UkraineOfficial Name: Ukraine
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to defer all travel to Crimea and the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, and recommends those U.S. citizens currently living in or visiting these regions to depart.
Must be valid at time of entry
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
One page required for entry stamp
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
Required for stays longer than 90 days; not required for stays less than 90 days within 180-day period
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
10,000 euros or equivalent must be declared in writing
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
10,000 euros or equivalent must be declared in writing
Embassies and Consulates
4 A.I. Sikorsky St. (formerly Tankova)
04112 Kyiv, Ukraine
Telephone: +(380) (44) 521-5566
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(380) (44) 521-5000
Fax: +(380) ( 44) 521-5155
Ukraine is undergoing a historic political, economic, and social transformation. The recently-elected democratic government is working to reform public institutions as the nation battles a legacy of decades of corruption, Russia’s illegal occupation of the Crimean Peninsula, and the ongoing war against Russian-backed separatists in the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) area within the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
The quality of travel and tourist services remains uneven throughout the country, and it can be difficult to find some of the goods and services commonly available in the United States. Ukrainian is the official language with Russian being widely used in Eastern and Southern Ukraine; use of English is increasing but is still not widely used outside of major cities. Please see the Department of State Fact Sheet on Ukraine for additional information.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
You need a valid passport to enter Ukraine. U.S. citizen do not need a Ukrainian visa if you will be in Ukraine for fewer than 90 days within a 180-day period for tourism. You need a visa or valid Ukrainian residency permit for all stays longer than 90 days. Ukrainian law requires visitors to have valid health insurance. More information on medical insurance below.
If you choose to enter without a visa, you are automatically registered at the border for 90 days. Extensions of stay beyond 90 days are rarely authorized. To apply for an extension, talk to your local office of the State Migration Service of Ukraine (SMS) between three and 10 business days before your initial registration expires. Although three days is a minimum, it is in your interest to contact SMS as early as possible. Most cities will have several SMS departments. If you are given an extension, you will be allowed to stay in Ukraine until your new registration expires; however, if you leave Ukraine, you may have to wait 90 days to come back without a visa. If you do not get an extension, you must leave the country and cannot come back until 180 days after your initial entry into Ukraine.
Entering on a visa: If the purpose or duration of your travel requires a visa, you must receive the visa from the Ukrainian Embassy or consulate prior to traveling. You cannot get a Ukrainian visa at the airport or at the border. For information regarding visa requirements and to find the nearest Ukrainian Embassy or consulate, visit Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. Remember, once you have a visa you are responsible for knowing the validity period and the rules for your particular visa class. In Ukraine, the date is written day-month-year, meaning a visa issued on 01/05/15 is good from May 1, 2015, NOT from January 5, 2015. If you come to Ukraine before your visa allows, you can be stopped at the border, barred from entering Ukraine, and required to return to your point of origin at your own expense. The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv cannot intervene on your behalf or help you gain admission into Ukraine.
If you enter Ukraine on a long-term (“D”) visa, you must apply with OVIR for a residency permit within 45 days from your entry date. Once you have the residency permit you can reside in Ukraine for as long as it remains valid. To enter and exit the country, you will need your un-expired residency permit and a valid passport.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any restrictions for persons with HIV/AIDS visiting Ukraine on a temporary basis. Anyone with HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis, however, cannot get permanent residency in Ukraine. There are no waivers or exceptions to this rule.
Proof of sufficient funds: Upon entry to Ukraine, foreign travelers need to show proof of sufficient funds for the period of their stay in Ukraine. Travelers should be ready to demonstrate they have sufficient funds to cover the duration of their stay in Ukraine or a letter of support from an inviting party. See the Embassy of Ukraine website for more information.
PLEASE NOTE: The exchange rate of U.S. dollar to Ukrainian hryvnya may change significantly from one day to the next.
Special Entry/Exit Requirements for Crimea: In March 2014, Russia occupied the Crimean Peninsula, which remains part of Ukraine notwithstanding Russia’s illegal occupation. The Ukrainian government has confirmed that time spent in Crimea counts against the 90 days U.S. citizens are allowed to remain in Ukraine without a visa. Authorities have also confirmed that all foreign citizens, including U.S. citizens, may enter and exit Crimea at will from mainland Ukraine, but any entrance into Crimea by air or sea without first entering mainland Ukraine is illegal, and anyone who does so will be denied entry to mainland Ukraine and banned from returning to Ukraine for five years. U.S. citizens are urged to follow the guidance in the Travel Warning for Ukraine and defer all travel to the Crimean Peninsula at this time.
