Ukraine is one of the largest countries in Europe and yet, there are only a few travelers that are visiting it. Due to several internal conflicts in 2014, Ukraine had no choice but to close the country down in order to protect its territory and only as recently as in 2019 that the country started to open its borders and welcoming tourists and explorers like us to experience its beautiful culture.
In 2019, Ukraine has finally opened up and extended its E-Visa platform to over 52 countries around the world, and together with its EU ties (most European countries are exempted from the Visa already), the country is planning to capitalize on the tourism boom that is happening all over Europe.
As I learned about this, without hesitation I decided to apply for a Ukrainian E-Visa right away and after traveling for a month in Ukraine, I am here to tell you about my personal experience applying for a Ukrainian E-Visa, documents I prepared, and things I wish I knew before applying for a Ukrainian E-Visa.
Let's begin with the first question you should ask yourself. Do I need a Visa for Ukraine?
- Do I Need a Visa for Ukraine?
- What to Prepare for a Ukrainian E-Visa Application?
- How Long Does it Take to Get the E-Visa?
- How Early Should I Apply for a Ukrainian E-Visa?
- Is it Difficult to Get a Ukrainian E-Visa?
- What is the Validity of a Ukrainian E-Visa?
- How Much Does a Ukrainian E-Visa Cost?
- What Travel Insurance to Use for a Ukrainian E-Visa?
- How to Apply for a Ukrainian E-Visa?
- What If My Visa Application got Rejected?
Do I Need a Visa for Ukraine?
If you hold a European passport, it is very likely that your country is exempted from the visa and you should be able to travel to Ukraine freely without having to apply for anything.
If you want to know whether your country is exempted or not, please consult the official list of entry policies for each country.
If you are required to get a visa before arriving, do not sweat as you might eligible for the E-Visa as I did. If you are from one of the following countries, you are eligible to get an E-Visa for Ukraine:
Australia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Costa Rica. Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kiribati, Kuwait, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Oman, Palau, Peru, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Thailand, Timor Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu
If your country is not exempted from the visa and is not on the list above, unfortunately, you will have to apply it the regular way by visiting the closest Ukraine embassy and apply it in person.
I have a Thai Passport so I am eligible for an E-Visa and the process of applying for one is pretty much the same across the board so even if you are from Australia or New Zealand, you can use this guide to help you with the application process.
What to Prepare for a Ukrainian E-Visa Application?
Like other countries, there is a strict requirement for documents you have to prepare to apply for an E-Visa. Here is a complete list of things I prepared before applying for a Ukrainian E-Visa:
- Photo: One 2x2 inches photo of you, shot for the purpose of applying for a visa (solid colored background, straight face, includes all features of your face, etc.) in a JPEG format. For me, I always have these on hands so I simply capture the image with my phone, crop it and upload it to your application on a Ukrainian E-Visa website.
- A Copy of Passport: One scanned version of your passport in JPEG format.
- Health Insurance: It can be any insurance from your home countries as long as it covers at least 30,000 EUR. Simply buy one online and attached it to your application on the Ukrainian E-Visa website.
- Proof of Sufficient Funds: One copy of 3-months bank statement with the amount of money that covers your entire trip in Ukraine. I just got mine from my online bank website and attached a 3 months transaction history I saved in PDF form to my application.
- Document Confirming the Purpose of Visit: Hotel bookings for the rest of the time you stay, flights in and out of the country. I basically attached my one-month booking of accommodation I got from Booking.com and my arrival and departure flight itinerary, all in one PDF document.
And that's basically all of it. In your online e-visa application, you will have the option to upload these 5 documents so be sure to prepare them in 5 files, 1 x JPEG photo of you, 1 x JPEG image of your passport, 1 x PDF/JPEG of 3 months bank transaction, 1 x PDF/JPEG of travel insurance plan, and 1 x PDF of your accommodation and flight confirmation (make sure these are all in one PDF).
For an official list of documents required, visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website: An Official Checklist of Documents Required to Apply a Ukrainian E-Visa.
One important thing to keep in mind is that they only allow you to upload files that are 2 MB or lower in size each which is quite problematic when it comes to preparing the "Document Confirming the Purpose of Visit" PDF.
Make sure to optimize your PDF and JPEG so the size is below the given limit and make sure that all documents are readable as there were some reports that they might reject your application if they can't read what on your documents.
For an online application to optimize your PDF and JPEG files, you can try PDF Resizer.
How Long Does it Take to Get the E-Visa?
They mentioned it on the website that for E-Visa application, it will take no more than 10 business days to receive the result
BUT from my experience they can be a few days late so it is very important that you apply at least a month in advance before your departure date unless you want to pull your hair out as I did when I received my application result a day before my flight!
