On 15 March, following unofficial announcements on the closure of Ukrainian borders to foreigners, the Ukrainian MFA released an official clarification on entering Ukrainian territory during the epidemic, as well as on consular help for Ukrainian citizens traveling abroad. The Belgian NGO Promote Ukraine translated this announcement, which we have edited for clarity and publish below.
The rapid spread of coronavirus infection in the world has become a global challenge for all of humanity. On March 13, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhan Gebreezus stressed Europe became the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Countries around the world are taking extraordinary measures to prevent the spread of infection and protect the population from the effects of the disease.
Since no vaccine exists for coronavirus infection, human movement restrictions and quarantine regimens are recognized as the most effective means of counteracting a pandemic.
On March 14, the Government of Ukraine adopted an order temporarily restricting the crossing of the state border aimed at preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Ukraine.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine is doing everything possible to protect and assist the citizens of Ukraine abroad and clarifies what one should know about the emergency measures:
1) When does Ukraine close its borders for entry?
From 12 a.m. on 16 March 2020 to 12 a.m. of 3 April (the night of April 2 to 3), entry to the territory of Ukraine for foreigners and apatrids will be suspended.
These measures may be prolonged or canceled after the end of this period, depending on the situation with the global spread of COVID-19.
2) Will Ukrainian citizens be allowed to enter the country during the entry ban period?
Yes, all citizens of Ukraine have the right to cross the state border to return to the territory of Ukraine.
3) Does the ban affect exiting the country as well?
As of now, Ukraine has not set travel restrictions on leaving the country. However, the country where the citizen is traveling may have entry restrictions.
Online information on measures taken by foreign countries to counteract the spread of COVID-19 can be found on the Foreign Ministry’s website.
4) Who will not be able to enter Ukraine?
Foreign nationals or stateless persons who are not entitled to permanent or temporary residence in Ukraine.
5) Will foreigners who are eligible for permanent or temporary residence in Ukraine be able to enter Ukraine?
Foreigners who are entitled to permanent or temporary residence in Ukraine may enter the territory of Ukraine like Ukrainian citizens.
6) Who else can enter Ukraine?
Entrance is also allowed for people who are spouses or children of Ukrainian citizens, employees of foreign diplomatic missions and consular posts accredited in Ukraine, representations of official international missions, organizations accredited in Ukraine, and members of their families, drivers and service personnel of freight vehicles, crew members.
Exceptions are also provided for certain groups of foreigners. The decision on their admission will be made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine. For example, if doctors or other specialists need to come to Ukraine.
7) What should be done by Ukrainians who are abroad on vacation, on short-term business trips or for other purposes, and have planned to return home in the next 2 weeks?
- Try to find a way to get back to Ukraine by 0:00 on the night of March 16-17.
- If you are unable to do so, register with the DRUH system (“friend” in Ukrainian). It is a special system of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine where you enter your data and inform the Foreign Ministry and all foreign diplomatic institutions about your stay in a certain country. For example, lists for repatriating Ukrainian citizens in case of an urgent need during the restriction period will be formed, in particular, using the data of this system.
- Contact the embassy or consulate in your country of residence by calling the hotline on the official website, e-mail, or their social media pages.
- Sometimes, because of too many users, the system can hang and hotlines turn out to be too “hot.” We apologize and ask for your understanding in these situations.
8) How much does it cost to call the MFA of Ukraine from abroad?
By agreement between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and Ukrainian mobile operators, calls from mobile phones in roaming to the MFA hotline are free of charge.
9) How should Ukrainian citizens who are outside the country return to Ukraine?
Ukraine is temporarily suspending the international scheduled passenger services from 17 March 00:00 Kyiv time to 3 April. In addition, the border crossing points of Ukraine for rail transport and buses will be closed during this time.
All citizens of Ukraine and foreigners who are entitled to permanent or temporary residence in Ukraine are abroad on short-term business trips, vacations, vacations and are encouraged to return to Ukraine by March 17.
For all those who do not have time to do this for objective reasons (inability to buy tickets for flights, good personal circumstances, etc.), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine recommends contacting the Ukrainian Consulates. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will make every effort to help those who need to return to Ukraine urgently before the end of the restriction period to return home. Current information will be provided on a regular basis these through all official channels of communication, as well as through foreign diplomatic institutions.
10) How will checkpoints work?
According to the Government’s decision, 123 checkpoints continue to operate. 107 checkpoints are shutting down until April 3.
The full list of closed checkpoints, as well as checkpoints where pedestrian traffic is suspended, can be found on the website of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.