Special Entry/Exit Requirements for the ATO: The Government of Ukraine has stated that foreigners, including U.S. citizens, who enter Ukraine through separatist-controlled territory along the Russian border, will not be allowed to pass through government checkpoints. As of June 16th, 2015, the Security Service of Ukraine has introduced a new entry/exit procedure for Ukrainian and foreign citizens visiting the ATO area. Permit applications are submitted and approved electronically. Once approval is received via email, travelers need only present their passport to enter the ATO zone. For a comprehensive list of the requirements for foreign citizens to obtain a permit to enter the ATO area, please visit the official website of the Security Service of Ukraine. Please note if traveling by car you must present a certificate of ownership.
Safety and Security
Crimea: U.S. citizens are urged to follow the guidance in the Travel Warning for Ukraine and defer all travel to the Crimean Peninsula. The Russian Federation is likely to take further actions in Crimea in 2015 consistent with their illegal occupation of this part of Ukraine. The international community, including the United States and Ukraine, does not recognize this purported annexation. The Russian Federation maintains an extensive military presence in Crimea and along the border of eastern Ukraine. In addition, there are continuing reports of abuses against the local population by de facto authorities in Crimea, particularly against those who are seen as challenging their authority on the peninsula. The Department of State is extremely limited in terms of the services and assistance that can be provided to U.S. citizens who enter or reside on the Crimean peninsula.
Eastern Ukraine: The Department of State also warns U.S. citizens to defer all travel to Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Russian-backed separatists continue to control areas in the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. A ceasefire agreement signed by Ukrainian, Russian and separatist leaders established a de facto dividing line between Ukrainian government-controlled and separatist-held areas of Ukraine, but separatist forces continue to attack government-held territory and attempt to advance beyond the boundary established by the ceasefire agreement. U.S. citizens have been specifically targeted by gunmen representing the self-proclaimed authorities and threatened, detained or kidnapped for hours or days. The Government of Ukraine has been unable to provide some government services in many parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. Shortages of water, power and food supplies have also been reported in separatist-controlled territory, and widespread disorder and looting has been confirmed in these areas.
U.S. citizens should exercise caution in the regions of Odesa, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson. Small-scale bombings and terrorism incidents are becoming more frequent throughout these regions, especially Kharkiv and Odessa. While most attacks are at night and appear intended to cause property damage and incite fear, some recent attacks were fatal, targeting populated areas during daylight hours. Travelers in the cities of Odesa and Kharkiv should exercise extreme vigilance in public places, especially after dark.
During the past year, large-scale protests have occurred in many cities throughout Ukraine. U.S. citizens in Ukraine should avoid large gatherings or protests and adjacent areas. While mostly peaceful, some of these protests have turned violent and resulted in deaths and injuries. Even demonstrations that are meant to be peaceful can become violent and unpredictable. Be alert and aware of your surroundings and pay attention to what the local news media report. If the U.S. Embassy obtains information about a planned protest ahead of time, an announcement will be posted on the U.S. Embassy website. Stay up to date by:
- Bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.
- Following us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ Facebook page as well.
- Calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the U.S. and Canada, or a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries.
- Taking some time before travel to consider your personal security – here are some useful tips for traveling safely abroad.
CRIME: Street crime remains a problem in Ukraine. The country continues to undergo significant economic, political, and social transformation, and income differences have grown accordingly. As a result, you and other foreign visitors may be perceived as wealthy and become easy targets for criminals. The police are poorly paid, trained, and equipped, and historically were considered to be one of the most corrupt organizations in Ukraine, frequently soliciting bribes. Although reforms are underway, they will take time. Ukrainian police and emergency services remain below Western European and U.S. standards in terms of training, responsiveness, and effectiveness. Ukrainian law enforcement and emergency officials rarely speak English and interpreters are not readily available.
U.S. citizens are advised that the U.S. Embassy has received a marked increase in reports concerning burglaries, robberies and pickpocketing throughout Ukraine over the past few months. Most street crimes reported to the U.S. Embassy are non-violent and non-confrontational, and range from home invasions to simple pick-pocketing, purse-snatching, and theft of personal items from parked cars. Many of these crimes occur in downtown Kyiv or on the public transport system, including the metro. Muggings, attacks, armed robberies, harassment, or the drugging of unsuspecting victims at nightspots and bars (who are then robbed and/or assaulted) have been reported. Cases of assaults in apartment building corridors, elevators, and stairwells, as well as armed break-ins and crimes involving firearms have also been reported, but are rare. Victims frequently report that violent assaults involve the use of bottles or clubs.
