Stay or go? How should foreigners in Ukraine to avoid problems with law

Penalties, deportation and entry ban for the overstay caused by the COVID-19 quarantine measures SHALL NOT apply for foreigners who stayed in Ukraine legally from 12 March 2020 till official quarantine end on 30.06.2021 PLUS 30 days

Bureaucratic terror and uncertainty amid the coronavirus outbreak in Ukraine made many foreign citizens and stateless persons stuck without either a possibility to leave the country nor to manage paperwork for legal stay to avoid overstay. Despite that on 17.03.2020 the Government of Ukraine issued a resolution that prescribes that foreigners who could not leave the country or to apply for residence permit shall not be penalized for illegal stay in Ukraine within 30 days after the quarantine will end, still there are too many risks to have legal problems in Ukraine and here is why.

The changes made to the legislation are not clearly drafted and allow for ambiguous interpretation and application, which raises many questions and risks. How to extend my legal stay in Ukraine due to the corona virus COVID-19 quarantine measures? Do I have a right to apply for a residence permit or its extension after the quarantine? How would it work out? Would the officials apply the law in the correct way? Would they admit the application for extension of stay? Would they not file a deportation decision with 3 years entry ban? OR the rule means only that I will not be fined for “overstay” however I will still need to leave the country and to apply for a new visa? These and many other questions appear among foreigners in Ukraine due to the coronavirus outbreak and quarantine measures.

For now the COVID-19 quarantine in Ukraine should be lifted on 30.06.2021

The most recent legal practice shows that generally most territorial departments of State migration service of Ukraine fulfil the temporary migration rules, however staying illegally in Ukraine is not a good idea as well as in any country. Illegal stay in Ukraine prevents the foreigner to access many basic administrative services such as registration of marriage, incorporation of business or even access to basic healthcare. Apart from that, knowing the preferred way of “work” of some territorial departments of State migration and border guard services, their harmful practice of violation of foreigners’ rights and freedoms which oftentimes lead not only to 1700-10200 Hryvnas penalties but the worse situations like deportation and 3-years entry ban, – it is highly recommended to get well-prepared in order to extend the legal stay and avoid the mentioned above negative consequences.

The good news is that the most recent Ukrainian legislation allows foreigners to extend their stay in the territory of Ukraine even because of the dangerous pandemic situation that is changing every day in the countries of origin where the above mentioned foreigners are from.

Is it necessary to extend my legal stay in Ukraine during the COVID-19 quarantine and if yes, then how to do it?

First of all, let’s see what is the Law of Ukraine № 3219 «On amendments to some legal acts of Ukraine, aimed to prevent the emerging and spread of the coronavirus infection (COVID-19)». In particular, the Law foresees that due to quarantine, foreigners and stateless persons that have not been able to apply to the territorial Units and Departments of the State Migration Service of Ukraine to prolong the period of their stay in Ukraine AND/OR to exchange their permanent/temporary resident permits, WILL NOT BE PENALIZED for violation of the legislation on the legal status of the foreigners and stateless persons, IF such violations have occurred within the period of the quarantine. It’s important to stress that these rules shall be applied to the foreigners and stateless persons who stayed legally in the territory of Ukraine as of the beginning of quarantine measures.

Secondly, on 18.03.2020 the Government of Ukraine has approved the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine № 259 “Some issues on the implementation of migration legislation during the quarantine period in the territory of Ukraine”.

In accordance with the above mentioned Resolution, processing and issuance of the documents which confirm citizenship of Ukraine or a special status of a person shall be carried out in the place where the person has applied.

Also the government has approved the following:

  • Temporary, for the duration of the quarantine period and within 30 days after its termination, foreigners and stateless persons, who violated the migration legislation of Ukraine in regard to non-compliance with the terms of their stay in Ukraine OR issuance, as well as exchange of the permanent or temporary residence permits shall not be penalized if such violations have occurred during or as a result of the quarantine period;
  • Foreigners and stateless persons, who have not been able to leave Ukraine or apply to the territorial Units or Departments of the State Migration Service of Ukraine to prolong the period of their stay in Ukraine OR/AND for issuance, as well as an exchange of the permanent or temporary residence permit due to quarantine period, if the date of application for the issuance of such documents occurred during the quarantine period in Ukraine, SHALL within a period of up to 30 days from the date of quarantine’s termination apply to the territorial Units or Departments of the State Migration Service of Ukraine to prolong the period of their stay in Ukraine OR/AND for issuance, as well as an exchange of the permanent or temporary residence permit.

Thirdly, according to the decision of the Government from May 25, the State Migration Service of Ukraine resumed the restrictions imposed in connection with the quarantine in Ukraine.

In particular:

  • the vast majority of territorial divisions of the SMSU work according to the usual work schedule;
  • restrictions on the procedure for providing administrative services have been lifted – citizens of Ukraine, foreigners and stateless persons will be able to receive any service provided by the SMSU (except for the specified areas);
  • the work of the “Electronic Queue” service is resumed (except for the specified areas).

Thus, in terms of the mentioned above it is very clear that no foreigner shall be filed for overstay if he/she stayed in Ukraine legally on 12.03.2020, if state authorities will try to do so, then it is a subject for an appeal to the court. All foreigners who legally stayed on 12.03.2020 and were unable to apply for extension of their stay, residence permit or citizenship, all have the right to do it within 30 days after the official end of quarantine, as for now the quarantine should be lifted on 30.06.2021.

On other hand, despite staying illegally in Ukraine till 30 days after the quarantine end will not make troubles like penalties, deportation or entry ban, still such foreigners may have difficulties with access to certain public services (e.g. to apply for tax ID, register business in Ukraine, to register marriage and other services) and maybe some other services depends on the individual circumstance.

You are kindly welcome to contact our immigration lawyer who has wide and positive experience on dealing with state authorities, do not delay with your problem and better contact us as soon as possible in order to protect your rights. Inactivity or contacting persons who do not have a lawyer’s license might cause you irreparable damage, lead to unforeseen negative consequences such as penalties, deportation and 3 – 10 and more years entry ban.

Read also about:

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Does quarantine suspend the rules of stay in Ukraine for visa-free travel

Who has a right to enter the territory of Ukraine till lockdown end on 22.06.2020

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Can you walk down the street without a mask: the government has clarified all new ban

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AR MAX GROUP it is a boutique legal office that focuses on its narrow profile services for foreign nationals and stateless persons in Ukraine and who only plan to move to Ukraine, and provide a wide range of professional services on any matters related to visa, temporary residence permit, immigration, permanent residence permit, citizenship, refugee status, doing business, employment, legal protection in any cases with state authorities, appealing unlawful decision of state authorities, representation of interests at litigation.

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Inactivity or contacting persons who do not have lawyer’s license might cause you irreparable damage and lead to unforeseen negative consequences.

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