11) Should people entering Ukraine pass additional examinations or follow other safety rules?
The border crossing points are equipped with specially established sanitary departments. All citizens returning from countries where, according to the WHO, an unfavorable epidemic situation has arisen due to the coronavirus spread, will undergo temperature screening and appropriate measures will be taken – a person will be sent for self-isolation at home for 14 days, or to a medical facility if necessary.
12) Will foreigners who operate trucks, transit vehicles, and crew members be able to enter Ukraine?
Crews of ships, cars, planes will be able to enter the territory of Ukraine but must undergo additional examinations.
13) What if you are abroad and unable to contact the consulate due to an overload of the hotline?
Visit the webpage of the Embassy or Consulate of Ukraine in your home country. There you will find its email address and links to its social media pages. You can send a message through email or by messaging the pages. Even on weekends, in the evening or at night. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had issued an order to ensure round-the-clock response under the special regime of operation. The hotline also continues to work, albeit with a queue: +38 (044) 238-16-57.
We apologize if we cannot respond to you immediately or if our capabilities do not meet your expectations. But we assure you that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine is doing everything in our power to provide you with the assistance you need.
14) Does the regime of work of foreign diplomatic institutions change?
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine in the conditions of the rapid spread of coronavirus infection worldwide announces that foreign diplomatic establishments temporarily, for one week, will switch to a special regime which provides for a remote form of work with citizens’ appeals and enhanced processing of citizens’ requests.
The special form of work implies that diplomatic institutions abroad will continue to carry out their functions remotely except in cases of force majeure, where immediate consular actions and functions, especially related to a pandemic, are required.
Foreign Diplomatic Institutions (FDI) will process appeals during this period:
- ID cards for returning to Ukraine in case of such a need in the next week;
- for the acquisition of Ukrainian citizenship by birth of children born in the country of residence and in connection with the issuance of their identity cards to return to Ukraine in case of an urgent need to return to Ukraine immediately;
- visas to enter Ukraine to secure Ukraine’s interests in foreign and domestic policy, as well as in cases of a humanitarian nature at the discretion of the Head of the FDI.
The special regime, providing for a remote form of dealing with citizens’ requests and enhanced processing of citizens’ requests, will continue from Sunday, 15 March, until Friday, 20 March 2020.
15) Which appeals will temporarily not be processed because of an emergency?
Appeals from citizens to consular institutions that will not be temporarily processed due to an emergency:
- registration of passports of the citizen of Ukraine for traveling abroad;
- identity cards for return to Ukraine, with the exception of instances where passport documents are lost/absent and there is an urgent need for a citizen to return to Ukraine; in other critical cases for citizens of Ukraine by the decision of the head of the FDI.
- admission to consular registration;
- notarial issues (except for cases of force majeure, such as attestation of death documents required for transporting the deceased, statements on the departure of children, etc.), legalization of documents and others;
- citizenship questions, except for the registration of the acquisition of citizenship of Ukraine by birth to children born in the country of residence and in connection with the issue of their identity card to return to Ukraine in case of an urgent need to return to Ukraine;
- issuing visas for entry into Ukraine or transit through its territory, except in cases where it is necessary to ensure the interests of Ukraine in the field of foreign and domestic policy, as well as in cases of a humanitarian nature, at the decision of the head of the DPI;
- certification of official documents by the apostille and in the order of consular legalization (for foreign ministries in Ukraine);
- visiting detainees/prisoners etc;
- field consular services.
16) What should you do if you do not find the answer to your question in your list?
Information of the operational staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine regarding the coronavirus and the situation with Ukrainian citizens abroad:
17) How should I protect myself and my relatives?
- Avoid contact with people with symptoms of SARS and those with cold symptoms. The minimum distance is 1.5 meters
- Strengthen your immunity and monitor your well-being. Ensure good nutrition, healthy sleep, exercise and water balance of the body
- Wash your hands frequently with soap for 20 seconds or use an antiseptic with an alcohol content of at least 60-80%
- Avoid touching your face. Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with dirty hands
- Cook your food. Do not eat raw meat, meat by-products, and eggs
- Disinfect surfaces and packaging
- Cancel events that involve large crowds
- Work from home whenever possible
- Contact your doctor in time. Contact your family doctor immediately if you have the first symptoms of SARS.
- Appeal hearing in Markiv case postponed due to COVID-19
- Breaking: Ukraine sees first coronavirus death, closes entry for foreigners, suspends international air travel