Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible safety or security risks. You should avoid demonstrations and public gatherings, as even peaceful protests may turn violent.
Most visitors to Ukraine experience no difficulties. Serious crime against foreigners is relatively rare, but incidents do occur. In some cases attacks have been racially motivated. Travellers of Asian or Afro-Caribbean descent and individuals belonging to religious minorities should take extra care.
You should report any incidents to the police by dialling 102. A list of local translators is available on the British Embassy website.
Be alert to the possibility of street crime and petty theft, which is on the increase in Kyiv. Foreigners may appear to be lucrative targets. Where possible, avoid walking alone late at night in dark or poorly lit streets. Keep valuables and cash safe and out of sight, especially in crowded areas, tourist spots, and public transport, where pickpockets and bag snatchers operate.
A common scam is to drop a wallet or bundle of money in front of a tourist. The criminal then “finds” the money and asks if it is the tourist’s or offers to share the money with them. If you are approached in this way, you should walk away without engaging in conversation.
Don’t lose sight of your credit cards during transactions.
Theft of and from vehicles is common. Don’t leave documents or money in your vehicle. Unregulated taxi drivers can overcharge. Use official taxis, which have the name and telephone number of the taxi company on the side of the door and on the top of the taxi.
Do not leave drinks or food unattended as they could be spiked. Beware of accepting drinks from casual acquaintances.
Direct flights between Ukraine and Russia ceased on 25 October 2015 and on 25 November 2015 Ukraine banned all Russian airlines from transiting its airspace. Check latest developments with your airline or travel company before you travel.
Bus, trolleybus and tram tickets normally need to be validated by being ‘punched’ when you board. You can be fined on the spot if you are travelling with a ticket that has not been validated.
There is a wide network of minibuses. The fare is normally displayed on the window inside the minibus. You may need to pass your money to the driver via other passengers.
There is no metro connection to Kyiv city centre from Boryspil International Airport. The most convenient way to reach the city centre is by taxi. Alternatively you can take the ‘Sky Bus’ from the airport to the city centre (via Kharkivska metro station to the main railway station “Pivdenny”). You can buy a ticket from the driver.
Use official taxis which display the name and telephone number of the taxi company. Where possible ask your hotel to get a taxi for you or ask for the telephone number of a reputable taxi company. You should agree the fare before getting into the taxi.
A number of local companies offer tours to Chernobyl. Some areas around the reactor are covered by an exclusion zone, and you may need to get a permit and travel with a guide. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, although some of the radioactive isotopes released into the atmosphere still linger, they are at tolerable exposure levels for limited periods of time.
You must have a valid International Driving Permit to drive legally in Ukraine, as well as your UK driving licence. Make sure you have original vehicle-registration papers, ownership documents and insurance papers available at all times. These will be required if you are stopped by the police and when crossing borders. This also applies to rental vehicles. If you do not have these papers when stopped by the police they have the right to impound your vehicle and charge you for this.
Local driving standards are poor. Street lights are weak, speed limits, traffic lights and road signs are often ignored, and drivers rarely indicate before manoeuvring. There are a high number of traffic accidents, including fatalities. Speeding, drunk driving and infrequent use of helmets, seat belts and child restraints in vehicles are the main contributing factors.
Roads are of variable quality. Driving outside major towns at night can be hazardous. Avoid night-time travel wherever possible.
You must wear a seat belt. Using a mobile phone while driving is prohibited. There is a zero-tolerance policy on drink driving.
There have been reports of traffic police stopping vehicles and levying on-the-spot fines for minor traffic violations. Ukrainian law allows the police to stop a vehicle. The police officer should give their name and rank, explain why you have been stopped and make an administrative offence report. Fines have to be paid at a bank within 15 days.
In case of a road accident dial 102. Ukrainian officials generally only speak Ukrainian.
If you travel by train, make sure your belongings are secure.
Don’t agree to look after the luggage of a fellow traveller or allow it to be stored in your compartment
Train timetables and ticket reservation is available online on the Ukrainian Railways site.
There is a general threat from terrorism. The Ukrainian authorities have announced that they have disrupted a number of planned attacks, including in Kyiv. Attacks have mainly been aimed at official Ukrainian targets, but could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.
British nationals haven’t been specifically targeted. You should remain vigilant and avoid large gatherings and demonstrations.
There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.
