Refugee or complementary (subsidiary) protection status in Ukraine

*Only for well-founded cases

Where to seek help?

The State Migration Service (SMS) of Ukraine is the only legit state authority thay admit all applications, process it and make considerations (grant refugee status or complementary protection status).

Asylum in Ukraine

According to the Law of Ukraine “On Refugees and Persons in Need of Subsidiary or Temporary Protection” from 08.07.2011 No 3671-VI (hereinafter – the Law), Ukraine provides protection to foreigners and stateless persons, who are seeking it on Ukrainian territory, by means of: recognition as a refugee; recognition as a person in need of subsidiary protection (sometimes also defines as a complementary protection); recognition as a person in need of temporary protection (this type of protection yet did not worked out in Ukraine unlike two previous types).

Who is an asylum seeker in Ukraine?

Starting from the day of admission of the refugee application the foreinger will become an asylum seeker – a person who requested the state authority of Ukraine to review the application and make a consideration.

Who is a refugee in Ukraine?

According to the Law, as a refugee may be recognized a person, who is not a citizen of Ukraine and who resides in a country other than the country of his/her origin as a result of fear of becoming a victim of persecution based on race, religion, ethnicity, citizenship (nationality), belonging to certain social group or political convictions and cannot use the protection of the country of origin or doesn’t want to use such protection because of such fears, or doesn’t have citizenship (nationality) and being abroad the country of his/her permanent stay cannot or do not want to return to his/her own country because of the mentioned fears.

Who is eligible for complementary protection status in Ukraine?

Person in need of complementary (subsidiary) protection is a person, who is not a refugee in accordance with the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees and the present Law, but is in need of protection whereas such person was forced to arrive in Ukraine or stay in Ukraine in consequence of the threat to his/her life, safety or freedom in the country of origin owing to fear of execution in relation to him/her a death penalty or implementation of judgment on death penalty, torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

How to request refugee status in Ukraine? How do I apply for asylum in Ukraine?

To apply for refugee status or complementary protection status in Ukraine, you must fill out an asylum application form and questionnaire, and submit it to the respective territorial body of the State Migration Service.

The State Migration Service (SMS) will register your application, determine your identity, ask you a list of questions, and issue you with an asylum seeker certificate called. Your application will be considered in three stages and you can expect a decision from the SMS one-within six months after your asylum application. In case of a negative decision, the appeals procedure can be lengthy.

Rights and Obligations of asylum seeker and refugees in Ukraine

Asylum seekers have the right to be provided with a document called “dovidka”, which serves as a legal basis during the stay in Ukraine. However unfortunately this type of document is not an identity document and provides a limited range of rights and benefits. Asylum seekers can apply for accommodation to the State Migration Service, which manages three temporary accommodation centres (in Kyiv region, in Zakarpattia region and in Odesa city). Under the current Ukrainian law, the Government does not provide free social or medical assistance to asylum seekers. Asylum seekers must apply for a work permit if they wish to work.


You have to demonstrate your cooperation throughout the asylum procedure. You should provide all relevant information and documentation to the State Migration Service (SMS). You have to provide the address where you reside in Ukraine as it is reflected on your document “dovidka”. If you do not have any residential address in Ukraine, you should register yourself at the centre for homeless persons. This is mandatory to everyone and in case of non-compliance, the person will have to pay a fine. You have to undergo a medical examination upon request of the State Migration Service and appear at the appropriate SMS office when requested to come for appointments.

If, for any reason and regardless of the time period, you go to another city or region of Ukraine, you should inform the Regional Department of the State Migration Service about it. Please be aware that it should be the same Regional Department of the SMS where you submitted your asylum application. You should ensure that your “dovidka” is timely extended in the same Regional Department of the State Migration Service. Otherwise, you will have to pay a fine.

After recognition

If the State Migration Service grants you refugee status or complementary protection status in Ukraine, you will have similar rights to Ukrainian citizens, including those to free movement and choice of residence, education, medical assistance, insurance and health care, family unity, marriage, labour, business activity, social benefits, and legal assistance. You continue to be obliged to respect the Constitution and laws of Ukraine.

SMS will issue you a certificate stating your status as a refugee or person with complementary protection need. You can legally stay in Ukraine on the basis of this document for an unlimited period, unless there are conditions which cause you to lose your status as a refugee or person with complementary protection need. You must inform SMS about any change of your address in Ukraine. Every five years, the validity of your certificate as a refugee or person in need of complementary protection must be extended.

Your family members who reside in Ukraine, including your spouse, children under the age of eighteen, parents incapable of working, or other persons under your guardianship, will also be granted the status of refugee or person with complementary protection need. If your family members are in a different country, you can apply for them to join you in Ukraine. If you have refugee status, you can1 apply for Ukrainian citizenship after three years.

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