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Ukraine - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Ukraine due to the prevalence of crimes of opportunity.
Crimea - Avoid all travel
Avoid all travel to Crimea, including transiting through the airports in Sevastopol and Simferopol.
Canada does not recognize Russian control over Crimea. Our ability to provide consular assistance to Canadians in Crimea is extremely limited.
Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts - Avoid all travel
Avoid 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:
- limit your movements
- maintain a low profile
- avoid large crowds and demonstrations
Our ability to provide consular assistance to Canadians in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts is extremely limited.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Crimea (see Advisory)
Armed groups supported by Russian military forces have control of a number of government buildings, airports, military installations and other locations in the Crimean Peninsula.
Canada does not recognize Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and continues to consider Crimea to be sovereign Ukrainian territory. The Canadian Embassy to Russia in Moscow is only accredited to Russia and therefore cannot provide services in Crimea.
Due to the ongoing situation, the Canadian Embassy to Ukraine in Kyiv has limited access to consular clients.
Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts (see Advisory)
Despite a ceasefire agreement, Russian-led separatists continue to control sections of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. The security situation in this area remains unstable.
The ceasefire agreement established a de facto dividing line between Ukrainian government-controlled and separatist-held areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. There are numerous checkpoints controlled by government and separatist forces. The separatist groups have sometimes threatened, detained or kidnapped individuals at checkpoints.
Conflict also occurs in areas controlled by the Ukrainian government.
If you are in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, maintain a low profile and only consider travelling if it is safe to do so. Be vigilant, avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the instructions of local authorities and monitor local media.
Our ability to provide consular assistance to Canadians in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts is extremely limited.
Demonstrations occur frequently. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing, is common, particularly:
- in crowded places
- in tourist areas
- in bars and nightclubs
- on public transportation
In central Kyiv, criminal activity, including muggings, is more prevalent at night.
Armed robbery can occur, especially in the larger cities.
Local authorities may not respond to racially motivated violence and harassment.
Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times. Avoid showing signs of affluence and carrying large sums of cash.
Small-scale targeted bombings, including car bombs, have occurred in Ukraine, including in Kyiv. Attacks are generally linked to criminal activity or are politically motivated with the intent to damage property. Some attacks have resulted in casualties. There is a risk of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Always be alert when in public places.
Debit and credit card fraud occurs. Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:
- pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
- use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
- avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
- cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
- check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements
Scammers often target tourist areas and hotels.
A 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 scammer then accuses the tourist of stealing some of the money. These scams can
involve several crooks, some posing as police officers. If this happens to you, do not pick up the dropped items. Simply walk away without engaging in conversation.
Unsolicited emails offering enticing business or financial opportunities are most likely fraudulent. Do not travel to Ukraine with the intention to obtain restitution after losing money to a scam. Instead, seek legal advice on how to deal with the situation.
If you’re travelling to Ukraine to meet someone you’ve otherwise only met online, you may be the victim of a scam.
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.
There is a threat of terrorism in Europe. Terrorists have carried out attacks in several European cities and further attacks are likely.
Targets could include:
- government buildings, including schools
- places of worship
- airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places. Be particularly vigilant if attending sporting events and during religious holidays and other public celebrations, as terrorists have used such occasions to mount attacks.
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 at night outside major cities. Limited road visibility, poor vehicle maintenance and intoxicated drivers pose hazards.
While roadside services such as repair facilities exist, they are inadequate.
Kyiv has a punctual and reliable metro system. Buses, however, are usually overcrowded and in poor condition.
At airports, order a taxi from a designated taxi booth within the arrivals terminal.
Don’t hail a taxi on the street. Instead, order one from your hotel or a taxi company.
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.
Many local companies offer tours to Chernobyl from Kyiv. Anyone visiting Chernobyl should follow the safety instructions issued by the State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
General safety information
Tourist facilities outside major centres aren’t usually highly developed. Plan ahead to minimize safety risks.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Ukrainian authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave from Ukraine.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Tourist visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days within a 180-day period
Business visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days within a 180-day period
Student visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days within a 180-day 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. For further details on visas and work permits, please contact the Embassy of Ukraine to Canada.
You must have an invitation from a Ukrainian company or individual if travelling to Ukraine for any other purpose than tourism. Before you travel, contact the nearest Ukrainian embassy for more information about the invitation process.
- Foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada
- Ukrainian visa information - Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine
Immigration officials may ask for proof of sufficient funds to cover your stay in Ukraine.
Crimea and Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts
Ukrainian authorities will refuse entry to foreigners who attempt to enter Ukraine from Russia through Crimea or separatist-controlled areas in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.
If you choose to travel to these areas despite the current risk level, 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.
If you do not enter Crimea or separatist-controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts through the designated Ukrainian checkpoints, you will be banned from entering Ukraine in the future.
Children and travel
Children under the age of 16 and travelling outside Ukraine without one or both parents require consent from the parent or parents who are not travelling.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
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.
Outbreaks of measles are ongoing.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that can cause serious complications for some people.
You are at increased risk of measles infection if you have not had the illness or if you are not up to date on your vaccinations.
There is a risk of polio in this country.
- Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up to date. Polio is part of the routine vaccine schedule for children in Canada.
- One booster dose of the polio vaccine is recommended as an adult.
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 present in some areas of this country.
- It is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).
- It is spread to humans by the bite of infected ticks or when you consume unpasteurized milk products.
- Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to ticks during outdoor activities.
- A vaccine against TBE does exist but is only available in countries where the disease is present.
- Learn more on what you can do to prevent tick-borne encephalitis (TBE)?
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
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.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
* 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.
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
Health care standards vary throughout the country. Facilities are limited outside major cities. Doctors and nurses may not be able to communicate in English (or French) and not all hospitals have translation services available.
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.
Medical evacuation can be very expensive and you may need it in case of serious illness or injury.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
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 and culture
Laws & culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
You must carry adequate identification at all times. Keep a photocopy or digital copy of your passport in a safe place, 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 local authorities could detain you for up to three hours while your identification documents are being verified.
Illegal or restricted activities
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
Do not take pictures of military installations or other government buildings.
Ukrainian law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex.
Despite large and active LGBTQ communities in major urban centres, homosexuality is not widely accepted in Ukrainian society. Avoid public displays of affection.
Expect a heavy police presence at pride parades.
An international driving permit or a Ukrainian driver’s licence is required.
Car insurance is mandatory.
There is zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in the Ukraine.
If local authorities consider you a citizen of the Ukraine, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.
The Ukrainian government considers children born in Canada who have a Ukrainian parent as Ukrainian citizens.
The currency is the hryvnia (UAH).
The economy operates primarily on a cash basis. However, credit cards are accepted in most major cities and ATMs are widely available. Foreign currency can be exchanged at most banks, hotels and licensed exchange booths. Well-worn U.S. banknotes may not be accepted.
There are strict customs regulations and procedures regarding the export of antiquities and items of historical interest.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
Bush and forest fires are common in eastern and southern Ukraine in July and August. In case of a major fire, stay away from the affected area. Always follow the instructions of local emergency services personnel. Monitor local media for up-to-date information on the situation.
Air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke. It could affect you if you have a respiratory ailment.
Flooding occurs in western Ukraine during the winter thaw.
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 102
- medical assistance: 103
- firefighters: 101
- general emergencies: 112 (from cell phones only)
Kyiv - Embassy of Canada
Lviv - Consulate of Canada
For emergency consular 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 in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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