remaining aircraft wreckage found at the accident site should be treated as  a crime scene and disturbed as little as possible. Removing or disturbing material can seriously hamper an investigation.

Airline safety

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See instead the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Ukraine.

Please also refer to our general air travel page for information on aviation safety and security.

Laws

You are subject to the local laws of Ukraine, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. If youare arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you in accordance with our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

Driving with a blood alcohol level greater than zero is an offence.

While homosexuality is legal in Ukraine, public attitudes are less tolerant than in Australia. Violence has occurred at some gay pride events. See our LGBTI travellers page.

Australians visiting Ukraine for the purposes of commissioning commercial surrogacy arrangements should seek independent legal advice regarding Australian and foreign surrogacy laws before doing so. We strongly caution Australians to consider all legal and other risks involved in pursuing international surrogacy. See our Overseas births, adoptions and surrogacies page for further information.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.

Dual nationals

Ukraine does not recognise dual nationality. This includes children born outside of Ukraine to a Ukrainian parent, who will be considered Ukrainian citizens under Ukrainian law.

Australian citizens entering Ukraine on their Ukrainian passport will be treated as Ukrainian citizens by local authorities. This may limit the ability of the Australian Government to provide consular assistance to Australian/Ukrainian dual nationals who are arrested or detained.

Ukraine has reintroduced compulsory military service for male citizens over 18 years of age. Prior to visiting Ukraine, Australian/Ukrainian dual nationals are strongly advised to confirm with the nearest Ukraine Embassy or Consulate whether this will affect them.

For further information, contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Ukraine, before you travel. Our Dual nationals page provides further information.

Health

Take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you will be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

Review your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.

Outside the major cities including Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, and Lviv, the standard of state medical facilities in Ukraine is generally low and there are frequent shortages of medical supplies. English is not widely spoken outside major centres, except in private clinics. Medical reports, prescriptions, and related documents will not generally be in English. Private health care services are of a better standard, but always require a guarantee of payment before commencing treatment. In the event of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation to a destination with appropriate facilities may be necessary. Medical evacuation costs would be considerable.

Travellers requiring medical attention may contact the Australian Consulate in Kyiv for a list of medical facilities available in Ukraine (see Where to Get Help below).

Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, measles, diphtheria, hepatitis and rabies) are prevalent, with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. At all locations throughout Ukraine, only drink bottled water from a reputable source. Avoid raw and undercooked food, and unpasteurised dairy products.

Travel in forested areas brings the risk of exposure to tick-borne encephalitis and other tick-borne diseases. Ticks are common from spring to autumn.

In the northern regions of Ukraine contaminated by radiation from the Chernobyl accident, avoid eating dairy products, wild fowl and game and fruits and vegetables unless they are imported. Chernobyl is open to tourism but remains radioactive. Travel to the area only with a reputable tour operator whose safety instructions should be closely followed.  Visitors to the area will be subject to regular security, passport, and radiation checks.

The Australian Department of Health advises that Australians travelling to Ukraine should ensure they are up to date with routinely recommended vaccinations against polio, including a booster dose if required, as per the Australian Immunisation Handbook. Please see your doctor if you are unsure whether you are fully vaccinated for polio.

Where to get help

Depending on the nature of your enquiry, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24 hour emergency number.

For criminal issues, contact the local police on 102. The national emergency number is 112. Obtain a police report when reporting a crime.

The Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government can and can't do to assist Australians overseas. For consular assistance, see contact details below.

Australia has an Embassy in Kyiv, and a Consulate, headed by an Honorary Consul. The Consulate should be approached in the first instance for all routine consular enquiries. The Australian Embassy in Warsaw manages passport matters for the Consulate in Kyiv. The Consulate in Kyiv is able to issue Provisional Travel Documents for emergency travel to our Embassy in Warsaw, and is able to receive passport renewal applications and send them to Warsaw for processing (the wait time can be several weeks). The Consulate does not issue Australian passports.

Australian Embassy, Kyiv (co-located with the Canadian Embassy)

13A Kostelna Street
Kyiv 01901
Ukraine
Telephone: +380 44 290 6400
E-mail: AustEmbKyiv@dfat.gov.au
Website: ukraine.embassy.gov.au

See the Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

Australian Consulate, Kyiv

45-49 Turhenievska Street
Office 53
Kyiv 01054
Ukraine
Telephone: +38 044 206 6698
 E-mail: australianconsulateua@gmail.com

In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the Embassy you can contact the 7 day 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

For other useful information to assist travelling in this country, see: