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Ukraine - Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Ukraine. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to the prevalence of crimes of opportunity.
Regional Advisory for Crimea
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD) advises against all travel to Crimea, including transiting through the airports in Simferopol and Sevastopol. Canada does not recognize Russian control over Crimea, and our ability to provide consular assistance to Canadians in Crimea is extremely limited.
See Security for more information.
Regional Advisory for Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD) advises against all travel to the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts due to armed operations in the area. If you are presently in Donetsk or Luhansk Oblasts and are unable to exit the region safely, remain indoors, maintain a low profile and avoid large crowds and demonstrations.
See Security for more information.
Regional Advisory for the Kharkiv Oblast
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD) advises against non-essential travel to Kharkiv Oblast due to the tenuous security situation.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice. In the event of a crisis situation that requires evacuation, the Government of Canada’s policy is to provide safe transportation to the closest safe location. The Government of Canada will assist you in leaving a country or a region as a last resort, when all means of commercial or personal transportation have been exhausted. This service is provided on a cost-recovery basis. Onward travel is at your personal expense. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints on government resources that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide assistance, particularly in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability is high.
Armed groups supported by Russian military forces took control of a variety of government buildings, airports, military installations, and other locations in the Crimean Peninsula in February 2014.
Russia announced its illegal annexation of Crimea on March 18, 2014. Canada does not recognize this act and continues to consider Crimea to be sovereign Ukrainian Territory. The Canadian Embassy in Moscow is only accredited to Russia and therefore cannot provide services in Crimea, while the Embassy in Kyiv has limited access to consular clients.
Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts
Armed operations continue to take place in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and have resulted in injuries and fatalities. A state of emergency was declared in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts on January 26, 2015. If you are in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, remain indoors, maintain a low profile and only consider travelling if it is safe to do so. Remain vigilant, avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.
The security situation deteriorated significantly in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in late April 2014. Government buildings, and transportation hubs and services have been impacted. Contact train stations to check the status of your trip prior to travelling, as they may close without warning.
Low intensity explosive devices have been set in facilities associated with the Ukrainian military and its volunteer supporters, including in areas adjacent to popular tourist sites and commercial centres. Government buildings and services may be impacted. Airports may close on short notice. Contact your airline to check the status of your flight prior to travelling to the airport. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.
While the situation has stabilized and parliamentary elections took place in October 2014, demonstrations and marches could recommence with little notice. The situation in Kyiv has calmed significantly. Businesses and schools in Kyiv are open and the public transportation system has resumed normal service. Exercise a high degree of caution, avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.
Street crime (pickpocketing and scamming) is common, particularly in crowded places, in tourist areas, in bars and nightclubs and on public transportation. There has been a slight increase in street crime in Central Kyiv, especially after nightfall. This includes muggings. Pickpocketing on the Kyiv metro has also increased.
Armed robbery can also occur, especially in the larger cities. Racially motivated violence and harassment can occur without corrective action by local authorities.
Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times. Avoid showing signs of affluence and carrying large sums of cash.
Fraud and scams
Debit and credit card fraud occurs. Pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others during payment processing. The use of on-street automated banking machines (ABMs) is not recommended.
One common scam involves a person dropping a wallet or a bundle of money in front of a tourist, hoping the tourist will pick it up. The scam artist then accuses the tourist of stealing some of the money. These scams can involve several crooks, some posing as police officers. Should this happen to you, do not pick up the dropped items; simply walk away without engaging in conversation.
Be aware of potential Internet fraud by persons claiming to live in Ukraine who offer goods for sale or profess companionship, romantic interest or marriage proposals. Neither the Embassy of Canada nor Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada is in a position to help recover lost funds or property in such cases.
See our Overseas Fraud page for more information on scams abroad.
Spiked food and drinks
Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances, as they may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
Travel by road can be hazardous. Most roads outside major cities are poorly maintained. Drivers are often aggressive and have little regard for traffic regulations. Pedestrians should be particularly careful.
Avoid driving after dark outside major cities, as limited road visibility, poor vehicle maintenance and intoxicated drivers pose threats.
Motorists should not stop or camp overnight in isolated areas.
