UKRAINE – New Visa Classifications from September
Entry visas for Ukraine are to be reclassified with effect from 10 September 2011, to bring them in line with visa classifications in the Schengen area. The new legislation, brought in by a decree which was passed in June, also gives the right of appeal to applicants whose visa applications were rejected. Further legislation is anticipated, including more rules to tighten up procedures around immigration for employees of representative offices.
The New Visa Categories
The new visa categories mirror the Schengen categories and are as follows:
- Type B: Transit visa for up to 5 days. The visa itself will be valid for up to one year but allow transit of maximum 5 days across Ukraine
- Type C: Short stay visa for non-employment stays of up to 90 days within a 180 day period. Visas may be granted with validity from 6 months to 5 years but with a maximum stay per visit of 90 days within 180 days.
- Type D: Long stay visa for employment purposes. Valid for up to three years.
It is important to note that although the new visa categories mirror Schengen visa categories, Ukraine is not part of the Schengen zone. Visas for Ukraine will not allow travel to the Schengen member countries and, vice versa, visas for Schengen member countries will not be valid for use in Ukraine.
Additionally, it is important to note that, as in the Schengen area, the maximum duration of stay for business or tourism visitors, including for visa waiver (e.g. U.S.) nationals is 90 days out of 180. In other words, once a visitor has stayed in Ukraine for a total period of 90 days as a visitor, he or she must then exit the territory for at least 90 days before being permitted to re-enter. This rule is strictly enforced.
New government fees for consular visas have also been established, and have been set at $85USD for a single entry visa, $130USD for a double entry visa and $200USD for a multiple entry visa.
Impact on Immigration Process
The main impact on immigration processes is that, effective 10 September 2011, visa applicants with work permits for Ukrainian limited companies will apply for Type D visas rather than IM-1 visas. The typical immigration process for a foreign national to work at a Ukrainian Ltd company is as follows:
- Step 1: Labour market search (4 weeks)
- Step 2: Work permit application (4 weeks, runs in conjunction with labour market search)
- Step 3: Consular visa – now D visa - application
- Step 4: Temporary residence permit and registration post arrival.
The new legislation indicates that dependents accompanying a work permit holder should apply for Type C visas; i.e. not the long stay Type D visa, as would seem more logical. It remains to be seen in practice how this will work, since the Type D visas are valid for the length of the assignment (up to a maximum of 3 years) while Type C visas are valid for only 90 days out of 180.
Right of Appeal
The new legislation also specifically states that where visa applications are rejected, the reason for rejection must be given to the applicant in writing. Rejected applicants will have the right of appeal.
- Note that effective 10 September 2011, the IM-1 visa category will be replaced by the Type D visa category for employees. Other visa categories are also replaced by Schengen style new categories, as per the details above.
- Note that visitors to the Ukraine are and will continue to be limited to stays of up to 90 days out of 180 days, and that this rule is strictly enforced.