Ukraine

Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Wednesday, 16 April 2014.   It contains updated information in the Summary and under Safety and Security: Civil unrest/Political tension (tension in the south and east of Ukraine continues. Violent clashes have occurred in several areas, including in Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk provinces. Some clashes have resulted in fatalities. The security situation is unpredictable and could rapidly deteriorate further at any time). We continue to advise Australians to reconsider their need to travel to Ukraine overall and not to travel to Crimea. Australians should avoid all demonstrations and large public gatherings as even peaceful protests may turn violent.

Ukraine overall

Crimea

Summary

  • We advise travellers to reconsider their need to travel to Ukraine due to continuing unresolved political tensions, including ongoing protests and demonstrations. If you are in Ukraine and are concerned for your safety or security, you should consider leaving.
  • The security situation in regions in the south and east of Ukraine is unpredictable and could deteriorate quickly.
  • Violent clashes have occurred in a number of areas, including in Kharkiv, Donetsk, and Luhansk provinces. Some clashes have resulted in fatalities.
  • Clashes have also occurred in the cities of Dnipropetrovsk, Odesa and Mykolaiyv and could occur again at short notice. Incidents in other areas are likely. Some incidents have occurred in areas adjacent to tourist sites and commercial centres.
  • Australians should avoid all locations where demonstrations and large public gatherings are evident as even peaceful protests may become violent.
  • We advise Australians not to travel to Crimea at this time as the security situation remains tense and unresolved.
  • Australians presently in Crimea should leave by commercial means if it is safe to do so. If you are unable to leave, limit your movements, stay indoors, and avoid demonstrations and large public gatherings. The Australian Government’s ability to provide consular assistance in Crimea may be limited.
  • Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Ukraine. The Australian Embassy in Warsaw provides consular assistance to Australians in Ukraine.
  • Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
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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 Warsaw 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 Australian/Ukrainian dual nationals are advised to confirm visa requirements, including exit requirements, with the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Ukraine before travelling to 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

Terrorism

There is an ongoing threat 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

The political situation in Ukraine is volatile, and violent protests and demonstrations continue to occur in a number of regional centres. We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Ukraine. If you are in Ukraine and are concerned for your safety or security, you should consider leaving.

The security situation in regions in the south and east of Ukraine is unpredictable and could deteriorate quickly.

Violent clashes have occurred in a number of areas, including in Kharkiv, Donetsk, and Luhansk provinces. Some incidents have resulted in fatalities. Incidents have occurred in areas adjacent to tourist sites and commercial centres.

Clashes have also occurred elsewhere in Ukraine, including in Dnipropetrovsk, Odesa and Mykolaiyv and could occur again at short notice. Incidents in other areas are likely to occur.

We advise Australians not to travel to Crimea at this time as the security situation remains tense and unresolved. Australians presently in Crimea should leave by commercial means if it is safe to do so. If you are unable to leave, limit your movements, stay indoors, and avoid demonstrations and large public gatherings. Our ability to provide consular assistance in Crimea may be limited.

Australians should continue to avoid locations where demonstrations and large public gatherings are evident, as even peaceful protests may become violent.

Crime

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. Criminals are known to target foreigners.

Australians should take extra care at night in the centre of Kyiv as there have been reports of an increase in street crime and muggings.

Some Australians have been defrauded by bogus internet friendship, dating and marriage schemes operating in Ukraine. These scams typically result from connections made through internet dating schemes or chat rooms. Once a virtual friendship develops, the Australian may be asked by their friend or prospective marriage partner to send money to enable travel to Australia or to pay rent or other living costs for their friend/fiancÚ. In some cases the relationship is terminated, with very little chance that any funds can be recovered.

Money and valuables

If you choose to travel to Ukraine, organise a variety of ways to access your money, 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 valuable documents 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.

Local travel

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 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. Rural roads are often used by unsafe vehicles. Driving under the influence of alcohol is common despite the zero tolerance law. Pedestrians should take particular care as drivers may not stop at crossings and may park on footpaths. For further advice, see our road travel page.

Airline safety

Please refer to our air travel for information about aviation safety and security.

Laws

If you choose to travel to 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.

While homosexuality is legal in Ukraine, public attitudes are less tolerant than in Australia. See our LGBTI travellers page.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, 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 on their 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.

For further information, contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Ukraine, before you travel.

Our Dual nationals page provides further information for dual nationals.

Health

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.

It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.

Outside the major cities including Kyiv, Odesa, Donetsk and Lviv, the standard of state medical facilities in Ukraine is generally low and there are frequent shortages of medical supplies. English is not widely spoken outside major centres, except in private clinics. Private health care services are of a better standard, but always require 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 Warsaw 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.

Where to get help

Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Ukraine. You can obtain consular assistance from the Australian Embassy in Warsaw, Poland. Contact details are:

Australian Embassy, Warsaw

3rd Floor, Nautilus Building
ul. Nowogrodzka 11
00-513 Warsaw, Poland
Telephone: (48 22) 521 3444
Facsimile: (48 22) 627 3500
Website: www.poland.embassy.gov.au
E-mail: ambasada.australia@dfat.gov.au

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.

Additional information

For parents

For general information and tips on travelling with children see our Travelling with children page.



While every care has been taken in preparing this information, neither the Australian Government nor its agents or employees, including any member of Australia's diplomatic and consular staff abroad, can accept liability for any injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained herein.

Maps are presented for information only. The department accepts no responsibility for errors or omission of any geographic feature. Nomenclature and territorial boundaries may not necessarily reflect Australian Government policy.