Citizens should always be aware of pickpockets. If a group of people, including children, surrounds you and starts to engage you in conversation, immediately get control of your valuables. Ignore all attempts at conversation, push through the group, and leave the area immediately. When riding on public transportation or moving in crowded areas, keep your purse, bag, or backpack tightly under your arm and/or in front of your body. Ensure all bags are securely zipped. Do not carry wallets or mobile phones in back pockets. Do not carry large sums of cash or all of your credit/banking cards at once. The Embassy regularly receives reports of pickpocketing on the metro.
Most crime reported against U.S. citizens took place during the late evening/night and early morning hours. Take a taxi during late evening/early morning hours. Drink responsibly and remain in control of your faculties. Do not accept drinks from strangers and once you receive your drink, keep it with you. Travel in well-lit areas and on major streets. If at any time you feel you are in danger, get to the nearest populated safe area (hotel, restaurant) or uniformed law enforcement.
A commonly reported scam in Kyiv is the “wallet scam,” which involves a person dropping a wallet or a packet of money near you. After you pick up the wallet/packet and attempt to give it back to the individual who dropped it, the scam artist claims that the wallet is missing money and accuses you of stealing it. The individual either threatens to call the police if you don’t pay or asks you to show your wallet to prove that you did not take any money. When you show your wallet, the thief grabs your money and flees. A very common variant involves a second person who intercedes and claims to be a police officer, often flashing a badge. The second person also asks to see your wallet, grabbing the money and fleeing or, through sleight of hand, stealing your money. Many variants exist: two wallets, three or more thieves, etc. All variants involve the victim picking up something and returning it to the person who dropped it.
U.S. citizens have reported being robbed by people posing as police officers. Police officers in Ukraine, including plain clothes officers, routinely stop people on the street to check identity documents and U.S. citizens are required to carry their passports and produce them on request. If you have doubts about the legitimacy of a police officer, however, you can ask to see their photo ID.
Burglaries of apartments and vehicles represent a common threat to long-term residents. Although few cars are actually stolen, primarily because of increased use of alarm systems and security wheel locks, vehicular break-ins and vehicular vandalism are frequent.
While most travelers do not encounter problems with crime in Ukraine, there have been hate crimes directed at ethnic and religious minorities, and members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities (please see more on LGBT issues under Special Circumstances section). In Kyiv, these incidents have occurred without provocation in prominent downtown areas commonly frequented by tourists. The majority of people targeted have been of Asian, African, or other non-European descent. Racial minorities may also be subject to various types of harassment, such as being stopped on the street by both civilians and law enforcement officials. Individuals belonging to religious minorities have been harassed and assaulted in Kyiv and throughout Ukraine. Although senior government of Ukraine officials have publicly deplored these hate crimes and groups behind them, Ukrainian street-level law enforcement officials are either unwilling or are unable to deter hate crimes effectively. The Government of Ukraine has established special law enforcement units to prevent and investigate hate crimes; despite these efforts, problems with this type of crime continue to exist.
Ukrainian law differs with regard to sexual assault and rape, and Ukrainian law enforcement officers generally treat such cases with less seriousness and professionalism than their U.S. counterparts. If you become a victim of rape or sexual assault, you should expect little assistance from Ukrainian law enforcement. We recommend you contact the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv to help find medical care, and to help you understand the local criminal justice process.
Internet Scams: Internet crime is a serious problem in Ukraine. The U.S. Embassy frequently hears from people who have had large amounts of money stolen by Internet contacts they thought were their friends, loved ones, or romantic interests. These Internet scams include lotteries, on-line dating or introduction services, and even requests from a “friend” in trouble. In many cases, scammers troll the Internet for victims and spend weeks or months building a relationship and credibility. Once they have gained their victim’s trust, they create a false situation and ask for money. Once money has been sent, there is almost no chance it will be recovered.
