From October 1 to May 1 all vehicles driving outside human settlements during daylight hours should have the daytime running lights or dipped beam on.
Ukrainian legislation determines visa and visa-free entry for foreigners to the Ukraine's territory.
The citizens of the European Union, USA, Canada, Brazil, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Israel, Japan, Argentina, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Vatican City, Croatia, Monaco, San Marino, Paraguay, South Korea and Montenegro are allowed to enter and to stay in Ukraine for 90 days over the 180-days period. Citizens of the Russian Federation, Belarus, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan and Tajikistan don't need visa to enter Ukraine neither.
The citizens of Serbia, Turkey and Bosnia and Herzegovina have the right to enter Ukraine without a visa and to stay in its territory for up to 30 days. The Residents of Hong Kong (China) can stay in Ukraine without a visa for 14 days.
The citizens of other countries and the citizens of the mentioned above countries who enter Ukraine on the purposes of work or study, or stay in Ukraine longer than 90 days have to obtain a visa.
Ukraine is relatively safe country as for European standards. Organized crime units are hardly interested in mere tourists, so the only thing that you should be wary of is fraud and disorderly conduct.
Avoiding becoming a victim of street robbery is a matter of common sense: don't flash your money around, avoid poorly lit or deserted areas, don't keep all money and documents in one place, keep an eye on your belongings, particularly in crowded places and on public transport.
As in any other country, you may meet con artists in Ukraine. Try to avoid talking to foreigners in the street, especially late at night. Hooliganism is commonly carried out by groups of teens, therefore, avoid them as far as possible.
Credit card frauds, as well as illegal currency exchange are quite widespread in Ukraine. Paying with credit card, make sure that no one sees your PIN-code; be careful withdrawing money at the ATM (it's better to use ATMs located in banks or in crowded places); never exchange currency in the street - it's illegal in Ukraine. If you see a wallet, lying on your way, don't stop and pick it up. Swindlers might have planted it in order to accuse you in stealing.
Compliance with simple precautions, based on common sense, will allow you to avoid troubles and to have a restful and pleasant visit to Ukraine.
Currently there are following types of fines for traffic rules violation in Ukraine:
Driving without fastened seatbelts or crash helmet - from 51 to 85 UAH.
Exceeding the speed-limit for more than 20 km/h - from 255 to 340 UAH.
Exceeding the speed-limit for more than 50 km/h - from 510 to 680 UAH. The penalty may also take a form of community service for the term of 30-40 hours.
Stopping or parking in forbidden place - from 255 to 340 UAH.
Violation of traffic signs or traffic lane markings and of the crosswalks passing rules - from 255 to 340 UAH.
Violation of junction passing rules and of stop signal - from 425 to 510 UAH.
Drunken or drug-impaired driving, letting a drunken person drive, as well as evasion from medical examination for the purpose of revealing intoxication - fine from 2550 to 3400 UAH, community service for the term of 40-50 hours or arrest for 7-10 days.
Driving a vehicle without driving license, registration documents, vehicle insurance, 'green card' certificate (International Motor Insurance Certificate), cargo documents - from 425 to 850 UAH.
The number of stray dogs runs around in packs throughout Ukraine and makes rabies a potential concern for travelers. But there is no reason for panic - firstly, not all dogs are virus carriers; secondly, the rabies virus is present in saliva only during the final stages of the disease in the animal, that is during dog’s last week of life. Therefore, the odds of getting rabies are relatively low. Still, do not take any chances and seek medical attention immediately, if bitten by a dog. Fortunately, most main hospitals will have a rabies clinic.
In case, if you can't see doctor immediately, scrub the bite with soap and running water, and then apply alcohol or iodine solution. Remember that for your own safety any bite, scratch or even lick from an unknown animal should be cleaned immediately and thoroughly.
A rabies vaccination does exist, but it only reduces the level of treatment needed following a bite. Travelers vaccinated against rabies should still seek medical treatment if bitten.
