This is mostly for those who follow us and end up on the long-term plan…but perhaps a bit interesting to others as well. Today was day 59 on a 90 day visa and realistically there is little chance, short of a miracle, that we will complete our adoptions and be homeward bound in less than 31 days.
I called the US Embassy this morning ~ and spoke with the nicest gentleman from Louisiana who wished us God’s blessing in this adoption ~ and learned that US citizens are welcome in Ukraine for 90 days within 180 days without an official visa. The passport is stamped on the way into the country with the date of entry and considered a 90 day tourist visa.
Once the 90 days in country are used, you are required to stay out of the country until 180 days from the original date of entry. This is often not enforced but is up to the border patrol officers. Often people leave the country and drive or take the train into Poland and spend one to two days and then re-enter with a new stamp for 90 days. However, if the border patrol is enforcing the law they could refuse entry back into the country.
This is enforced strictly at international departing airports in the US. They check passports and if the 90 days within the 180 day period have been used they will refuse boarding onto your flight. This is due to their responsibility to return you to the US if you are refused entry. The airline is responsible to reboard you back onto that plane for the returning flight regardless of availability of seating on that flight. You will not be allowed to remain on the ground in the country.
If one’s intention in coming is to work or stay longer than 90 days, such as a missionary, it is required that a visa be acquired from the Ukrainian Embassy in the US prior to departure.
In cases such as ours or for medical reasons when the extended stay is unexpected and beyond our control and we were not advised prior to arrival that our stay would exceed the initial 90 days, there is an additional 90 day extension available.
To learn the official details of acquiring this extension our facilitator, since they only speak Russian and Ukrainian, will contact the Visa and Registrations for Foreigners office (OVIR Central) in Kiev at 271-9396. As an alternative back up number, he also gave us the number of the duty officer 501-2308.
There are local offices in many of the smaller cities that issue the extensions. We will visit the nearest office 10 days prior to expiration to get the extension if it is needed.
If one overstays the 90 days they are fined on the way out of the country. That fine was just increased from $100 to $800 per person.
There’s more than you ever wanted to know about Visa extensions. Amazing what all we are learning.