Road Conditions and Safety:
- Generally, roads outside major urban areas are in bad condition and poorly lit.
- U.S. drivers licenses are not valid in Ukraine as their vehicle categories do not meet the standards enumerated in the 1968 Convention on Road Traffic (as amended in 2011). Travelers who do not have a foreign driver?s license that meets these requirements must obtain either a Ukrainian driver?s license or an International Driving Permit.
- You should drive defensively at all times.
- Drivers are often poorly trained; many drive without a valid driver’s license.
- Drivers can also be dangerously aggressive; often do not respect the rights of pedestrians, even at clearly marked pedestrian crossings; and sometimes drive on the sidewalks.
- Many cars, including some taxis, do not meet U.S. safety standards.
In case of accidents:
- Emergency number: Dial 103 for ambulance service and 102 for police. Ambulance crews do not respond quickly and do not often include trained paramedics.
- Notify the police immediately. By law, police must be notified in the event of an accident. Remain at the scene until the police arrive to conduct an investigation.
- It is a criminal offense to 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 even includes moving a vehicle to the side of the road.
- You must wait until the police arrive and complete their report; often this can take several hours.
- The police will decide preliminary responsibility, take the drivers? personal information, seize driver?s licenses, and file an accident report. Temporary driver?s licenses will be issued. Once a court decision has been made regarding responsibility, the original driver?s licenses can be recovered from police. Note that in the vast majority of cases, the police will not speak English.
- Ukraine has a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Violations may result in fines, imprisonment, and/or deportation.
- Non-payment of traffic or parking fines may result in travel bans, which means you cannot leave the country until the fines (plus penalties) are paid.
- Using a cellular telephone or texting while driving is illegal.
- Do not turn right on a red light, unless there is a special green arrow sign attached to the stoplight.
- Front seat belts are mandatory.
- Only use marked taxis. Fares are given in advance when you order a taxi by phone, but prices are typically negotiated with the driver in advance if hailing a cab in the street.
- Do not sit in the front seat of the taxi, enter a taxi with unknown passengers, or travel to unfamiliar areas.
- Buses and trams are widely used.
See 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.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Ukraine should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at www.marad.dot.gov/msci. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website (https:homeport.uscg.mil), and the NGA broadcast warnings website (http://msi.nga.mil/NGAPortal/MSI.portal – select ?broadcast warnings?).
By Ukrainian law, all foreigners coming to Ukraine must have medical insurance covering their period of travel. Note that the general quality of healthcare in Ukraine does not meet U.S. standards.
- Fees at government clinics and hospitals are lower than those at private clinics, but there have been reports that doctors request bribes or additional payments before treating patients.
- Private physicians and private hospitals charge fees for services, and some do not accept local health insurance.
- Public facilities only accept cash payments, while most private clinics accept credit cards.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
Medication: If traveling with prescription medication, check with the State Register of Medicines (Ukrainian language only) to ensure the medication is legal to bring into the country, as many medications that are legal in the United States are prohibited in Ukraine. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor?s prescription.
The following diseases are prevalent in Ukraine:
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Local laws and Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. If you are arrested, you can face extended periods, even years, in pre-trial detention. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking illegal drugs are severe, and if convicted you can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Furthermore, some violations of laws in Ukraine are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.
Arrests: When in a foreign country, you are subject the country?s laws. If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
- Ukrainian law permits police to stop you for any reason and check your identification documents.
- You are required to carry your passport at all times; police may check to verify your legal presence in Ukraine.
- Police are permitted to detain you for up to 72 hours without formal charges.
- 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.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the Department of State?s International Religious Freedom Report and the following webpages for details
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report? see country reports
- Human Rights Report ? see country reports
- Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
LGBTI Travelers: Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is a problem in Ukraine, as LGBTI individuals have been the target of harassment, threats, and acts of violence. For more detailed information about LGBTI rights in Ukraine, you may review the State Department?s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2017. For further information on LGBTI travel, please read our Information for LGBT Travelers page.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: 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. See our Traveling with Disabilities page.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for women travelers.
Safety and Security
Terrorism Activity: Credible information indicates that terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Europe. European governments are taking action to guard against terrorist attacks; however, all European countries remain potentially vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations.
Small-scale bombings continue to occur throughout Ukraine. While most attacks are at night and appear intended to cause property damage and incite fear, multiple attacks within the past year have been fatal, sometimes occurring in populated areas during daylight hours.
Please read the Travel Advisory for Ukraine before traveling. While in Ukraine, you should carry travel documents with you at all times.
Potential for civil disturbances: Large-scale protests have occurred from time to time in cities throughout Ukraine.
- You should avoid large gatherings or protests and adjacent areas.
- In the past, some protests have turned violent and resulted in deaths and injuries.
- Be alert and aware of your surroundings and pay attention to local news media.
- The Embassy will post information about sizeable planned protests on the Embassy website.