On the following national public holidays banks, schools and government offices are closed. Holidays falling on a weekend are usually observed the following Monday.
31st of December- 1 of January - New Year's Day is the main holiday in Ukraine, everybody’s happy because people wait for the great new life in the New Year and give each other presents. There’s no Father Christmas, there’s Father Frost in Ukraine. He comes on New Year’s Eve and gives presents. Traditionally people gather with family or friends.
6th and 7th of January - Orthodox Christmas. Being predominantly Orthodox country, Ukraine, contrary to many western countries, celebrates Christmas not on December 25th but on January 7th. Note that the New Year is much more celebrated than Christmas.
22th of January - Day of Unity of Ukraine. Being a national holiday, it's not the public one, though, and, therefore, it's a regular work day in Ukraine.
8th of March - International Women's Day is the time, when flowers are sold for doubled prices, and men suddenly realize the importance of women.
Late March - early April - Orthodox Easter. After-Easter Monday is a day off, too. Note that Orthodox Easter regularly falls on different day than Catholic one.
1st and 2nd of May - May Day & the Day of Spring. In the Soviet times they called it The Day of Labor, but it was a holiday for all. Now it’s just May Day - another free from work day to meet friends.
9th of May - Victory Day. The day of victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945. It is widely celebrated throughout the country and military parades are carried out.
Early June - Trinity Sunday. This Christian holiday is a public holiday in Ukraine.
28th of June - Constitution Day. Ukrainian constitution was signed on this day in 1996.
24th of August - Independence Day. Longed for independence of Ukraine was proclaimed on this day in 1991.
The time in Ukraine is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Meridian Time or one hour ahead of Central European Time. (+2 GMT or +1 CET). During summer Daylight Saving Time, Ukraine's time is 3 hours ahead of Greenwich. So if in London it’s 10 a.m. in Kyiv it’s 12p.m. (in Ukraine the 24-hour system is used).
Every year the clock is set 1 hour forward on the last Sunday of March and, then, returned 1 hour back on the last Sunday of October.
Open Hours. One great thing about Ukraine is that all shops are opened even on Sundays. The food shops are usually opened from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. except for Sundays (from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.), however, many of them are opened round-the-clock even in small villages.
Large department stores, clothing stores, malls are opened all week long from 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. or 10 p.m.
State institutions, offices, companies are usually opened from 9 a.m. or 10. a.m. to 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. and do not work on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.
Most banks are opened from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, some major banks' central offices are opened on Saturday as well. Self-service ATMs regularly operate every day round-the-clock.
There are plenty of currency exchange offices in big cities that work until late night and sometimes round-the-clock.
On public holidays all banks, offices, museums and some shops are closed. However, large department stores, food stores, supermarkets may operate on Sunday schedule.
Ukraine has epidemic rates of drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB), the same as many other countries of the former Soviet Union.
However, contamination risks for most travelers are very low, as infection requires prolonged contact with a contagious person. Moreover, many West Europeans and Australians are vaccinated against some strains of TB in adolescence, which, combined with general good health, is thought by some practitioners to increase natural immunity against other strains too.
At the same time, American travelers, who are rarely immunized against any TB strains, might want to consider a TB vaccination. However, its efficacy is questionable when given in adulthood.
In any case, try to avoid spending time with someone, having a persistent dry cough. If that proves to be unavoidable, you should consider getting a TB test on your return home.
Unlike in developed European countries, tap water in Ukraine is 'undrinkable'. Nevertheless, many Ukrainians (especially in ecologically clean regions) drink tap water without any concerns. Still, in order to safely consume tap water, you should boil or purify it with filters, iodine or chlorine. An even safer solution, though, is to drink bottled water, which is cheap and plentiful.
You may safely brush your teeth or wash fruits and vegetables in tap water. However, if you are overcautious about germs, you may take a bottle of water into the bathroom with you.
