The border with Ukraine is currently closed until 11 May. For more information about coronavirus, see the section Health.
Despite the difficult economic situation and the turmoil over the last five years, the situation in most of Ukraine is stable, and most of the journeys are carried out without special problems. For ordinary travelers, the greatest risk is related to poor infrastructure and transport safety. At the same time, the security situation in the Donetsk and Luhansk counties is still unclear and Crimea is unlawfully annexed by Russia.
Norwegian citizens residing in, or planning to travel to Ukraine, are encouraged to keep up to date via the embassy’s website and social media, and to register their travel via reiseregistrering.no.
One should also follow developments through the media, such as Kyiv Post, Radio Free Europe or Ukraine Pravda (in Ukrainian and Russian).
Particularly about the Crimean peninsula, as well as parts of Donetsk and Luhansk counties
Russia has annexed the Crimean Peninsula and has de facto control there. Norway does not recognize Russian rule in Crimea. Entry and exit to Crimea can be problematic as Russian authorities require visas from Norwegian citizens while Ukrainian authorities do not. Ukrainian law does not allow entry into Crimea via Russia. Upon entering Russia and leaving via the Ukrainian mainland, Ukrainian border authorities will consider the arrival of Ukraine illegal. The consequence would normally be a five-year entry ban to Ukraine for violating Ukrainian law by illegally entering Ukraine (here: Crimea, which is internationally recognized as Ukrainian territory).
The embassy is aware that EU/Schengen citizens who have traveled to Crimea from Russia and then try to enter Ukrainian-controlled territory are stopped and returned to Crimea. Here you are often denied the return of Russian Border Guard forces unless you have a visa that allows multiple entries. Some have had to stay outdoors in “no man’s land” for days before eventually being let in by Russian border guards.
- Countryaah: Kiev is the capital of Ukraine. Check to find information of population, geography, history, and economy about the capital city.
Situation in the counties Luhansk and Donetsk is still unclear and tense. The ceasefire that officially came into force on September 1, 2015 is broken daily, although the intensity of the conflict is considerably lower in 2020 than previously. Both parties still have access to heavy and long-range weapons. The situation along the line of contact between the separatist-controlled and government-controlled parts of Donetsk and Luhansk is still tense. Due to the ongoing armed conflict in the Donbas area, trips to Donetsk and Luhansk counties are not recommended. Against this background, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued an official travel council for those parts of Ukraine that are directly affected by the conflict, ie the Donetsk and Luhansk counties. The embassy will have very limited, if any, opportunity to provide consular assistance in the Donetsk and Luhansk counties as well as on the annexed Crimean peninsula.
Travel insurance will not be valid in areas where there is travel advice that discourages entry. This means that ordinary travel insurance will not be valid in the event of damage or theft in the counties of Luhansk, Donetsk and on the annexed Crimean peninsula.
International sanctions have been imposed on Russia as a result of the illegal annexation of Crimea. This means that it is not possible to use western payment cards in Crimea. In separatist-controlled areas in Luhansk and Donetsk, neither electronic means of payment nor ATMs work.
Political unrest and demonstrations: Norwegian citizens should stay away from demonstrations, large crowds and other areas where violent actions may be reported. The situation is generally stable and calm in the country, but could change quickly. It is encouraged to keep abreast of developments.
Crime: Although crime does occur, especially in the larger cities, the situation is such that by taking ordinary simple precautions, problems will be avoided. As elsewhere in cities, you should avoid deserted areas in the evening, be wary of pickpockets and be aware of the skimming, tapping and misuse of cards. Fraud often happens in the form of tricking tourists for money and other values. Some people use the so-called “wallet trick” which implies that the thief “loses” his wallet in front of the tourist who is further accused of taking money out of it as he picks it up. The tourist is then asked to show his own wallet where another person takes the wallet and disappears. It also seems that the thief pretends to be a police officer.
Corruption: Corruption is a common problem in Ukraine. It is recommended to always carry a valid ID. The police carry out regular checks on foreigners. A copy of your passport is recommended. If one is stopped by control, the police will also have to identify themselves. Sometimes passports are only accepted as valid credentials, in order to check whether one has legal residence in the country. In certain cases, in the absence of a passport when checking, one may be placed in custody. Then you have to make sure that a report is written about the incident.
