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Visa regime changes

Ukrainian Visa and Residency Laws  - 
Expatriates staying in Ukraine over 90 days will need a visa
When Ukraine became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), it was reported the government would finalize and enforce strict regulations of entry and residency conditions.   Starting in the very near future, foreigners who enter into Ukraine will have the dates of entry and departure as well as length of stay entered into a computerized database system which will be strictly monitored by the State Border Service. 
If foreigners overstay the 90-day visa-free period, then a 340 to 680 UAH penalty will be imposed as well as a violation warning of residency conditions. No longer will foreigners be able to cross the Ukrainian border and return without a visa or residency registration / registration of passport from the city office of Department of Citizenship, Immigration, and Registration (most commonly called OVIR or VVIR).
Registering residency with VVIR allows foreigners from developed nations to stay in Ukraine at least 3 months without a visa and is in some cases for two and five year terms.
Once the WTO laws are adopted, Ukraine will be more consistent in visa rule enforcement and registration. As well, the new visa regulations will specify who will not be made to pay a fine for exceeding a 90-day stay without proper registration. This applies to foreigners who overstay because of circumstance beyond their control.

On 11 of July 2007, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine issued the Decree No. 917 On Changes in the Regulations on the Entry and Stay of Foreign Nationals and Stateless Persons into Ukraine, Their Exit from Ukraine and Transit Through the Territory of Ukraine“ (hereafter referred to as „Decree“). The Decree was registered on 18 of July 2007, with the Ministry of Justice under No. 40451/2007 and came into power after its publication in the official journal of the Ukrainian Government „Uryadovyy Kuryer“, on 26 of July 2007.

In particular, the Decree has substantially changed the regulations on the entry and stay of foreigners who are citizens of countries with no visa requirement for the Ukraine (such as Germany, Austria, Great Britain as well as other EU member states, Switzerland, Japan and the US).

Foreign nationals who are citizens of the aforementioned states used to be allowed to enter Ukraine without a visa, showing their valid passport, and stay in Ukraine without a visa and a residence permit for the short term of up to 90 calendar days from entry date. The number of entries per year was not restricted. Foreign nationals had to leave Ukraine before the expiration of the 90-day term and were allowed to enter the country already on the next day. After every entry, the 90-day term started again. The overall duration of the stay per calendar year was not restricted and could actually amount to more than 90 days.

Since the Decree came into power, foreign nationals who are citizens of the aforementioned states are allowed to enter Ukraine as before without visa showing their valid passport and stay in Ukraine without visa and residence permit for a short term. However, the overall duration of the stay must not exceed 90 calendar days per 180 calendar days from arrival date. The number of entries will continue to stay unrestricted. However, unlike in the old regulations, the duration of the stay will be added up. This means that foreign nationals, during a period that amounts to 180 days starting from the date of the first entry (important is the date in the stamp of the border authority), may not stay longer than for 90 calendar days in total. The following entry is possible only during the next period of 180 calendar days and, again, must not exceed 90 calendar days.

For longer stays a suitable visa will be required depending on the purpose of the stay. If engagement in gainful employment is intended, an employment visa, which is based on a work permit (type IM-1), should be applied for. If residence in the Ukraine is aimed for, an immigration visa (type IM-2) should be applied for (detailed visa regulations can be found in the in Decree On the Implementation of the New Visa Regulations, issued by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine No. 227 on the 20th of February, 1999).

After Ukraine has joined the World Trade Organisation, citizens of the member states will be able to stay in the Ukraine for the maximum duration of 180 days per year. According to article 58 of the Constitution of Ukraine, legal instruments, in principle, have no retroactive effect. Consequently, the new regulations apply only to entries made after 26 of July 2007. For foreigners who entered Ukraine before this date, the old regulations apply with respect to the duration of their stay until they have left Ukraine.

However, it is possible to extend the duration of the stay without having to leave Ukraine. The according procedure is ruled in the Directive On the Procedure for Extending the Stay of Foreign Nationals and Stateless Persons in Ukraine, confirmed by the Ruling of the Ministry of the Interior of the Ukraine No. 1456 of the 1st of December, 2003. The foreign national and the inviting person should file an application with the Ukrainian immigration authority and provide their passport as well as further accompanying documents, which are listed in the aforementioned Directive, at least 3 days before the expiration date. The time for consideration is 3 days. The ultimate decision is mostly within the discretion of the authority.

Posted on:

Beiten Burkhardt Attorneys-At-Law

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