While roadside services such as gas stations and repair facilities are increasingly common, they remain inadequate.
Kyiv has a punctual and reliable metro system. Buses are usually overcrowded and in poor condition. Vehicles can be rented at rental agencies in major cities and at some major hotels in Kyiv. Only use officially marked taxis and do not share them with strangers.
Exercise caution on trains, particularly at night, due to the risk of robbery and muggings. Store personal belongings and travel documents in a safe place and do not leave the compartment unattended. Ensure that the door is secured from the inside. Avoid travelling alone.
The main ports for sea travel are Izmail, on the Danube Delta, and Odessa. Ferry service is available to a number of cities on the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.
Do not expect safety standards to be the same as in Canada.
General safety information
Exercise a high degree of caution.. Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times. Avoid showing signs of affluence and carrying large sums of cash.
Tourist facilities outside the major centres of Kyiv, Lviv and Odessa are not highly developed. Mobile phone coverage is available across the country, though gaps exist in lightly populated rural areas.
Dial 101 to reach firefighters, 102 for police and 103 for an ambulance.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry requirements. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the Ukrainian authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of Ukraine or one of its consulates for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Ukraine, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from that country. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Tourist visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days per six-month period
Business visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days per six-month period
Student visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days per six-month period
Work permit: Required
If you intend to stay in Ukraine for more than 90 days, you must obtain a visa prior to entering the country. You may also have to purchase medical insurance issued by the state-owned company Ukrainmedstrakh upon arrival. For further details on visas and work permits, please contact the Embassy of Ukraine in Canada.
If you choose to travel to Crimea despite the current advisory, you must first obtain a special permit from the State Migration Service of Ukraine. The Ukrainian government requires that this permit be presented, along with your passport, at designated checkpoints along the administrative boundary of the occupied Ukrainian territory.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
- Measles: Global Update - July 16, 2015 09:48 EDT
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Tick-borne encephalitis is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system. It is spread to humans by the bite of an infected tick. Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to ticks (e.g., those participating in outdoor activities in wooded areas) while travelling in regions with risk of tick-borne encephalitis.
Yellow Fever Vaccination
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Eastern Europe, food and water can also carry diseases like hepatitis A. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Eastern Europe. When in doubt, remember…boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in Eastern Europe, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Medical services and facilities
Medical facilities are limited. Shortages of basic medical supplies are common. The medical insurance policy provided by the state-owned company Ukrainmedstrakh covers all expenses for medical care and provides medical supplies in case of emergency.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws & culture
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
A serious violation may lead to a jail sentence. The sentence will be served in local prisons.
Carry adequate identification at all times. Keep a photocopy of your passport in case of loss or seizure.
Local police may ask to see your passport and visa at any time. Always cooperate with local authorities. Be aware that you may be detained for up to three hours while your identification documents are being verified. Racially motivated mistreatment or harassment by Ukrainian authorities occurs.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
An International Driving Permit or a Ukrainian driver's licence is required, and car insurance is mandatory.
There is zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol. Police are permitted to fine you on the spot.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in the Ukraine. If local authorities consider you a Ukrainian citizen, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services, thereby preventing Canadian consular officials from providing you with those services. You should travel using your Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
The currency is the hryvnia (UAH).
The economy operates primarily on a cash basis. However, credit cards are accepted in most major cities. Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks, hotels and licensed exchange booths. Carry crisp bills, as well-worn or used U.S. banknotes may not be accepted. Automated banking machines (ABMs) are available, but new bank cards with a microchip cannot be used.
There are strict customs regulations and procedures regarding the export of antiquities and items of historical interest.
Natural disasters & climate
Natural disasters & climate
Forest fires can occur in eastern and southern Ukraine during the hottest summer months of July and August. In the event of a major fire, stay away from affected areas, follow the advice of local emergency services personnel, and monitor local media for up-to-date information. The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke and affect travellers with respiratory ailments. For assistance, contact the Embassy of Canada in Kyiv.
Kyiv - Embassy of Canada
Lviv - Consulate of Canada
For emergency assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to Ukraine in Kyiv and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre located in Ottawa.
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