How to Stay in Ukraine Long Term
Anyone who has been to Ukraine knows that it is quite easy to travel there on vacation, but if you want to stay for an extended period of time, years, for instance, it is much more difficult to do so (without getting married). There are a number of options available to almost everyone. The right option for you depends on how long you are planning to stay in Ukraine. Many people would be surprised to find out that it is actually possible to obtain a residence permit in Ukraine, which can be extended indefinitely for around $2,500. If you compare this to many other countries in Europe or the rest of the world for that matter, it is one of the cheapest countries where you can stay long term with relative ease. While you will need a lawyer for this, we are here to help you. So let’s take a look at the different options.
Short Term Option
The easiest option is simply to come to Ukraine without a visa if you are from one of the countries, which is part of the visa-free program (the United States, Canada, and most Western European countries are). If you are looking to come to Ukraine for 90 days or less each visit, then this is the best option for you. Many people have noted that it is possible to come back immediately after leaving Ukraine for another 90 days. This is not advisable, especially if you are trying to make a life in Ukraine. You could very easily end up in a situation where you are not allowed back into Ukraine for a period of up to 10 years. If you are from one of the countries where you must obtain a visa for Ukraine, the same rules apply, you may stay up to 90 days.
The only real option for most nationalities, if you are looking to stay for a year or less without having to leave the country, is a volunteer visa. Most foreign nationals are able to apply for a volunteer visa with help from a local Ukrainian organization. This usually is granted for a year and the person can be in Ukraine for up to a year, and these visas can be extended. The cost is usually around $1,000 per year. There is one relatively large restriction though, you cannot work. While no one will know if you are working remotely, it certainly raises red flags at the border if you have been in Ukraine for years on various volunteer visas. It is even more risky to work teaching English while you are in Ukraine on a volunteer visa. Of course, it is unlikely that you will be caught, but if you are building a life in Ukraine, the last thing you want to worry about is deportation.
If you want complete peace of mind, it is possible to obtain a residence permit that will allow you to stay in Ukraine for as long as you like. It will even put you on a path to citizenship. There are a number of ways to do this and they are all very cheap by western standards. Most developed countries require investments of $500,000 or more to acquire a residence permit. In Ukraine, the process is much more complicated but allows much more freedom. Under Ukrainian law, you may open an LLC (TOB) and provide yourself with a work permit and residence permit in Ukraine. With this, you can stay in Ukraine as long as you like and work freely as an independent contractor or employee of any company. While there are start-up and maintenance costs associated with opening and operating a business in Ukraine, they are very minimal when compared to other countries. It can be used as a vehicle to stay legally in the country. To see a complete breakdown of the costs associated with starting an LLC to acquire a residence permit, check out our post ‘Moving to Ukraine: How Much Does it Cost for a Temporary Residence Permit?‘.
If you are interested in speaking with our team about the details and costs of staying long term in Ukraine, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.