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Travel Warning & Consular Information Sheet for Ukraine

Ukraine - Consular Information Sheet
July 26, 2001

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Ukraine is a nation undergoing profound political and economic change as it moves to a market economy and integrates into Western institutions. Tourist facilities are not highly developed, and many of the goods and services taken for granted in other countries are not yet available. Travel within Ukraine is unrestricted, but travelers must register with Ukrainian authorities upon arrival (please see paragraph on Entry Requirements). Travelers may also be asked to present their passport and visa on demand by local police. Crime is a serious problem in Ukraine and a number of racially motivated assaults and incidents of harassment have been reported.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport valid for sixth months beyond date of travel and a valid single or multiple entry visa is required. Visas may be obtained in advance from the Embassy of Ukraine, located at 3350 M. St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20007, tel. (202) 333-0606 or 333-7507. Visas can also be obtained from the Ukrainian Consulate in Chicago, located at 10 E. Huron St., 60611, tel. (312) 642-4388 or the Ukrainian Consulate in New York, located at 240 E. 49th St., New York, NY 10017, tel. (212) 371-5690. A copy of the visa application for Ukraine can be obtained on the Ukraine Embassy's Internet site http://www.ukremb.com/.

Note: Travelers who intend to visit Russia from Ukraine must also have a Russian visa. The Russian Embassy in Ukraine is located at Prospekt Kutuzova 8, Kiev, tel: (38) (044) 294-7797 or (38) (044) 294-6816.

DUAL NATIONALITY: Ukraine does not recognize dual nationality. American citizens entering Ukraine with a Ukrainian passport will be treated as Ukrainian citizens by the local authorities. This may include being required to perform mandatory national service. Also, Ukrainians who have immigrated to the U.S. without obtaining the proper exit visa from Ukrainian authorities may be subject to civil or criminal penalties and will be required to obtain an exit visa before returning to the U.S. For additional information, please see "Dual Nationality" flyer.

SAFETY AND SECURITY: Reports of racially-motivated incidents against foreigners and persons of color have increased in Ukraine. Groups with a history of targeting persons of African or Asian descent are known to gather in areas around the U.S. Embassy, including Unification Park, the site of two attacks against American citizens. In addition to incidents of assault, persons of African or Asian heritage may be subject to various types of harassment, such as being stopped on the street by both civilians and police officials.

Harassment directed towards foreign business personnel has been reported and has included physical threats, arbitrary termination of business licenses, delay of payment and delay in delivery of goods.

To minimize the risk of an incident with local law enforcement authorities, Americans should carry photocopies of their passports at all times. Under Ukrainian law, individuals may be detained for up to three hours while their identity documents are being verified. If stopped and detained, Americans should attempt to comply with all instructions from law enforcement officers but also make it clear that they are American citizens and that they wish to contact the American Embassy. Any incidents should be reported to the Embassy immediately.

CRIME: Ukraine has a high rate of crime and it is on the increase. Due to economic circumstances, Western visitors, especially short-term visitors such as tourists and students, are the primary foreign targets. The majority of street crime is non-violent, but there has been a notable increase in the use of small caliber firearms during burglaries and robberies. Street crimes range from pick-pocketing and purse snatching to muggings, armed robbery, shootings, drugging and robbing unsuspecting victims at nightspots and bars.

The most significant threat to long-term residents is burglary of apartments and vehicles. Although few cars are actually stolen, vehicular break-in and vandalism are becoming more common.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs, .

MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical care in Ukraine is limited. The U.S. Embassy maintains a short list of English-speaking physicians and a list of pharmacies that offer American and Western European supplies and medicines. The availability of basic medical supplies, including disposable needles, anesthetics and antibiotics, still does not meet expectations. Elderly travelers and those with existing health problems may be at risk due to inadequate medical facilities.

MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including emergency services such as medical evacuations.

When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.

Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.

OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Ukraine is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Safety of Public Transportation: Fair
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor

Roads in Ukraine are in generally poor condition. Travel between cities at night and in winter can become extremely treacherous. Carjackings of western-made or foreign-registered cars are on the rise. There has been an increase in the number of documented reports of criminal acts occurring on trains, including gassings and robberies. Major roads, however, are drivable during daylight hours. Roadside services such as gas stations and repair facilities are becoming more common but remain inadequate. Travelers should plan accordingly.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed Ukraine's civil aviation authority as Category 1 - in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Ukraine's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at (618) 256-4801.

CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Travelers must declare all cash and jewelry, regardless of value, upon entering Ukraine. Any undeclared items are subject to confiscation. Under customs regulations travelers may bring up to 10,000 U.S. dollars into Ukraine without special permission. More than 10,000 U.S. dollars requires a written statement by the traveler. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Ukraine in Washington or one of Ukraine's consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.

CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Ukrainian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Ukraine are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Ukraine is a cash economy. When bringing U.S. dollars into Ukraine, ensure that bills are in good condition because those that are worn, torn or written on may not be accepted. Credit cards and traveler's checks are gaining wider acceptance in larger cities. American Express traveler's checks may be cashed at some Ukrainian banks. Credit card and ATM fraud is becoming more prevalent and money scams are rampant. It is highly recommended that visitors and permanent residents refrain from using personal checks, credit cards or ATM cards if at all possible. If a credit card is needed, usage is permitted in better hotels, Western-style restaurants, international airlines and selected stores. Customs regulations prohibit sending cash, traveler's checks, personal checks, credit cards, or passports through the international mail system. Customs authorities regularly confiscate these items as contraband. Changing U.S. dollars for Ukrainian hryvnia or another currency is legal only at banks, currency exchange desks at hotels and licensed exchange booths.

CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international adoption of children, international parental child abduction, and international child support enforcement issues, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone (202) 736-7000.

REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION: Americans living in or visiting Ukraine are encouraged to register at the Consular section of the U.S. Embassy in Kiev and obtain updated information on travel and security within Ukraine. The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy is located at #6, Pimonenko St., tel. (380) (44) 490-4422, fax 236-4892. The U.S. Embassy is located at 10 Vulitsa Yuria Kotsubinskoho, 254053 Kiev 53, tel. (380) (44) 490-4000; after-hours 240-0856; fax 244-7350. Mail using U.S. domestic postage should be addressed to U.S. Embassy Kiev, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C. 20521-5850. Visit the Embassy's Internet home page at http://www.usemb.kiev.ua.


This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated January 7, 2000 to update information on Entry Requirements, Safety and Security, Crime, Medical Insurance, Aviation Safety Oversight, Customs Regulations and Special Circumstances.

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