Ukraine - Country Commercial Guide
Business Travel

Includes information on business customs, travel advisory, visa requirements, and other aspects of international travel.

Last published date: 2021-09-25

Business Customs

Relationships are crucial in Ukrainian culture, and as a result, it is advisable to discuss important business matters face-to-face. The format and mood of business meetings greatly depend upon the size of the Ukrainian company and its previous experience with foreign business representatives. Regardless of size, all companies will observe the niceties, offering coffee, tea, water, and thank you for the meeting.

Taking into consideration the language barrier and the importance of body language, finding an interpreter you know, and trust is imperative to ensure that the message you wish to convey to prospective business partners or clients is accurate. Take your hints from your counterparts. Be prepared with a meeting agenda, be on time or apologize if you are late. Be flexible but firm in your objectives and ask questions if you are not clear on something under discussion. It is polite to give at least one week’s notice when requesting a meeting. Appointments should be reconfirmed shortly before the meeting day.

Travel Advisory

Please review the U.S. Department of State Country Information Sheet for Ukraine available at Travel.State.Gov for the latest travel advisories. 

Regular updates on Covid-19 and travel restrictions can be found on the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine website, COVID-19 Information.

U.S. citizens are urged to follow the guidance in the Travel Advisory for Ukraine and not travel to the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, and the Crimean Peninsula at this time. 

U.S. citizens living or traveling in Ukraine are strongly encouraged to enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive the latest travel updates and to obtain updated information on security within Ukraine. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of an emergency.

Visa Requirements

A passport valid for six months beyond the planned date of travel is required for entry to Ukraine. U.S. citizens do not need a Ukrainian visa if their stay in Ukraine does not exceed 90 days and the purpose of travel is tourism, private travel, or business. Proof of valid health insurance and sufficient funds is required for the duration of the stay.

U.S. citizens whose stay in Ukraine exceeds 90 days must have a visa. U.S. citizens also must have an appropriate visa regardless of the length of stay if their purpose of travel is other than tourism, private travel, or business. The Government of Ukraine does not issue visas at its borders or ports of entry. Visas must be obtained from a Ukrainian embassy or consulate abroad. Visit the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Embassy of Ukraine in the U.S. websites for the most current visa information.

For more details, please visit the U.S. Embassy Ukraine’s website.

Currency

The currency of Ukraine is the hryvnia (UAH), pronounced GREEV-NA. There are 100 kopecks in a hryvnia. The hryvnia is not fixed to the dollar or any other currency. For current exchange rates, please visit the XE Corporation website. 

You cannot use foreign currency for transactions in Ukraine. You will need to change your money at an exchange bureau or bank, which are ubiquitous in large and small towns alike. Exchange rates will be clearly displayed on boards outside of the exchanges. Remember to bring crisp, clean bills to exchange, as old and damaged currency will not be accepted at exchange points. Ukrainian currency is nearly impossible to exchange outside of Ukraine, so make sure to change your money back to dollars before leaving.

ATMs are commonplace in major cities. It is better to use ATM machines attached to large banks like Oshtad, Credit Agricole, PrivatBank, among others. Credit cards are also widely accepted in Ukraine. Apple Pay and Google Pay are also now widely accepted in Ukraine.

Telecommunications/Electric

For information on internet accessibility, cellular phone technology in use, which U.S. cell phone services work in this country, the prevalence of Wi-Fi in hotels, what types of voltage and plugs are used, and other technological information of interest to U.S. businesses, please visit the following web sites:

Visit Kyiv Ukraine (https://www.visitkievukraine.com/essential/internet/)

Power Plugs and Sockets of the World

For telephone service information, please visit:

How to Call Abroad

Phone codes for Ukrainian cities and regions are available on the following websites:

Visit Kyiv Ukraine (https://www.visitkievukraine.com/essential/ukraine-area-codes/)

Transportation

Only use marked taxis. Fares are given in advance when you order a taxi by phone, but prices are typically negotiated with the driver in advance if hailing a cab in the street.

Application-based taxis like Uber, Bolt, and Uklon are very popular and generally safe options.

Do not sit in the front seat of the taxi, enter a taxi with unknown passengers, or travel to unfamiliar areas. Also, do not get in an Uber, Bolt, or Uklon if the license plate or driver does not match up with the information given by the application.

Metro, buses, and trams are widely used. Many incidents of criminal activity occur on the public transport system, including the metro. When riding on public transportation or moving in crowded areas, keep your purse, bag, or backpack tightly under your arm and/or in front of your body.

Car rental services are offered by both U.S. and European Car rental companies:

  • Avis, tel.: +380 (44) 502-2010
  • Budget, tel.: +380 (44) 490-1088
  • Europcar , tel.: +380 (44) 220-3500
  • Hertz, tel.: +380 (44) 359-0991
  • SIXT runs operations in Kyiv, Boryspil Airport, and other large cities.