220 Volt and 50 Hz AC current supplies are used throughout Ukraine. Most of the sockets are standard European-size for double round-pin plugs, the same as in France or Germany. Appliances from the US, Canada, Great Britain will need adaptors.
Power cuts are not very common, but the electricity current is not as quality as in Europe - power surges may occur. So, if you have a sensitive device it's better to get a stabilizer for it, especially if you are traveling.
Most trains have electricity sockets where you can charge your mobile telephones or plug in a shaver, but it is not recommended to use them for sensitive devices (such as laptops) without a stabilizer.
Although, Ukrainians are considered to be hospitable and tolerant nation, there is still low tolerance to gay/lesbian couples. This is probably due to strong religious traditions in the country, or due to the fact the homosexuality was illegal until 1991. It's true that gay marriages are not legalized in Ukraine, you don't see Love Parades and there are very few places, where gay couples can be themselves without thinking twice. So, it's no fun to be a gay in Ukraine, especially in small towns with traditional tenor of life.
Gay couples are not harassed or attacked in the streets, though - nothing like this. But they might undergo irritated glances or even exclamations, if expressing their affection in public places. It should be noted, though, that display of feelings in public by heterosexual couples is often frowned upon, too. It is considered to be a scurrilous behaviour, especially by elder population.
Don't be scared away or cancel your trip to Ukraine, though. The level of acceptance may vary nationwide. Gay and lesbian travelers should avoid hand-holding and outward displays of affection unless acceptance is obvious and unmistakable. In some places, there is absolutely no tolerance whatsoever, and in others tolerance and acceptance is predicated on gays and lesbians not 'flaunting' their sexual preference.
There has been a wave of publications about racism in Ukraine. Among other things, there were statements about ruthless behaviour towards national minorities, discrimination and xenophobic public mood that develop into mortal danger for foreigners coming to Ukraine.
Being predominantly a homogeneous white community, Ukrainians are naturally somewhat reserved, when communicating with people of different nationality. This trait used to serve as strong protection during Ukraine's tough history. And it's true that there are some 'brain-washed' teenagers, who believe that "all blacks sell drugs and harass Ukrainian women." In this regard 'some' is the key word.
Statements that there are plenty of violent crimes based on racial intolerance are way too exaggerated, though. And, given that the whole country (along with the rest of the world) will be absorbed with Euro-2012, supposed racist groups will have no time to attack football fans who are going to visit Ukraine in June 2012. (No one can guarantee fans' tolerant behavior regarding their competitors, though. But these are definitely not racist motives!)
On main highways at large city's entrance you may often see stationary GAI (Department of Motor Vehicles and Traffic Control) posts. At such stations road offices watch round-the-clock and may stop vehicles for documents' verification. Traffic control officers may also patrol highways, 'hiding' from traffic participants in unnoticeable places - mainly in small settlements, and trying to catch speeding drivers. Therefore, be on the alert and never violate road regulations, remember that traffic policeman may stop you in the most unexpected place. If you are stopped by traffic control officer for overspeeding or crossing solid line, always demand to draw up a report on violation.
Quite often, when summer comes and autotourists' flow increases, so called 'ecological patrols' pop up on Ukrainian roads and try to make profits on gullible travelers. Such 'ecological policemen' may look like traffic policemen and even have similar uniform. They stop vehicles on highways and try to test your auto's exhaust gases for toxic emissions. Such actions are absolutely illegal. While Ukrainians are used to ignore such 'impostor-ecologists', their main targets are foreign autotourists, who are illegally made to buy ecological control coupons. Remember that in Ukraine drivers must stop only on traffic control officer's demand and safely ignore such 'ecological patrols', for they have no right to carry out ecological control, and to charge fines even less so!
It might be difficult to park a car in big Ukrainian cities (the same as in other big European cities). It is particularly true for Kyiv's central part, where parking lots are mainly paid and it's not always possible to find a parking place at the first try. Nevertheless, you should have no problems with parking places - both paid and free - in the most Ukrainian cities.
