useful information about travelling to the ukraine
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Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Ukraine a safe country to visit?

What language is spoken?

What is the currency and exchange rate?

Do I need a Visa?

What can I bring in and take out of the country?

Passenger information. What can I take with aboard a plane?

Where can I book travel tickets for internal travel within the Ukraine?

How can I book accommodation?

 

Is the Ukraine a safe country to visit?

A huge percentage of people in The Ukraine are law abiding. Maybe a much larger percentage than in the country you are reading this from! In the past the ordinary people have witnessed massive corruption by the authorities, which has seen about 5% of the population gain large riches while 95% struggle. It is unwise to highlight your wealth or your pocessions while you are there. You are more likely to find a tourist mark up on goods and services than to be robbed!

The Ukrainian people are philosophical and peaceful. The most recent example being the Orange Revolution, a completely peaceful demonstration by the people looking for political change. You will find that Ukrainians share dry, cynical humour about people and events. Strangers will be extremely friendly with you and be impressed that you made the effort to visit their country over their more visited neighbours.

With regards to food, take the same precautions as you would in your own country. There are no genetically modified fruit and vegetables, so if it looks good and fresh then it is. Most will have been picked the previous or same day. Veal is more common than Beef here and there is an abundance of tasty fish as well as the normal use of Pork and Chicken in cuisine. It is better to buy bottled water or to make sure it is boiled before consuming it ( as is common in many countries).

If you have any worries about traveling alone, we offer an accompanied travel program in Kiev -to take you from a Kiev Borispol Airport to your destination in the Ukraine. This is a one way service. Click here for details of this service. We're sure that you will feel comfortable enough once you arrive to make your own way back and can offer help and advise with this. If you are a meeting a girl, she will usually be happy to accompany you on your return as long as her expenses are covered.

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What language is spoken?

The people are split into equal numbers of people who speak Russian and Ukrainian. Most understand and speak both and it is common to see and hear more examples of Russian language. Although English is commonly taught in schools now, outside of regional cities it is rarely understood or spoken. It is strongly advised to hire a translator if you plan to stay in a village or a smal town, unless the person you are staying with can speak English and Russian. We can arrange translation services for you. Click here for details.

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What is the currency and exchange rate?

The currency in the Ukraine is The Hryvnia, also spelled sometimes as Hryvna or Grivna (UHR) - pronunciation is 'Grivna' . There are bills for 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100, 200 and 500 Hryvnias. There are coins called 'kopiyka' for 1, 2 ,5 10, 25, and 50 kopiykas. (1 kopiyka is equal to 1/100 of Hryvnia.) Also there are 1, 2 and 5 Hryvnia coins as well as some commemorative collectible coins.

It is difficult if not impossible to get your money converted to this currency in your country of origin, although some places will do so in the departure lounge of the airport you leave from. You will find cashpoint ( ATM/ Bankomat) machines in Kiev airport and in most towns and cities. It is rare for credit cards to be accepted as a vast majority of Ukrainians do not carry these. You are restricted on how much cash you can leave the country with, so please check our customs information or information on the official web site for the airport.

The currency rate is approximately:
10 UHR - 1 EUR
8 UHR - 1 USD

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Do I need a visa?

Citizens of the European Union and Switzerland don't need a visa to enter Ukraine and may stay for up to 90 days. You will be required to fill in a boarding pass with details of who you are meeting and where you are staying for Passport Control. If you're not sure you can just write 'tourist' and that will be sufficient ( although the staff do their best to look intimidating!) For longer than this you will require a visa and you should check with your country's embassy.

The information below is meant for non-EU and US citizens who DO still need a visa to enter Ukraine.