Road safety: The road standard in Ukraine varies greatly. The main roads between the major cities are generally of decent standard. Traffic accidents occur frequently, and far more frequently than in Norway with fatal outcomes. Signs and information are missing in some places. Preferably avoid driving after dark out of the blue, as roads can be poorly lit. Preferably park in a secure location, preferably in a guarded parking lot. The seat belt must be used both in the front and the back of the car, and the use of a mobile phone while driving is prohibited unless you have “hands-free”. The speed is 60 km/h of dense lanes, 90 km/h off dense lanes and 110 km/h on the highway. Pedestrians should watch out when crossing streets and exercise caution on sidewalks as parking is permitted. When using taxis, companies like Elite or Uber are recommended.
Travel insurance: Norwegian citizens are encouraged to have valid travel insurance. Norwegians traveling to Ukraine should note that the National Insurance Scheme does not cover expenses related to illness or accidents.
Customs rules: It is allowed to bring 200 cigarettes or 250g of tobacco to Ukraine. When it comes to alcohol, you can take one liter of spirits, two liters of wine and five liters of beer. You can also bring food for personal use, but please note that the total value should not exceed 50 euros per person. For extended customs rules see; Ukraine – EFTA Free Trade Agreement.
Alcohol and drugs: Alcohol is cheap and readily available in Ukraine. There are reports of people dying from alcohol intoxication as well as other related illnesses and accidents due to alcohol. Smoking and drinking in public areas are prohibited – such as in subways, bus stations, parks and public buildings. Breaking the prohibitions on alcohol can result in a warning, fine or custody for up to 15 days. If you break the smoking ban, you can be fined. It is prohibited to sell alcohol to persons under 18 years of age. The penalties for possession, use or smuggling of drugs are severe and may result in fines or imprisonment.
Local emergency numbers are: Fire 101, Police 102, Ambulance 103, Euro-Alarm, Copenhagen (including European travel insurance): +45 70 15 25 00
Contact with the embassy: The embassy’s central table number is +38 044 281 22 00. This is served during office hours which is 09.00-16.30 Ukrainian time (corresponding to 08.00-15.30 Norwegian time). When you call this telephone number outside of office hours, you are automatically transferred to the UD’s operational center. You can also reach the UD’s operative center on tel: +47 23 95 00 00 E-mail: [email protected]
Please note that entry regulations may change. The Foreign Service is not responsible if the following information on entry regulations or visa requirements is changed at short notice. It is the responsibility of the traveler to ensure that travel documents are valid for entry and to familiarize themselves with the current entry rules for each country.
Norwegian nationals who are going to Ukraine to settle down, have permanent employment, study, serve as a diplomat or reunite with family must apply for a visa or residence permit before entering. Anyone who intends to stay in the country for more than 90 days must apply for a visa, regardless of the purpose of the trip.
Norwegian citizens who are going to Ukraine for reasons other than the above can travel to the country and stay there for up to 90 days without a visa unless they have a valid passport. It is the traveler’s responsibility to ensure that the travel documents are valid.
All travelers are encouraged to see information about entry rules in Ukraine on the website of the Ukrainian Embassy in Oslo.
Foreigners who are going to stay in Ukraine for work, study or for family reasons must register with the Immigration Service «Migration Service of Ukraine».
Ukrainian authorities, according to Ukrainian law, have the right to investigate whether residents have sufficient means of residence in the country. The amount required per day is 1350 UAH. This is in the form of cash, bank statements or other documents. You must be able to show that you have the funds for five days more than planned stay. If you cannot prove that you have sufficient funds, you can be denied entry into the country. However, as of January 2020, these regulations do not appear to be practiced, but this may change rapidly. Therefore, it is advisable to include documentation on adequate means of entry.
A valid Norwegian driver’s license, car license and liability insurance (green card) are required for Norwegian motorists who want to drive into Ukraine.
Coronavirus (covid-19): Ukraine’s borders are closed from March 28 for all passenger traffic by plane, train and bus. It will still be possible to get in or out of Ukraine by car or on foot, depending on neighboring countries’ travel restrictions. Ukraine imposed an entry and transit ban on March 16 for all foreign nationals, with the exception of diplomats and staff of international organizations and their family members, as well as persons who can document a residence permit in Ukraine.