Ukrainian road regulations set speed limits for vehicles:
in urban areas and in settlements - 60 km/h
on roads outside settlements - 90 km/h
on main roads marked with corresponding sign - 110 km/h
If you overspeed for more than 20 km/h, you may be stopped by GAI (Department of Motor Vehicles and Traffic Control) officers and charged a fine.
There are well-established standards of conduct on Ukrainian roads, which allow drivers transmitting necessary information to each other. See bellow basic conventional signs, with which drivers communicate.
If oncoming vehicle's driver is blinking his far-reaching headlights, he is probably warning you about highway patrol on the road ahead. If the same happens at night, the driver is asking you to switch your far-reaching headlights to lower beam.
If passing car's driver is blinking his headlights, he is asking you to give him way.
If you overtake a cargo van on the narrow road, the left turn indicator combined with brake lights means that overtaking is impossible - there is oncoming traffic. If in the same situation cargo van signals with the right turn indicator combined with brake lights, it means that the road is free and you may overtake.
Signaling with emergency lights means gratitude or excuse.
Be ready that not all drivers in Ukraine follow road regulations and are polite to other traffic participants. Follow simple GFR rule - 'Give Fool the Road'. That is, think for other drivers and avoid emergencies by giving violator the road.
Road conditions in Ukraine may strongly vary depending on region. Main roads on the territory of large cities and regional centers are commonly in good state. If you intend to travel through Ukraine by car, expect poor road conditions in rural areas and on some intercity road sections. Some road sections are uneven and have holes that are periodically fixed by road services. These motorways may lack road signs and traffic lane markings.
In order to avoid vehicle damage and emergencies, it's better not to drive on such road sections at night. Be careful and pay attention to warning signs, try to plan your route in advance, in order to avoid driving in dark hours.
In order to drive a car (motorcycle) on the territory of Ukraine, you need to have an international driving license, documents certifying possession rights on the vehicle (technical passport) and motor vehicle liability insurance policy. Moreover, if you cross Ukrainian border by your own vehicle, you have to fill in a temporary vehicle importation declaration at the customs passing point.
The most spread form of payment in Ukraine is cash. At the same time, practically all basic credit cards - Visa, Mastercard, Cirus, Maestro - are widely accepted for payment. Nevertheless, there might be problems when paying with American Express and Diners Club cards, while these paying systems are not spread enough in Ukraine. In many shops (in particular, of large distribution networks), restaurants, hotels, on petrol stations, etc. you will be able to pay with credit card.
There will also be no problem with cash withdrawal, especially in large cities. Cash machines are installed in the airport terminals, at the railway stations, in the foyers of many hotels, in supermarkets and just in the streets. Most ATMs are designed for Ukrainian national currency - grivna. However, in big cities, such as Kyiv, Odesa, Lviv, Kharkiv, there are cash machines, where you may withdraw necessary sum in US Dollars. But it is more beneficial to withdraw money in grivna. Banking fee in so doing will be up to 3% of the amount.
Be careful when withdrawing money at the ATM in the street, if possible use ATMs located in crowded places.
Prices of catering in Ukraine depend on city and region. For example, in large regional centers - Kyiv, Odesa, Donetsk, Kharkiv - they are somewhat higher than in small towns in the west of the country. In Crimea catering traditionally goes up in price in summer season. But in a whole its cost in Ukraine remains quite democratic.
At fast-food restaurant or bar you may eat for 4-6 €. Dinner at the cafe with national cuisine will cost 5-10 €, including beverages. Average bill at the economy-class restaurant makes up 20-30 €, at the middle-class restaurant - 30-50 €. The cost of dinner at the elite restaurant will be higher - from 60 € up to several hundred Euros.
Alcoholic drinks in Ukraine are much cheaper than in Europe. At the same time, locally produced alcoholic products pleasantly surprise not only with price, but with high quality as well. The cheapest alcoholic drink is beer - one litter of 'foam drink' costs 0,8 €. Average bill at the beer bar makes up 8-15 €.
