At a Glance
- A new law allowing foreign nationals with visa-free status in Ukraine to apply for a long-term visa (type D) in country went into effect on June 26, 2019.
- In practice, in-country applications are not yet available in Ukraine but are expected to be introduced this year to comply with the new law.
- Once in-country applications become available, non-visa foreign nationals who are in Ukraine will be able to apply for a D visa on specified grounds without leaving the country. This will make the process easier and less expensive.
The government of Ukraine has introduced a new law allowing non-visa foreign nationals in Ukraine to submit specified D visa applications without leaving Ukraine, whereas previously all applications had to be submitted to Ukrainian consular posts.
The new law is in effect but in practice, in-country applications are currently unavailable. They are expected to be introduced in practice later this year.
A closer look
Once applications become available, the new law will allow applicants who can stay in Ukraine on a short-term basis without a visa to apply for a D visa on one of the following grounds:
- Employment in Ukrainian companies;
- Work in representative offices of foreign companies;
- Work in branches and representative offices of foreign banks;
- Study at a university;
- Participation in projects of international technical assistance (for example, those under the umbrella of international treaties, which require special registration with the Ukrainian government);
- Cultural, scientific, educational or volunteer activities; or
- Founder/shareholder/owner of a Ukrainian company, subject to defined criteria.
- Streamlined application process. Once introduced in practice, the change should streamline the application process for non-visa nationals, making it easier and more convenient to enter Ukraine for the above activities. It is also likely to make the process cheaper as applicants will not need to pay for transport to leave and then re-enter Ukraine. Nationals of over 60 countries, including all European countries, benefit from visa-free travel to Ukraine.
- Dependents. Dependents will not be able to apply in country and will need to submit D visa applications overseas.
- Visa nationals not eligible. Foreign nationals who cannot travel without a visa to Ukraine will not benefit from the easier process.
Ukraine is among the first countries in the region to allow in-country applications for long-term visas, though some regions such as Walloon in Belgium have also recently introduced similar processes to ease processing times and streamline application processes.
The change follows similar measures to reduce processing times and improve services in the Ukraine, such as the introduction of expedited application filing at additional locations earlier this year, the expansion of its visa-free travel program, and the introduction of e-visas last year.
Further updates are expected later this year once new in-country application processes are introduced. Fragomen will continue to report on further developments.
Ukraine is projected to experience some of the worst labor force declines in the region, along with Bulgaria, Latvia and Poland, with some estimates predicting a loss of more than 30 percent by 2050. If current trends continue and Ukraine continues to experience population decline due to high levels of emigration, low birth rates and high death rates, it is likely that authorities will consider relaxing and streamlining migration policies further.
If the in-country application process is successfully implemented in Ukraine, this may persuade other countries in the region that face similar demographic changes and high visa application volumes to implement similar in-country processes.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.