Crimea: There is extensive Russian Federation military presence in Crimea as part of Russia?s occupation and attempted annexation of this part of Ukraine, which the international community, including the United States and Ukraine, does not recognize. There are continuing abuses against and arbitrary imprisonment of foreigners and the local population by the occupation authorities in Crimea, particularly abuses against individuals who are seen as challenging Russian authority on the peninsula. The U.S. government prohibits employees from traveling to Crimea and is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens there.
Eastern Ukraine: U.S. citizens should not travel to the eastern parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts due to ongoing armed conflict.
- The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in this area.
- U.S. citizens have been specifically targeted by gunmen representing the self-proclaimed authorities and threatened, detained, or kidnapped for hours or days.
- Shortages of water, power, medicine, and food supplies have also been reported in Russian-proxy-controlled territory, and widespread disorder and looting has been confirmed in these areas.
Crime: Criminals may target tourists due to perceived wealth. A new professional and well-trained police force (Patrol Police) has been implemented, but police corruption remains an issue.
- Criminal activity, including burglaries, robberies, muggings, and pickpocketing is increasingly a problem in Ukraine.
- Law enforcement and emergency officials rarely speak English, and interpreters are not readily available.
- Muggings, attacks, armed robberies, harassment, or the drugging at nightspots of unsuspecting victims (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.
- Recently, there has been an increase in reports of criminals luring unsuspecting visitors to Ukraine with promises of cheap lodging and/or companionship. The criminals then forcibly abduct the visitors and proceed to make unauthorized transactions via their victims? bank cards and accounts.
- Many incidents of criminal activity occur on the public transport system, including the metro. 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.
Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victim of sexual assault should report crimes to the local police at 102 and contact the U.S. Embassy at +38 (044) 521-5566 during business hours, or +38 (044) 521-5000 after hours.
Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- provide you with information about medical facilities
- provide information about reporting a crime to the police
- contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- provide a list of local attorneys
- provide information on victim?s compensation programs in the U.S.
- provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution (subject to approval)
- help you find temporary accommodation and arrange flights home in cases of destitution
- replace a stolen or lost passport
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance. The Embassy will be able to assist with contacting police and provide you with a list of local shelters.
Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not occur everywhere. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally able to access areas outside of major cities and to provide necessary medical treatment, but it may take time for them to arrive. Local law requires foreigners to have medical insurance when traveling to Ukraine. U.S. citizens are encouraged to consider purchasing additional medical evacuation insurance when arranging their medical insurance for traveling to Ukraine. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Entry exit Requirementsh
- You do not need a visa to enter Ukraine for tourism purposes for visits of up to 90 days in any 180 day period, but must be able to provide proof of valid health insurance and sufficient funds for the duration of your stay.
- No vaccinations are required for entry, but you should be up-to-date on all recommended vaccinations.
- A visa and residency permit is required for stays over 90 days. You must receive the visa in advance at a Ukrainian embassy or consulate. 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 the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Embassy of Ukraine in the U.S.
- You must have a visa to apply for a Ukrainian residency permit; you may not do so while on visa-free tourist travel. You must apply with the State Migration Service of Ukraine (SMS) for a residency permit no later than 15 working days before your visa?s expiration date. Once you have a residency permit you can reside in Ukraine for as long as it remains valid. More information is available at the SMS website (limited information available in English).
Crimea: There is an extensive Russian Federation military presence in the Crimean Peninsula. Follow the guidance in our Travel Advisory for Ukraine and defer all travel to Crimea. If you choose to travel there, you should be aware:
- U.S. government employees are prohibited from traveling to Crimea and are unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens there.
- You may only legally enter Crimea from mainland Ukraine.
- Entrance into Crimea by any other entry point other than from mainland Ukraine, such as air, sea, or the Kerch Strait Bridge is illegal. You will be denied entry into mainland Ukraine and banned from entering Ukraine for five years.
- Time spent in Crimea will count against the 90 day visa-free period.
Eastern Ukraine: Russia-led forces continue to control areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, and the ongoing armed conflict has resulted in more than 10,000 deaths. Follow the guidance in our Travel Advisory for Ukraine, and do not travel there. If you choose to travel to these areas, you should be aware:
- U.S. government employees are prohibited from traveling to the eastern parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and to adjacent regions, and the U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens there.
- Entering Ukraine through the area of armed conflict is a violation of Ukrainian law. U.S. citizens who enter Ukraine illegally through the area of armed conflict along the Russian border will not be allowed to pass through government checkpoints to territory controlled by the government of Ukraine.
- Ukraine?s Security Service (SBU) procedures at entry/exit points require that permit applications be submitted and approved electronically prior to travel in the zone of armed conflict. For a comprehensive list of the requirements for a permit to enter that area, please visit the official SBU website.
HIV/AIDS Restrictions: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Ukraine. However, anyone with tuberculosis cannot get permanent residency in Ukraine. There are no waivers or exceptions to this rule.
See the Department of State?s Fact Sheet on Ukraine for information on U.S. – Ukraine relations.