National currency of Ukraine is grivna, UAH (original abbreviation is grn.). One Ukrainian grivna equals 100 kopecks. There are coins at par value of 1, 2, 5, 10, 25 and 50 kopecks in circulation. Less common are coins at par value of one or two grivnas. Banknotes at par value of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 grivnas are in free circulation and are issued. At that, banknotes of both new and old model are in circulation.
In Russian speaking regions (south and east) local residents often call grivnas roubles out of habit.
When traveling to Ukraine, we recommend not using traveler's cheques. It might be problematic to cash them, because just very few Ukrainian banks accept these payment documents. Moreover the process of exchanging of traveler's cheques for cash may require a lot of your time and efforts.
If you still decide to take traveler's cheque with you, we recommend choosing Thomas Cook, Visa or American Express issued in US Dollars. In order to exchange them, it is better to turn to large banks, such as Raiffeisen Bank Aval and UKRExim Bank. Using traveler's cheques in Ukraine might also not pay, because of pretty high banking commission (up to 3%).
You may exchange currency for Ukrainian grivnas at any bank or currency exchange office. US Dollars, Euros and Russian roubles are accepted for exchange virtually in all cities. In the west of Ukraine you may also exchange Polish zlotys and Hungarian forints without problems. On the other hand, some problems may arise with exchange of British pounds - they are accepted just at few banks, predominantly in Kyiv. The same situation is in regard of other currencies. Moreover, you must consider that, as a rule, old and damaged banknotes are not accepted for exchange.
In private exchange offices exchange ratio is usually more than in banks, as well as at the airports, at the railway stations and in popular tourist centers. Be careful and don't exchange money in the streets and with individuals: firstly, it is illegal, and secondly, there is a high probability to swallow the bait of swindlers.
The standard world practice to leave tips in restaurants, bars and hotels isn't wide spread in Ukraine yet. It's up to customer whether to tip service personnel - for instance, at the restaurant, - or not. At that, the common level of compensation is from 5 to 15 % of the check amount. Consider that in some establishments tips might be included in the bill (in most cases - 5% of the check amount). Tips are generally uncommon in taxis and hairdresser's.
According to sad statistics, Ukraine occupies the first place in Europe in number of people, who have sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS, and is a leader in rates of spread of HIV-infection on the continent. According to experts' assessments, more than 1% of population lives with such diagnosis in Ukraine. However, considering that just every second knows about his disease, the real numbers are much higher than those that statistics uses.
If earlier the majority of people with HIV/AIDS were those, who injected narcotic drugs intravenously, today this disease is transmitted sexually more and more often in Ukraine.
Thus, being in Ukraine, always remember about safe sex.
There are no insects in Ukraine that are carriers of critical illnesses and whose bites would be deadly. Nevertheless, there are insects and reptiles, whose bites can be quite painful and unpleasant, in Ukrainian steppes and forests.
Wasps and bees. Stings of these insects are generally not dangerous, but they might cause troubles for people disposed to allergic reactions. In this case you should have antihistaminic preparations with you, which must be taken immediately after the sting. In most cases, being stung by a bee or wasp, it is enough to take out the sting and to treat the wound with antiseptic agent.
Mites. These arthropods live in grass and bushes; you may run into this parasite in landscape zones of the cities. The mite's sting itself is painless, but after a while it causes itching. Having discovered a mite on your body, don't try to retrieve it by yourself. It is better to go and see a doctor, who will do this without risk to your health.
Spiders. The most dangerous spider in Ukraine that lives mainly in Crimea is Mediterranean black widow. It is pretty poisonous, and therefore, its sting may cause significant harm to your health. If you failed to avoid contact with Mediterranean black widow and the poisoning happened, the injured person must be taken to the hospital as soon as possible. There he will get a necessary help - most likely through injecting of special serum.
