Ukrainian Civil Issues
Apostilles and Legalization of Documents
An apostille is the equivalent of an international notarial seal. Documents which bear an apostille are legally valid for use in all countries party to the Hague Convention on the Legalization of Documents. This includes both the United States and Ukraine.
The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv cannot apostille or authenticate documents issued in the United States. Such documents are apostilled by the Office of the Secretary of State (or the equivalent office) in the State which issued the original document. Documents issued by the U.S. Government are apostilled by the Department of State's Authentications Office. Contact information for the 50 Secretaries of State is available on the National Association of Secretaries of State website.
Documents issued in Ukraine are apostilled by the Ministry of Justice, located at Artem 73 in Kyiv at these phone numbers: (044) 486-4216 (civil registry documents, i.e., death, birth, marriage, divorce certificates, etc.) in Room 155; and (044) 486-4988 (notarized documents) in Room 118. Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:00 am until 12:00 noon. A regular apostille takes one day. However, in certain cases the process may take up to 20 business days if the Ministry does not have a copy of the seal and/or signature on file.
U.S. civil records (i.e., records of birth, death, marriage, etc.) are obtained from the State or territory in which they were issued. Please visit the Centers for Disease Control website for information on where to obtain such documents.
If you are in Ukraine, you may contact the local civil registration office (RAGS) for copies of civil records. If you are in the United States, please contact the Embassy of Ukraine for information about obtaining Ukrainian civil records.
Marriage and Divorce in Ukraine
Getting married in Ukraine can take from several weeks to several months. If you are marrying a non-Ukrainian, the Embassy understands that one of you must have been present in Ukraine for several months before you can register your marriage here. If you are marrying a Ukrainian citizen, you will need to do the following:
- If you have been married before, please make sure that you have either the original or certified copy of your divorce decree or your spouse's death certificate. These documents must be property authenticated (apostilled) in the United States.
- Fill out and execute a Letter of Non-Impediment to Marriage at the U.S. Citizen Services Unit. You can download the respective form for those who have never been married and those who have been married before, but are not married now. If you require this service, please make an appointment for a notarial using our online appointment system. The fee for this service is $50.
- Authenticate the letter at the Legalization Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, located in Kyiv at 2 Velyka Zytomyrska Street. The Ministry accepts documents for legalization Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Documents are usually returned the same afternoon. The Ministry's hours are subject to change without prior notice. Please Note: If you plan to get your letter notarized and authenticated in one day, you should schedule an 8:30 a.m. appointment with U.S. Citizen Services in order to allow enough time to visit both offices by noon.
U.S. citizens may obtain a divorce in Ukraine as long as one of the parties lives here. The case will be heard by a local court with jurisdiction over that person's place of residence. The entire process can take several weeks to several months and can be very complex. The Embassy suggests that U.S. citizens involved in divorce proceedings consider hiring a Ukrainian attorney to assist them. Lists of attorneys in Kyiv and other cities are available from the American Citizen Services unit.
Marriage Brokers and Dating Services
If you have met, or are thinking about trying to meet, a Ukrainian citizen through an international marriage broker or dating service, you should be aware of the realities of getting this person a visa to the United States. Although you may intend a visit to the United States just to get acquainted in person, Ukrainian citizens associated with marriage brokers and dating services rarely overcome the legal obstacles to obtaining a nonimmigrant visa.
Additionally, many U.S. citizens trying to meet Ukrainians using an international marriage broker or dating service have fallen victim to internet scams that have cost them hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars. You may wish to consider this when deciding to use these types of services.
Ukrainian customs regulations place strict limits on the types and amounts of currency and other items that may be brought in to or taken out of Ukraine. The Embassy usually is unable to intervene in cases of money or other property seized by customs authorities, and the individual typically would need to hire a lawyer and go to court to seek the return of his or her money or property. We encourage you to contact the State Customs Service of Ukraine or a qualified legal advisor for information about specific customs regulations and requirements. The Customs Service public hotline for inquiries is +38-800-501-3130 or +38-044-249-9284, or you may email them. Customs operators typically speak only Ukrainian or Russian.
Visas and Registration
U.S. citizens do not require a visa as long as their length of stay in Ukraine is less than 90 days. Individuals requiring a visa must obtain it at a Ukrainian Embassy or Consulate before arriving in Ukraine. Individuals in the United States may contact the Embassy of Ukraine in Washington, D.C., or the Consulates General in Chicago, New York, or San Francisco for information about current visa requirements and application procedures.
Upon arrival in Ukraine, U.S. citizens generally will be registered for an authorized stay of 90 days. In some cases, it may be possible to extend the registration for an additional 90 days. However, the Embassy understands that the extension is valid only for continuous stay in Ukraine, but may not allow re-entry to the country. Requests for extension are processed through the Ministry of Internal Affairs' Office of Citizenship, Immigration, and Registration (OVIR), and must be submitted at least three days before the current registration expires. Please contact OVIR for current information about current registration requirements and application procedures.
U.S. citizens traveling from Ukraine to Russia must possess a valid Russian visa. The Consular Section of the Russian Embassy in Kyiv is located at Prospekt Kutuzova 8; tel: +38-044-284-6816; fax: +38-044-284-7936; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.