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Ukraine - Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Ukraine.
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, due to political uncertainty and reports of armed operations in the area.
Our ability to provide consular assistance to Canadians in Crimea is extremely limited. If you are presently in Crimea, you should consider leaving while it is safe to do so. If you are unable to exit the region safely, remain indoors and avoid large crowds and demonstrations.
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 due to armed operations in the area. If you are presently in the Donetsk Oblast 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 the Kharkiv Oblast due to the tenuous security situation.
See Security for more information.
We strongly recommend that Canadians register with the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) service.
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.
Beginning February 27, 2014, 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. While there have been minimal reports of violence, the situation in the region is tense and highly volatile, with the potential to escalate into violent military confrontation with little to no warning.
If you are presently in Crimea, consider leaving while it is safe to do so. Travellers by road may encounter roadblocks and be required to provide identification; keep your passport on you at all times.
Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts
Armed operations continue to take place in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and have resulted in injuries and fatalities. 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 the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in late April 2014. There have been multiple violent incidents associated with protests, which have resulted in injuries and fatalities. Government buildings, transportation hubs and services have been impacted. Airports and train stations may close on short notice. Reports indicate that the airports and train stations in the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk are no longer fully operational. Contact the train station or your airline to check the status of your trip prior to travelling to the train station or airport.
Demonstrations continue to take place in the Kharkiv Oblast. These demonstrations have disrupted transportation and blocked major intersections. There may be simultaneous demonstrations by groups with differing political views, with the potential for violent clashes. Violent incidents associated with protests, which have resulted in injuries and fatalities, 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.
Daily demonstrations have been occurring throughout Ukraine since the end of November 2013, following the Ukrainian government’s decision to suspend preparations for the signing of an agreement with the European Union. Demonstrations and marches could recommence with little notice and become violent.
The situation in Kyiv has calmed significantly. Most businesses and schools in Kyiv are now open and the public transport system has resumed a normal service. Despite the clashes subsiding, checkpoints, barricades and groups of demonstrators remain in place. Demonstrations and marches could recommence with little notice and become violent. These are most likely to take place in the center of Kyiv, including, but not limited to Independence Square, European Square, Hrushevskogo Street, Kreshchatyk Street, Instytutska Street and in front government buildings in the downtown area. There has also been an increase in street crime, including muggings, in Central Kyiv, especially after nightfall. Exercise a high degree of caution.
A violent confrontation in Odessa on May 2, 2014 left many people dead.
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. Pickpocketing has increased on the Kyiv metro.
Armed robbery can also occur, especially in the larger cities. Racially motivated violence and harassment 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.
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 the Russian Federation as well as to a number of cities on the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. A ferry service connects Sevastopol and Istanbul, Turkey.
Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
General safety information
Exercise a high degree of caution in all places. 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 outside major cities is unpredictable.
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. It is recommended that the passport be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from that country.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized, which may limit the ability of Canadian officials to provide consular services. You should travel using your Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times. Consult our publication entitled Dual Citizenship: What You Need to Know for more information.
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.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. Please consult our Children page for more information.
Some countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination before allowing entry. Consult the World Health Organization’s country list to obtain information on this country’s requirements.
- Measles: Global Update - May 7, 2014 10:20 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, acupucture or 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 currently an outbreak of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a viral disease spread through the bite of an infected mosquito that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. Protect yourself from mosquito bites, particularly around sunrise and sunset. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
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.
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. Consult our Arrest and detention page 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.
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 after hours, call the Embassy of Canada in Kyiv and follow the instructions. You may also make a collect call to the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at 00-1-613-996-8885.
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