Tips for visitors

Ukrainians are known for their hospitality and enjoyment of conversations, eating, and drinking. It is quite easy to make friends in Ukraine. Many foreigners come to Ukraine for romance as well. In the cities you will see a lot of people with a European mentality side by side with Soviet influences. Much of Ukraine is agrarian, and people in villages often live in old-fashioned houses and ride horse carts around.

Entering or leaving Ukraine

You may proceed either through ‘green’ or ‘red’ customs corridors. Save all documents you receive and fill out going through customs – you will need these to leave the country. ‘Red’ corridors – for people carrying goods or cash that must be declared – any prohibited items – more than $3,000 and 85 hryvnyas in cash-personal jewelry whose value exceeds 500 hryvnyas-more than 1 liter of alcoholic beverages-more than 200 grams of tobacco products ‘Green’ corridors – for people who do not have any goods to declare.

International flights to Kyiv

International Airport, located 40 kilometers from the city center. The city’s other main airport Zhuliany-Kyiv, located 7 kilometers from the center, handles domestic flights. The most convenient way to get to central Kyiv from Borispol airport is by taxi (~30$) or shuttle bus (~2$). Taking into account the fact that taxi drivers do not usually speak English, you should have your destination written on paper in Russian or Ukrainian. There are also shuttle buses connecting Borispol airport to central Kyiv. If you decide to travel by bus, “Polit” express buses will drop you at Kiev’s main railway station in about 1 hour. The ticket costs UAH 10 (~2$). If you are going to move to “Zhuliany” airport afterwards to travel to other cities of Ukraine, mind that due to delays you can loose your flight! Allow minimal difference 4 hours between the flights. Also take into account traffic jams, which might happen.

Holidays

Holidays are often celebrated for several days, depending on when the holiday falls. For example, if a holiday falls on Thursday, then Friday and Saturday may also be holidays. If a holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, then Monday is considered a holiday as well.
  • January 1 New Year’s Day
  • January 7 Orthodox Christmas
  • March 8 Women’s Day
  • Easter is celebrated on a Sunday and Monday in the spring, according to the calendar; after Passover.
  • May 1, 2 Labor Days
  • May 9 Victory Day
  • June 7 Trinity Day
  • June 28 Constitution Day
  • August 24 Ukrainian Independence Day
Ukrainians place gifts under fir trees and sing holiday songs for New Year’s Day. The country celebrates Orthodox Christmas Day on 7 January. Paskha (Easter) is the main festival of the Orthodox Church year, beginning with midnight services and continuing with parades around village churches throughout the country. The capital celebrates spring during Kiev Days, held the last weekend in May. Cities and towns honor Independence Day on 24 August with performances and special events.

Medical information

The Ukrainian parliament passed a law in 1997 requiring all visitors to Ukraine to obtain mandatory health insurance from the state joint-stock insurance company Ukrinmedstrach at their point of entry into Ukraine. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has advised the embassy that holders of official or diplomatic passports are exempt from this requirement. However, there have been cases where travelers with official passports have been required to buy the insurance. To date, the cost has not exceeded $20 per traveler. According to the information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, the Ukrinmedstrach was “created for the purpose of developing a state program to ensure that foreign citizens receive high-quality emergency medical assistance in Ukraine”. In other words, the program, primarily, guarantees that any visitor to Ukraine will have continuing access to the public health system in emergency cases and, secondly, it ensures that the facilities rendering emergency care are compensated for their services. The cost of medical insurance, according to information from Ukrainian authorities, does not depend on the term of validity, or type of, visa but on the length of a foreigner’s stay in Ukraine. The cost for the insurance is: from 1 to 5 days – approx. $2, for 30 days – $12, from 181 to 210 days – 334 $60, from 331 to 365 days – $95.