In many other cases, U.S. citizens are scammed into sending money to a person or agency in Ukraine with the understanding that either a young woman will visit the United States, or the U.S. citizen will visit her in Ukraine. Often, these scams lead to requests for increasing amounts of money for various purposes, including requests to assist with faked emergency situations (such as unexpected ticket or visa fees, serious illness, or family members in trouble). Once the U.S. citizen becomes suspicious, the individual or agency will cut off contact. Many of these scams have existed for many years using a variety of different identities, agency names, and addresses. In addition, some U.S. citizens visiting their “friend” or “fiancée” in Ukraine have been extorted out of thousands of dollars, and in some cases have been seriously assaulted. Numerous U.S. citizens have also lost money to agencies and individuals who claimed to be able to arrange a student or fiancé visa to the United States. We urge you to read the document entitled “Marriage Brokers” on our website, as well as the State Department’s information sheet on internet dating scams for additional information.
Another scam involves scammers hacking a social media account and sending fake messages to friends and relatives stating they are in trouble and need money immediately. Do not send any money if you receive such a message. Contact the U.S. Embassy immediately if you suspect a U.S. citizen is in distress in Ukraine.
Credit Card Fraud: Credit card and ATM fraud are wide-spread. Ukraine generally operates as a cash economy, and money scams are common. Although credit card and ATM use among Ukrainians is increasing, the U.S. Embassy strongly recommends that you exercise caution and use credit cards only at reputable businesses. You should avoid using ATMs on the street or in public places whenever possible. Machines located inside bank branches are generally safer.
Crime Against Business: The U.S. Embassy has received reports of harassment and intimidation directed against foreign business persons and interests. Reported incidents include:
- Physical threats (possibly motivated by rival commercial interests tied to organized crime).
- Local government entities engaging in such practices as arbitrary termination or amendment of business licenses, or dilution of corporate stock to diminish U.S. investor interest.
- Delays of payment or delivery of goods.
- Arbitrary “inspections” by tax, safety, or other officials that appear designed to harm the business. U.S. business entities are encouraged to read the most recent Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) Annual Crime and Safety Report for Ukraine.
Do not wire money to Ukraine unless the recipient is well-known to you and the purpose of business is clear. United States citizens have reported transferring money to Ukraine to pay for goods purchased from residents of Ukraine via online auction sites, but never receiving the goods in return.
Don’t buy counterfeit or pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal to bring back into the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you are the victim of a crime in Ukraine, you should contact the local police and the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv. We can:
- Replace a stolen passport.
- Help you find appropriate medical care following violent crimes such as assault or rape.
- Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities and, if you want us to, contact family members or friends.
- Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although the local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.
In case of emergency in Ukraine, call the following emergency numbers:
- Fire – 101
- Police – 102
- Ambulance – 103
Operators generally do not speak English. As noted previously, Ukrainian police and emergency services are still generally below Western European and U.S. standards in terms of training, responsiveness, and effectiveness. U.S. citizens have reported waiting up to several hours for Ukrainian police and ambulance services to respond to calls for emergency assistance, especially in rural areas. Ukrainian law enforcement provides no adequate level of deterrence to street crime, and is not able to investigate criminal incidents to any minimal level expected in Western countries. Visitors to Ukraine should note that Ukrainian law enforcement and emergency response officials generally do not speak English, and translators are generally not readily available.
Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Ukraine, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. If you violate Ukrainian law, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. U.S. citizens who have been arrested in Ukraine have faced extended periods, even years, in pre-trial detention before their case comes to trial. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Ukraine are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Ukrainian prison conditions, while improved in recent years, are generally far below the norm in the United States or Western Europe. Cells are crowded and contact with the outside world is limited (no phones, Internet, or television). Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Ukraine, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.
While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country, that might not always be the case. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.
Dual Nationality: Ukraine does not recognize dual nationality. If you are a U.S.-Ukrainian citizen and arrive in Ukraine with a Ukrainian passport, you will be treated as a Ukrainian citizen by the local authorities. This may include being required to perform mandatory military service. For additional information, see the Consular Affairs website for information on dual nationality.
Identification Checks: Under Ukrainian law, police are permitted to stop you for any reason and check your identification documents. You are required to carry your passport at all times, which police may check to verify your legal presence in Ukraine. Police are permitted to detain you for up to 72 hours without formal charges. U.S. citizens traveling to Ukraine are strongly advised to have the numbers for the U.S. Embassy handy. If stopped by the police for an unclear reason, call the U.S. Embassy at 38 044 521 5566 within working hours or 38 044 521 5000 after hours.
