Ukraine Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Ukraine
How safe is Ukraine?
Threat level: High
The overall travel advice for Ukraine is, if you are transiting to the east of the country, you should seek travel security advice as there is still political unrest and pro-Russian support in the area. Visits to the west and the remainder of Ukraine should be hassle-free, however there are localised high risk areas which should be avoided.
There are a number of travel advisories that exist in the region of Donetsk and Luhansk. It is illegal to cross into Ukrainian territory using any border crossing which the Ukrainian authorities have not authorised or control. These include areas such as all land border crossings into Donetsk and many land border crossing in Luhansk Oblast, as well as all air and sea ports in Crimea. Such crossings should not be used at any point and the regions are best avoided. Please check before visiting that your itinerary includes only legal border crossings. Please avoid Simferopol and Sevastopol airports.
Russia claim control over The Crimea Penisular - a major landmass in the Black Sea - however, this currently is not recognised by many countries as its sovereignty with Ukraine is disputed. As this situation progresses, caution is advised.
COVID-19 Situation Update in Ukraine
Due to the sanitary situation around the world, Ukraine has installed travel restrictions to curb the spread of the virus from overseas according to a color-coded system. Travellers from "red" countries where the infection rate is high, must self-isolate for 14 days and they must download the Dii Vdoma tracing app (a Ukrainian SIM card must be purchased on arrival as it only works on phones with a Ukrainian number). Travellers from "red" countries can be exempt from the quarantine rule if they show evidence that they underwent a PCR test no more than 48 hours before their arrival, which resulted negative. Travellers from "green" countries are not required to self-isolate.
To domestically control the spread of the virus, Ukraine has implemented a color-coded adaptative quarantine system, defining the local COVID alert level as follows: "green", "yellow", "orange" and "red". In "yellow" and "orange" regions, eateries are closed between 00:00 and 07:00 (except for takeaway), capacity is limited in entertainment venues and cultural facilities. In red zones, authorities have closed public venues and unnecessary businesses. A form of ID must be carried at all times as checks can be conducted. Further to this, the use of face masks is mandatory on public transport and in public buildings, people must maintain social distancing of at least 1.5 meters. It is recommended to apply good hygiene practices, maintain social distancing, avoid unnecessary travel and avoid public gatherings.
Recent Security Risk Events
On the 17th of October 2018, a bombing and shooting on Kerch Polythecnic College in Crimea involving the use of an explosive device filled with metal fragments that went off in the canteen of the school, killed 19 people and injured dozens. The suspect, Vladislav Roslyakov who was armed with a shotgun, was a 18-year-old student from the school and died in the attack.
Russian-led separatists in Ukraine continue to rein control over sections of Donetsk and Luansk oblasts. Tensions have somewhat deescalated between the two following ceasefire arrangements, however, caution is still advised when travelling to this area.
Risk is lower in the west of Ukraine, however there have still been a few incidents in these areas, such as demonstrations where people have been killed. Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson and Lviv has had previous explosions and bomb threats.
Around November time is the anniversary of the Maiden revolution; the likelihood of demonstrations and disruptions are increased during this period. The best travel advice for Ukraine is for visitors to be wary of this and avoid involvement at all costs.
There are ongoing pockets of clashes between the Ukrainian Authorities and Separatists within the region meaning that there are parts of the region where it is strongly advised against all travel to. Traveling to these regions will heighten the potential risk to yourself.
Most visits are trouble free however please be mindful as with all Eastern European countries that there is a risk of violent crime in the major cities, there are also known cases of racially motivated attacks.
Petty crime involving foreign visitors can occur, if vigilant safety measures are carried out by visitors, this will greatly reduce the risk. Things such as avoiding walking alone at night, caution in busy areas and keeping your belongings safe and secure on your persons will be wise steps to take. There has been an increase in street crime especially in the evening hours within Central Kyiv. Avoid showing signs of affluence and be aware that mobile phone coverage may not be present in remote or low populated areas.
There have been an increasing number of reports of ATM scams, which skim cards and copy the details. The use of on-street ATMs is not advised if at all possible, and withdrawing only small amounts of cash is advised. General security measures with regards to credit card use should be undertaken, as fraud is known to occur. Theft from vehicles is also common so do not leave valuables or important documents unattended at any time.
Ukraine's International Relations
Ukraine is one of the largest countries in Europe with a population of 45 million, however approximately 1.5 are displaced due to the ongoing security situation. There have been recent changes within its government.
Canada is one of many allies supporting its advances forward to promote integrity of its democratic institutions and practices with bilateral donations and aid.
Travelling around Ukraine
The roads in Ukraine can be hazardous and poorly maintained, particularly outside of the main cities. Driving standards can vary from normal procedures to erratic and dangerous road users ignoring other drivers and travel regulations.
You should wear a seat belt at all times and avoid driving after dark, especially in rural destinations as the road standards are poor and there are frequently drink drivers operating vehicles.
Only use officially marked taxis and do not share with strangers. Be careful if using public transport in the evenings, as the rate of muggings and the general risk of robbery or assault increases. A ticket is required to be purchased to travel on the bus, trolleybus and tram, of which must be purchased or fines could occur.
Wildfires can happen during the summer months of July and August; if you suffer with existing respiratory problems, the heavy smoke could cause you issues. The best travel advice for Ukraine is to take local advice on the issue of wildfires, if they happen in the region you are visiting.
Commercial Travel Risk Services
Intelligent Protection International Limited provides companies and organisations with Commercial Travel Risk Services designed to mitigate risks of staff when they travel for business. If you are interested in these services, please see: Commercial Travel Risk Services.
Emergency Services in Ukraine
Police emergency: 112
Fire emergency: 112
Medical emergency: 112
Religion: Christianity (Eastern Orthodoxy)
Currency: Ukrainian hryvnia (UAH)
Time now in Kiev:
Consular information for Ukraine
4 A.I. Sikorsky St. (formerly Tankova),
Telephone: +38 044 521 5000
Telephone: +38 044 521 5000 (out of hours)
9, Desyatynna St.
Telephone: +380 44 490 3660
Visa requirements for Ukraine
It is possible to enter Ukraine without a visa for visits of up to 90 days within a 180 day period for both the USA and the UK nationals as well as other European citizens. Check with your local Embassy to see your country's entry requirements. Please be aware of legalities surrounding border crossing currently held by non-Ukrainian authorities.
Healthcare and Immunisations
It is advised that visitors to Ukraine are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is further recommended that most travellers get Tetanus, Polio and Hepatitis A vaccinations. You may also want to consider vaccinations for Hepatitis B.
In some areas of Ukraine there is a heightened risk of Rabies. If you plan to travel to these areas you should vaccinate yourself against this disease. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
Polio has been reported within the country. Please note medical centres may not match the standards of other European countries. Please make sure you have adequate insurance to cover medical emergencies.