I submitted my application for a Ukrainian E-Visa on the 29th of May 2019 with a departure date on the 13th of June 2019, thinking that it will take less than 10 business days to get it approved. Two weeks passed and countless unanswered phone calls to the E-Visa department and I almost canceled my flight to Ukraine when the email arrived in the evening of 12th June 2019, a day before my flight.
How Early Should I Apply for a Ukrainian E-Visa?
Unless you like living on the edge of your seats, I do not recommend applying for the E-Visa 10 business days prior to your departure date. Make sure you give it a week or 2 of buffer time, just in case of unforeseen delays when applying for a Ukrainian E-Visa.
Is it Difficult to Get a Ukrainian E-Visa?
The application process itself is pretty straight forward and can be completed in about an hour or so if you have all your documents prepared in the right file size and format.
After you submitted your application, all you can do is wait (this may take up to 10 business days) as they will go radio silence until your application gets registered and approved which should happen instantly following the registration.
When your application is being registered, you should receive a confirmation email with a subject line as follows: "Registration of an e-Visa application form". The email simply means that someone finally spares the time to look at your application.
In 10 - 20 minutes after the registration email, you will receive another confirmation email with a subject line as "E-Visa issuance". This email is the result of your E-Visa application and if your application is approved the E-Visa PDF will be attached to this email and you are all set to travel to Ukraine.
What is the Validity of a Ukrainian E-Visa?
For a tourist visa, you will get the number of days reflected on your itinerary that is not more than 90 days in a 180 days period. The itinerary I attached has 30 days of accommodation confirmed so the E-visa day gave me was valid for 30 days after my flight on a single entry.
You can ask for the maximum of 90 days in a 180 days period on a tourist visa (type-C) and you can get either single, double or multiple entries, depending on the itinerary you have attached to your application.
Simply put, applying for a Ukrainian E-Visa is like applying for any country within the Schengen zone as in they will only give you the number of days you asked for in your visa application, so be sure to attach an itinerary that reflects the number of days you want to stay and the amount of entry you will need for your trip.
How Much Does a Ukrainian E-Visa Cost?
For a Ukrainian E-Visa, it will cost you 85 USD per application and it is not refundable if you get rejected. That said, I heard that some people were able to reapply immediately after they got rejected without having to pay another 80 USD in the case of missing or unreadable documents.
What Travel Insurance to Use for a Ukrainian E-Visa?
In order to apply for a Ukrainian E-Visa, you are required to attach your travel insurance plan that covers the period you are in Ukraine. Fortunately, Ukraine is not as strict as when applying for a Schengen Visa where you will need to buy one from an approved company.
For Ukraine, most of the local travel insurances are accepted as long as the plan states clearly the amount of accidental coverage that exceeds 30,000 EUR.
If you are looking for travel insurance to go along with your trip to Ukraine, I would recommend WorldNomads.com, which is what I use to look for travel insurance that fits my kind of adventure. They have a simple and flexible search system that allowed me to find the right insurance for the right amount of time at an affordable price in seconds. If you need travel insurance, give WorldNomads.com a try.
How to Apply for a Ukrainian E-Visa?
If you are new to electronic visa, you are in the right place. Here, I will illustrate a step-by-step guide on how to apply for a Ukrainian E-Visa.
Even if you have done it before, there are some confusing elements on the website that might throw you off when applying for one yourself so I am going to illustrate how I applied the E-visa personally and how I got my application approved. Without further ado, let's begin with creating an account.
1. Create a Personal Account on Minister of Foreign Affairs Website
First and foremost, you will need to create a personal account on their website: http://evisa.mfa.gov.ua, before you can apply for an E-Visa.
Fill in the registration form, choose your email where you want to receive your E-Visa and password in the following page. Once you are registered, simply log in with the account you just made and proceed on to your E-Visa application form.
2. Fill in Your Application Form
After you log in, you will arrive at the page shown above where you can select an option to apply for a new E-visa application. Click the "Fill in a new e-Visa application form" and a new form will appear below.
With the form below, you will have to select the country of your passport, the E-Visa type you are going to apply for which in this case, it will be "C-06 - Tourism". Select your passport type and type in your passport number in the rest of the fields. Click next when you are done.
Now you will arrive on an actual application form page where you will have to fill the form in detail. First, we begin with the General Information which can be quite confusing to some.
First, you upload your photo by clicking on the left-hand side blue-colored square button and pick the JPEG file of your photo. Make sure your photo follows the ICAO photo requirements.
Once you uploaded your photos, you will have to fill in your general information and this is where one might get confused. Since they do not allow empty fields, you will have to fill in all the fields even if it doesn't apply to you so in this case, you put your last name on the top field, middle name as shown on your passport on the second field and first name on the third field.
