- We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Ukraine.
- Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
- There is an ongoing risk of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.
- You should avoid demonstrations and public gatherings as they may turn violent.
- Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Ukraine. The Australian Embassy in Vienna provides consular assistance to Australians in Ukraine.
- Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
Entry and exit
Australian citizens are required to obtain a visa to visit or transit Ukraine. Visa on arrival is not available to Australian citizens. Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Ukraine for the most up to date information and for visa services. The Australian Embassy in Vienna is not able to assist with visa applications for or exit visas from Ukraine. Unless you are staying in a hotel, foreign citizens are required to register with the local immigration authorities.
As Ukraine does not recognise dual nationality, prior to travel, Ukrainians who have migrated to Australia and Australian/Ukrainian dual nationals are advised to confirm visa requirements, including exit requirements, with the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Ukraine.
Ukrainian customs regulations require you to declare cash and jewellery upon arrival in Ukraine. Undeclared items may be confiscated. Customs regulations also apply on the export of currency, antiques, art and items of historic significance. You should check with the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Ukraine the amount of cash you can take into and out of the country. Excessive funds may be confiscated by customs officials and only returned following court proceedings.
Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.
Safety and security
There is an ongoing risk of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.
On 27 April 2012, four bombs exploded in public places in the city of Dnipropetrovsk injuring around 30 people.
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General Advice to Australian Travellers.
Civil unrest/political tension
We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions. Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
You should avoid demonstrations and public gatherings as they may turn violent.
The rate of crime is increasing in Ukraine. Robbery, pickpocketing and bag snatching occur regularly particularly on public transport, at crowded markets, in popular tourist areas and in bars and nightclubs. Drink spiking, with the intention of robbing the victim while incapacitated, has been reported. Street scams are common. One such scam involves the perpetrator dropping a wallet on the ground to engage and distract a victim before robbing them. Criminals are known to target foreigners.
Some Australian citizens have been defrauded by bogus internet friendship, dating and marriage schemes purportedly operating from Ukraine. These large-scale, well-organised scams typically result from connections made through internet dating schemes or chat rooms. Once a virtual relationship develops, the Australian citizen is asked by their friend or prospective marriage partner to send money to enable travel to Australia. Once the money has been received, the relationship is usually terminated and any chance of recovering the funds is highly unlikely.
There have been recent instances of homphobic and racially motivated violence in Kyiv and other parts of the country. While homosexuality is legal in Ukraine, public attitudes are less tolerant than in Australia.
Money and valuables
Before you go, organise a variety of ways to access your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques, cash, debit cards or cash cards. Australian currency and travellers' cheques are not accepted in many countries. Consult with your bank to find out which is the most appropriate currency to carry and whether your ATM card will work in Ukraine.
There have been reports of credit card scams, especially related to the use of ATMs. We advise you to be vigilant when using your credit card and limit its use to respectable commercial establishments and ATMs in secure locations (such as inside banks).
Make two photocopies of valuables such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.
While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.
As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.
You are required to pay an additional fee to have a lost or stolen passport replaced. In some cases, the Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.
You are required to carry your passport with you at all times. Foreigners may be stopped by local police and asked to present passports and visas.
Unless you are staying in a hotel, foreign nationals are required to register with local authorities.
Foreign drivers must possess a valid international driver's licence. Drivers must be able to produce either an original ownership certificate, rental contract or a power of attorney from the owner of the car.
Driving in the Ukraine can be hazardous. Roads outside major cities are of a low standard and poorly lit. Drivers can be aggressive and ignore the road rules. Pedestrians should take particular care as drivers may not stop at crossings or attempt to park on sidewalks. For further advice, see our bulletin on Overseas Road Safety.
Please refer to our travel bulletin for information about Aviation Safety and Security.
When you are in Ukraine, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.
Driving with a blood alcohol level greater than zero is an offence.
Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money, laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.
Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years’ imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.
Information for dual nationals
Ukraine does not recognise dual nationality. Australian citizens entering Ukraine with a Ukrainian passport will be treated as Ukrainian citizens by local authorities. This may limit the ability of the Australian Government to provide consular assistance to Australian/Ukrainian dual nationals who are arrested or detained.
Australian/Ukrainian dual nationals may be required to perform mandatory national military service if they visit Ukraine. For further information, contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Ukraine, before you travel.
Our Dual Nationals brochure provides further information for dual nationals.
We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.
Your doctor or travel clinic is the best source of information about preventive measures, immunisations (including booster doses of childhood vaccinations) and disease outbreaks overseas. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our Travelling Well brochure also provides useful tips for travelling with medicines and staying healthy while overseas.
The standard of State medical facilities in Ukraine is generally low and there are frequent shortages of medical supplies. English is not widely spoken. Private health care services, which are of a better standard, generally require details of insurance or a guarantee of payment before commencing treatment. In the event of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation to a destination with appropriate facilities may be necessary. Medical evacuation costs would be considerable.
Travellers requiring medical attention may contact the Australian Embassy in Vienna for a list of medical facilities available in Ukraine (see Where to Get Help below).
Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, measles, diphtheria, hepatitis and rabies) are prevalent, with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. We advise you to boil all drinking water or drink bottled water, and avoid ice cubes. You should also avoid raw and undercooked food, and unpasteurised dairy products.
Travel in forested areas brings the risk of exposure to tick-borne encephalitis and other tick-borne diseases. Ticks are common from spring to autumn.
In regions of Ukraine contaminated by radiation from the Chernobyl accident, we recommend you avoid eating dairy products, wild fowl and game, and fruits and vegetables unless they are imported.
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has confirmed cases of avian influenza in birds in a number of countries throughout the world. For a list of these countries, visit the OIE website. For information on our advice to Australians on how to reduce the risk of infection and on Australian Government precautions see our travel bulletin on avian influenza .
Where to get help
Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Ukraine. You can obtain consular assistance from the Australian Embassy in Vienna. Contact details are:
Australian Embassy, Vienna
If you are travelling to Ukraine, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.
In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the Embassy you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.
In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.
Australians are advised to respect wildlife laws and to maintain a safe and legal distance when observing wildlife, including marine animals and birds. You should only use reputable and professional guides or tour operators and closely follow park regulations and wardens' advice.
For general information and tips on travelling with children see our Travelling with Children brochure.
If you are planning on placing your children in schools or childcare facilities overseas we encourage you to research the standards of security, care and staff training within those establishments. You should exercise the same precautions you would take before placing children into schools or childcare facilities in Australia.