  • the usual stuff : 1 nice picture of yourself, passport valid at least 6 more months
  • Maximum duration of stay : 180 days
  • Price : price depends on the speed of processing, if you have time you sometimes must insist that you want to wait 10 days, because they otherwise charge you lots more to give you the visa on the same day. Price does not depend on the duration of stay.
  • private visa : since 5/2000 an invitation is no longer necessary, so for tourism this visa has become more attractive than the tourist visa. You must write the name and address of a private person in Ukraine on your application form. They don`t check this address and it is not written on your visa; so it doesn't`t matter that much who you write there. Don`t forget to write on the application form under 'motivation' : 'visit of friend' instead of 'tourism' when you apply for a private visa as a tourist !
  • tourist visa : A letter of invitation from a Ukrainian or American tourist agency or a confirmation from a Ukrainian hotel is necessary to qualify for a tourist visa.
    Citizens of the USA, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, or citizens of the European Union countries can be qualified for a tourist visa when they submit a round-trip ticket issued by the Ukrainian National Airlines.
  • transit visa : you need a visa for the next country and a onward ticket. The transit trip can be allowed only with the following documents: Ukrainian transit visa, the visa to the country of destination, travel tickets or other documents confirming the nature of your trip.
  • city list : no cities are written on the private visa, so you can go where you want. I'm not sure about the tourist visa; if there is still a list and you want to go to Crimea you should make sure some cities of the peninsula are included.
  • Delivery time : normally it takes about a week to get your visa for Ukraine from the Ukrainian embassy. Some companies offer expensive express visa service, so you can pick up your visa at the airport on arrival.

Extension of an Ukrainian Visa

  • max. 3 months
  • in every OVIR office, Ukrainian visas are extended by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine.
  • takes 3-5 working days
  • costs 20$

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What can I bring in and take out of the country?

Ukraine Customs

Free import

  • Cash and travel checks totaling up to USD 10,000. If money you carry in exceed USD 3,000 it should be declared in written form.
  • Bank metals, which total weight is up to 100 grams per person, regardless age. To be declared.
  • Checks, issued by foreign banks and non-bank organizations and amounting up to USD 50,000 (or its equivalent in other currency). To be declared.
  • 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars 250g of tobacco. There are no information on age restrictions
  • 1L of spirits (over 25% volume of alcohol)
  • 2L of lighter alcohol beverages (up to 25% volume of alcohol)
  • Non-commercial amount items for personal use up to €200 of gifts or new items
  • Food stuff of up to the value of €50 in no more than one package weighing 2kg

Prohibited

• Narcotics
• Pornography
• Counterfeit items
• Explosive material

Restricted

• Live animals – health certificate required along with complete and valid inoculations. Contact nearest embassy to obtain permission.
• Endangered species and any products or parts thereof as outlined by CITES maybe be brought in only with CITES permission.
• Medication
• Weapons and ammunition permissible only with authorisation obtainable from Ministry of Interior.
• Gifts or new items of value exceeding €200 but not exceeding €1000 will be evaluated and a customs tax will be levied. Please note that items of value exceeding €1000 are taxable according to cargo import procedure and not personal import procedure.
• Cultural artefacts and other culturally important items may be brought in only when accompanied by appropriate documentation confirming your ownership and are not subject of any international investigation.
• Currency of value up to €10,000 can be declared orally, amounts that exceeds that limit must be declared in writing and have to have supplementary documentation confirming that the money had been withdrawn from legitimate source.

For carrying bigger amounts of imported currency or goods Export procedures:

  • You have to fill in a customs declaration form at the border (English version is available), let them date-stamp the thing and keep it safe until you leave. You must declare all cash and jewelry upon entering Ukraine; and understand that undeclared items may be confiscated.

  • Bigger amounts and weights of goods will result in Customs and other fees: Goods weighting more than 50 kg but less than 100 kg and cost of which is less than EURO 1,000, will be subject to 20% Custom's Tax, 20% VAT and a Product Tax, which differs from one group of goods to another.

  • Goods weighing more 100 kg and costing more than EURO 1,000 will be taxed on commercial rate basis.
  • If your customs form is lost or stolen, report it to the local police, known as militia, and obtain a certificate to show authorities when departing Ukraine. If you cannot obtain a police certificate, come to the Consular Section of your Embassy in Kyiv for a notarized letter of explanation. This letter is usually, but not always, accepted by customs authorities.

