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Where in the World Can a Ukrainian Go?

Article provided by Kurt Inagaki.

Kurt Inagaki lives in Denver, CO. and passionately pursues fish with flyrod and his hearts desire in Ukraine, much less adeptly, but nonetheless passionately.

Katya Schtamburg, friend, Discover Ukraine team member, and intrepid guide helped research this article.

A US passport allows me to travel pretty freely throughout the world, but what happens when your travel partner is Ukrainian? Where in the world can a Ukrainian go?

Ok first, I’m a man with a romantic interest in a Ukrainian woman so most of what you are about to read is naturally biased from this perspective, however, the general questions of where and what’s involved are applicable to any Ukrainian carrying an international passport.

And before you whisk her away to some place outside her country, it is easier, less expensive, you will learn a great deal and learn much more about her, if first you travel in Ukraine. Your Ukrainian friend is proud of her country, her culture and she has good reasons to be. There is rich history, culture, tradition and she is uniquely qualified to share these with you.

Spend time in her home city and then travel to places like Kiev, Lviv, Odessa, or my personal favorite, Crimea. This is easily 5 or 6 weeks of travel to just barely scratch the surface of what’s in these cities, or area in the case of Crimea. Ukraine is a fantastic destination in itself, let your friend show off a little. And consider for a moment that if she were coming to the US—what would you think, how would you feel if the first thing she wanted to do was hop on a plane to some other country?

I have tried to provide up to date information, but “change is inevitable” and you will find that Ukraine is changing, sometimes rapidly. The best advice is to start here, and once you have narrowed the list of possible destinations to a manageable number, contact the embassy of that country in Ukraine and verify the current requirements, restrictions, application times, cost, etc.

With the exception of a number of countries with reciprocal consular agreements with Ukraine, you will find getting your Ukrainian travel partner the required visa is a project, so incorporate this time and effort into your anticipated travel plans. Don’t expect to be able to just buy the tickets and jump on the next plane.

Because the most direct and sometimes the only way to get current information, forms and documents is to contact the embassy (in Ukraine) of the country you wish to visit, or a reputable travel company in her city, you need to converse in Russian/Ukrainian or have her assist. She may not see the romance in having to perform the research, gather the forms and documents, etc, and the best solution is to have the team at coordinate this process for you both. This has the added benefit of freeing up both your time to contemplate the things you will do once “in country”.

Trust me, the conversation where she tells of her great new outfit is awesome! Whereas, the one where she tells of the tedious hours spent on the internet and phone is like acupuncture with chopsticks.

And I want to stress here that unless you are conversant in the language and familiar with the cultural differences, in other words, unless you can pass for Ukrainian, you will get the best deal if you have a professional in Ukraine help. “Not that big a deal you say”? Get into any cab in Ukraine and speak English and your fare will increase a few gryvnas. Your 15 gryvna fare will become 20.

I’m not saying your trip cost will be 33% higher, but you will save a couple hundred dollars on the thousands you will spend, enough for a nice dinner for you and your traveling partner? Sure, enough said.

With her normal (non-diplomatic) international passport she can travel easily to the countries of the Former Soviet Union (FSU) and most counties in the Middle East (except Israel), oftentimes not needing a visa, or being able to buy one inexpensively at point of entry.

In fact, your visa for Russia and some of the former Soviet Republics requires more documentation, time, money or all three.

For example, she can enter Russia and most of the former Soviet Republics with just her international passport and filling out some entry documentation at the point of entry.

And it’s nearly as easy for many of the countries of the Middle East. For example, Turkey, which requires a short form and ($25 US) entry fee or Egypt which requires a $15 (US) Visa purchased in the airport at point of entry.

As a foreigner, North American, Western European, etc, please check your country’s consular site for travel restrictions, warnings, etc, to see the latest restrictions, warnings, cautions regarding travel to a specific country. This is especially important when traveling to the Middle East and some South American countries where you, as a foreigner, may be putting her, yourself or both of you at risk.

And now that you have decided on your destination and while the team at DU is assisting her through the necessary documentation, you might be able to start shopping the airfare or train fares and brushing up on your greetings in Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, Turkish, Arabic, but whoa mister, not so fast.

Maybe you should be practicing “Buenas Dias” instead of “Dobraye utra” and “Que tal”? in place of “kak dela”. Of course you can keep comparing her to the sun, “Ty mayo sontse” but shouldn’t you also give her the view of that sun? The feel of warm sand between her toes, the smell of the salty ocean air? Stop by next time and we’ll talk about Mexico and a few of the more exotic destinations. Do sveedanya.


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