Temporary residency in Ukraine
What you need to know about temporary residency permit law
Commonly, foreigners from the EU, USA, UK, Canada, South Korea, Poland, and some other countries have the right to stay in Ukraine legally under the visa-waiver treaty (90 calendar days within the term of 180 days). To find out more about non-visa countries please follow this link. The nationals of other countries who want to stay in Ukraine temporarily need to get a visa. See the list of the countries that require obtaining an entry visa to Ukraine here.
The procedure of calculating 90 days of stay under the visa-waiver treaty in Ukraine is carried out by the relevant rules. You can get more info about it here.
Thus, how to extend your stay in Ukraine for more than 90 days?
Naturally, you must obtain a temporary residence permit (permission) in Ukraine.
A temporary residence permit entitles a foreigner to reside legally in Ukraine with the right to prolong it. A temporary residence permit is an official document that gives the right to its holder to stay legally in Ukraine, leave and reenter the territory of Ukraine an unlimited number of times within the term of validity. Temporary residence permits’ validity term may vary from several months up to several years. For example, 3-year validity permits are given in case of the work or long-lasting international project, etc.
The law of Ukraine provides the following list of reasons for getting a temporary residence permit:
• Official employment;
• Participation in international projects for technical support (such programs should be registered);
• Performance of religious activity or invitation by a religious organization (officially registered and with permission to involve foreigners);
• Employees of affiliated companies or representative offices of non-governmental organizations of foreign countries registered under the legal procedure in Ukraine;
• Employees of representative offices of foreign business entities, banks;
• Participants of international cultural, educational or scientific activities, given in international contracts of Ukraine or specific programs, participants of international or regional volunteer programs, or participation in work of Ukrainian organizations that are permitted to involve foreign volunteers (there is a special governmentally approved list of such organizations);
• Education in Ukraine (not intended but already arranged);
• Investing at least 100 000 EUR in Ukrainian business;
• Marriage with the citizen of Ukraine.
Moreover, before applying for a temporary residence permit the applicant will have to get a D type visa (read more about visas to Ukraine).
A temporary residence permit due to employment in Ukraine
The most common and transparent way is official employment in Ukraine. Any foreigner has a right to be employed in Ukraine if he or she obtains a work permit as per the legislation of Ukraine. After getting a work permit, a foreign citizen is eligible to apply for a temporary residence permit in Ukraine for 1 year (for the employed owners of a business in Ukraine the term may be up to 3 years) with the unlimited right to extend it (as well as the work permit).
Recently, the procedure of getting a work permit in Ukraine became easier to understand. The list of required documents no longer includes diplomas, criminal records, and medical documents, making the permit easier to obtain. An employer now has the option to choose the term of a work permit’s validity (up to 1 year for “regular employees” and up to 3 years for owners of a business).
Being an Employee versus Registering One’s Own Business
Using employment at a company as a means of legalizing one’s stay in Ukraine does have certain risks. The foreigner is dependent on the employer and can lose the residency right in case of dismissal from the position. Conversely, using employment to legalize one’s stay in Ukraine is much easier and safer for foreigners who register their own business in Ukraine and become the director or a deputy director of their own company. Using this method, potential investors and foreigners who want to run a business in Ukraine (no matter how big or small) won’t have any problems maintaining a temporary residence in Ukraine for as long as they need. Moreover, such owners of the business can obtain temporary residence status for up to 3 years.
It’s worth noting that with the recent changes to work permit procedures, an employer in Ukraine now has relatively high expenses when employing foreign citizens as regular employees. The monthly salary of a foreign specialist has to be not less than 10 minimum salaries as per the legislation of Ukraine (currently it is 41,730 UAH or about $1,630) plus taxes. At the same time, the owner of a business has a minimum salary of 4,173 UAH (or about $163).
Family reunification is also the reason for issuing a temporary residence permit. This can include reunification with one’s parents, a spouse who is Ukrainian and those who have already obtained permission to stay legally in Ukraine. For instance, if a foreigner has started a business in Ukraine, received a work permit and a temporary residence permit, then all his family may join him and also acquire legal status in Ukraine without a need to obtain a work permit or some other legal basis for staying in Ukraine. For residence permits based on family reunification applicants need to apply for a D Type visa and afterward – for a temporary residency. This is how family reunification works. It is much easier to obtain residency if you have some family connections in Ukraine, for example, marriage to a Ukrainian, having a child who is a citizen of Ukraine or having relatives who are (were) Ukrainians or who were born on the territory of Ukraine. However, getting married to a Ukrainian citizen does not automatically grant you permanent residency. You need to prove that your marriage lasted for more than 2 years, otherwise you can only apply for a temporary residence permit.
