Ukraine visa

Old May 10th, 2012, 03:47 AM
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Ukraine visa

I'm a US citizen, have been living and working in Ukraine for 2 1/2 months now, and I'm curious as to whether anyone has any insight on my situation.

I received a 90-day stamp when I entered the country, but the 90 days will run out fairly soon. i am working for an English school in Kyiv, and although we were originally told that we'd be able to apply for a visa in Budapest or Moldova, we haven't received an invitation yet. It doesn't look like I'll be getting a visa before my 90 days are up; many of the other teachers at my school don't seem to think it's a big deal and have told me not to bother; they haven't gotten visas either. My question is whether anyone can tell me if this is an administrative or a criminal offense, and whether there's any chance that I could be arrested or thrown in jail. I've been told that it's administrative, but I was wondering what other people have to say about it, or whether anyone has had an experience related to this. I also plan to stay until the end of August, about three months extra.
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Old May 10th, 2012, 10:35 AM
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Michael...all I can say is you DO NOT want to mess around with the Ukrainians. You realize there is no need of a visa for a short visit..but in your case it seems your flirting with fire. I recently had to have a required visa for Belarus. On a taxi ride from Brest to my wife's mother's birth village..Domachevo on the Bug (Boog) River, Polish border. our driver was pulled over for some unkown infraction...but the patrolman paid much more attention to us...asked for our visas and after explaining we were just wanting to visit Domachevo for a the afternoon, the game went on. The driver did his best to translate an explanation, until luckily, finally the cop had what was probably an emergency call and sped off. Anxious moments wondering whether our visa was proper or not. Yes, we worried mightily on our way back to Brest. In short, breaking a law anywhere you travel (or at home) is just plain illegal..don't tempt fate....or haven't you ever seen "Midnight Express"..?

There probably aren't any real experts on this forum for such matters. However, "Orange Travel" is a knowledgeable Fodorite who lives in Kiev and may help in your situation. I hope she reads this and chimes in. I already alerted her for you...so keep checking this thread. Good luck!
stu
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Old May 10th, 2012, 05:54 PM
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You are absolutely asking this question in the wrong place. NONE of us are qualified to give you an answer that is worth anything. What you need to do is immediately contact the American embassy and find out the reality of the situation (since if there is a problem that's where you're going to have to go to solve it anyway).

IMHO - not doing this is close to madness.

Do you want to see what the inside of a Ukranian jail looks like? Or to be summarily deported?
This is not like fooling around with a country in western europe where they would just fine you and send you home on the next plane. I have no idea what kind of problem this is - and would NOT want to find out.
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Old May 10th, 2012, 11:01 PM
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I agree with the above responses - you need an official clarification of the situation. And, most likely, not to overstay your visa. I visited Ukraine this summer for a holiday and I was GRILLED about whether I was planning to come and work illegally for about 20 minutes by the immigration officer, probably because I have an old Russian work visa for teaching English in my passport. Luckily I had a sheaf of documents showing my return flight and all my hotel reservations including one back in Paris for after my trip because there was a moment where I thought he wasn't going to let me in! The US is the only place I've been given a harder time (Russia included)!
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Old May 12th, 2012, 06:20 AM
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why do I feel that the OP is not about to heed any of these caveats? NYT's advice to get help at the Embassy is a no-brainer. Will he do it? Stay tuned, but don't hold your breath.
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Old May 12th, 2012, 09:00 AM
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Ha, yeah, I've lived (legally) in various bits of Europe for about 5 years total, and known my share of (mostly) Americans living illegally here in that time (and plenty of Americans here legally as well - it's mostly that I come into contact with more expat Americans, amongst non-EU citizens, than any inherent inclination of Americans to overstay visas, of course).

I don't think it's my place to wag my finger at them, but when I see these questions online I do always wonder at what the reception would be if someone posted on a similar forum asking "I would like to overstay my US visa and work illegally in America, can you advise as to the consequences?"

Yes, we all know these things happen all over the world, but it boils down to either you take the risk and accept that there may be serious consequences, or you act responsibly and follow the law. No amount of people sounding off in a forum (which, of course, no-one in this thread has done) or amongst your colleagues about how you'll probably get away with it will change that basic situation.
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Old May 18th, 2012, 09:50 AM
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I appreciate these responses. I did actually contact the US embassy, and they told me that it is an administrative offense, subject to a fine, as did an American I know who's lived here for a while.

No one sounded off, and everyone is entitled to their opinion. In my defense I might offer that I was led to believe I would in fact be able to get a visa during my first three months, but of course that's neither here nor there because it turned out not to be the case.
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Old May 18th, 2012, 10:02 AM
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You must normally apply for a work visa in your country of residence.

An English school surely is declaring your earnings.. and if so, they should have to prove your legal status to the government.

It is THEY who should have provided you with the documents for your work visa.

Maybe this is how they tempt teachers over there .

Ask THEM to go with you to immigration to figure out IF you can legalize your situation somehow. I'm curious as to what they will say/do.

English language schools tend to bend the rules for themselves. They get a bunch of teachers CHEAP, pay under the table, no SS or insurance, no taxes, no retentions, and then don't help these "teachers" become legal because they really don't CARE.

If this is not your situation, please ignore but what I have described is happening all over the place.

I hope you find a way to continue doing what you want, but I certainly would not like to mess around with the Ukrainians either.
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Old May 18th, 2012, 10:25 AM
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The way it was going to work, ostensibly, was that we were going to get religious visas, because our school has a religious affiliation, but we haven't yet received an invitation from the Hungarian embassy. The prevailing attitude at the school does seem to be that it's not a big deal for teachers to be working illegally.

To be honest, these responses have unnerved me, and I'm thinking about just removing myself from the situation before my time elapses.
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Old May 18th, 2012, 10:45 AM
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Good luck. I do hope you are able to solve your status problem.
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Old May 18th, 2012, 10:51 AM
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Thanks.
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