Have you found the man or woman of your dreams in Kiev, or just fallen in love with the city itself? Can you not tear yourself away before seeing one more production at the National Opera, or drinking one more sweet glass of uzvar on Khreshchatyk Street? You’re not alone. Many visitors to Kiev find themselves longing to extend their visas. It’s not impossible – you just have to know your options! Read on to learn what you can do.
As one of the world’s most famously hospitable nations, Ukraine welcomes foreign visitors with open arms. Citizens of the EU, the USA, Canada, Turkey and many others either do not require an entry visa or are given a short-term entry visa upon arrival. If you do need a visa, you can apply one at the embassy of Ukraine located in your country of residence.
For a temporary visit to Ukraine, Ukraine offers the following main visa schemes:
- Transit Visa (visa type “B”) – issued for up to 1 year and allows a stay of up to 5 days upon crossing Ukrainian border (can be a single or multiple-entry visa).
- Short-Term Visa (visa type “C”) – issued for up to 5 years and allows a stay of up to 90 days within a 180-day period from the date of first entry (can be a single or multiple-entry visa). This is probably the most popular type of visa, used by business travellers, tourists and travellers under a private invitation.
- Long-Term Visa (visa type “D”) – issued as a single-entry visa for 45 days with the aim of filing for a residence permit.
Similarly to Schengen countries, Ukraine has a “90/180 day rule” which means that foreigners, other than those who have a residence permit, may not stay for more than 90 days within any 180 day period from the date of first entry (if otherwise not prescribed by international treaty).
But life is an unpredictable thing. A stroke of good or bad luck may change your plans in an instant, and it may be necessary for you to extend your stay in Ukraine. This is legal if approved by the State Migration Service of Ukraine. And even if you fail to get an official extension, don’t worry. You won’t be thrown in jail! You’ll just pay a fine at the airport and be on your way home.
Extending Your Visa
Travelers from both visa-free and visa-required countries may apply for extension of their allowed stay in Ukraine. The application for extension must be filed with the local bodies of the State Migration Service of Ukraine between three and ten working days before the date your visa expires.
This process varies greatly depending on the type of visa that you hold. Here are some of the differences:
Extension of short-term visa (this includes if you come from a visa-free country):
- Valid grounds include sickness, pregnancy and childbirth; looking after a sick family member; inheritance matters; application for immigration to Ukraine or Ukrainian citizenship or performing functions of a correspondent of foreign media.
- Your stay can be extended as long as needed to resolve the situation, up to 180 days.
Extension of transit visa:
- Valid grounds include a forced stay in Ukraine following natural disaster, illness, or the repairing of a transport vehicle.
- Your stay can be extended as long as needed to resolve the situation.
Extension of long-term visa:
- Valid grounds include failure to get permanent or temporary residence permit on time.
- Your stay can be extended for up to one month.
The list is long! Together with the application and “valid grounds” supporting documents, you and your receiving party (the individual or group who invited you to Ukraine) will have to file the following documents:
- Foreign passport with visa (if required), information on registration of your entry to Ukraine and immigration card (if any)
- Ukrainian-certified translation of your passport
- Financial guarantees
- Proof of local accommodations
- 4 photos of yourself (3.5*4.5 sm)
- Receipt of payment of state duty (UAH 17)
- Documents from the receiving party: Ukrainian passport/residence permit (for individuals) or the passport of the entity’s CEO, an Extract from the Companies Register in Ukraine and an order of employment of authorized employee of the legal entity, responsible for executing documentation for foreigners (for legal entities).
The State Migration Service of Ukraine will rule on your application within 14 days of receiving the documents. If the documents will be reviewed for more than 1 day, you will receive a temporary sealed and signed certificate with your photo, confirming that your passport was filed with an application for a visa extension.
Once the State Migration Service of Ukraine decides, a matching record is made on an application for extension of stay in Ukraine. If the decision is positive, the State Migration Service of Ukraine will put a stamp in your passport showing how long your stay has been extended. If your application was rejected, you are allowed to dispute it with the State Migration Service of Ukraine or in court.
Liability for Overstaying
So what happens if you overstay your visa in Ukraine? Depending on your situation, one or more of the following could happen:
- You may no longer be able to obtain certain services where they check the validity of your visa. Examples include hotel accommodations, opening bank account, notary service, etc.
- You may have to pay a fine in the range of UAH 510 (roughly $20) to UAH 850 (roughly $32).
- Any serious or repeat offences of visa violation can have a negative impact on your future entries into Ukraine. In worst cases, you may be banned from visiting Ukraine for a number of years.
Extending your visa is cumbersome, with many documentation requirements. The best course of action, of course, is to not overstay your visit in Ukraine! However, if you do end up overstaying, be aware of the consequences as mentioned above. In most cases, if it was a genuine mistake and you overstayed for few days, the authorities will likely let you go with just a warning only.