Penalties for being caught in possession of drugs are severe.
Smoking and drinking alcoholic drinks in public places is officially banned. Public places include transport, bus stops, underground crossings, cultural, sports and governmental establishments, playgrounds and parks.
Although homosexuality is not prohibited by law, public attitudes are less tolerant than in the UK and public displays of affection may attract negative attention. There is no provision under Ukrainian legislation guaranteeing freedom from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. The Kyiv Pride parade in June 2016 passed off without incident.
Corruption remains a major problem. If you think you have been mistreated by an official then you should report your case to the relevant government department:
you can make a complaint about political corruption and mistreatment from the authorities to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau: telephone (+38 044) 200 06 91.
Ukrainian officials generally only speak Ukrainian.
Carry your passport at all times for ID purposes. Police may carry out passport checks on foreign nationals, particularly in the central area of Kyiv. Policemen should introduce themselves (name, post, rank, reason for ID check) and present a document verifying their position. Your original passport is required since no other document can provide information on your legal status in Ukraine. If you are detained because you have been unable to present your passport, you should ask for an official report.
Don’t take photographs near government or military establishments.
The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
British citizens are allowed to enter Ukraine without a visa for visits of up to 90 days within a 180 day period. Otherwise, you’ll need to get a visa. For more advice on entry requirements contact the Ukrainian Embassy in London or Consulate General in Edinburgh.
You don’t need to complete an immigration card. For more details, visit the website of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine
You may be asked to provide evidence that you have sufficient funds to support you during your stay. The Ukrainian authorities accept the following as a proof of sufficient funds: cash, bank cards along with bank statements, accommodation bookings, tourist vouchers, a letter from the person or company you’re visiting stating that they will cover your expenses, a return ticket or onward travel ticket. You can find more information on the websites of the Ukrainian Embassy in the UK and State Border Service of Ukraine.
If you’re travelling without a visa, your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required. If you’re applying for a visa, your passport may need to have an additional period of validity. Check with the Ukrainian Embassy in London for further details.
UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Ukraine.
You can find general information about importing and exporting items on the website of the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine (in Ukrainian).
There are strict customs regulations governing the export from Ukraine of antiques and items of historical interest. If in doubt seek prior permission from the customs authorities: telephone: (+38 044) 454 16 13, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Non-residents are allowed to bring a vehicle for personal use into Ukraine for up to one year. There’s no need to complete a customs declaration form. The vehicle can only be used in Ukraine by the person that brought it into the country. The vehicle can’t be used for commercial purposes, dismantled, sold or rented to other people. If you want to do any of these things, you’ll need register the vehicle in Ukraine and pay the appropriate customs tax.
You must take the vehicle out of Ukraine within the required timeframe, or place it into the customs regime of the State.
If your vehicle breaks down and can’t be fixed, you should inform the Customs Service and provide them with evidence that it can’t be repaired. You may then dispose of the vehicle through the official channels of the Customs Service.
If you bring a private vehicle in Ukraine with the intention of transiting the country, you may be asked to complete a customs declaration form and pay a deposit.
You can find more information on bringing your car to Ukraine on the State Fiscal Service’s website (in Ukrainian).
Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre on the TravelHealthPro website and by NHS (Scotland) on the fitfortravel website. Useful information and advice about healthcare abroad is also available on the NHS Choices website.
There is no reciprocal health care agreement between the UK and Ukraine. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
State medical facilities in Ukraine are generally poor. Private clinics and hospitals offer a better standard of care, though these do not always meet western standards and practices. If you are involved in an accident or taken ill, it is likely that you will be taken to a state hospital unless you can show that you have comprehensive medical insurance cover.
English isn’t widely spoken and British patients may face communication difficulties.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 103 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
ATMs are available and credit cards are widely used in cities. Cloning of credit and debit cards is common. You should be vigilant when using ATMs and not let your card out of your sight during transactions. Outside cities you should make sure you have sufficient cash in local currency.
The official currency of Ukraine is the Hryvnia (UAH). US dollars and Euros are the easiest currency to exchange in Ukraine. Sterling may also be exchanged at a more limited number of sites. Scottish and Northern Irish notes aren’t accepted. Use only official exchange booths. You will need to present your passport to exchange money. You should be given a receipt. Keep the receipt as you may need to produce it if you exchange money back on departure.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London on 020 7008 1500 (24 hours).
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.