Snakes. The only poisonous snake specie in Ukraine is viper. They live mainly in forests of Polesye (central region) and Carpathian, as well as in steppe zones in the south of the country. Generally these snakes avoid contact with people an attack only, if there is a danger for them. Therefore, snake bites are usually accidental. The poison of vipers is not very toxic, and therefore, is no danger for human's health. Nevertheless, if you have been bitten by a viper, try to see a doctor, who will neutralize the effect of poison, as soon as possible.
In order to avoid the bites of poisonous insects and snakes, stick to these precautionary measures:
- don't walk over grass (in forest or steppe) in open footwear and shorts, don't touch it with hands;
- use means against insects;
- if you decide to tent, do this on the plane surface of the open ground. Clean up the territory near the tent from trash and stones;
- tightly close the tent at night or, if possible, put a mosquito net.
There are no required immunizations for entering Ukraine. However, it is worth having inoculations against such illnesses as:
- hepatitis A
- tick-borne encephalitis (if you travel in summer period
- typhoid fever.
If you regularly take some medicine, you should take it with in the first place. In a whole, the most necessary drugs can be always purchased in Ukrainian pharmacy stores and, at that, much cheaper than in Europe. There should be no problems with drug names: they are specified in Latin, too.
Nevertheless, it would be good to have the following medicines with you:
- adhesive plaster
- antiseptic and antibacterial agents
- drugs against diarrhea
- aspirin, paracetamol and other antipyretic, anti-inflammatory and anesthetic preparations
- antihistaminic preparations (in case of disposition to allergic reactions)
- protective means against insect bites
- catarrhal preparations (including cough lozenges and syrop)
- sun block (if you travel in summer).
Medical insurance is not required to enter Ukraine, except the cases, when it is in the list of documents necessary for obtaining a visa. Ukraine has agreements with many European countries, according to which it guarantees emergency medical help for foreign residents in case of need. However, considering that these agreements generally work only in theory and also that Ukrainian health care system is underdeveloped and medical service is inferior in its quality to European standards, we recommend that you provide yourself with medical insurance regardless of the time that you plan to spend in Ukraine.
National operator of mail service in Ukraine is "Ukrpochta". Its offices can be easily found in any town of the country - in big regional center, as well as in small settlement. Main offices of "Ukrpochta" work from 8 a.m. till 8 p.m. on work-days and from 9 a.m. till 5 p.m. on Saturdays; regional branches close a little bit earlier - at 6 p.m. and not always work on Saturday.
Letter or wrapper delivery lasts up to a week on the territory of Ukraine, one to two weeks - to Europe, from three weeks to a month - to America or Australia. The most reliable way is to send your correspondence via airmail.
Moreover, many international mail and messenger services of express-delivery, including DHL, FedEx, UPS, have their representative offices in Ukraine.
Currency. You may import up to 3000 US dollars or the equivalent of this sum in any other currency, as well as cheques issued by foreign banks in sum up to 3000 US dollars, to Ukraine without written declaration. If the sum in cash or in issued cheques that you intend to import is from 3000 to 10000 US dollars, you have to write it down in declaration at the customs control. It is important that you keep this document (the customs declaration) till the end of your stay, because you will need to show it, when you exit the country. You may import the sum from 10000 to 50000 US dollars to the territory of Ukraine only, if you have a verifying certificate from the bank. You need permission of the National Bank of Ukraine in order to import more than 50000 US dollars.
Alcohol and tobacco goods. You may import 1 liter vodka products, 2 liters wine, 5 liters beer, 200 cigarettes or 250 g tobacco to Ukraine without paying the customs tax.
Foodstuff. Foodstuffs imported for personal consumption are exempted from tax. At that, the total cost of the goods can't exceed 50 Euros and the weight of each product can't exceed 2 kg.
Not allowed to import to the territory of Ukraine are goods that can harm health, endanger life of population and fauna, or may lead to harmful consequences for environment. As well as photo-, audio-, and video-materials, which promote war, violence, pornography, racial, ethnical and religious animosity.