If you do not have a middle name, put - in the field as shown above to indicate that this does not apply to you. Do not put your first name, middle name or last name together in one field. You might get rejected if it doesn't conform exactly as on your passport detail.
The rest of the General Information section is pretty straight forward like date and place of birth, country, nationality, sex, and marital status.
Next up is the "Documents certifying the identity of the applicant" section which is pretty straight forward as well. Simply type in your national ID, pick your passport type, fill in your passport number, issue and expiry date and the issuer of your passport which in my case is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs respectively.
The next section, "Place of residence of the applicant" is also pretty straight forward as well. You simply fill in your address in your home country, your email address and your contact number including your country code which in my case is +66 (Thailand international calling number).
Next up is "Travel Information" where your first field is the type of Visa which should be preselected already at C-06 Tourism. If not, please change it to C-06 Tourism if you are applying for Tourism visa.
Now, pick the correct date of your arrival and departure. This will be shown in your E-Visa and it might be referred to by the police if you somehow got checked at a checkpoint so pick a period that actually reflects your travel date. I got checked in Kharkiv by police and they were asking me why I'm still here even though I still had 4 days left in my E-Visa.
Following question #19 about the duration, continue and answer the questions on the form that truthfully, and once you arrived at the question ""#22-25 Type of the person(s) in Ukraine who invited the applicant", select not applicable and you will have to fill in the address of your hostel/hotel you are staying on the day you arrive.
If you are flying into Kyiv, simply put an address of a hotel/hostel you booked in Kyiv from the accommodation confirmation documents you have prepared and will be attached to the application in the next step. Put in - again on Telefax field if your hostel/hotel doesn't provide you with a fax number (who would in this day and age?)
Last but not least, select the applicant himself/herself for "26. Expenses as regards traveling to and stay in Ukraine are covered by" to indicate that you are sponsoring your trip with your own money.
Under Application Filled question, simply fill in your current location and the current date before moving on to the "Copies of Documents" section.
3. Attaching Required Documents
Last but not least, you will have to attach all your prepared documents to the application before you submit it. On the first field, attach a copy of your passport in a JPEG image format. Make sure that the file size is lower than 2 MB.
For "Medical insurance policy" field, simply attach a PDF of your travel insurance plan which should be issued by your insurance company when you bought the insurance online.
For Funds, you will have to attach your 3 months bank statement that shows that you have enough money to cover your entire trip in PDF format. Make sure that it's under 2 MB.
Last but not least, and this may get tricky due to the file size limit, you will have to attach your arrival and departure flight details together with all of your Booking.com accommodation confirmation emails in one PDF file in the "A document confirming the purpose of visit" field.
Since I booked over 30 days of accommodation for my one month trip, the PDF file size did exceed the limit (8 MB) and so what I did was I removed all the unnecessary pages and only leave pages with my name and check-in check-out dates (which is what they are looking for) to reduce the file size.
I then optimize my PDF with PDF Resizer and even then, it was not enough so, in the end, I moved my flight detail into my Funds document that I attached previously under "Funds" to have the file size balanced out allowing my "Purpose of Visit" document file size to be below 2 MB and then I was able to submit the form.
4. Wait until your E-Visa Application is Processed
After the form submission, you will not receive any email confirmation but you can check if the form went through or not on your personal account page under "Submitted e-Visa application forms" where the status should say along the line of "Your Application has been Submitted" with the date of your submission under the status column.
After that, all you do is wait for 9+ business days (at the very least since they were reports that they like to issue the visa close to departure day which happened to me as well) until you receive an email.
Again, I could not stress enough how important it is that you submit your visa 9 business days + about a week or 2 before your departure date in case they are late.
After 9+ business days, you should receive an email update on your application status which should change to "registered" and then "closed" in about a span of 30 minutes where you will receive the result of your E-Visa application.
If your visa is approved, you will get your visa attached in the email and you will have to print that and show the physical copy to the emigration officer when you arrive in Ukraine.
What If My Visa Application got Rejected?
If your application got rejected, I would highly recommend you try and call this number: +380 444 238 1772 and ask them directly to reapply so you don't have to pay. Unfortunately, they rarely pick up their phones as I tried so many times myself but it is worth the effort if you do not want to pay another 85 USD.
And that is it on how to apply for a Ukrainian E-Visa and everything you should know before applying yourself. I hope this guide will help you have a smoother experience applying for a Ukrainian E-Visa than I did. Good luck and I hope your application will get approved in time. If you have any question, feel free to ask me in the comments below.
The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by BucketListly where we will follow our founder, Pete Rojwongsuriya around the world as he singlehandedly travel alone and experience different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.
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