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Ukraine

If you’re travelling to Ukraine, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Health
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation:

Avoid non-essential travel until further notice:

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises against all non-essential travel overseas until further notice. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all travel by cruise ship.

If you are currently travelling outside of Ireland:

Flight restrictions and route cancellations are happening on a daily basis worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will continue to operate. For this reason, where commercial flights are still an option, we recommend that people who wish to do so make arrangements to return to Ireland as soon as possible.

We are working with airlines to show maximum flexibility to those passengers who need to change their existing flight arrangements. Where commercial flights are no longer available, we are working side-by-side with our international partners to identify alternative options where possible.

It may not be feasible or possible for everyone who wants to travel back to Ireland to do so in the short term. We ask Irish citizens remaining abroad to make decisions that safeguard their health and well-being and that they follow local public health and safety requirements. We ask that they remain in close contact with family, friends and their local Irish Embassy or Consulate.

We know that this is a stressful situation for citizens and our embassy network is working around the clock to provide people with all the information and assistance that we can, bearing in mind the situation is unfolding across multiple countries and is not one under our control.

What to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

The Irish Health Authorities require anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland, to restrict their movements on arrival for 14 days. Check the Irish Health Service COVID-19 Advice Page for full information on these requirements. This includes Irish residents. Exemptions are in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff.

Where to go for more information:

We continue to make updates to our online travel advice for over 200 countries and recommend that you download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. If abroad you should register with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Security Status

Avoid non-essential travel

Ireland does not have an Embassy in Ukraine. Limited Consular assistance is provided by an Honorary Consul in Kyiv. The Embassy of Ireland in the Czech Republic is accredited to Ukraine.  

The security situation in most of Ukraine is stable but tensions remain extremely high in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts and there are frequent casualties due to armed operations in this area. Tensions are also high in Crimea. It is important to monitor the local media and advice of local authorities wherever you intend to travel in Ukraine.

We advise strongly against all travel to Crimea at this time, including transiting through the international airports at Simferopol and Sevastopol.

Ireland does not recognise the purported Russian authorities who have exercised control in Crimea since its illegal annexation in 2014.The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade cannot provide consular assistance to Irish citizens in Crimea.

We advise strongly against all travel to Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts at this time. Tensions remain extremely high in these regions and there are frequent casualties due to armed operations.

Ukrainian law provides for criminal offences in relation to foreign nationals who enter "temporarily occupied territories", including Crimea and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Novel Coronavirus

From midnight Sunday 15th March the Ukrainian Government will introduce a ban on the entry of all foreign travellers to the country by all borders, including in transit Unless you are a Ukrainian resident, you will not be permitted to enter the countries.

Passenger air services in Ukraine will be cancelled for two weeks.

Increased protective measures and restrictions on travel could be introduced at very short notice. Please continue to monitor the advice of the Ukrainian authorities and media for updates.

A number of cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have been confirmed in Ukraine.

The situation is developing rapidly. If you are in Ukraine, you should monitor developments regularly and follow the advice of local authorities.

See links below for details. 

Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers COVID-19 Website

Ukraine’s Ministry of Health Coronavirus Webpage

Ukraine’s Public Health Centre

World Health Organisation

Kyiv Boryspil Airport

The Ukrainian Government has introduced increased control measures nationwide. Large public gatherings are banned. Schools and universities are closed for at least three weeks from 12 March.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Interior introduced obligatory temperature screening for all travellers arriving in Ukraine from any country via any airport or land border.

If a passenger is found to have a temperature of 38° C or above, or exhibit flu-like symptoms, they may be referred to a hospital in Kyiv for additional testing and possibly up to 14 days of quarantine.

Be alert to common signs of infection: respiratory problems, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Seek medical advice if you experience these symptoms.

HSE medical advice to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 is below.

Do:

• wash your hands properly and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
• cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
• put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands

Don’t:

• touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Additional information on COVID-19 can be found via the following links:

HSE

HPSC

ECDC

World Health Organisation

Latest travel alert

Crimea

Ireland does not have an Embassy in Ukraine or a Consulate in Crimea. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is unable to provide consular assistance to Irish citizens in Crimea. We strongly advise against all travel to Crimea.

Tensions remain high in Crimea. Russian forces and pro-Russian groups have established full operational control in Crimea.

Ukrainian International Airlines have cancelled all flights to and from Simferopol. Train and bus services to Crimea have been cancelled. To enter or exit Crimea, foreign nationals will need to provide their passport and a permit issued by the territorial body of the State Migration Service of Ukraine.

Eastern Ukraine

We advise against all travel to the Eastern provinces of Ukraine as the security situation is dangerous and unpredictable.

If you are in Ukraine at present you should keep yourself fully informed of what’s going on around you by monitoring local media for information about possible safety or security risks and maintaining contact with your hotel or tour organiser. We advise you to exercise caution, remain vigilant and we strongly advise that you avoid all demonstrations and public gatherings, as even peaceful protests may turn violent.

