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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 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.
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, remain indoors, maintain a low profile and avoid large crowds and demonstrations.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Crimea (see Advisory)
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 (see Advisory)
Despite a recent de-escalation of hostilities, Russian-led separatists continue to control limited sections of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts . A ceasefire agreement has established a de facto dividing line between Ukrainian government-controlled and separatist-held areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, with numerous checkpoints controlled by government and separatist forces. There have been reports of individuals being threatened or detained at separatist checkpoints. Ukrainian authorities will refuse entry to foreigners who attempt to enter Ukraine from Russia through separatist-controlled territories. 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.
While the situation has stabilized, demonstrations and marches, which can occur without notice, have the potential to suddenly turn violent. During a large protest on August 31, 2015, an explosion outside parliament injured several people, including police officers and journalists. Exercise a high degree of caution, avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.
The end of November marks the anniversary of the beginning of the Maidan revolution. In the days surrounding the anniversary, demonstrations and marches could occur with little or no notice. Exercise increased vigilance and avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings which have the potential to suddenly turn violent. Monitor local media and follow the advice of local authorities.
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.
Small-scale targeted bombings, in some cases 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 of the attacks have resulted in casualties and there is a risk of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Always be alert when in public places.
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 Global Affairs 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.
There is a threat of terrorism in Europe. Terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities and there is a potential for other violent incidents, which could target areas frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. Continue to exercise a high degree of caution.
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 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 Odesa. Ferry service is available to a number of cities on the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
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 Odesa are not highly developed. Mobile phone coverage is available across the country, though gaps exist in lightly populated rural areas.
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 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. For further details on visas and work permits, please contact the Embassy of Ukraine in Canada.
If you intend to stay in Ukraine for more than 90 days, you may have to purchase medical insurance issued by the state-owned company Ukrainmedstrakh upon arrival.
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. If you do not enter Crimea through the designated Ukrainian checkpoints, you will be banned from entering Ukraine in the future.
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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 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 currency is the hryvnia (UAH).
The economy operates primarily on a cash basis. However, credit cards are accepted in most major cities and automated banking machines are widely available. 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.
There are strict customs regulations and procedures regarding the export of antiquities and items of historical interest.
Natural disasters and 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.
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 102
- medical assistance: 103
- firefighters: 101
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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