Internet develops in impetuous rates in Ukraine, and therefore, today it is no problem to get access to the World web - both wired and wireless. There are more access points in big cities, nevertheless there are also some in small settlements.
The majority of Ukrainian hostels and hotels of different level have Wi-Fi points, which allow visitors to use high-speed Internet. Most Ukrainian restaurants and many cafes are equipped with internet access points, there are also Wi-Fi zones in terminals of the international airports. You may also access Internet from your cell phone, if your device supports GPRS or one of the 3G standards. All cellular carriers in Ukraine offer access to the mobile internet.
Moreover, it's usually no problem to find Internet-cafe in Ukrainian cities. "Ukrtelecom" company offers Internet access as well. Its offices are easy to find in any town of Ukraine. The cost of one hour of Internet access usually doesn't exceed 1-2 €.
Currency. On condition of oral declaration you may export from Ukraine up to 3000 US dollars in cash or in form of traveler's cheques for the same sum or the equivalent of this sum in any other foreign currency. You may also export the foreign currency, which you previously imported on legal basis and which is stated in the customs declaration. The cheques issued by foreign banks and imported or sent to Ukraine in compliance with local legislation also belong here. You may export foreign currency in sum from 10000 to 50000 US dollars only based on the verifying certificate from the bank, in sum of more than 50000 US dollars - provided the individual license of the National Bank.
You may also export Ukrainian national currency in sum of up to 1000 hrivnas without written declaration.
Alcohol and tobacco goods. You may export no more than 1 liter vodka products, 2 liters wine, 5 liters beer, 200 cigarettes or 250 g tobacco from Ukraine without paying the customs tax.
Foodstuff. Exported foodstuffs with the total cost up to 50 Euros are exempted from tax. At that, the weight of each product can't exceed 2 kg.
Works of art. Having a cheque on purchase, you may freely export from Ukraine souvenir products, paintings, as well as works of decorative and applied arts of modern production, bought in shops or artistic salons. When buying a picture of modern artist, make sure that it has a remark that this canvas has no cultural value.
Antiques, as well as works of art, having cultural or historical value, are allowed to be exported only with permission of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine.
To the cultural values, export of which doesn't require permission of the Ministry of Culture, belong: personal rewards, on wearing of which there are order books and certificates; works of Soviet decorative and educational art, painting, author's graphics of serial and mass production published after 1960. As well as modern factory-made jewelry made of non-precious stones; serial works of modern production made of ceramics, leather, wood, metals, stones; souvenirs, postage stamps issued after 1970.
There are tree visa types distinguished depending on the term of stay of foreign residents on the territory of Ukraine: transit, short-term and long-term.
Transit visa (indicated with letter B) is issued for a transit journey through the territory of Ukraine and allows staying of foreign citizens for no longer than 5 days. Transit visa may be one-time, two-time or multiple.
Short-term visa (indicated with letter C) is issued in case that the term of staying of foreign citizens doesn't exceed 90 days. Short-term visa may be issued as one-time, two-time or multiple for a period up to six months.
Long-term visa (indicated with letter D) is issued for entry to Ukraine with a purpose of obtaining documents on staying for a period of more than 90 days. Long-term visa may be one-time, two-time or multiple for a period up to 3 years.
There is a uniform rate for issuing of visas to Ukraine: one-time visa - 85 US Dollars, two-time - 130 US Dollars, multiple - 200 US Dollars.
If you stay in Ukraine for more than three months (for residents of the countries with visa-free entry procedures) or decided to extend your visa, you should turn to the State Department on issues of citizenship, immigration, and registration of physical persons. You must do it not earlier than 10 days and not later than 3 days prior to expiration date of the first registration (got at the entry to Ukraine) or of visa. To do so, you need to make a written statement specifying reasons for extension of the term of stay in Ukraine, as well as the period of time, for which you need to stay. For extension of tourist visa it is enough to provide documents that confirm hotel booking for the period of the intended stay.