Currency Regulations: Licensed exchange booths for exchanging U.S. dollars into Ukrainian hryvnya are widespread, and exchange rates are normally clearly advertised. Currency exchange is only legal at such licensed exchange booths, banks, and currency exchange desks at hotels; anyone caught dealing on the black market can expect to be detained by the local police and may face criminal prosecution. You will need to show your passport when exchanging money. Be aware that you will be unable to exchange Ukrainian hryvnya back to U.S. dollars or other foreign currency if you are unable to show from where you got this amount of hryvnya. Keep receipts that you get from exchange booths to be able to show them later if you need to exchange the local currency back to U.S. dollars when leaving the country.
There are many banks and licensed currency exchange booths located in major cities. ATMs (known locally as “bankomats”) are common throughout the country, even in the smaller cities and towns. All ATMs dispense cash only in hryvnya. You should think about bringing enough hard currency with you if you need dollars or euros during your trip. Credit card and ATM card fraud is a major concern, so you should use credit cards only at reputable businesses and ATMs located inside bank branches.
Please be aware that, due to the current unstable financial situation in Ukraine, it has become extremely hard to buy U.S. dollars in most banks. The exchange rate fluctuates daily, and the commercial exchange rates differ from the official one. Some U.S. banks have suspended their coverage in Ukraine as a result of the sanctions against conducting business in Crimea and, as a result, some Master Card/ VISA debit and credit cards are not operational in the country at the moment. Make sure to check with your bank to verify whether it still serves Ukraine before you travel.
Customs Regulations: Customs regulations prohibit sending cash, traveler’s checks, personal checks, credit cards, passports, or other forms of identification through the international mail system, as well as via courier mail (FedEx, DHL, etc.). Customs authorities regularly confiscate these items as contraband. Ukrainian customs authorities may also enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Ukraine of items such as firearms, antiquities, prescription medications (in particular narcotic pain relievers), and currency.
Travelers arriving in Ukraine should pay close attention to posted customs declaration requirements. Failure to declare cash, valuables, and certain goods in accordance with Ukrainian requirements can result in fines and the seizure of the goods. You may also have to attend a court hearing, usually scheduled several weeks after the offense, before you can depart Ukraine.
You may take up to EUR 10,000 or its equivalent into or out of Ukraine under oral declaration to Ukrainian customs authorities, if asked. To transport a greater amount, you must declare the total amount, in writing, by filling out the Customs Declaration Form before checking in at airports and presenting proof of the source of the money (a bank reference) to customs officials, or you may face forfeiture of the money to Ukrainian customs as well as a court appearance.
Ukraine has strict limitations on the export of antiques and other goods and artifacts deemed to be of particularly important historical or cultural value. These include, but are not limited to, any items produced before 1950 regardless of the country of production. U.S. citizens must adhere to these restrictions as a matter of law. Please contact the Kyiv Department of Culture, Expertise Section, at (38-044) 279-6109 or (38-044) 279-5647, if you have any questions regarding items you own, wish to purchase, and/or plan to export.
You should contact the Embassy of Ukraine in Washington, or one of Ukraine's consulates in the United States for more specific information regarding customs requirements. The State Customs Service of Ukraine can also be contacted for advice at (38 044) 527 63 63. Operators speak only Ukrainian or Russian.
Radiation and nuclear safety: In 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear accident resulted in the largest short-term, unintentional release of radioactive materials into the atmosphere ever recorded. The highest areas of radioactive ground contamination occurred within 30 kilometers of the Chernobyl nuclear power station. The city of Kyiv was not badly affected because of the wind direction, but it was not completely spared. The last operating reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant site closed in 2000. All identified stabilization measures on the existing sarcophagus covering the reactor damaged in 1986 are complete, and preparatory work to start construction of the new shelter is nearing completion. The contract for the new Chernobyl shelter was awarded in 2007, and construction is underway.
The Ukrainian Government has an effective program of monitoring fresh foods and meats sold in local markets. You should not buy produce on the street. Wild berries, mushrooms, and wild fowl and game have exhibited higher than average levels of radiation. Background levels of radiation are monitored regularly by the U.S. Embassy and, to date, have not exceeded the level found on the Eastern seaboard of the United States. If external radiation levels are high enough to require evacuation, the U.S. Embassy will notify the U.S. community electronically. To receive these messages, you only need to enroll with the Department of State through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
WOMEN TRAVELER INFORMATION: If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.
