In this article you will find out what is the difference between extension of stay or 90/180 days in Ukraine and visa extension, what are the consequences of overstaying in Ukraine and how to handle the situation if it happened so, you will also discover about the most common frauds with extension of stay.
Extension of stay vs. extension of visa
We frequently receive inquiries from foreigners visiting Ukraine on how to extend their stay or visa. First of all, there are two categories of travelers with different visitation rights in Ukraine. The first category is the citizens of the US, Canada, the UK, the EU’s countries, Switzerland and some other countries who enjoy visa-free status with Ukraine. Visa-free implies that they can visit the country without any form of visa or permits and stay for up to 90 days within 180-day period. Therefore in this case we will be talking about extension of 90/180 period or extension of stay. The other category is citizens of, for instance, Australia, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Iran and many other who need to obtain a visa prior to arriving in Ukraine. In this case we are talking about extension of visa in Ukraine. Follow this link to find out whether you need a visa to come to Ukraine.
Why is it important not to overstay in Ukraine
What are the consequences of overstaying 90 days or visa? The most important and general is remaining illegal in Ukraine. This implies that the foreigner concerned remains in Ukraine in violation of the law and this, in turn, means that the foreigner cannot do any legally meaningful and official actions, such as, for example, open or close bank account, address any state authorities, get married, purchase property, register birth of a child, inherit property and others legal matters. Moreover, such individual will be held liable as overstaying is an administrative offense. The heaviest penalty for overstaying is a 3-year ban to enter Ukraine. Our practice shows, that this scenario usually happens in case of significant overstay or with respect to the citizens of high immigration risk countries.
You overstayed, what to do?
If it happened so that you overstayed your visa or 90 days in Ukraine you will need to make a respective application to the State Immigration Service of Ukraine’s local department with request for extension.
There are several important rules to bear in mind for the extension of your stay or visa in Ukraine:
1. You need to have valid grounds enshrined by law:
– need of medical care;
– pregnancy or delivery;
– supervision and care of sick family member;
– application for inheritance;
– application for immigration permit or citizenship;
– work as foreign correspondent or representative of foreign media;
It is important to note, however, that the law does not provide exhaustive list of all grounds for extension of stay or visa in Ukraine. There are other grounds which might be regarded as valid by the immigration authorities.
2. The stay or visa can be extended only for the period of such grounds existence and not more than 180 days counted from the day of last arrival in Ukraine.
in case when a foreigner entered Ukraine with long-term visa (specially issued to obtain temporary or permanent residency permit) and did not manage to obtain these permits timely, the visa can be extended for up to one month if the foreigner proofs that he or she missed the time-limit due to force major.
3. All the above grounds should be properly confirmed by relevant documents and/or certificates.
4. Your documents for extension should be submitted to the relevant immigration authorities no earlier than 10 days and not later than 3 days before expiry of your visa or stay in Ukraine. You still can submit a request for extension after your visa/stay expired, however, you will need to pay an administrative fine before such submission.
You are expected to submit a certificate of inpatient care from a hospital, for example, if your grounds for extension are medical care, pregnancy, delivery or care of sick family member. In casa with application for immigration permit in Ukraine you are expected to furnish a certificate issued by local department of State Immigration Service confirming that you applied for the permit.
Given that the decision on extension depends on discretion of the immigration officer, it is in your best interest to make sure that the documents with your application duly confirm your grounds for extension, as otherwise your application will be rejected.
Beware of fraud
Extension of stay or visa in Ukraine is rather exception than a rule, as could be concluded from the above. For this reason the extension is granted only in rare occasion based on valid grounds. Nonetheless, lately the immigration market in Ukraine has seen extension services being offered with no grounds. In such cases the individuals who offer such services make and/or invent them by forging documents. Often the client is not even being informed of the details, usually a certificate is being forged alleging that a foreigner needs medical care in Ukraine. By doing so a foreigner is liable for complicity in forgery. Nowadays Immigration authorities alongside with law enforcement verify validity of these certificates of alleged inpatient treatment. In case if they discover forgery the accountable individual risks imprisonment up to two years, arrest for six months or a fine (Article 358 § 3 of Criminal Code).
To sum up, if you have a valid ground preventing your from leaving Ukraine, in the first place you need to collect a set of documents, which would properly prove this ground. Secondly, you should ask your inviting party to go with you to a local department of state immigration agency and submit your documents along with application requesting extension not earlier than 10 days and not later than 3 days before your visa or stay in Ukraine expires.
The law provides for up to 3 days for the immigration officer to take decision. The decision is discretionary, meaning that the officer will decide him or herself whether to grant or not to grant an extension. This largely depends on the documents you submit as proofs for your need to stay longer in the country. As result, a foreigner gets a stamp in the passport specifying for how long the visa/stay are extended or, alternatively, in the case of rejection, a foreigner receives a ticket informing of rejection to extend stay or visa in Ukraine.
If your request for extension of stay or visa in Ukraine is rejected, the law gives you the right to challenge that decision before the higher immigration authority or a court.
Here at Ukraine Immigration Consulting we are always happy to answer any questions, help out with extension of stay or visa in Ukraine and offer you alternative options to secure your safe stay in the country.