Norwegian travelers should keep abreast of the development of the corona virus. Follow local authorities’ advice, guidance and instructions on how to deal with the situation. For updated official information from the Ukrainian authorities, see What do you need to know about the novel coronavirus? and the Telegram channels https://t.me/COVID19_Ukraine and https://t.me/PHC_Ukraine (both in Ukrainian). Also, follow the embassy on Kyiv’s Facebook page and website.
You can find more information and guidance from the Norwegian health authorities on the website of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. See also UD’s answers to frequently asked questions about travel and coronavirus.
Public hospitals in Ukraine do not meet Western standards. The health staff has generally good education, but often speaks only Ukrainian and/or Russian. In some cases, access to medicines may vary. In Kyiv, there are private clinics aimed at foreign patients and the offer of dentistry is highly acceptable.
Vaccination coverage in Ukraine is weaker than in most European countries and has worsened as a result of the crisis in the country. For updated recommendations on vaccination before departure, see information from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
Diseases that may be relevant to vaccine against may include hepatitis A, diphtheria, tetanus, typhoid fever and polio. Those who are not vaccinated against measles should be vaccinated well in advance of departure. Read more about measles at the Public Health Institute.
Tap water is not recommended for cooking and drinking. Bottled water is available everywhere in Ukraine.
HIV/AIDS is quite prevalent in Ukraine. A 2010 UNaids/WHO report shows that 500,000 people over the age of 15, ie 1.1 percent of the adult population, live with HIV. There are condoms available for purchase at pharmacies and in major stores.
Chernobyl: The northern parts of Ukraine were hit by the fallout from the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. An area (with a radius of 30 km) around the nuclear power plant is still closed for public transport. Beyond this, the radiation situation is not of particular concern. Guided tours to Chernobyl are currently being arranged. These trips are added to the safe areas and have become popular as a tourist destination. Here, visitors are encouraged to act cautiously following instructions and recommendations provided by the guide.
Ukraine appears as a normal, liberal European country outside the EU. The Ukrainians are consistently well educated, very culturally aware and the larger cities have a great range of entertainment, cafes, restaurants and so on. to Norwegians. The street scene is often somewhat different than in Norway and there are far fewer people with visible minority backgrounds to see. There are great differences in wealth in people. In the countryside and many places in the cities, things are not so good.
There is one hour time difference between Norway and Ukraine, Ukraine is one hour ahead of Norway.
Ukraine is a middle-income country and is not on par with the best European countries in terms of revenue. infrastructure and quality of goods and services. On the other hand, everything you need is still available – and especially services are often offered at a lower price than in Norway.
It is recommended that you bring your passport or other identification, as local police have the right to check the identity. If one cannot prove that one is legally resident in the country, one can be taken to the police station and held there until identity and legal residence is confirmed. As of January 2020, it seems that this provision is rarely enforced.
English is constantly improving, especially among the younger generation, but it still pays to be able to Ukrainian or Russian to progress in the country. Normal, polite and law-abiding behavior usually avoids problems. Women should cover their heads with shawls in Orthodox churches.
Power: The voltage on the mains in Ukraine is 220 volts, 50 hertz. The use of a voltage stabilizer is recommended.
Telephony: The telephone lines are of varying quality, especially in the countryside. However, mobile coverage is good. In the cities there is mostly 4G coverage, while the rural network is poorly developed. To call Norway, dial 00-47 in front of the Norwegian telephone number. From a mobile phone, both ‘+’ and ’00’ usually act as presets. According to allcitycodes, Ukraine area code is +380.
Currency and Credit Cards: Use of Visa, MasterCard and some other credit or debit cards is now commonplace in the major cities of Ukraine – both in hotels, shops and eateries. As elsewhere, it must be noted that card skimming, tapping and misuse can occur. ATMs for local currency withdrawals, and sometimes foreign currency, are common in all cities. It is recommended to use ATMs located indoors – for example, in hotels or in banks. Ukrainian hryvnia is the means of payment everywhere. USD and euro are still an active “reserve currency” for quite a few Ukrainians.
Opening hours: Banks and public offices are usually open weekdays 09.00-18.00, supermarkets and other shops every day approx. 10 am to 9 pm (Please note that some are closed on Sundays).
Official Holidays in Ukraine: January 1 – New Year, January 7 – Orthodox Christmas, March 8 – Women’s Day, Easter 2, May 1 and May 2 – Workers’ Day, May 9 – Liberation Day, June 28 – Constitution Day, August 24 – Independence Day, December 25 – Catholic Christmas.