Chernobyl

Tours to Chernobyl are available through local companies. Permits may be required to access certain areas covered by the exclusion zone. We strongly recommend consulting the safety instructions and advice offered by the State Agency for Managing the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone before purchasing a tour. 

Emergency assistance

The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

You can contact the emergency services in Ukraine on the following numbers:

•Emergency services: 112

•Police (Militsia): 102

•Fire brigade: 101

•Ambulance/municipal first aid: 103

•Natural gas and fire emergency service: 104

EU DIRECTIVE ON CONSULAR PROTECTION
 
Under the EU Consular Protection Directive, Irish nationals may seek assistance from the Embassy or Consulate of any other EU member state in a country where there is no Irish Embassy or permanent representation.
 
Our tips for Safe Travels:
  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities.
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
  • Read our ‘Know Before You Go’ guide.

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Donbass (Donetsk and Luhansk)

Tensions remain extremely high in Eastern Ukraine and there are frequent casualties due to armed operations, particularly along the "contact line" separating the forces in Donetsk and Luhansk. We advise strongly against all travel to Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts at this time.

Crimea

Tensions are also high in Crimea and we advise strongly against all travel to Crimea at this time, including transiting through the international airports at Simferopol and Sevastopol.

Demonstrations

Demonstrations and protests are frequent and sometimes turn violent. We strongly advise Irish visitors to avoid demonstrations and protests. Your hotel or tour organiser should keep you informed of what's going on around you and further information is available on the local English-language media.

Terrorism

Although the threat from terrorism in Ukraine is low, there is still a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates.

Crime

Whilst most visits to Ukraine are trouble-free, there has been a rise in the number of muggings and other attacks reported in Kiev and other urban centres. Always take sensible precautions:

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place 
  • Always leave a copy of your passport and travel insurance documents with your friends or family. Also keep a copy of your passport somewhere safe in case you need it. Police Officers may ask you for ID, particularly in the central area of Kyiv. Your original passport is required since no other document can provide information on your legal status in Ukraine. If you’re detained because you have been unable to present your passport, you should ask for an official report. See further information under Local Laws and Customs.
  • Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you are alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business
  • Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafes, train and bus stations
  • Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible

Racially motivated crime

All visitors should be careful but if you’re of Asian or Afro-Caribbean descent and/or belong to a religious minority, be particularly careful in Ukraine, as some attacks on visitors have reportedly been racially motivated.

Tourist scams

A common scam is where a conman drops a wallet or bundle of money in front of a tourist. If you are approached in this way, do not engage in conversation and walk away.

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Ukraine, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Consulate of Ireland in Kiev if you need help.

Lost or stolen passports

If your passport is lost or stolen, you need to report it immediately to the police. Getting a replacement passport will be easier if you are able to provide a copy of the lost or stolen one, so keep photocopies of your passport.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Ukraine, you should careful. Road conditions in Ukraine especially in rural areas can often be extremely hazardous, especially at night. If you want to drive:

  • Bring your full Irish driving licence and your international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
  • There is a zero-tolerance policy on drink driving in Ukraine
  • Be aware of Ukraine’s traffic laws, such as speed limits
  • Wear your seatbelts at all times
  • Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights

Public transport

Most towns and cities have a comprehensive network of buses, trolleybuses and trams. You can usually buy tickets (bilet) at ticket booths at major stops. If not, then once on board, you should buy a ticket from the ticket conductor or driver. Tickets, including those bought from conductor, normally need to be validated by being ‘punched’. Travelling without a ticket or with an invalid ticket carries an on-the-spot fine.

There is a wide network of minibuses with fares normally displayed on the window inside the bus. Fares are typically between 1.50 and 3.00 Hryvnia. Passengers often pay their fares by passing money to the driver via fellow passengers.

Crime on public transport

Be careful on public transport as it is popular with pickpockets and bag snatchers. Take particular care on any overnight trains. We recommend, if possible, travelling with someone else and in a compartment that can be secured from the inside.

Taxis

Non-regulated taxi drivers can overcharge so we advise you to use official taxis only. These taxis will have the name and telephone number of the taxi company on the side of the door and on the top of the taxi. Two taxi companies whose drivers usually have basic English are:

Express taxi – Tel: +380-44-239-15-15

Etalon taxi – Tel: +380-44-501-55-01/502-54-54

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or even illegal.

Personal identification

Always carry your passport as the police often carry out passport checks on foreign nationals. Only original passports are accepted by the police in these circumstances because they are usually trying to establish your status in Ukraine. If you are detained, you should request an official police report.

Police officers must introduce themselves by name, post, rank and tell you the reason they are checking you (ID check). They must also show you a document verifying their identity.

Illegal drugs

Penalties for drug offences are severe. The sale and distribution of drugs on the street is illegal and these drugs are often hazardous counterfeits. 

Public order offences

Smoking and drinking alcohol in public places such as public transport, bus stops, underground crossings, playgrounds, parks, cultural and sports venues and government establishments, are officially prohibited.