    Export procedures:


  • If you purchase any items of value you must have the receipt when you leave Ukraine. In addition, if you purchase any antiques or items of possible historical value, such as icons, etc., you must obtain a certificate from the store that sold the item or from the Ministry of Culture stating that it has no real historical values.

  • Currency may be exchanged only at legal, licensed booths, banks and hotel exchange desks. You should save all receipts from currency exchanges and from any purchases you make while in Ukraine. You may not take more money out of the country than you brought in, unless you have receipts showing that you received money from a credit card, wire transfer or other means.


    Passenger information. What can I take with aboard a plane?

  • Objects and substances which are prohibited for carriage by passengers and members of plane crew in passenger cabin but allowed for carriage in luggage

    1. Firearms (including service, hunting, sporting weapons), pneumatic, gas weapons, pistols and revolvers intended for shooting with ammunition, equipped with rubber or similar bullets, cold weapon of all kinds and constructively similar weapon, ammunition and spare parts to weapon and training, blank, museum, souvenir, collection and fake weapon if an individual or a legal entity has the relevant license to keep, wear and carry it, guns and pistols for underwater hunting.

      Rules of weapon carriage are set out in the instructions as approved by the central executive transport authority.

    2. Bladed articles, namely:
      • nail scissors and files;
      • needles for medical injections;
      • knitting pins;
      • metallic table knives;
      • corkscrews;
      • devices and toys imitating all kinds of weapon;
      • lighters in form of pistol, other kinds of weapons; objects with blunt ends which may cause the injuries.

  • Carriage of liquids

    Passengers are permitted to carry packaged liquids, gels and aerosols in their carry-on luggage on the condition that no individual article exceeds a maximum volume of 100 ml.

    Also permitted for carriage in carry-on luggage are items purchased at Duty Free shops if packaged in duly sealed plastic bags with their respective sales slips attached.

    Liquids which are prohibited for carriage in the carry-on which content is over 100 ml

    • water and other drinks, soups, syrups;
    • creams, lotions and oils;
    • perfumes;
    • sprays;
    • gels including hair and shower gels;
    • substances in containers, packages under pressure, including, shaving foam, other foams and deodorants;
    • pastes including toothpaste;
    • mixes of liquid and solid matters;
    • mascara;
    • any other matters of similar composition.

    Passengers are allowed to carry:

    • in checked-in luggage — liquid substances;
    • in carry-on luggage — drugs and diet aids, including baby food to be used during the flight.

    Warning! Passengers wishing to carry and/or use any drugs or dietary aids on board of an aircraft must be in possession of documents detailing why it is necessary for them to do so (this requirement applies to all flights to the European Union, USA, Canada, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland).

  • Transfer passengers of all domestic flights and a large number of international flights can undergo all related formalities under the same roof. If you are a transfer passenger arriving from any Ukrainian city at Boryspil International Airport and then departing via an international flight and your luggage is checked-in through to the final destination, there is no need for you to receive and re-check your luggage: it will be loaded onto your connecting flight and delivered directly to your destination airport.

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Where can I book travel tickets for internal travel within the Ukraine?

We can book most internal flight and train tickets for you. As this is not always possible to do over the telephone or internet with the transport companies, it will incur a small additional charge for our time. You will still find the prices offer fantastic value for money. Trains are the most efficient and punctual way of travel, but travel by air is very much quicker, although occasionally flights can be cancelled at short notice. Click here to visit our travel within The Ukraine page.

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How can I book accommodation?

We will be honest and say that booking accomodation can be a lottery, even with hotels! However, if you book with us you can be assured we only use trusted apartments that we know personally and are in nice areas. They will offer good quality that will meet Western standards with regard to cleanliness and facilities and we are sure you will be 100% satisfied! You can see examples of our apartments here. If these don't meet your requirements then we will perform a search for you to suit your needs and budget.

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