LBGT RIGHTS: Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is a problem in Ukraine, as LGBT individuals have been the target of harassment, threats, and acts of violence. For more detailed information about LGBT rights in Ukraine, you may review the State Department’s annual Country Reports on Human Right Practices. For further information on LGBT travel, please read our Information for LGBT Travelers page.
ACCESSIBILITY: Accessibility is an issue in Ukraine. Public transport systems are not fully accessible to individuals with disabilities. Some newer buildings feature ramps and elevators, but older buildings do not. You should check ahead with your hotel/destination to learn more about options to accommodate disabled traveler needs before visiting Ukraine.
If you are ill or infirm, we strongly recommend against travelling to Ukraine. Ukraine is not a disabled-friendly environment, with little or no accommodations to ease access. Elderly travelers and those with existing health problems may be at risk due to inadequate medical facilities. State ambulance service is inadequate and it can take hours to get a response even in an emergency. Ambulance crews have asked for bribes before agreeing to transport critically ill patients to the hospital. The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of hospitals and clinics with some English-speaking staff. A few facilities have only limited English speakers, and most have none at all. Hospitals in Ukraine do not accept U.S. health insurance plans for payment, and the level of medical care is not equal to that found in U.S. hospitals. If you are hospitalized, you or someone acting on your behalf must supply bandages, medication, and food. The U.S. Embassy also recommends that you obtain private medical evacuation insurance prior to traveling to Ukraine. If you do not have Ukrainian medical insurance, you may be asked to pay in cash for medical services and hospitalization before you are treated. Many private insurance companies in Ukraine offer short-term medical coverage for visitors.
Medical evacuation often remains the best way to secure Western medical care. This option, however, is very expensive and can take several hours or longer to arrange. You should buy medical evacuation insurance prior to travel or have access to substantial lines of credit to cover the cost of medical evacuation. Please read information on air ambulance and medical escort providers and the fact sheet on medical services in Kyiv for additional information.
Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Ukraine. For further information, please consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) information on TB.
There have been several outbreaks of measles in Ukraine in recent years. The CDC provides regularly updated measles information. Travelers to Ukraine should make sure they have been vaccinated against measles (and that their other vaccinations are up-to-date) in accordance with World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.
HIV levels in Ukraine are well above regional and worldwide averages. The CDC website publishes the latest news on HIV in Ukraine, along with information on HIV prevention.
You can find good information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the WHO website, which also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
Travel & Transportation
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: Road conditions can differ significantly from those in the United States.
Generally, roads in Ukraine outside major urban areas are in poor condition and are poorly lit. U.S. visitors to Ukraine can drive using their U.S. driver’s licenses for up to 60 days after entering the country; those planning to stay longer need to obtain either a Ukrainian driver’s license or an International Driving Permit. You should drive defensively at all times since local drivers often disregard traffic rules. Drivers are often poorly trained; many drive without a valid driver's license. Drivers can also be dangerously aggressive and normally do not respect the rights of pedestrians, even at clearly marked pedestrian crossings, and regularly drive on the sidewalks.
Pedestrians should also be aware of cars driving or parking on sidewalks. Many cars, including some taxis, do not meet the safety standards common in the United States. There is no tolerance for driving under the influence, and penalties can be steep. Fines are associated with driving while talking on a cell phone.
Due to heavy traffic and congested roads, vehicle accidents happen often in larger Ukrainian cities, especially in Kyiv. If you are involved in an accident in Ukraine, do not move the vehicle from the site of the accident unless it presents a clear safety concern (causing a traffic jam is not considered a safety concern). In practice, this means that even moving a vehicle to the side of the road after an accident may be considered a criminal offense. Local police must be notified and will report to the scene to conduct an investigation. You must wait until the police arrive and complete their report, no matter how long it takes; often this can take several hours. When police arrive, they will decide responsibility, take the drivers’ personal information, and file an accident report. In the vast majority of cases, the police reporting to the scene of an accident will not speak English.
Cross-country travel at night and in winter can be particularly dangerous, and U.S. Embassy staff is generally prohibited from driving at night outside of major urban areas. The U.S. Embassy strongly recommends that visitors and permanent residents of Ukraine refrain from driving after dark outside of major cities. Roadside services, such as gas stations and repair facilities, are becoming more common, but are far from U.S. standards; travelers should plan accordingly.
Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Ukraine’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Ukraine’s air carrier operations. You can find further information on the FAA website at the FAA safety assessment page.