Train travel is one of the least expensive and most convenient methods of travel to reach just about any location in Ukraine. Although train travel is slow, it is generally safe. Train schedules are available on the Ukrzaliznytsia (https://www.uz.gov.ua/en/passengers/timetable/) website. Overnight trains are inexpensive and particularly convenient if you are traveling a long distance. 

Almost all international flights to Kyiv arrive at Boryspil International Airport, located 30 kilometers from Kyiv City center. Zhuliany-Kyiv (https://iev.aero/en/) is the other main airport, which handles most domestic flights. It is located 7 kilometers from the center of Kyiv. 

United Airlines operates code-share flights with Austrian Air and Lufthansa; Delta Airlines codeshare with Air France and KLM; and American Airlines with Swiss Air Lines. Flight schedules are available on Pilot (https://air.pilot.ua/en/raspisanie-aviarejsov/) and KiyAvia (https://kiyavia.com/) websites.

Language

Ukrainian is the official state language of Ukraine (since 1990). However, Russian is widely used in Kyiv and the cities of eastern Ukraine, and to a much lesser extent in western Ukraine. Although those in the political world and the local media use both languages, official documents are in Ukrainian. The number of English speakers increases yearly. Some useful Ukrainian vocabulary to remember is DOBRIY DEHN (hello, good day); DYA-KOO-YOU (thank you); BOOD LASKA (please/you’re welcome). For more information, please visit the website of the Embassy of Ukraine in Washington D.C.

Health

By Ukrainian law, all foreigners coming to Ukraine must have medical insurance covering their period of travel. Note that the general quality of healthcare in Ukraine does not meet U.S. standards.

  • Fees at government clinics and hospitals are lower than those at private clinics, but there have been reports that doctors request bribes or additional payments before treating patients.
  • Private physicians and private hospitals charge fees for services, and some may not accept local health insurance. 
  • Public facilities only accept cash payments, while most private clinics accept credit cards.

If you take prescription medication, bring it with you in your carry-on luggage. Avoid drinking tap water, including in hotels. Bottled water is available in major hotels and supermarkets at a reasonable cost. Medical information, including information about medical evacuation, insurance, and medical services in and outside of Kyiv, is available on the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine’s website.

Information on medical facilities and insurance is available on the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular affairs website.

Information on Covid-19, vaccinations, and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the CDC.

Regular updates on Covid-19 and travel restrictions can be found on the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine website, COVID-19 Information.

​​​​​​​Local Time, Business Hours, and Holidays

Ukrainian time is GMT+2 (Helsinki) and EST+7 (Eastern Standard Time). Ukraine observes daylight savings time from the last Sunday in March through the last Sunday in October.

Work week: 40 hours per week, Monday through Friday. Normal business hours: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

The Embassy will be closed to the public on the following American and Ukrainian holidays in 2021:

 

Date

Day

Country

Holiday

January 1

Fri

U.S./Ukraine

New Year’s Day

January 7

Thu

Ukraine

Orthodox Christmas

January 18

Mon

U.S.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

February 15

Mon

U.S.

Presidents’ Day

March 8

Mon

Ukraine

International Women’s Day

May 3*

Mon

Ukraine

International Labor Day (observed)

May 4*

Tue

Ukraine

Orthodox Easter (observed)

May 10*

Mon

Ukraine

Victory Day (observed)

May 31

Mon

U.S.

Memorial Day

June 21*

Mon

Ukraine

Holy Trinity Day (observed)

June 28

Mon

Ukraine

Constitution Day

July 5*

Mon

U.S.

Independence Day (observed)

August 24

Tue

Ukraine

Independence Day

September 6

Mon

U.S.

Labor Day

October 11

Mon

U.S.

Columbus Day

October 14

Thu

Ukraine

Ukrainian Defenders Day

November 11

Thu

U.S.

Veterans Day

November 25

Thu

U.S.

Thanksgiving Day

December 24*

Fri

U.S.

Christmas Day (Observed)

December 27*

Mon

Ukraine

Christmas Day (Observed)

December 31*

Fri

U.S.

New Year’s Day (Observed)

* “Observed” means that if a holiday falls on Saturday/ Sunday, it is observed on Monday (by Ukrainian law) and on Friday or Monday (by U.S. law).

Temporary Entry of Materials or Personal Belongings

According to Ukrainian law, a traveler can take cash in the amount not exceeding the equivalent of €10,000 across the Ukrainian state border. If the amount exceeds the equivalent of €10,000, the total amount must be declared in writing on the Customs Declaration Form upon entry/exit and supported by documents showing the origin of the money (e.g., bank statements).

Travel-Related Resources

  • U.S. Government
  • CIA World Factbook
  • U.S. Embassy in Ukraine
  • U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs’ Travel Advisories