Ukraine: Conflict in Ukraine: What You Need to Know


The escalating conflict in Ukraine has led to an evolving immigration crisis, as individuals evacuate the country and employers work to ensure the safety of employees and their families, which is of course paramount.

Fragomen is closely monitoring the situation, and we fully understand the need for considered and timely action. This kind of crisis requires careful and sensitive handling, and we at Fragomen want to share our unparalleled experience and provide insights into the immigration ramifications of the situation.

Initial Considerations

  • Identify employees and family members who are in Ukraine or a neighbouring country and want to evacuate to a new safe jurisdiction. Within this group, identify and prioritise those who will be allowed to leave Ukraine or have already left.
  • Currently Ukrainian citizen men aged 18-60 and women in strategic occupations are not permitted to leave Ukraine.
  • Many countries have reduced consular services and/or closed their consular posts in Ukraine, which means visa applications from within Ukraine are unlikely to be possible.
  • Airports in Ukraine have been closed to civilian travel.
  • This has meant that individuals seeking to leave Ukraine must generally do so via the country’s land borders with its five western neighbouring countries: Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. While Fragomen cannot advise on safely reaching or crossing a border, we can advise on documentary requirements at the border.

Additional Practical Steps and Considerations for Ukrainian Nationals

  • Develop a blanket or individual policy approach to your evacuation efforts. Will efforts be focused on one single destination country or will several be considered?
  • Identify short and long term options. Once employees and their families are able to travel by air, perhaps once in a neighbouring country, consider whether further onward travel is desired. Ukrainian nationals do not require an entry visa for tourism or business visits in over 65 countries, which can facilitate such travel.
        • Click here to download a simplified list of select destination jurisdictions into which Ukrainians require a visa and into which they do not. Please remember that in practice, entry requirements vary by jurisdiction and visa requirements for Ukrainians are subject to sudden change as the situation evolves. Also, visitors are typically required to show that they have return or onward travel plans, so Ukrainians may be subject to heightened scrutiny on this point when seeking to enter a country as a visitor. 
        • In most cases, visitors are not permitted to work, so consider whether you should prioritise countries where an individual or their family can enter as a visitor and apply for a longer term immigration status in-country.
        • Work permit rules, including where switching after entry as a visitor, are complex and countries are introducing concessions for Ukrainians every day. Please contact Fragomen for further assistance.
        • Lastly, remember to review our Spotlight page on COVID-19 travel restrictions and requirements, as they may apply to Ukrainian nationals seeking entry.

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