Photography

You are not allowed to take photographs near government or military establishments.

Cultural artefacts

There are strict rules governing the export of antiques and items of historical interest. If in doubt, get permission from customs authorities before you attempt to export any item from the country. Failure to comply with local rules may result in fines, confiscation of property or delays in travel.

 

Health

Health

Vaccinations

Check your doctor a minimum of eight weeks in advance of travel to see what vaccinations you may need for Ukraine.

A small number of cases of polio have recently been diagnosed in Ukraine. Polio vaccination is recommended for all travellers from Ireland to countries where polio transmission is a risk. Before travelling to areas where poliomyelitis cases are still occurring, travellers should ensure that they have completed the recommended age-appropriate polio vaccine schedule and have received a booster dose, if necessary. More information is available on the Health Protection and Surveillance Centre website.

Sexually transmitted disease

There is a high level of sexually transmitted diseases in Ukraine and HIV is reportedly widespread. You should exercise necessary caution if engaging in activities that expose you to possible infection. If you suspect that you have been exposed to possible infection, you should seek immediate medical attention.

Radioactive contamination

The risk of radioactive contamination from the 1986 accident at Chernobyl is insignificant, other than within the exclusion zone immediately around the Chernobyl site and you don’t need to take any special precautions.

Travel Insurance

We can’t pay for emergency medical repatriation, repatriation of remains, or for expenses as a result of a personal emergency while you are abroad. If you buy an appropriate travel insurance policy, these costs will be covered, provided you haven’t broken the terms and conditions.

Buying comprehensive travel insurance can save you and your family a lot of money if something goes wrong. It will also ensure that you get the medical attention you need, when you need it. Hospital bills can quickly run into thousands of euro, and a medical evacuation back to Ireland can cost thousands more.

Not all policies are the same, and the cheapest one might be cheap for a reason. Make sure your policy covers all the activities you plan to do on your trip. Insurance Ireland recommend that you purchase a policy that provides a minimum medical cover of €1 million.

Emergency expenses

Your policy should cover:

  • All medical care abroad, including evacuation by air ambulance, or other emergency procedures, and any other costs associated with an unexpected longer stay.
  • Your entire trip, from departure to return. Consider an annual multi-trip policy if you’re making more than one trip in the year.   
  • 24-hour emergency service and assistance.
  • Personal liability cover (in case you’re sued for causing injury or damaging property).
  • Lost and stolen possessions.
  • Cancellation and curtailment.
  • Any extra activities you intend to do that are excluded from standard policies (e.g. water sport activities such as jet skiing or other extreme sports).

Exclusions: You should know most insurance policies will not cover drink or drug-related incidents.

Water

We advise you to boil tap water before drinking it. Bottled water is readily available.

Additional Information

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

If you are unsure about the entry requirements for Ukraine, including visa and other immigration information, ask your travel agent or contact the nearest Embassy of Ukraine.

Following the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, Russian officials exercising de facto control of the territory are requiring Irish citizens seeking to enter Crimea to have a Russian Federation visa obtained from the nearest Russian Embassy. Those who do not comply with these “visa requirements”, including the expiry date indicated, can be subject to arrest, fines, and/or deportation by those exercising de facto control. It should be noted that the ability of the Embassy to intervene in such cases is extremely limited.

You can also check with them how long your passport must be valid for.

Passports

It’s advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you when travelling to Ukraine and you should carry your passport at all times during your stay.

Money

The official currency of Ukraine is the Hryvnia (UAH). Euros and US dollars are the easiest currency to exchange in Ukraine, but only use banks and official exchange booths. Depending on the amount to be exchanged, you may need a passport and/or other ID. When you’re exchanging currency, you should get an official receipt, known as an NBU form № 377. Hold on to this receipt because you may need it to exchange Hryvnia to other currencies when you leave the country.

ATMs are available in Ukraine and credit cards are widely used but not universally accepted in cities. Beyond larger urban centres, we advise you to carry enough local currency to meet your needs.

Take particular care when exchanging money to safeguard your passport and credit/ATM cards and don’t lose sight of them during transactions.

Transport

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Crime on public transport

Be careful on public transport as it is popular with pickpockets and bag snatchers. Take particular care on any overnight trains. We recommend, if possible, travelling with someone else and in a compartment that can be secured from the inside.

 

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

If you require assistance in the case of emergency while the Embassy is closed, please call the main Embassy number, (+420) 257 011 280 and leave your name, contact number and a brief description of the emergency and the duty officer will contact you.

Embassy of Ireland
Velvyslanectvi
Tržiště 13
118 00 Praha 1
Czech Republic

Tel: +420 257 011 280

Monday and Wednesday 09:30-12:30 and 14:30-16:30; Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 09:30-12:30

Contact us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Mr. Volodymyr Sai
Honorary Consul of Ireland
32B, Khreshchatyk Street
Kyiv, 01034.
Ukraine

Tel: (+380) 44 279 3200
Fax: (+380) 44 279 3200

Contact us