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08 Jul. 2022


Visa regime: how can citizens of the russian federation get a visa to Ukraine?



Visa regime: how can citizens of the russian federation get a visa to Ukraine?

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From July 1, a visa regime for Russian citizens was officially introduced in Ukraine. At the request of the President, on June 17, the government canceled the 1997 intergovernmental agreement on a visa-free regime and suspended the 2011 agreement on simplified border traffic between Ukraine and Russia. From now on, the main formal basis for any visits of the "neighbors" is a visa, and not just the presence of a foreign passport.

What this means for Russians and how it will be possible to enter Ukraine after the introduction of new rules - we understand below.

Where to issue visas

During the first four months of the war, the Ukrainian authorities did not prevent Russians from crossing the border, and the visa-free system functioned. However, citizens of the aggressor country were subject to enhanced biometric control, as well as the obligation to register with migration authorities upon arrival.

However, the actual cross-border movement was significantly limited. Back at the beginning of the war on February 24, the land crossing points on the Ukrainian-Russian and Ukrainian-Belarusian borders were closed - only Ukrainians could return without hindrance. Therefore, since February, entry into Ukraine for Russians has been available only through third countries. At present, the mode of operation of the checkpoints on the borders with the aggressor countries has not changed - as have the logistics of travel for the Russians themselves.

But as far as border control is concerned, everything is much more complicated here since July 1. According to general practice, visas for foreign citizens are issued by diplomatic institutions abroad - consular departments of embassies and consulates. However, with the severance of diplomatic relations with Russia at the beginning of the war, all Ukrainian missions in the aggressor state were closed. In such a situation, according to the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Oleg Nikolenko, the submission of documents for Ukrainian visas will be carried out through VFS Global visa centers in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Kaliningrad, Kazan, Novosibirsk, Rostov-on-Don, and Samara. And the visas themselves will be issued by Ukrainian diplomatic missions in third countries.

But visa centers of VFS Global itself were also closed on the territory of Russia on March 16, as reported on the official website. According to BBC Ukraine News, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirms this information. "We spoke with this company that deals with visas. As soon as it is able to operate, it will deal with these issues. When there is an opportunity, the submission of documents will work on the territory of Russia through this independent external service provider," says Nikolenko.

Therefore, currently, the only option for Russian citizens wishing to obtain a Ukrainian visa is to apply to Ukrainian embassies/consulates in third countries, for example in Estonia. Kazakhstan, Poland, Moldova, etc. You can also apply to visa centers there if the Ukrainian diplomatic mission in a specific country accepts documents through them. When entering Ukraine from Moldova, you need to remember that the Transnistrian segment of the border does not work for entry, just like the border with Russia and Belarus.

What visas can be obtained and how much it costs

Russians will be able to get visas on general grounds and at standard fees, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says. The consular fee is $65.

Visas of type B (transit), C (short-term), and D (long-term) can be issued. Transit visas give the right to enter for up to 5 days, short-term visas for 90 days within 185 days (one or more entries), and long-term visas for 90 days or more.

Electronic visas with a simplified procedure and with a lower fee will not be available to Russians.

A visa is not a guarantee of entry

A visa is not a guarantee of entry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says. The visa checks themselves will become more thorough, and at the border, it will be necessary to prove the purpose of entry. In addition to a visa and passport, it will be necessary to show sufficient financial support and not have a ban on entry. In the absence of any of these points, the guards will refuse entry.

Russians with a residence permit will be able to enter without a visa, but a residence permit does not guarantee entry in the same way as a visa. Expired residence permits are not grounds for crossing the border without obtaining a visa.

In addition, the issuance of visas and entry into Ukraine is prohibited to Russians who are on the sanctions lists or the list of persons who pose a threat to the national security of Ukraine.

It should be noted that in the first half of 2023, more than 7,000 tourists from russia visited Ukraine.