A temporary residence permit based on marriage
It is much easier to get a temporary residence permit when a foreigner has family connections in Ukraine, e.g., when a husband or a wife of a foreigner is a Ukrainian national. Moreover, the country of marriage registration is unimportant. However, in case of getting married abroad, a foreigner should pay attention to the rules of legalization and the apostilling of the documents issued in a foreign country for their further use in Ukraine.
Temporary residence permit issued based on marriage with a Ukrainian citizen is valid for 1 year with the right of its further prolongation.
Furthermore, after 2-years of marriage with a Ukrainian citizen, a foreigner can apply for a permanent residence permit in Ukraine.
Education in Ukraine – an opportunity for getting a temporary residence permit
A temporary residence permit can be issued to foreigners, who come to Ukraine for studying at Ukrainian universities and colleges. The list of accredited Ukrainian universities and colleges is published on the website of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine at open access.
A foreigner, who intends to study in Ukraine and get a temporary residence permit based on studying, should receive an invitation from the Ukrainian university registered at the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine.
It is also important to be assured that all the documents for studying comply with the rules of legalization and the apostilling for their future use in Ukraine.
Based on the invitation for studying in Ukraine, a foreigner gets a D type visa at the Consulate of Ukraine located abroad. Afterward, all the necessary documents have to be filed with the State Migration Service of Ukraine for temporary residence permit issuing.
Submitted documents should confirm the fact of studying in Ukraine (duly certified copies of the university`s admission order with studying period details for a foreign student) and university`s obligation document to inform the State Migration Service of Ukraine of student’s expulsion.
Temporary residence permit validity depends on the studying term for a foreign student in Ukraine. Usually, such a temporary residence permit is valid up to 1 year, and after the expiration date, it could be prolonged (or exchanged) based on a new document confirming the fact of studying in Ukraine. There is no need to get a new D type visa if the legal deadline for prolongation (or exchanging) of the temporary residence permit is met.
Documents for temporary residence permit exchange should be filed at the latest 15 working days before the end of the studying period, specified in the university’s admission order of the foreign student.
Temporary residence permit for overseas journalists
Foreigners, working as journalists at the foreign mass media outlets can obtain a temporary residence permit, if they arrive in Ukraine for work, and have the letter from their employer – foreign mass media outlets.
The procedure of the issue of the temporary residence permit for the overseas journalist includes the following steps:
1. Obtaining a D type visa based on the letter from the foreign mass media.
2. Filing a request to the Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine with the letter from the foreign mass media as for the petition to the State Migration Service of Ukraine on the issue of the temporary residence permit.
Please note the specific requirements for the foreign mass media request filed to the Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine for receiving the petition to the State Migration Service of Ukraine.
3. Submitting the documents to the State Migration Service of Ukraine, including the foreign mass media request on the issue of the temporary residence permit.
Usually, a temporary residence permit for the overseas journalist is valid for up to 1 year with the right of further prolongation.
Temporary residence permit for overseas sportsmen and cultural workers
Ukrainian legislation also allows foreigners to get a temporary residence permit due to cultural, scientific, and educational activities. In cases, when foreigners arrive in Ukraine to participate in cultural, educational, scientific, sports, volunteer programs, they need to obtain the petition from corresponding state authority. Such activity (cultural, scientific, educational, etc.) should be confirmed internationally by signing international treaties between the Government of Ukraine and the Government of the foreigner’s country of citizenship or should be foreseen at the specific state programs. As an example, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports could invite a foreigner for carrying out professional sports activities in Ukraine, or a foreign cultural worker could arrive in Ukraine upon the invitation of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine and then obtain a temporary residence permit on this ground. Moreover, foreign volunteers could get a temporary residence permit in Ukraine for carrying out volunteer programs only in case they have the corresponding invitation from volunteer organization, registered by the Ministry of Social Politics of Ukraine. Temporary residence permit issued for overseas volunteers, sportsmen, scientific and cultural workers, is valid for up to 1 year.
To sum up, obtaining a temporary residence permit in Ukraine grants foreigners almost the same rights and imposes almost the same obligations as the Ukrainian nationals have. Foreigners may stay within the territory of Ukraine, willingly leave and enter the country, work, study, and receive state services within the validity term of their temporary residence permit. However, foreign citizens, willing to get the legal status in Ukraine, need to remember that any breach of Ukrainian laws related to the foreigner`s legal status (including overstaying in the country, providing the forged documents or false information) may result in forced expulsion from Ukraine and a ban on re-entering.