On 21.07.2021 the Government of Ukraine has restored the administrative responsibility for illegal stay in Ukraine despite the quarantine and amended changes to the Order of the Government No 259 from 18.03.2020 which allowed the foreigners not to be sanctioned for forced overstay in Ukraine due to the pandemic of COVID-19. The new rules came into effect on 07.08.2021.
All foreigners violating the rules of stay in Ukraine after 07.08.2021 are subjects for sanctions
The amendments repeal the norm of the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers, according to which all foreigners who violated the term of stay on the territory of Ukraine during or as a result of quarantine, were released from administrative liability under article 203 of Code of Ukraine about administrative sanctions.
Unequal law enforcement practices lead to misunderstandings and negative consequences. However, ignorance of the law does not absolve from responsibility and this is the most important thing. After all, in addition to a fine for a foreigner, a decision on deportation may be made and entry into Ukraine from 3 to 5 years may be prohibited.
However several exceptions are still possible!
At the same time the Law of Ukraine № 3219 “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine Aimed at Preventing the Occurrence and Spread of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)” is still in effect. In accordance to the provisions of mentioned Law some foreigners are still excepted from the list of those who apply to the new rules and shall not be fined, deported or banned to enter Ukraine:
– foreigners and stateless persons who were unable to leave Ukraine due to the quarantine;
– foreigners and stateless persons who have not been able to apply to territorial bodies / subdivisions of the State migration service of Ukraine with a request to extend their stay on the territory of Ukraine and / or to exchange the residence permit (temporary or permanent) due to the quarantine.
However there are several problems appear.
First of all it will be difficult to prove that the person did not have a possibility to leave the territory of Ukraine in time because in different periods of time the quarantine restrictions in different countries were changing, and it is very possible to assume that the person could have a possibility to travel outside Ukraine at some moment, and not stay in Ukraine illegally from 12.03.2020 till the present time.
Secondly, the real everyday practice of a lawyer shows that state authorities, in particular the State migration service of Ukraine and State border guard service of Ukraine do not pay much attention to explanations of foreigners while they file a case about overstay. After all, they understand that after filing a case the foreigner will have a limited time to appeal it.
So, what has to do a foreigner who overstayed in Ukraine during the COVID-19 quarantine?
If you have no grounds for extension of stay in Ukraine and do not have a residence permit which you have to exchange it is recommended to leave the territory of Ukraine. And it is more likely that you will get a penalty amounting from 1700 to 5100 UAH. However at least you can avoid deportation decision and the most worst – the entry ban to Ukraine for years.
If you have no deportation yet then it is recommended to avoid visiting the migration service. Instead it is recommended just to travel outside (airport, drive etc). The advantage is that unlike the migration service the border guard service in most cases files only a penalty, without a deportation and entry ban decisions.
The payment of the penalty should be recorded in the state register appropriately!
To avoid having an entry ban to Ukraine for 3 years it is highly recommended to get a proof that the state authority recorded the penalty payment and has no objections.