Ukraine Tourist Visa for New Zealanders and Australians
I’m writing this post from Kiev, where I managed to slip in a week before my journey home. Ukraine was a country that seemed mystical, and a bit more faraway than the rest of Europe. It’s one of the few European countries you need to get a separate visa for (if you’re a New Zealander or an Australian). Here’s my experience of the whole Ukraine tourist visa on arrival process.
I’m still discovering all I can about this cool country, but a few things that jump to mind already that make it unmissable:
- Dirt cheap. You won’t find any place in Europe that will make your money stretch as far as Ukraine.
- An equal mix of friendly people and people who don’t give a fuck. It’s great.
- A surprisingly nimble system of public transport. And the cheapest Ubers you’ll find… maybe?!
- So much fast food.
- Chernobyl (which I’m yet to see, so stay tuned).
- Pretty cities with cathedrals that stand markedly from the rest of Europe.
- It’s huge. You could spend weeks going from city to city.
- A real curious mix of old and new
Visa to travel
There’s a bit around the interwebs about the visa process. Handy links to the only official one:
My trip was a last minute decision, so I had to go for the visa on arrival option. The e-Visa is cheaper (approximately $65USD, paid online), allows more time (up to 30 days versus 15) but needs nine business days to process. It’s the way I’d definitely go as it’s much more flexible with entry points too. The visa on arrival is only available at three airports in Ukraine.
The visa on arrival is a somewhat more recent addition for New Zealanders and Australians. But not so recent that the immigration staff don’t know what’s going on. The dust has settled. There’s a few conditions and things to keep in mind for the tourist visa on arrival:
- Maximum 15 days, single entry
- It cost me $100USD approximately for the visa (charged 2,550 UAH at the airport)
- Had to book everything before arriving (for the support documents)
- Only available at select airports: Kyiv Boryspil or Kyiv Zhuliany and Odessa (very important!)
- Visas are processed 24/7 and on the spot (time it takes can vary)
I spent a good while reading around to see what the process for a Ukraine visa was like. I didn’t want to be sent back as one Tripadvisor poster did! But being clued up is already a good start, and making sure you’re at an airport that can grant the visa is imperative.
It’s all starts with the online application and it’s all straightforward stuff. Make sure to get your entry airport right, and it’s more convenient if you have all your accommodation and return flights sorted. There’s a bunch of documentation that the page requests for, which I had saved on my laptop, but was not asked for at the airport. Of course it’s best to have them ready just in case they do.
Airbnb seems like a bit more sketchy here, I’ve read they may call your host to verify the stay, so for that reason I stayed at a hostel to keep things easier. Great value too. I had the application and a few other things printed and my nerves readied and as I made my way to the visa consular office at Kyiv Zhuliany. (Note: I originally waited in the normal line, but don’t do that, they call the visa guy to open shop as he’s needed).
First thing, he asks for my credit card (lol) and the ‘forms’ (what forms?) and handed me a sign telling me to email the hotel and return flight to his Gmail (lol). Equal mix sketchy and demanding, but hey, it’s Ukraine. I should note that the staffer was super friendly, cheery, and spoke great English, which put any anxieties to ease. And then after about ten minutes of typing I had my shiny visa stickered into my passport. And away to Kiev I went!
I thought the process of getting a tourist visa for Ukraine was great! Other than the online application there wasn’t too much to it and nothing to stress over. Maybe they would grill you a little more if you didn’t seem like the tourist type, but I must have stood out. It is a bit weird sending private docs to a Gmail and paying for the visa straightaway but it worked out in the end, so no complaints. And there’s a lot more to love about Ukraine – watch this space.