Sometimes, finding accurate information on the vast space we call the Internet can be kinda tough. People love to share stories that are incredibly positive or incredibly negative – but finding any accuracy and real neutrality can be difficult.
I found this out firsthand when I tried to search for accurate and up to date information about obtaining a Visa On Arrival in Ukraine. I found personal accounts which completely contradicted others, and also found websites which though were official, were lacking a lot of clarity.
So, to anybody else out there who is searching for information about the Ukrainian VOA – I got ya back Jack!
Please note that this information is true and correct as of March 2017. All reasonable attempts to update this information will be made, but this website, its authors and its owner accept no responsibility for any issues that arise during the VOA application process. Make sure to contact your local Ukrainian embassy or consulate for the most recent and up to date information.
A Visa On Arrival (VOA) can only be obtained by citizens of the following countries:
Australia, New Zealand, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Mauritius, UAE, Palau, El Salvador, Seychelles, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey and China.
It is worth noting that there are slightly different rules for travellers from China than there are for travellers from the other countries listed above. For all travellers except those from China, this visa is only granted for the purposes of tourism – and supporting documentation (such as a tour booking and/or hotel booking) is required. However, Chinese citizens can also obtain this short term visa for the purpose of business provided that they can provide evidence of an invitation from a Government body or state institution.
This single entry visa is only valid for 15 days. I have heard reports that this visa can be extended at some of the embassies in Kiev, but have researched this thoroughly and found no concrete evidence to support such claims. As a result, I would encourage any and all travellers who intend on visiting Ukraine with a VOA to plan only to spend 15 days in the country at a maximum.
Upon initial introduction, this VOA was only available at Kiev Boryspil Airport, and the VOA office was only open and issuing visas Monday-Friday between 9-5pm!
Since this introduction, Ukraine is slowly but surely making this visa much more accessible. The VOA office at Kiev Boryspil is now open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
When I entered Ukraine, this particular type of visa was only available at Kiev Boryspil Airport and Odesa Airport, however, in the few weeks it has been since my visit to Ukraine, this has changed, and now such a visa can also be obtained at Kiev Zhuliany Airport too.
However, for citizens of China, please note that it is still not possible for you to obtain this visa thought Zhuliany Airport.
Despite reading numerous reports on the internet that obtaining this VOA can be an arduous process, my experience was a positive one.
I filled out an online form (while sitting on my backpack in Bucharest Airport) which asked a lot of questions and is very thorough. Make sure you know the address and phone number of your hotel in Kiev, as well as the address and phone number of your work address. It will also require you to upload a recent picture of yourself – taken front on (not profile) and with nothing obscuring your face.
The only slight hiccup I had while filling out this form was that made it impossible to select the present date as the day of arrival into Kiev if you are filling in the application on that same day. An easy way to bypass this however, is to change the date and time on your laptop to a day earlier – problem solved!
After sweet talking an employee at the Wizz Air desk in Bucharest Airport into printing this form off for me, it was time to board my flight.
After landing into Kiev Boryspil, I easily found the VOA desk and after waiting a few minutes for the man ahead of me in line to finish having his visa processed, I was up!
I handed the lady my passport, my completed form, a confirmation email from my hostel in Kiev and the money for the visa. She didn’t ask me a single question, instead she just grabbed everything together, told me she’d be right back, and five minutes later I was the proud owner of a visa to Ukraine – it was unbelievably simple!
For all of the countries listed above (except China) the cost of this visa is 510 Ukrainian hryvna, which is approximately 20 USD.
For Chinese citizens, this cost is significantly higher – 2550 hryvna, which is approximately 100 USD.
This fee can be paid with USD, euros or hryvna. Card payments are also supposedly accepted, but I personally met people that said that this machine did not work while they were there (this is apparently not an uncommon occurrence), so play it safe and carry the cash.
Also – note that though they can supposedly give out change, if its less than $5-10 USD, it is highly unlikely that you will actually receive this change – so if you can bring exact money, it may save you a few dollarydoos.
The visa stamp will take up an entire page in your passport, and once you have received the visa and proceed through immigration, be prepared to have your passport examined to within an inch of its life. My passport was stared at and inspected for well over five minutes, while the immigration officer searched for any possible defect or flaw. Don’t stressed or get worried – it’s just a Ukraine thing. I met at least 12 other travellers who experienced the exact same thing, so it isn’t something to get anxious about.
If you have any questions about the Ukraine VOA – or if you want to share your own experiences with this visa – chuck us a message in the comments!