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For stays of up to 90 days, citizens of the EU, Canada, the USA, Iceland, Japan, Norway and Switzerland do not need a visa, nor do those of Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican, plus the Balkan and CIS nations. However, if arriving for the purpose of employment, study or permanent residency, visas will be needed even for these nationalities. Other nationalities always need visas, as do those intending to stay in Ukraine for more than 90 days.

Visas are available from your local embassy. See the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine (www.mfa.gov.ua) for a complete list of embassies, including contact details (click on ‘About the Ministry’ and choose ‘Diplomatic Missions of Ukraine’).

There are several types of visa, including business, tourist, private, with single, double and multiple entries available. Detailed explanations are found via the Embassy of Ukraine in Australia (www.ukremb.info). Letters of invitation are technically needed for all visas, although this is more of a formality these days. Single- and double-entry visas can be bought for one to six months. Multiple-entry visas are valid for three to 12 months.

It’s important to note that you can’t stay visa-free in Ukraine for more than 90 days in any 180-day period. Therefore, it’s not possible to leave the country after 90 days and immediately come back across the border by renewing your entry stamp.

Visa extensions

If you’re staying for longer than three months on a tourist visa or six months on a business visa, or if you want to extend your visa, you’ll need to visit the Department of Citizenship, Passport & Immigration (8-044 224 9051; bul Tarasa Shevchenka 34, Kyiv; 9am-5pm Mon-Fri). This is a bureaucratic ordeal that’s best avoided if at all possible. Take a friend or helper along if you don’t speak Russian or Ukrainian.