But you should consider that visa or registration extension procedure is quite bureaucratized and may demand a lot of time and efforts on your side. Therefore, we recommend resorting to it only in case of emergency.
Remember that it's impossible to stay in Ukraine without visa longer than 90 days in the period of 180 days. After expiration of this term you won't have an opportunity to exit the country and come back immediately just by putting a new entry stamp at the border.
Stationary connection. In order to make an international call from the stationary phone in Ukraine, dial 0, wait for a beep, then dial 0 again, then - country code, city code, and telephone number. To make a long-distance call within Ukraine, you need to dial 0, wait for dial tone, and then dial the code of the needed city and the telephone number without pauses. If you make a call within one city, you don't have to dial city code.
You'll generally meet three-digit codes in Ukraine. They operate, if the dialed number is seven-digit. If the number has six digits, you have to add "2" to the code, if the number is five-digit - "22".
Besides stationary phones, you may use services of "Ukrtelecom" public telephones, which can be found in each town, in order to make international and long-distance calls. Most of them work round-the-clock.
Mobile connection. As a rule, when crossing the Ukrainian border, your cell phone will be automatically registered in the network of Ukrainian cellular operators. If this didn't happen, we recommend contacting your operator and ordering roaming service. However, roaming is pretty expensive on the territory of Ukraine, therefore, it is more convenient to buy a local SIM-card. Moreover, the starting packages of Ukrainian cellular operators are quite affordable - they are sold at the airports, in mobile connection shops, in kiosks and at street vendors and cost up to $5. You don't have to show passport or any other documents, when buying a SIM-card. All you have to do is to replenish the account. You may do this through buying a replenishment voucher in the mobile connection shops or in kiosks, as well as through special terminals, which can be found in supermarkets, at public transport stops, in shopping malls.
The most popular cellular operators in Ukraine are - "Kyivstar", "MTC", Life:), Beeline and "Djuice".
Wherever you call - within Ukraine or abroad - dial the number in the international format: for instance, all Ukrainian numbers will start with +38 (38 is the code of Ukraine). If you call from cell phone to the stationary phone, you need to dial city code first. For Kyiv the number will look like +38 044 (city code) + subscribers number.
Public telephone. You may call from pay phone with the help of telephone cards, which are sold at post offices, in large shops, and in newspaper kiosks. At present new pay phones that accept coins as call payment are being widely installed as well.
An average tariff for taxi services within the town is 2-3 UAH (0,2-0,3 €) per kilometer. At that, the minimum sum of order is 20 UAH (2,5 €, up to 5 km). The cost of taxi ride outside the town is 4 UAH (0,4 €) per kilometer. An auto with air-conditioner will cost 15 UAH (1,5 €) more.
We exhort you to use only legal taxis and not to get in car to private carriers, as it's not just a question of money, but of your safety, too. As a rule, there are more illegal drivers in the international airport Borispol, so you should be especially careful, when choosing a taxi here. Also always keep in mind the tariffs and don't allow short-changing you. The cost of taxi ride from the airport Borispol to the center of Kyiv is 20-25 €, and if you order a car in advance - 16-18 €.
The cost of living in Ukraine differs depending on the region. In Kyiv and Crimea, as well as in some large cities in the east of the country, the prices for accommodation are somewhat higher than in other regions. The prices also differ depending on the season. Thus, the cost of accommodation at Crimean resorts is significantly higher in summer period. In Western Ukraine, on the contrary, the cost of living in hotels goes down in this period. Generally the accommodation rises in price here in the period from November till April, when skiing-lovers gather at the Carpathian resorts.
Hostels. One day stay in a hostel will cost 8-20 € in large cities and popular tourist centers. In small towns you may find even more democratic options.
Hotels. Double room with breakfast in middle-class hotel costs 60-100 € per day, in high-class hotel - from 130 €. At the same time you should consider that the cost of living in a hotel of the famous international hotel chain in Ukraine may be higher than in the similar hotel in Europe.