Expating to Ukraine–What Can You Do?
It’s a bummer to find a country you love, and then be unable to stay in said country. There’s a reason that expating to Ukraine is becoming such a desire amongst expats.
Maybe you found love, maybe you love the cuisine–or maybe it’s a country that just jives with your personality. In any case, visas, red tape, and general paperwork hassle can put a real damper on an expat’s dreams.
Expating to Ukraine seems like it wouldn’t be that difficult on paper. However, the language barrier, general lack of helpful culture, and the archaic computer systems make it more difficult than it should be. You see, Ukraine wants expats in their country. It helps bolster their economy to have Westerners spending money in the country.
It’s far, far easier to break the rules of overstaying in Ukraine than it is for a country that is a member of the Schengen Zone. If you overstay too long in the Schengen area, in the wrong country, you might be looking at fines in the thousands of dollars. Not to mention the big fat RED X in your passport (potentially).
Sure, you can get visas for some of the Schengen countries “relatively” easily–I’m looking at you Italy and Ireland. However, this requires months (if not years) of paperwork, interviews at embassies, and a lot of work. However, no matter where you are in the process with this you cannot overstay your normal visa.
On the other hand, Ukraine will ask you to pay $35 bucks and send you on your way.
But, is there a more legal way to do it?
Say you want to start your expating to Ukraine journey, and want to do it the right way. You want to be able to stay as long as you want. No worries about timing your visits, border runs, or any of the other hassles of overstaying.
What can you do?
It’s definitely not ideal, and you shouldn’t rush into it. But frankly, the easiest way to get a more permanent residence in Ukraine is probably to get married.
Even if you don’t necessarily have a girl you’re dating–it probably wouldn’t be hard to just pay a girl to marry you, on paper. You can always divorce later. Just make sure you have the right lawyers involved.
And, if you are dating a girl you like–well, then that’s an obvious choice. Again though, don’t be stupid about it. Talk to a lawyer and make sure your protection is iron clad. This doesn’t just apply to marriage in Ukraine. But that’s a story for another day 🙂
“Invest In The Economy”
When I was attempting to stay longer term in Ukraine (early 2016), I went with a girl to some shady office out in the far districts of Kiev. The goal was to simply get the right paperwork done so I could extend my visa. I had all the paperwork from my apartment rental and everything.
We got there, and after much run-around, were finally told that it wasn’t possible.
I was told I needed to invest $100,000 in the Ukrainian economy.
What the “economy” entailed, I really have no idea. That was enough for me to walk out of there. There is no way I would put my hard-earned money into the hands of a country that routinely has banks close and takes the money.
People in Ukraine don’t even keep money in a bank–that’s how common this is.
It seems to be the easiest thing, frankly. It’s more or less their “wink-wink, we want you here” policy. Like I said earlier, Ukraine wants you in the country. It only helps them.
- Paid the 895 UAH fine.
- Took an hour and a half.
- Had a native girl with me, which sped it up a lot (and it was still kinda close).
- You head to passport control. They look at it. See you overstayed. Stop you.
- Take you to a side room. Take passport from you.
- Take ages to print out one damn paper.
- Take said paper down to banks on the first floor.
- Pray they aren’t on break and are willing to help you.
- Pay fine.
- Go back upstairs and through security (again). Cut a lot of angry people if necessary.
- Go collect passport and turn in receipt showing you paid the fine.
- Go through passport control (again).
It’s a reasonable assessment that most people who are expating to Ukraine probably have their own, location-independent business. It doesn’t make financial sense to move to Ukraine to work (unless it’s for an American company–and in that case, they’ll be getting you a work visa).
Even without any type of visa, you can still spend six months a year in Ukraine. If you overstay, you can stretch that way more. Plus, do you really want to spend February in Ukraine?
Food for thought.
‘Til next time,